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Prospectus

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Urban identities in medieval and early modern Europe

Course
2014-2015

Admission requirements

We will expect students to be willing to study medieval and/or early modern texts in at least two European languages (e.g. Dutch and English; Latin and English; French and Dutch; German and English)

Description

Medieval and early modern town dwellers identified strongly with their cities. This had practical reasons; cities offered protection, rights and privileges to their burghers. Yet the identification was also social and cultural. The ‘honour’ of the city was a matter that concerned not only those at the top, but also many lower on the social ladder, and people of all walks of life identified with the sacred and secular past of the city. But although towns liked to present themselves as united and harmonious they were also rife with divisions and conflict, and identities were therefore hotly contested.

In this course we will explore urban identities between 1300-1800 through the lens of urban memory practices. We will focus especially on the activities of the people who tried to shape local views of the past; such as urban officials charged with keeping records, the many amateur chroniclers who exerted themselves to record current events, and local people who collected texts and objects relating to the past of their families, guilds, and the urban community. Traditionally, medievalists have approached the activities of such other ways in other ways than early modernists. Both crossing the boundary between medieval and early modern, and applying new conceptual approaches to ‘historical’ activity, we will be developing a fresh view on the meaning of the past for identity formation in the premodern world.

Course objectives

The course will not only give you an insight in broader processes of political, social and cultural identity formation between about 1000-1800 and awareness of problems of periodization, but will also help develop your skills in the identification, selection and critical analysis of premodern sources, and so prepare you for writing your dissertation. A key focus of discussion will also be how to develop a research question in tandem with the possibilities and limitations of the primary sources available.

MA students will be writing an essay with a focus on one chronicler, historian or collector, in which they also reflect on the different approaches brought to this subject by historians of historiography, cultural and social historians, and students of memory. ResMA students will additionally be expected to study more than one author, or to make a comparison over time; and so also to reflect on the methodological challenges of comparative approaches.

Timetable

Timetable History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total: 280 hours

  • Classes: 24 hours.

  • Preparatory reading and entrance test: 20 hours.

  • Class preparation and presentation: 36

  • Independent research and writing of the essay: 200 hours.

Assessment method

Your understanding of the historiography will be tested through the entry test, participation in debate, and the essay.

We will be assessing your progress in the identification, selection and critical analysis of sources both collectively, through class discussion and presentations, and individually, through a 7200 word essay in English or Dutch that offers a problem focused argument based on an analysis of primary evidence.

MA students will be writing an essay with a focus on one chronicler, historian or collector, and reflect on the different approaches brought to this subject by historians of historiography, cultural and social historians, and students of memory. ResMA students will additionally be expected to study more than one author, or to make a comparison over time; and so also to reflect on the methodological challenges of comparative approaches.

Assessment and grading method (in percentages):.

  • Entry test 10%

  • Essay 70%

  • Participation & presentation 20%

The final grade for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average, with the requirement that the essay has to achieve a mark of 6 or higher for the student to be able to pass the course.

‘Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.’

Blackboard

Blackboard is used for:

  • Circulation of course materials

  • Posting of source fragments

  • Announcements.

Reading list

To be announced

Registration

via uSis

Contact

mw. Prof.dr. J.S. Pollmann
dhr. Dr. R. Stein

Remarks All other information.