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Level 7

7AAH1002 Materials & Methods

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Professor Peter Heather (Sem 1); Professor Julia Crick (Sem 2)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 1-hour weekly seminars
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 1500-word essay (15%); 1 x 3500-word essay (85%)
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.

This is the core course for the MA in Medieval History. The module is team-taught to give students the opportunity to work with (and get to know) all medievalists currently working in the history department.

The first term introduces students to some of the major types of primary sources available to medievalists. Each week, we take a different 'type' of source and approach it using a particular method or methodology. We will look at saints' lives, histories and chronicles, charters and cartularies, sermons, laws, coins, archaeological reports. And we will ask key methodological questions, for instance: what is gender, cultural or economic history? How have concepts and methodologies taken from other disciplines (most notably sociology and anthropology) enriched historical discourse? And what is the impact of digital humanities on more longstanding methods of historical research?

In the second term, the module takes the form of workshops on designing and writing a dissertation project (e.g.: where to begin? What is a literature review? How can digital humanities help me?).

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these texts is not mandatory

J. Arnold, What is Medieval History? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008)

J. Rosenthal ed., Understanding Medieval Primary Sources (London: Routledge, 2012).

Additional costs

  • There are two field trips, one taken out of term, to Westminster Abbey and the National Archives (transport costs to be paid by students).
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