HIS41840 Approaches to the Middle Ages

Academic Year 2023/2024

In this module students are introduced to the broad range of primary source material utilised by medieval historians and the different skills required to analyse them. Classes with be dedicated to such themes as the study of chronicles and annals, saints lives, charters, law and patristics, and literary sources. Attention will also be paid to the evidence of visual and material culture and the range of electronic resources available for the study of Medieval History.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module students should have acquired:
- An appreciation of the range of primary sources material on which the study of the Middle Ages is based.
- An understanding of the methodological issues that arise in sourcing and analyzing this material.
-A familiarity with the scholarly literature associated with the study of primary sources.
- A specialized knowledge of a particular area of choice drawn from the range of topics studied on the module.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will address such topics as:
- Conceptualising the middle ages
- Accessing medieval source materials
- Approaches to researching the middle ages
- Intellectual foundations of the middle ages
- Hagiography
- Chronicles
- Administrative sources
- Approaches to the Byzantine world
- Crusading sources
- Approaches to medieval literature

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a small-group, seminar-based module, taught through a two-hour weekly seminar. The seminar is focused on individual active/task-based learning by means of discussion and presentations. Advanced research and writing skills are developed through a presentation and a research essay at the end of semester. The module also includes visits to archives, and is taught by a range of scholars with different research interests. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Presentation and contribution to class Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Thematic essay (4000 words) Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on presentations and essays is given in writing individually, and in one-to-one meetings by appointment. Formative feedback is given also before presentations and submission of essays.

Name Role
Dr Lindy Brady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Edward Coleman Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Roy Flechner Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sean Leatherbury Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Rebecca Stephenson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer