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

Undergraduate Course: Reformation and Society in Scottish Communities, 1530-1650 (HIST10524)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe Protestant Reformation was potentially transformative for Scottish society, and through its reforming agenda produced new forms of source material for the study of religious and social life. This course explores how the Reformation was experienced across various Scottish communities, with a particular emphasis on local and regional approaches, and on the social impact of reform. It provides opportunities for in-depth research on the new parish church courts (kirk sessions) and their interaction with communities including themes such as gender, sex and marriage, disability, poverty, and the family.
Course description The course explores the social and local history of the Scottish Reformation via two distinct halves. The first half of the course explores patterns and debates in the Scottish Reformation's local and regional development. This will provide you with a firm grounding in the overarching nature and interpretation of the Scottish Protestant Reformation. Building on this, it will also enable you to engage independently with key historiographical debates about the dynamics of reform, conflict and co-existence, and religious culture in the parishes. You will have the opportunity to analyse local and regional case-studies to gain confidence in offering your own interpretation of religious change in the sixteenth century.

The second half of the course focuses in depth on Scotland's new and unique parish-level church court, the kirk session, and its relationship with local communities after its emergence in 1559-60. The records of this new institution provide unrivalled evidence on a rich variety of aspects of social life, and you will become expert in navigating and interpreting these challenging but vital sources. The thematic structure of this part of the course centres broadly on two key strands of the church's agenda in the parishes, discipline and welfare, each of which enables exploration of wider and critical themes in the study of early modern communities, such as gender, social conflict, sex and marriage, poverty and charity, the family and disability. You will further develop and sharpen your research skills and ability to communicate history to audiences via the varied source-focused assessments in the second half of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 42, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 350 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,500 word historiographical review (15%)
4,000 word essay (25%)
5,500 word research essay (40%)

Non-Written Skills:
10-minute podcast for a non-academic audience (20%)
Feedback Students will receive 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.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the contrasting interpretations of the Scottish Reformation
  2. Advance independent arguments on the nature and experience of the Scottish Reformation as it developed in diverse Scottish communities
  3. Undertake personal research utilising local sources to address an independently developed research agenda
  4. Communicate historical research effectively to varied audiences
  5. Present oral arguments in a concise and persuasive manner
Reading List
Cowan, M. Death, Life, and Religious Change in Scottish Towns, c. 1350-1560 (Manchester, 2012)

Dawson, J.E.A., 'Calvinism and the Gaidhealtachd in Scotland', in A. Pettegree, A. Duke and G. Lewis (eds), Calvinism in Europe, 1560-1620 (Cambridge, 1994)

Ewan, E. and Nugent, J. (eds), Finding the Family in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland (Aldershot, 2008)

Glaze, A., 'Women and Kirk Discipline: Prosecution, Negotiation, and the Limits of Control', Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 36 (2) (2016), pp. 125-42

Hazlett, I. (ed.), A Companion to the Reformation in Scotland, ca. 1525-1638 (Leiden, 2022)

Langley, C.R., McMillan, C.E., and Newton, R. (eds), The Clergy in Early Modern Scotland (Woodbridge, 2021)

Langley, C.R., Cultures of Care: Domestic Welfare, Discipline and the Church of Scotland, c. 1600-1689 (Leiden, 2020)

McCallum, J. Reforming the Scottish Parish (Farnham, 2010)

McCallum, J. (ed.), Scotland's Long Reformation (Leiden, 2016)

Sanderson, M., Ayrshire and the Reformation: People and Change 1490-1600 (East Linton, 1997)

Todd, M., The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven, 2002)

Verschuur, M. Politics or religion? The Reformation in Perth, 1540-1570 (Dunedin, 2006)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills An ability to critically synthesise and interpret challenging primary source evidence and contrasting historiographical perspectives

An ability to design and execute a research project independently and effectively

An ability to communicate historical material clearly and engagingly to varied audiences

An ability to develop and sustain independent lines of argument persuasively in verbal and written form
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Diana Paton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4578
Course secretary
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