Scottish Popular Culture1500-1800 Non Honours HIST3016

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course will explore changes in popular culture in early modern Scotland arising from the Protestant Reformation. We will investigate the changing nature of popular piety, beliefs about magic and witches, festive practices and Scottish national identity and consider popular involvement in key events from the Reformation rebellion to the Jacobite risings. 


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Level 3 options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Grade D3 or above in one of the History level 2 courses or at the discretion of the Head of History. 

Excluded Courses

History Honours Scotish Popular Culture 1500-1800 (HIST4124).




Exam (2-hour) - 50%

Essay (2000 words) - 40%

6 minute seminar presentation with handout or powerpoint - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

The presentation is not available for reassessment.

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ Evaluate the impact of the Protestant Reformation on popular culture in early modern Scotland, encompassing religious cultures, magical beliefs and practices, popular politics and national identity.

■ Consider how historians have approached the history of culture.

■ Critically assess a range of secondary literature and primary sources.

■ Develop skills in oral presentation, group discussion and written argument.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


■ Identify problems with the term 'popular culture' in the historical study of culture.

■ Explain changes in Scottish popular culture arising from the Reformation using critical assessments of secondary literature and primary source evidence.

■ Show how the nature of the available sources can limit the study of early modern popular culture and explain some of the ways in which cultural historians deal with these problems.

■ Present clear and well-supported oral and written arguments.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.