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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3290 Popular Belief in the Medieval West 1000-c.1500

40 creditsClass Size: 13

Module manager: Professor Emilia Jamroziak

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module, students should be familiar with a variety of expressions of popular beliefs and their significance for the wider historical process. They will be able to consider and apply various methodologies and approaches to the primary sources and confidently engage with a complex secondary literature.

Besides developing skills involved in studying historical sources, the seminars are intended to provide an opportunity to develop further the skills needed for such tasks as working in groups and chairing meetings and to participate constructively in collective discussions.

Skills outcomes
Further enhances Common Skills listed below:
- High-level skills in oral and written communication of complex ideas.
- Independence of mind and self-discipline and self-direction to work effectively under own initiative.
- Ability to locate, handle and synthesize large amounts of information.
- Capacity to employ analytical and problem-solving abilities.
- Ability to engage constructively with the ideas of their peers, tutors and published sources.
- Empathy and active engagement with alternative cultural contexts.

- Skills in interpretation and analysis of complex documentary-based material.


The module concentrates on the nature of popular beliefs and the change they underwent between 1000 and circa 1500.

- It draws on primary sources from continental Europe and the British Isles as well as an extensive secondary literature.
- It focuses on major themes such as the survival (or not) of paganism, religious beliefs and practices at a local level (parish, guilds, devotion to saints, pilgrimages), beliefs and practices associated with death and afterlife, magic, witchcraft, heresy and possibilities of un-belief or atheism in a medieval context.
- It also considers the effects of social change (particularly those associated with the Black Death, urbanisation, and growth of literacy) on these practices. What distinguishes 'popular' from 'elite' in terms of religious and cultural belief and practices is an important question that is addressed throughout this module.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours356.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

- Exam preparation;
- researching, preparing, and writing assignments;
- undertaking set reading; and
- self-directed reading around the topic.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions, two assessed essays, an assessed oral presentation worth 10% of module marks.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Oral PresentationFormat to be determined by tutor. Can be resat with 'an equivalent written exercise'10.00
Essay1 x 4,000 word essay to be submitted by 12 noon on Monday of exam week 2 in January40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

10% oral presentations are redone with 'an equivalent written exercise'

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 30/06/2021 15:57:31


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