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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Plague, Politics and Protest: Rebellion and Society in Fourteenth-century England (HIST10160)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe fourteenth century was a period of profound social upheaval: first famine, then the Black Death and successive plagues; periodic peasant rebellions; the deposition of two kings; the Hundred Years War with France, and the rise of England's first popular heresy, Lollardy. This course seeks to better understand the Great Revolt of 1381 by situating it in its broader social, economic, political and religious contexts. Additionally, it will look at how various contemporary writers, particularly chroniclers, interpreted the revolt.Additionally, it looks at how various contemporary writers interpreted the events of 1381, from well-known writers such as Chaucer, Langland and Gower, to the often anonymous chroniclers.
Course description The revolt of 1381 was the largest and most significant rebellion in late medieval England. There are many narratives available of the events of the revolt but this course seeks to understand the revolt in its broader social, economic, political, religious and cultural contexts. To do this we will:
- look at the structures of manorial and urban societies, as these might help explain social tensions as well as give us an indication of how groups mobilize for concerted actions;
- assess earlier examples of resistance, whether about labour duties, rent, or taxation, in order that we can more fully understand and assess the events of 1381;
- consider possible causes of the revolt, such as the 'seigneurial' reaction after the Black Death, excessive taxation, an unsuccessful war effort, and government corruption;
Moving onto the revolt itself, we can use the available sources to try to find out what the rebels' grievances were and from what sectors of society they were drawn.
To end the course, we will consider the aftermath of the revolt, both its repression and whether it had any long-lasting effects.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administratorto ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** Visiting Students should contact the Visiting Student Section directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others.
Reading List
P.J.P. Goldberg, Medieval England, Hodder Education, 2004.
Christopher Dyer, Making a Living in the Middle Ages, Yale University Press, 2009.
J. Whittle & S.H. Rigby, 'England: Popular Politics and Social Conflict', in S.H. Rigby (ed.), A Companion to Britain in the Late Middle Ages (2009), pp. 65-86.
R.B. Dobson (ed.), Peasants' Revolt of 1381 (1970).
R.H. Hilton & T.H. Aston (eds.), English Rising of 1381 (1984).
A. Dunn, Great Rising of 1381 (2002).
R. Hilton, Bond Men Made Free: Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 1381 (1973; new edn 2003).
C. Oman, Great Revolt of 1381 (1906; 1969).
J. Bothwell et al. (eds.), Problem of Labour in Fourteenth-century England (Woodbridge, 2000).
H. Eiden, 'Joint Action Against 'bad' Lordship: The Peasants' Revolt in Essex and Norfolk', History, 83 (1998), 5-30.
S. Justice, Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381 (Berkeley, 1994).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Cordelia Beattie
Tel: (0131 6)50 3778
Course secretary
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