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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 equivalent to two one-hour lectures and one one-hour tutorial each week. Each week is structured to follow the same pattern of learning, research and discussion. Lecture themes will be introduced using online audio/visual formats, these will be available for self-paced study and will set the scene for the topics covered. Mid-week there will be an opportunity for real-time online interaction with the lecturer and students will also be reading for their tutorial and posting on Learn for ┐image of the week┐. Each week will conclude with discussion in a tutorial group.

In 'image of the week' 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'. Tutorial groups will debate the issues emerging from these posts each week. Students will also be responsible for leading the discussion of the set reading for their tutorial group for one week in the semester and for participating in all discussions.
Twice in the semester the ┐compare and review┐ task will allow students to delve more deeply into an area by asking them to contrast two short readings on a topic. The semester concludes with a research essay chosen from the list of possible questions. Individual essay planning/advice sessions will be available. Students will demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes through the assessed weekly posts on Learn, two ┐compare and review┐ tasks [2x 1000 words] and a final essay [2000 words].

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 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
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 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 20% 'Image of the week' [8 short comments on primary sources c. 150 words each = 1200 words];

40% 'Compare and Review' [2 short pieces of 1000 words, 20% each] submitted during the course;

40% end-of-course essay of 2000 words.

The two "compare and review" mini-essays and the final essay must address different sections of the course.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
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
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kirsty Murray
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
Course secretaryMr Jamie Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 8913
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