Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: History


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap 50 Location Durham


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


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to study one of the most significant periods of the Middle Ages, for which there is little current provision.
  • to extend students' understanding of the ways in which historians construct rather than record the past.
  • to satisfy the generic aims of Level 3 single modules in history.


  • The twelfth century renaissance has been one of the longest-standing ways of describing the High Middle Ages since the term was made famous by Charles Haskins in the 1920s.
  • It is an historical shorthand for the changes in society, economic, political, but perhaps above all cultural and intellectual changes, occurring in Western Europe between the late eleventh century and the early thirteenth century.
  • Without doubt this was a period of seismic change and this module offers an opportunity to examine a variety of ways in which this can and should be interpreted.
  • This interplay between the perceptions of the period and their subsequent interpretations play an important role in this process.
  • In this module the birth of medieval cultural history is studied alongside one of the most inventive periods of the Middle Ages.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An ability to balance study of the period itself with the historiographical frameworks with which it is surrounded, and the need to question those historiographical frameworks.
  • Working with a wide variety of sources and disciplines: political history, material culture, theological and literary sources.
  • An appreciation of change and continuity within the past, and how this is interpreted within the historical discipline.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at:
  • http://www.dur.ac.uk/History/ugrads/ModuleProformaMap/
  • In addition students will acquire the ability to handle different types of primary source material from different disciplines.
  • 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 dabates among historians.
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/History/ugrads/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 20 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2; revision lecture in term 3 1 hour 20
Seminars 7 3 in term 1, 3 in Term two; setup seminar in term 1 1 hour; 0.5 hour 7
Film Screening 1 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2000 words 50% submission of new essay on different topic (i.e. not resubmission of amended [failed] essay)].
Essay 1 2000 words 50% submission of new essay
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] 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

1. 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. 2. Preparation to participate in seminars and tutorials. 3. At least one oral presentation or short written assignments.

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