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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : History of Christianity

Undergraduate Course: Popular Religion, Women and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (ECHS08002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn examination of key aspects of popular religion, culture and elite control during the early modern period in Europe.
Course description Academic Description:
The course will examine key aspects of popular religious culture during the early modern period in Europe which witnessed the transformation of religious life associated with the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. It will deal specifically with religious ideas and devotional practices at a popular level and the changes introduced by both Protestant and Catholic reformers. As part of the spectrum of belief it will examine ideas concerning magic and witchcraft and it will include a study of the witch hunting which swept through Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Throughout the course particular attention will be given to the role of women in churches and society and how they were affected by the religious upheavals of the period. As this course is concerned with a largely non-literate culture it will make extensive use of visual evidence.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course will apply historical approaches to popular culture and belief with a strong emphasis on skills for assessing historical evidence. Themes studied will include: what ordinary people may have believed before and after the Protestant and Catholic reformations; the religious roles open to women; the beliefs of Early Modern people about healing and magic; and the explanations that have been offered for early modern witch hunting. Students will become familiar with the work of key historians in the field and also engage with visual sources each week through the use of primary material accessed via digital collections.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has a programme of two one-hour lectures and one one-hour seminar each week. The lectures will provide opportunities for interaction and discussion. Each week has a schedule of reading associated with it and reading tasks will be allocated so that different perspectives are covered prior to each seminar. In the 'Image of the Week' task students will be reviewing a collection of images [visual primary sources]. They will each choose one image and assess the ways in which that source reflects the themes of the week. They will then write a short post on Learn arguing why their choice merits the title 'image of the week'. The class will debate the issues emerging from these posts each week in the seminar. Students will also be responsible for leading the seminar discussion for their tutorial group for one week in the semester and for participating in all discussions. Students will demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes through the assessed weekly posts on Learn and an essay together with participation in discussion and debates throughout the course.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 1 introductory level Divinity/Religious Studies course at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  110
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 160 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay 2000-words (30%)
Weekly task on WebCT (10%)
Degree exam (60%)
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of beliefs and religious practices in the context of early modern Europe.
  2. Construct historical explanations and arguments drawing appropriate geographical, temporal, gender and social comparisons.
  3. Show an appreciation of the issues raised in the debates concerning popular religion, the Reformation process, witch hunting and the role of women during the early modern period and an ability to critique the views found in secondary literature.
  4. Interpret historical evidence, in particular visual material.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Kirsty Murray
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
Course secretaryMs Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
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