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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: 'The wisest fool in Christendom': the Ideas and Writings of James VI & I (PGHC11478)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will examine the ideas and writings of King James VI & I, beginning with his rule over Scotland and including England after 1603. Labelled 'the wisest fool in Christendom', and long regarded as one of the British Isles' less successful rulers, more recently he has been effectively rehabilitated by 'revisionist' historians who argue that he was a highly intelligent and politically astute monarch. The focus here will be mainly on James' ideas, as expressed though his own writings and those of his contemporaries.
Course description This course will examine the ideas and writings of King James VI & I, beginning with his rule over Scotland and including England after 1603, as expressed thought his own writings and those of his contemporaries. Like many early modern monarchs, James was much concerned with his role and destiny as King, and all this entailed. During his reign he faced a number of unique challenges in part brought about by the geography of his realms, including the so-called Highland problem, the Union of the Crowns between Scotland and England, the Ulster plantation and the newly claimed lands in the Americas, as well as religious unrest at home and conflict abroad. This course will take a thematic approach and consider, among others, James' ideas on kingship, religion, war and peace, union, and empire, mainly using primary material.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 90% coursework
10% presentation

1. One individual presentation, based on the research proposal, worth 10% of the final course mark
2. One 1000-word Research Proposal, worth 15% of the final course mark
3. One 3000-word essay, worth 75% of the final course mark
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course-Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment. Feedback will also be provided regularly throughout the course.

A 1000-word Research Proposal, worth 15% of the final course mark, will be submitted at mid-semester. Written feedback will be provided at least three weeks before the final assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the ideas and writings of James VI & I
  2. analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the ideas and writings of James VI & I and their comparative context, primary source materials concerning these and conceptual discussions about intellectual history
  3. understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
  4. develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, presentations, research reports and essays by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
B. Galloway, The union of England and Scotland, 1603-1608 (Edinburgh, 1986)

J. Goodare, The government of Scotland, 1560-1625 (Oxford, 2004)

J. Goodare and M. Lynch (eds), The reign of James VI (Edinburgh, 2008)

R. Houlbrooke (ed.), James VI and I: ideas, authority, and government (Aldershot, 2007)

M. Lee, Great Britain's Solomon: James VI and I in his three kingdoms (Urbana, 1990)

R. A. Mason (ed.), Scots and Britons : Scottish political thought and the union of 1603 (Cambridge, 1994)

King James VI and I: Political Writings, J. P. Sommerville ed. (Cambridge, 1995)

É. Ó Ciardha & M. Ó Siochrú (eds), Plantation of Ulster : ideology and practice (Manchester, 2012)

W. B. Patterson, King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom (Cambridge, 1998)

N. Rhodes et al. (eds), James I, King of England, 1566-1625. (Aldershot, 2003)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsjames VI & I,early modern Scotland,intellectual history
Course organiserDr Esther Mijers
Tel: (0131 6)50 3756
Course secretaryMr George Bottrell-Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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