Monarchy: Ancient and Medieval
This thematic module explores the institution of monarchy in the ancient and medieval periods. It will address a number of overlapping questions, and take a concerted comparative approach toward comparing the nature of kingship in both eras. What made a king a king? How did a monarch interact with his (or her) subjects? How was royal power reflected in the palaces and buildings constructed by monarchs? Could queens exercise power in the same way as kings? The module draws on modern theoretical observations about monarchy and explores specific examples from across the ancient and medieval world from the Achaemenid kings of Persia and Alexander the Great, to the Carolingians and the monarchs of the new Latin kingdoms founded during the expansion of Europe after 1000, with examples along the way from Egypt and Rome. Students will develop the skills required to work with a range of primary evidence including royal inscriptions, monuments and art, coins, archaeological remains, political treatises, administrative and legal texts, and manuscript illuminations. Students will also gain expertise in modern scholarship on the subject, engaging with key modern debates on the nature of kingship in the ancient and medieval epochs. Ultimately, the module will give students a framework for assessing monarchy which can be applied productively to monarchy in any period of history.
The Normans in Western Europe and the Mediterranean: Memory, identity and diaspora, c.900-1150.
This module will explore various dimensions of Norman activity, from the original Scandinavian settlement of Normandy in the tenth century through to the Norman conquests and foundations of new Latin states in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The Normans occupy a central role in the history of the Middle Ages. In both medieval and modern perspectives, they have been regarded as fearless warriors, hardy colonisers, and as devoted Christians. In the English-speaking world the Normans are perhaps best known for their exploits in England in 1066 and the years that followed. Yet, their activities stretched across a wider chronological range and encompassed theatres elsewhere in Europe and beyond. The module explores the cultural consequences of the spread of the Norman diaspora, investigating their influence on art and the built environment in the different regions that they settled. Other sessions are devoted to investigating how Norman identity was shaped, and the role of the chroniclers and authors who helped to shape it.
History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television.
This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.
The Practice of History
The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization.
At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.
A History of Sex and Gender
This module explores the history of sex and gender across a multitude of sites since the Medieval period, examining how and why understandings and ideologies changed. This module looks at the history of sex and gender from a social and cultural perspective, drawing out connections with class and race. It explores how ideas of masculinity and femininity have changed over time, how gender has impacted on social, economic and political life, and how dominant ideologies of gender relate to the experience of men¿s and women¿s daily lives. The module will also analyse changing attitudes towards sexuality and demonstrate how modern sexual identities are the product of historical processes rather than fixed and unchanging. Students will be introduced to the key historiographical debates around the history of gender and to the core challenges that drive historians while researching these vital themes.
Medieval Studies Dissertation
A dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words written on a topic decided by the student in consultation with the dissertation supervisor. This represents Part Two of the MA programme in Medieval Studies.
Reading Medieval Manuscripts
Medieval manuscript sources are crucial to our understanding of the Middle Ages. Research across the disciplines of medieval studies is grounded in the study and use of medieval books and documentary sources. This module aims to give students the skills, knowledge and confidence to engage with original manuscript sources of various types, from early Anglo-Saxon Gospel books to medieval chronicles, from illustrated books of hours to critical legal documents. Students will engage with these sources via digital and printed images and full-scale printed facsimiles, learning to recognise and transcribe medieval hands from all periods. Students will be given the chance to read original manuscripts during visits to the West Glamorgan Archive Service (Swansea) and the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth). This module assumes no prior knowledge of medieval manuscripts, nor any prior knowledge of the medieval languages featured in the manuscript samples, including Latin, Old English and Middle English.
Introduction to Advanced Medieval Studies 2: Themes and Sources
This module aims to apply the skills and approaches learned in the module HIMM01: Introduction to Advanced Medieval Studies 1: Skills and Approaches to a range of important themes in Medieval Studies, including gender, identity, laws and customs, spirituality, heritage. The module is interdisciplinary and draws on historical, literary and visual sources. The content of the module will be arranged in 2-weekly blocks, with the first week in each block dedicated to introducing students to the specific theme and the second week being used as a practical application of this knowledge to a source or text.