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

Postgraduate Course: Queens, Heiresses and Lords: Women Making Medieval Scotland (PGHC11588)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWomen were fundamental to the foundation, consolidation, commemoration and crises of the ruling dynasty and noble families of medieval Scotland. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, this course examines the lives, actions, and representations of royal and aristocratic women between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. Students will also engage critically with the ways modern historians have studied topics such as queenship, gender, power and Scottish political history.
Course description Elite women played important roles within the Scottish political community and on a wider, European stage, even if narratives of the 'making of' medieval Scotland have tended to foreground male actors. Throughout this course, students will carefully assess women's involvement in politics and aristocratic culture between c.1066 and c.1328, examining figures such as queen consorts, royal mothers and daughters, countesses and noblewomen.

The course will be structured around weekly seminars which explore different arenas of royal and aristocratic life. Crucial themes students will encounter include: marriage, diplomacy, patronage, commemoration, power and authority, models of rulership, administration, law, courtly culture, religion and identity. Students will reach a fuller understanding of women's significant contribution to political life and culture in medieval Scotland by analysing important shifts over the period, critically examining historiographical arguments, and appraising a variety of primary sources.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
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 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:

1,000 word essay plan (20%)
4,000 word essay (80%)
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.

There will be an assessed essay plan, submitted mid-semester, which will be discussed in a one-to-one meeting with students and form the structured learning activity for one week of the course. This is intended to encourage students in their independent research throughout the semester, providing a meaningful forum for them to develop and discuss their essay question, initial ideas and writing intentions. This mid-semester feedback will allow students to shape and hone their final coursework assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show detailed knowledge of the lives, actions and representations of elite women in medieval Scotland.
  2. evaluate and apply recent critical debates in the study of gender, queenship, noblewomen, power, and medieval Scottish history.
  3. reflect critically on a variety of methodological approaches to primary source material, including diplomatic, epistolary, chronicle, hagiographical, literary and legal evidence.
  4. devise a research question and implement a structured plan to achieve the set research goal.
  5. develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in a written form.
Reading List
The New Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004, eds. Elizabeth Ewan, Rosemary J. Pipes, Jane Rendall and Sian Reynolds (Edinburgh: EUP, 2018)

Women in Scottish History Database (

Jessica Nelson, 'Scottish queenship in the thirteenth century', Thirteenth Century England, 11 (2007), 61-81

Fiona Downie, 'Queenship in late medieval Scotland', in Scottish Kingship, 1306-1542: Essays in Honour of Norman Macdougall, eds. Michael Brown and Roland Tanner (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2008), pp. 232-54

Lois L. Huneycutt, 'Public lives, private ties: royal mothers in England and Scotland, 1070-1204', in Medieval Mothering, eds. John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler (New York: Garland, 1996), pp. 295-311

Catherine Keene, Saint Margaret, Queen of the Scots: A Life in Perspective (New York, 2013)

Cynthia J. Neville, 'Women, charters and land ownership in Scotland, 1150-1350', Journal of Legal History, 26 (2005), 25-54

Matthew H. Hammond, 'Women and the adoption of charters in Scotland north of Forth, ca 1100-1286', Innes Review, 62 (2011), 5-46

Medieval Elite Women and the Exercise of Power, 1100-1400: Moving Beyond the Exceptionalist Debate, ed. Heather J. Tanner (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

Theresa Earenfight, Queenship in Medieval Europe: Queenship and Power (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

A. A. M. Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots, 842-1292: Succession and Independence (Edinburgh: EUP, 2002)

Alice Taylor, The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 (Oxford: OUP, 2016)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will enable students to:

Develop skills in critically appraising diverse evidence and historiographical arguments

Expand and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of elite women in medieval Scotland

Hone practical expertise such as effective communication and collaborative working

Plan and implement self-directed research
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Emily Ward
Tel: (0131 6)50 6693
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Perry
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