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

Undergraduate Course: Medieval Worlds: A Journey through the Middle Ages (HIST08035)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis introductory course takes students on a journey, primarily through the central Middle Ages (c. 800 to c. 1300), seeking to capture key aspects of this age of transformation. The course follows the development of the increasingly global connections which opened up during the medieval period.
Course description The European Middle Ages were a time of enormous diversity, change and discovery. It was during this period, between the fifth century and end of the fifteenth, that the ancient Roman world was transformed by the emergence of new empires and kingdoms, new identities and new ideas. This introductory course takes students on a journey, primarily through the central Middle Ages (c. 800 to c. 1300), seeking to capture key aspects of this age of transformation. The course follows the development of the increasingly global connections which opened up during the medieval period. It begins with Britain and its own medieval heritage, before moving on to explore its links with the powerful empires and faiths of the Continent. After examining Rome and its legacy, the course follows Europeans eastwards across the Mediterranean and beyond in their search of new opportunities. Students enrolled on this course will not only encounter some of the key figures and writings of the era, including translations of texts written by medieval people themselves, but also challenge traditional assumptions about the period that stands between antiquity and modernity.

Weekly outline: (subject to change)

I Introduction
1. Lecture: Introduction to the course
2. Lecture: What are the Middle Ages?

II Departures
3. Lecture: The Medieval World View
4. Lecture: Mapping Society: the three orders and outsiders
5. Lecture: Medieval Britain
6. Lecture: Britain and the Continent

III Empires and Diasporas
7. Lecture: Making Empires: the Carolingian World
8. Lecture: Breaking Empires: After Charlemagne/the Holy Roman Empire/kingdoms?
9. Lecture: Viking journeys: the Scandinavian diaspora
10. Lecture: Missionary journeys: Converting the pagans

IV Rome
11. Lecture: Rome after Rome
12. Lecture: Reforming the Church
13. Lecture: The Rise of the towns
14. Lecture: Cultures in Contact

V Crossing the Mediterranean
15. Lecture: Byzantium
16. Lecture: The Expansion of Islam
17. Lecture: Holy War and the Crusade
18. Lecture: Jerusalem VI New Worlds
19. Lecture: The Medieval Mind: New intellectual horizons
20. Lecture: The Medieval Imagination: Worlds Beyond/new visions of the afterlife
21. Lecture: New contacts in the East: Genghis Khan and the Mongol expansion
22. Lecture: New Worlds: an age of exploration?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: The Historian's Toolkit (HIST08032)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  311
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 162 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
2 x 750 word Source Commentaries (40%)
2,000 word Essay (60%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the tutor/Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework, a sound knowledge of the subject considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to assimilate a variety of sources and formulate critical opinions on them;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to research, structure and complete written work of a specified length, or within a specified time;
  4. demonstrate an ability to make informed contributions to class discussion and give an oral presentation as required;
  5. demonstrate an ability to organise their own learning, manage their workload, and work to a timetable.
Reading List
J. Arnold, What is Medieval History? (London, 2007)
M. Barber, The Two Cities. Medieval Europe 1050-1320 (London, 2nd ed., 2004)
R. Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950 - 1350 (Harmondsworth, 1993)
M. Bull, Thinking Medieval. An Introduction to the Study of the Middle Ages (London, 2005)
John D. Cotts, Europe's Long Twelfth Century: Order, Anxiety and Adaptation, 1095-1229 (London, 2012)
R.H.C. Davis, A History of Medieval Europe (3rd edition, Harlow, 2005, revised by R.I. Moore)
J. Le Goff, Medieval Civilisation (Oxford, 1991) R.I. Moore, The First European Revolution (Oxford, 2000)
Rollason, D., Early Medieval Europe 300-1050: The Birth of Western Society (London, 2012). Online.
Joel T. Rosenthal, ed., Understanding Medieval Primary Sources. Using Historical Sources to Discover Medieval Europe, (London, 2012): On-line
R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (Harmondsworth, 1970)
C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome. A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 (Harmondsworth, 2009)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills and abilities in research and enquiry
- ability to draw valid conclusions about the past
- ability to identify, define and analyse historical problems
- ability to select and apply a variety of critical approaches to problems informed by uneven evidence
- ability to exercise critical judgement in creating new understanding
- ability to extract key elements from complex information
- readiness and capacity to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
- ability critically to assess existing understanding and the limitations of knowledge and recognition of the need regularly to challenge/test knowledge
- ability to search for, evaluate and use information to develop knowledge and understanding

Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy
- openness to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking
- ability to identify processes and strategies for learning
- independence as a learner, with readiness to take responsibility for one's own learning, and commitment to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement
- ability to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought
- ability to test, modify and strengthen one's own views through collaboration and debate
- intellectual curiosity
- ability to sustain intellectual interest

Skills and abilities in communication
- ability to make effective use of oral and written means convey understanding of historical issues and one's interpretation of them.
- ability to marshal argument lucidly and coherently
- ability to collaborate and to relate to others
- readiness to seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-awareness

Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness
- ability to approach historical problems with academic rigour
- ability to manage and meet firm deadlines
- possession of the confidence to make decisions based on one's understanding and personal/intellectual autonomy
- ability to work effectively with others, capitalising on diversities of thinking, experience and skills
Course organiserDr William Aird
Tel: (0131 6)50 9968
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Stobie
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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