Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To encourage students to engage with the crucial role of international cultural and intellectual exchange in the seventeenth century, in accordance with the interdisciplinary aims of the MA in 17th-Century Studies.
  • To provide greater awareness of the nature and mechanisms of transnational cultural transmission in the seventeenth century, as well as of the distinctive contributions made by individual national cultures to the transformation of European cultural and intellectual life in the course of the century.
  • To provide an opportunity to write an extended essay on an issue in seventeenth-century studies on a necessarily international and interdisciplinary topic.
  • To encourage intellectual dialogue between students about their research, based on their own expertise in the study of different national cultures, at an early stage of their postgraduate education, through seminars and a student-led workshop in the seventh week of Epiphany term.
  • To provide a wider appreciation of the vital importance of the international dimension in seventeenth-century studies in preparation for all future study undertaken by the students.
  • To develop student skills, appropriate to Level 4, in analysis and writing about these issues.


  • The themes of the seminars will contain a balance between specifically literary topics and other forms of cultural and intellectual exchange, and will be designed to bring out, cumulatively, the necessary interrelationship between all such forms of cultural transmission in the seventeenth century.
  • To allow for research leave, the themes of the seminars will be chosen each year from a menu of options, which will include the following areas of exchange, each studied from a multinational perspective:
  • Literary exchange and enrichment: 1) Poetry; 2) Drama (a) texts, (b) staging & performance; 3) Prose writing, including fiction, memoirs, historical writings
  • Travellers and travel writing
  • Intellectual history, including discoveries & inventions & their impact
  • Correspondences
  • Scholarly networks & the Republic of Letters
  • Radical thought
  • International Jesuit culture & the ‘Jesuit style’
  • International Protestantism & the Huguenot diaspora
  • Exiles & expatriates
  • In choosing the subject of their assessed work, students would not be confined to those topics for which there had been seminars; but any proposals falling outside the themes of the seminars would have to be approved by the Module Leader and the Director of the M.A. in Seventeenth-Century Studies in consultation with the appropriate tutorial supervisor(s).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Familiarity with the essential aspects of international cultural and intellectual exchange in the seventeenth century, and of the diversity of its manifestations; an awareness of the importance of such exchange in a wide variety of areas of seventeenth-century studies, and of the principal fields of modern scholarship in which these issues are being studied.
  • An understanding of the international and interdisciplinary approaches necessary for the study of this topic.
  • An ability to write an extended essay that demonstrates engagement with more than one national cultural tradition.
  • An ability to communicate ideas orally in seminars and groups, to engage in intellectual exchange, and to make presentations at an advanced level.
  • An ability to satisfy appropriately the generic learning outcomes of Level 4 study.
Subject-specific Skills:
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Key Skills:
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Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be taught in 7 two-hour seminars over Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms, with a 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 essay 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.
  • Each of the seven taught seminars will be led by at least two members of academic staff, who will generally be drawn from different departments within MLAC. (This is not an absolute rule, because many of the scholars within MLAC possess wide-ranging interdisciplinary expertise.) This will give students the opportunity for engagement with a wide variety of different national literatures and intellectual cultures within MLAC, and with all the available early-modern specialists in the School.
  • An appropriate programme of seminars will be drawn up for the start of Michaelmas Term by the Module Leader, in consultation with the Director of the MA in Seventeenth-Century Studies. Students will be directed at the start of the course to literature and other sources on the subjects of the designated seminars, and will be expected to contribute to discussion in the seminars.
  • The tutorials will provide the framework within which each student plans, conducts further research, and writes, under supervision, the assessed essay; tutorial support may be provided by more than one supervisor in more than one department within MLAC. Students will be directed by their supervisor(s) to further literature and sources specific to their chosen subject of assessed work.
  • In the student-led workshop 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 problems they have been encountering, and the different methods through which they are pursuing their research.
  • Learning Outcomes 1-3 and 5 will be formally tested through assessment of the 5,000-word essay. Outcome 4 will be formatively assessed by a presentation and discussion in tutorials.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorial 3 Weekly, in weeks 8 and 9 of Epiphany Term and Week 1 of Easter Term) 1 hour 3
Seminar 7 In weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 of Michaelmas Term and weeks 1, 3, 5 of Epiphany Term 2 hours 14
Student Workshop 1 Week 7 of Epiphany Term 2 hours 2
Student Preparation and Reading Time Assignments 180
Student Preparation and Reading Time Reading and Revision 101

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay up to 5,000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

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