Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2073 Most Christian Kings: France, 1515-1715

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Sara Barker

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The two centuries between the accession of Francis I in 1515 and the death of Louis XIV in 1715 saw great change and upheaval in France, particularly in terms of the role and institutions of the state, ideas about the monarchy and the religious situation in towns and rural areas. Whilst the repercussions of the Reformation had unsettling effects all across Europe, in France the emergence of Protestant belief exposed tensions within the Catholic Church and within both the nobility and urban society, leading to violence, civil war and, temporarily at least, uneasy religious co-existence. Although the seventeenth century is typically associated with the reign of Louis XIV, and his quest for la gloire (glory), in towns and cities across France, the age of reason saw people asking new questions about the society they lived in and their role in it. Over the course of this module, students will investigate how French people dealt with social, cultural, political and religious change, and how this impacted on the development of one of the most important, and controversial, states in early modern Europe.


The objectives of this module are:
- To assess the nature of religious, political, social and cultural change in France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
- To explore contemporary reactions to these changes
- To evaluate key historiographical and methodological developments in relation to the history of early modern France
- To critically analyse a range of primary sources, both written and visual, relating to these issues.
- To formulate sophisticated and nuanced arguments in relation to these issues, in written and verbal form.
- To further develop generic transferrable and subject specific skills.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate good awareness of the key events, people and themes relating to the history of France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
2. Demonstrate ability to think critically about the key themes underpinning social, cultural, political and religious change in sixteenth and seventeenth century France
3. Evaluate carefully and critically the approaches that historians and scholars working in other disciplines have taken when exploring this period
4. Show analytical skills in written work, using citations and footnotes correctly
5. Show proficiency in the use of primary sources to study early modern French history

Skills outcomes
- in-depth study and interpretation of primary sources
- thorough understanding of historiographical debate
- development and substantiation of own arguments
- independent research
- teamwork skills
- communications skills


Topics covered will include:
• Theories of Monarchy
• Absolutism
• The nobility
• Religion
• Reformation, Religious Violence, Co-existence & Toleration
• Economy and Trade
• Protest and Rebellion
• Cultures of the ‘Golden Age’
• France & the wider world
• War & foreign policy
• Exploration & Empire

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will prepare for each seminar by reading texts and primary sources specified by the Module Leader. They will also be expected to undertake further, self-directed reading for each class. Students will also research and write an assessed essay (40%) and develop, research and write the research exercise (60%).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be given feedback on their class contributions weekly, and will also be given the chance to have one-on-one meetings with the tutor before the essay hand in and as they develop their research exercise.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000-word essay due by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 840.00
Written Work1x 3000 word research exercise due 12 noon Monday of exam week 260.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The essay will be a standard essay, asking students to respond to a question devised by the tutor. They will be expected to demonstrate subject knowledge (LO1), critical thinking (LO2), awareness of scholarship on the topic (LO3) and written communication skills (LO4) The research exercise will have three parts – students will have to develop a research question related to one of the topics covered in the module. They will have to explain why this research question is important (LO1 & 3). They will then have to identify key secondary works on this topic and produce a brief literature review (LO3 & 4). Finally, they will have to identify key primary sources on the topic and explain both why these sources are important, and what the challenges of using these sources are (LO2 & 5). Students can divide up the 3000 words between the three aspects as they wish, although they will be encouraged to put more focus on parts 2 & 3. The exercise will be submitted as one item via TurnitIn during the exam period.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:06


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019