Popular Culture and the Reformation in Early Modern Scotland HIST5119

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course will explore the impact of the Reformation on popular culture in early modern Scotland. We will use concepts and models from cultural history and sociology to investigate the changing nature of Scottish religious culture, Scottish national identity and beliefs about magic and witches.


One hour of lecture and one hour of seminar per week for 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses

HIST4124 Scottish Popular Culture 1500-1800




One essay of 3,500 words (75%); one 15-minute seminar presentation (25%) (content equivalent to 1500 word essay).

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ Assess changing historiographical views on the impact of the Reformation on popular culture in early modern Scotland.

■ Engage with debates on the meaning of 'popular culture' as a category of analysis.

■ Consider the applicability of social science models of cultural change to the historical analysis of change.

■ Engage with problems of source survival and elite perspective in the study of popular culture in early modern times.

■ Develop advanced skills in the formulation of research questions, pursuit of independent research and critical reading of primary and secondary sources.

■ Develop advanced skills in the formation and effective expression of well-supported oral and written arguments.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Debate a range of meanings of the term 'popular culture' as employed in historical, cultural and sociological scholarship and employ appropriate definitions in analysing cultural change in this course.

■ Assess a range of models of cultural change and influence (eg diffusion of innovations, hegemony and centre/periphery models) and how these can be used to explain cultural change in early modern Scotland.

■ Evaluate analytical approaches designed to overcome problems in recovering popular culture from the available primary sources.

■ Identify changing historiographical perspectives on the impact of the Protestant Reformation on popular culture in Scotland.  

■ Identify an original research question and produce a convincing written argument informed by the analytical and historiographical literature and original primary source analysis.

■ Pursue a research question, draw independent conclusions and present these through effective oral communication.

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.