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Prospectus

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The Body Politic in Late Medieval Society

Course
2017-2018

Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.
There will be an entry test for this course.
It consists of a 1,000 word reflection on the reading of:

  • Joel Kaye, A History of Balance, 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and its Impact on Thought (Cambridge, 2014)
    The reflection has to be handed in at the start of the first class.

Description

From the twelfth century, the concept of the body politic gained currency in Western Europe. This metaphor, originating in ancient Greece, envisaged society as a corporate body, whose head, limbs and organs were represented by rulers, officials, judges and various social groups, including artisans and peasants. Although organized hierarchically, these various groups were expected to cooperate in harmony, in a bid to attain a balanced equilibrium. This ideal of a society in balance, drawn from medical humoral theory, also stretched to the field of economics. The concept of the body politic was subsequently disseminated through educational texts, but also was reflected in urban statutes and administrative documents.
In this seminar we shall examine the impact of the metaphor of the body politic on political thought, administration and legislation as well as its societal impact regarding minorities in the Italian city-state and the Low Countries.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 10) (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 11) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following;

  • in the specialisation Europe 1000-1800: broader processes of political, social and cultural identity formation between about 1000-1800; awareness of problems of periodisation and impact of ‘national’ historiographical traditions on the field.

  • 12) Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:

  • in the specialisation Europe 1000-1800: the ability to analyse and evaluate primary sources from the period, if necessary with the aid of modern translations; ability to make use of relevant methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis to interpret sources in their textual and historical context.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar

The student:

  • 13) Gains understanding of the concept of the body politic and its impact on late medieval society.

  • 14) Gains in-depth knowledge of political thought and legal and administrative structures in late medieval Italy and the Low Countries.

  • 15) Is able to work with and analyse sources that are produced by late medieval political theorists, administrations and centres of education.

  • 16) (ResMA only): – Is capable of working with the concepts of equilibrium, the body politic and biopolitics in diverse types of sources.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Entry test: 24 hours

  • Lectures: 2x13 = 26 hours

  • Writing paper (incl. source and literature analysis): 230 hours

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 10-16

  • Entry test
    Measured learning objectives: 13-14

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 3-7, 9, 13-15
    The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient.

Assessment

  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)

  • Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 10-16

  • Entry test:

  • Measured learning objectives: 13-14

  • Oral presentation

  • Measured learning objectives: 3-7, 9, 13-15

Weighing

Written paper: 70%
Entry test: 10 %
Oral presentation: 20 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficent.

Resit

Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Exam review

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

Blackboard

Yes Blackboard will be used for:

  • Announcements

  • Assignments

  • Literature

Reading list

Joel Kaye, A History of Balance, 1250-1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and its Impact on Thought (Cambridge, 2014)
Other literature will be made known during the seminar.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable

Contact

Dr. C.V. Weeda

Remarks