Reading Early Modern History HIST5145

  • 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 provides students with a critical introduction to what historians refer to as the 'early modern' period - a highly contentious term. Each and any attempt to define this period is problematic, not least as discourses in areas such as globalisation, environmental history, and history of emotions (to name but a few) challenge what until recently has predominantly been a Whiggish and Western European-centric assessment of this era. These issues will be addressed through discussion of 'Sources', 'Communication', 'Languages' and Material Culture'.


10  x 2-hour seminars over 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





1 x critical analysis of a primary source (1500 words) - 30%

1 x critical analysis of a key article or monograph (1500 words) - 30%

1 x poster and 10-minute presentation of poster at final session of course - 40%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Examine the variety of ways in which the concept of 'early modern history' is interpreted and formulated by professional historians working in the field;

■ Engage critically with a representative range of the major current and emerging debates in the field of early modern history;

■ Illustrate how to access primary historical sources with particular relevance and value for the early modern period;

■ Provide the practical and intellectual training essential for setting out on doctoral research in the early modern period

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Appraise how an early-modern historian conducts historiographical, source-based and archival research;

■ Analyse the significance and value of a wide range of early modern primary sources;

■ Critically evaluate key historiography across a range of debates relevant to early modern history

■ Reflect on and present their understanding of a major or emerging theme in early modern historical research

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.