Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08
Tied to V1K507


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • to encourage students to engage in a complex way with broad issues central to the long seventeenth century in an explicitly inter-disciplinary fashion - this module will consequently provide the most distinctive aspect of the M.A. in Seventeenth-Century Studies;
  • to provide greater awareness of the specialist approaches of different disciplines to seventeenth-century studies, and of the advanced inter-disciplinary approaches available;
  • to provide an opportunity to write an extended essay or work of textual criticism on a specialised and complex issue in seventeenth-century studies in a necessarily interdisciplinary fashion;
  • to encourage intellectual dialogue between students about their research at an early stage of their postgraduate education;
  • to provide a wider appreciation of complex issues in seventeenth-century studies in preparation for the dissertation;
  • to develop student skills, appropriate to Level 4, in analysis and writing about these issues.


  • An appropriate programme of seminars will be drawn up for the start of the Michaelmas term by the Director of the MA in Seventeenth-Century Studies, in consultation with members of the Management Committee of the MA. Themes will be taken from the following menu of options: the history of the book, war and Empire, social stratification, reception of classical texts, scepticism and belief, religion and society, order and creativity in the visual/musical arts, the use of visual evidence, material culture, political economy and thought, the body, theatre and society, science and culture, State and person, gender, travel and trade, colonialism.
  • As far as possible and depending on staff availability, themes will be targeted at the intellectual interests (and likely intellectual directions) of each particular cohort of students. As well as preparing students to write the assessed work for the module, it is also therefore likely to assist them directly as well as indirectly in preparation for their dissertation and possibly even their chosen optional module.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • familiarity with key issues in seventeenth-century studies, and the principal works of modern scholarship in several disciplines concerning these issues;
  • a specialised understanding of inter-disciplinary approaches relevant to the issues under consideration.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an ability to write an extended essay on a specialised issue or issues in seventeenth-century studies that demonstrates engagement with more than one discipline.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • This module will be taught in seven two-hour seminars over Michaelmas and Epiphany terms, with two-hour student -led workshop, with student presentations, in the seventh week of Epiphany term, in which students will discuss the subjects chosen for their assessed work. Individual tutorial support towards the assessed work will take place in three weekly one-hour tutorials held in the last two weeks of Epiphany term and the first week of Easter term. This last tutorial will take place after the students have had the advantage of the uninterrupted vacation period for preparatory work on the essay. The seven seminars will engage the students as a group on the range of subjects in an interdisciplinary fashion.
    • Each of the seminars will be led by at least two members of academic staff, who will generally be drawn from different contributing departments. Students will, therefore, benefit from focussed discussion with a wide variety of Durham academics who specialise in different disciplines but whose expertise is in whole or in part on the seventeenth century, and who are thus able to bring differing disciplinary perspectives to bear upon the issue at hand.
    • The seminars will be text/document/image based. Students will be supplied with the appropriate materials at the start of the course and directed to other literature/sources on the subjects of the designated seminars. They will be expected to contribute one short presentation on examples of source material during the programme of seminars and to contribute to discussion in those seminars to which they are not presenting.
    • In the student-led workship, students will give a short presentation on their proposed assessed essay subject. They will have the chance to discuss each other's work and proposals, the intellectual programmes they have been encountering, and the different methods through which they are pursuing their research.
    • The tutorials will provide the framework within which each student plans, conducts further research, and writes under supervision, the assessed essay. The essay should normally be designed to bring in elements from two or more of the selected seminar themes or two or more different subject areas. Tutorial support will, therefore, normally be provided by more than one supervisor in more than one department. Students will be directed by their supervisor(s) to further literature and sources specific to their chosen subject of assessed work.
    • Learning outcomes will be tested through formative assessment as described below and through assessment of the 5,000-word essay.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Tutorials 3 Weekly, in weeks 8 and 9 of Epiphany term and week 1 of Easter term 1 3
    Seminars 7 In weeks 2,4,6 and 8 of Michaelmas term and in weeks 1, 3 and 5 of Epiphany term 2 14
    Workshop 1 Week 7 of Epiphany term 2 2
    Preparation & Reading 281
    Total 300

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Essay 5000 words 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    Presentation to one taught seminar each term; presentation on the subject of the assessed work or dissertation topic to the student-led workshop; discussion of work in progress in tutorials.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University