Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module HIST1661: Connected Histories: Early Modern World, c. 1450-1750

Department: History

HIST1661: Connected Histories: Early Modern World, c. 1450-1750

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 130 Location Durham


  • Normally an A or B grade in A-Level History, or an acceptable equivalent (e.g. in terms of Scottish Highers or lB)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to key developments in a formative period in European history
  • To evaluate different interpretations of the chronological and geographical boundaries of European history in the early modern period


  • The Reformations of the sixteenth century transformed Western Christendom into a continent of rival religious confessions. Yet over the following centuries a new sense of a European culture and identity took hold. How did these changes come about, who did they affect, and how did people make sense of their changing world? The fall of Constantinople and the conquest of the New World led Europeans to represent the continent in different perspectives. Thinkers in the Renaissance and Enlightenment reconsidered fundamental ideas about the relationships between individual and society, women and men, and the past and the present. Religious reform established confessional boundaries and denounced those who did not conform to them. Escalating warfare transformed a continent of dynastic states into a new balance of powers. And expanding global trade at a time of climate crisis in the little ice age brought European and global markets into closer contact and instituted an inter-continental slave trade, while most households in the era of early industrialisation lived and worked precariously, threatened by poverty and disease. This module introduces these key developments and more, while charting the emergence of the idea of Europe in a formative phase of the continent history.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of core historical concepts shaping the cultural, economic, political, religious, and social history of early modern Europe
  • Providing students with an informed understanding of European diversity as well as Europe global interconnectedness
  • To invite students to check and challenge Eurocentric historiographies
Subject-specific Skills:
  • reading and use texts and other source materials critically and analytically, addressing questions of content, perspective and purpose at an advanced level;
  • handling and critically analysing varying interpretations of a given body of historical evidence;
  • managing a body of evidence or information, particularly gathering, sifting, synthesizing, organising, marshalling and presenting information consistent with the methods and standards of historical study and research;
  • assembling evidence to address issues, constructing an argument and supporting it with evidence to permit and facilitate the evaluation of hypotheses;
  • intellectual independence and research, including the development of bibliographical skills, the ability to research, use, evaluate and organise historical materials, and to present independent research in written form;
Key Skills:
  • self-discipline, self-direction, initiative, the capacity for extended independent work on complex subjects, the development of pathways to originality, and intellectual curiosity;
  • discrimination and judgement;
  • ability to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information, and familiarity with appropriate means of identifying, finding, retrieving, sorting and exchanging information;
  • analytical ability, and the capacity to consider and solve complex problems;
  • structure, coherence, clarity and fluency of written expression;
  • intellectual integrity, maturity and an appreciation of the validity of the reasoned views of others;
  • imaginative insight.

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

  • enter text as appropriate for the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2; 1 in Term 3 1 hour 21
Seminars 7 4 in Term 1, 3 in Term 2 1 hour 7
Preparation and Reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words not inclusive of footnotes or bibliography 2000 words not including footnotes or bibliography 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Two hour written examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

A written assignment of 1500-2000 words to be submitted in Term 1.

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