You will study two core modules in early modern history:
Introduction to Early Modern History
In the first semester, this module offers a broad introduction to early modern history, and in particular to some of the main historical and historiographical debates which are key to understanding sixteenth- and seventeenth-century society, culture, politics and religion. This will include important concepts surrounding religious and popular belief, the early-modern state, gender and sexuality, material culture, and the non-European world. As such, it will provide you with a broad knowledge base to draw upon as you begin thinking about the area of early modern history you would like to focus on for your dissertation.
Writing Early Modern History: Sources and Approaches
In the second semester, this module introduces in more detail the hands-on study of early modern history by interrogating a range of important sources, from ecclesiastical documents and court records, through state papers, printed books, diaries and letters to maps, music, and visual and material approaches. These sessions will familiarise you with important practical and methodological issues, as well as giving a sense of how these kinds of material have been used by historians to enhance our understanding of the past.
You will also study two other core modules:
This module, which runs throughout the autumn semester, is your chance to meet students from across the range of masters programmes offered within the department, from ancient and medieval through to modern and contemporary history. Together, you will consider the key approaches, theories and concepts that have shaped historical practice since the Second World War. These include developments such as the Annales School, historians’ response to Marxism and to anthropological theory, cultural history, the linguistic turn, gender and critical social theory. The focus is on the application of ideas to historical practice. You will investigate how early modernists have adapted these theories and methods to their particular field of study.
This module, which consists of a number of different elements, runs throughout the academic year, and provides important training and support as you develop your research skills, and devise your own unique dissertation topic. In the autumn you will receive intensive training in palaeography (reading old handwriting), and in the spring you will be allocated to a supervisor, who will help prepare you to give an oral presentation on your dissertation topic, as well as producing an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an outline dissertation plan.
You will also choose 40 credits of optional modules: either a special subject, a pair of advanced options, or an advanced option and further training, such as a foreign language, or a relevant module from another department (such as Classics, Art History, English etc). Previous options available within History have included:
- Age of Discovery
- A History of the Tudors in 100 Objects
- Histories of Hate: Fear and Loathing in Early Modern Europe
- Protestants, Papists and Puritans: Religious Change under Elizabeth I and James I
- The English Civil War and Local Society
- Piracy, Plunder, Peoples and Exploitation: English Exploration in the Tudor Period
- Religion and Religious Change in England during the reign of Elizabeth I
- Toleration and Persecution in Early Modern Europe
- Witchcraft, Magic and Power in Early Modern Europe
Please note that the optional modules listed on the website for this programme are intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.