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Core Course: Methodologies and Theories – Medieval & Early Modern


Admission requirements

Admission into the resMA Arts, Literature and Media.
Students of other MA programmes are welcome to join if there are places left. Feel free to contact the study adviser to discuss the options.


The Medieval and Early Modern period covers eras of great change in religious, intellectual, economic, social and political cultures, including the Reformation, the invention of the printing press, a scientific revolution and the discovery of a New World. Given the fundamental significance of these changes, the unifying factors between the Medieal and Early Modern Period are to be looked for beyond traditional (historical) timeframes and disciplinary domains. This course aims to bridge the traditional divides between the Middle Ages and the Ealry Modern period and between disciplines by questioning traditional periodizations (Middle Ages, Renaissance and Early Modernitty) and by exploring shared research approaches, methodologies and theoretical frameworks that – in various ways – acknowledge the transformations in medieval and early modern culture.

The course takes the four core themes around which research conducted within the Medieval and Early Modern cluster at LUCAS (Leiden University Center for the Arts in Society) as a starting point to introduce students to various ways of addressing the roles of the arts in society from the interdisciplinary perspectives that the cluster fosters:

  • Meaning and Materiality

  • Cultural Translation and Reception

  • Production, Consumption and Agency

  • History of Cultures, Knowledge and Ideas
    Theories and methodologies will be illustrated by case studies from research conducted at the institute. After a series of lectures students will be asked to work on and present a small research project of their own.

Course objectives


Students will become acquainted with various approaches to studying the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period in Europe from the viewpoint of a wide range of disciplines. They will question what shifts are discernible between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, and gain knowledge about the methodologies and theories that have been developed since the 19th-century within the study of the culture and the arts of these periods.


Students will gain insight in the practices and challenges of interdisciplinary research, and the analysis of primary sources. They will also become acquainted with various modern approaches to the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period.


Students will be able to find and assess relevant theories and methodologies and use them to analyze and interpret primary sources from their own discipline. They will be able to understand these sources in an interdisciplinary context and to compare them with sources from other disciplines. They can use their knowledge, insight and skills in weekly assignments, discussions, and a small research project of their own.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • 6x2 hours Lecture & response in group discussion

  • 6x2 hours Seminar

  • Closing Presentations.

Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to apply to the Examination Board of the MA Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Assessment method


  • Presentation: 30%

  • Research paper: 70% (Paper is the continuation of the presentation/poster pitch and the final closing work of the core course)


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Re-examination via examination and/or paper

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The literature will be announced via Brightspace during the course.


Enrolment through My Studymap Login | Universiteit Leiden is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Not applicable.