HST115: The 'Disenchantment' of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770
20 credits (semester 1)
Module Leader: Dr Tom Leng (2012-13). (TBC 2013-14)
This module explores the fundamental shifts in mental attitudes and public behaviour that occurred in Europe between the age of the Reformation and the age of the Enlightenment. The central focus of the course will be the examination of the supernatural – religious beliefs, but also witchcraft and magic. You will explore the changing ways in which beliefs impinged on people's lives at various social levels. You will also have an opportunity to study the impact on people's world views of such changes as rising literacy, urbanisation, state formation and new discoveries about the natural world. All these will be investigated in the institutional contexts of state and church and the ways in which they sought to channel and mould beliefs and behaviour. This module enables you to understand how the early modern period is distinctive from and links medieval and later modern historical studies.
The module will be taught through twice-weekly lectures and compulsory weekly seminars.
Essay one should be 1500 words long, including footnotes and essay two should be 2000 words long, including footnotes. The marks for the essays will constitute 33% of the overall mark. A further 17% of your mark will be determined by your oral performance in seminars; your tutor will explain the marking criteria. The remaining 50% of your overall mark will be derived from a two-hour unseen examination to be taken during the examining period. You should note that you must pass both the coursework (essays plus oral assessment) and unseen examination components in order to pass overall. All assessment is subject to moderation by internal examiners.
There is no one course text. This is an advantage, since this course aims to take you beyond the textbook. However, if you have not studied this period before, or if you wish to make sure that you have a good guide to the period which makes it clear how those issues studied in the course fit into broader trends, then it is suggested that you purchase Merry Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 (2006). An alternative textbook containing some useful essays is Euan Cameron (ed.), Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 2001).
You might also want to purchase another book which tackles one or more of the central topics of the course. The following texts are excellent introductions to their subjects, each of which treats one of the major elements of the course, and all of which are available in paperback (you should make sure that you purchase the new, second edition wherever one is indicated).
- Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe 2nd ed. (London: Longman, 2002)
- R. A. Houston, Literacy in Early Modern Europe. Culture and Education 1500-1800 2nd ed. (London: Longman, 2002)
- Dorinda Outram, The Enlightenment (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995)
- John Henry, The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science 2nd ed. (London: Palgrave, 2002)
- Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London: Penguin, 1971 & later printings)
Intended Learning Outcomes