Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module HIST3171: Wrongs and rights: law and society in early-modern England

Department: History

HIST3171: Wrongs and rights: law and society in early-modern England

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • • A pass mark in at least ONE level two module in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to the study of the place of the law, legal thought, and legal institutions in English social and political history of the period.
  • To Contribute towards the achievement of the Department's generic Aims for study at Level 3.


  • The content of this module will be based on the large quantities of recent published work on the history of crime, the legal profession, legal education, and the nature of legal thought as well as on the role of law in constituting the framework of social, economic and political relationships.
  • Sections of the module will be devoted to the history of legal education and the legal profession, the relationship between legal thought and the evolution of political and constitutional theory in England, the nature of crime and the administration of the criminal law in the localities, the changing role of law in monitoring morality and family relations, the role of civil law in economic affairs and social relationships, including its impact on market relations, property rights (including those of women), and the development of a commercial society
  • There will also be an opportunity exploit excellent on-line resources such as the Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1673-1913 ((http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/)

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a general knowledge of selected aspects of early-modern English and legal history and its relationship to social and political history;
  • an understanding of existing interpretations of that history within the early modern period.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/
  • To reflect upon the nature of history as a discipline by analysing the questions historians ask of their primary sources and/or the nature of the debates among historians
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/

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

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
  • lectures to set the foundations for further study and to provide the basis for the acquisition of subject specific knowledge. Lectures provide a broad framework which defines individual module content, introducing students to themes, debates and interpretations. In this environment, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in listening, selective note-taking and reflection;
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students’ ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals;
  • Assessment:
  • Unseen Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The unseen examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge;
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 19 Weekly in Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 19
Seminars 6 4x 1hr in Term 1; 3x 1hr in Term 2; 1x 2hr in term 3 1 hour 9
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
seen examination [paper to be made available not less than twenty-four hours before the start of the examination] two hour 100%
Component: Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2000 words not including scholarly apparatus 50%
Essay 2 2000 words not including scholarly apparatus 50%

Formative Assessment:

Coursework essays are formative as well as summative. They are to be submitted in two copies, of which one will be returned with written comments and a standard departmental feedback sheet; Preparation to participate in tutorials; At least one oral presentation or short written assignment.

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