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Level 5

5AAH1082 An Island in the Ocean: Britain in the Early Middle Ages

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Rory Naismith
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 1,500-word formative essay; 1 x 3,000-word essay (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years

Britain's division into England, Scotland and Wales is axiomatic to its medieval and modern history. By looking at the island during the early Middle Ages (i.e. c. 400-1050), this module challenges its division into three discrete parts. Students will gain insight into a period when cultural, political and economic affiliations were extremely fluid, and could have led to quite different configurations within Britain. This module offers an innovative view of British history that encourages students to think above, below and across traditional boundaries. From the level of Britain as an island (and indeed as part of a wider world) down to individual families and local communities, students will use comparative thematic approaches to interrogate changes in how people lived their lives, interacted with one another and understood their place in the world. Structured around a series of thematic case-studies that look at examples from across Britain, the module will engage with matters of ethnicity, belief, gender, inequality, resources, among others, based on a range of historiography and primary sources, including archaeology and material culture. This module will appeal to those with an interest in the roots of British history, in the Middle Ages, and in questions of identity.

Suggested introductory reading

T. Charles-Edwards (ed.), After Rome (Oxford, 2003)

W. Davies (ed.), From the Vikings to the Normans (Oxford, 2003)

R. Fleming, Britain after Rome: the Fall and Rise 400 to 1070 (London, 2010)

P. Stafford (ed.), The Early Middle Ages: Britain and Ireland c. 500?c. 1100

(Oxford, 2009)
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