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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST1320 Medieval Lives: Identities, Cultures and Beliefs

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Iona McCleery

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

‘Medieval Lives’ uncovers the human experience of the Middle Ages. By focusing on ten medieval people from across the globe, it offers students an opportunity to engage with the rich materials that shed light on medieval identities and beliefs while developing an understanding of the cultures that shaped them. Students will use a wide range of primary sources in translation, honing research, writing, presentation and analytical skills in doing so.


This module aims to
• Introduce students to the study of medieval identities, cultures and beliefs, both within and outside Western Europe, by focusing on the lives of ten people
• Develop contextual knowledge of the times, places and natures of different medieval societies, and how these contexts shaped life experiences
• Introduce students to the possibilities and pitfalls of using life history and biography as a way of studying, researching and discussing the Middle Ages
• Provide students with opportunities to develop existing skills and acquire new ones, such as writing, research, analysis and oral presentation

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the ideas and events that shaped the lives of people in the Middle Ages
2. Demonstrate an awareness of the benefits and difficulties of using life history and biography as a window into pre-modern societies and cultures
3. Recognise different historical arguments about the causes and consequences of the changes examined in this module
4. Appreciate the range, value, and challenges of a selection of primary sources that can be used to examine people and events in the medieval world
5. Present a structured and coherent analysis based on appropriate and relevant historical sources in assignments set by tutors
6. Apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work

Skills outcomes
Historical source analysis


Focusing on the lives of ten medieval people, this module explores identity, belief and culture in the global Middle Ages. Students work through a selection of 10 case studies chosen to illustrate important themes relevant to the study of the medieval world, including (but not limited to) the following:
• Beliefs (both ideological and spiritual)
• Identities
• Trans-cultural interactions
• Politics, warfare and diplomacy
• Livelihoods and work
These aspects will be explored by a range of primary sources, allowing for discussion of competing and complementary perspectives on a single subject matter.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Undertaking core reading and other activities in preparation for seminars: 55 hours
- Reviewing and consolidating notes on lectures: 22 hours
- Identifying gaps in their knowledge and self-directed reading to address these: 22 hours
- Researching, preparing, and writing assignments: 75 hours
- Reflecting on feedback and implementing suggestions in future assignments: 4 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This module will include one formative assignment, which takes the form of a 1000-word podcast script focusing on the life of a medieval person. Students will be required to include footnotes and a bibliography. There will be written feedback on this assignment, as well as opportunities for 1-1 feedback in office hours. Feedback can inform students’ work on the assessed podcast. Formative feedback will also be provided by tutors through in-class discussion and office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 word essay due in Exam Week 160.00
PresentationA 15-minute podcast as if for an external audience (either with or without video) on the life of a medieval person due in Week 940.00
AssignmentPodcast script of 1000 words on a medieval person due in Week 40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/06/2022


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