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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST1320 Medieval Lives: Identities, Cultures and Beliefs

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Charles Roe

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

‘Medieval Lives’ uncovers the human experience of the Middle Ages. By focusing on up to 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 up to 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 past
- Provide students with opportunities to develop existing skills and acquire new ones, such as writing, research, analysis and oral presentation of ideas to public audiences

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1. Demonstrated an understanding of some of the ideas and events that shaped the lives of people in the Middle Ages.
2. Demonstrated an awareness of the benefits and difficulties of using life history and biography as a window into pre-modern societies and cultures.
3. Recognised different historical arguments about the causes and consequences of the social changes examined in this module.
4. Applied fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
5. Carried out critical analysis of different sources of data (e.g. original documents, visual images, material culture) and reflected on the range, value, and challenges of the primary sources that can be used to examine people and events in the medieval world.
6. Demonstrated an ability to bring together and engage with a variety of different opinions, approaches, and cultural perspectives.
7. Recorded digitally a presentation aimed at a public audience


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This module will include one formative assignment, which takes the form of a 1500-word draft script focusing on the life of the same medieval person eventually to feature in the podcast. Students will be required to include footnotes and a bibliography for the script (feedback on which will be useful for the essay). There will be written feedback on this script, which will inform students’ work on the assessed podcast.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentPodcast A 15-minute podcast as if for a public audience on the life of a medieval person40.00
Essay2,000-word synoptic essay that entails comparison of at least three people from different cultures60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt. A draft script (for formative feedback) is due in week 4 and must be on the same life featured in the final podcast. The lives chosen for assessment must be medieval, which for the purposes of this module is defined as the period 500-1500. The life chosen for the podcast cannot also be used in the essay, but the reflective process of researching a biography for the podcast and the feedback received on it will be useful preparation for the lives studied in the essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 27/03/2024


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