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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: History

HIST42730: Negotiating Life in the Early Modern England

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To support students in developing an independent command of primary material in the economic, social and local history of early modern England, with an appreciation of the nature and form of sources and the ability to deploy different methods and techniques to interrogate them
  • To help students develop a deep engagement with historiographical trends and historical interpretations in the economic, social and local history of early modern England.


  • This course introduces students to some key themes in the economic, social and local history of early modern England. An important aspect of the course requires students to think through the usefulness of historians’ focus on the local, the validity of local and regional histories of economic and social life, and the relationship between locality, region and nation. The relationship between archival, printed and material sources such as houses and landscapes receives attention. An opening session focuses on the relationship between the sense of the self and the sense of community. Subsequent sessions deal with the household (as a physical structure – the house – and as a social, economic and political unit, the household); riot, rebellion, protest and popular politics; the nature of community (and of crime – something that cut across senses of neighbourhood and could divide communities); work and labour relations; wealth and poverty (both in its sense as a lived experience and in terms of social structure); sexuality and the body (and the sources we might use to interrogate this sometimes difficult and opaque subject); landscapes, communities and senses of place and space; and old age, dying and death.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • advanced knowledge and understanding of aspects of the social and cultural history of Early Modern Britain and Europe, including historiographical and conceptual approaches.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at:
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a range of teaching methods.
  • Seminars and group discussion require students to reflect on and discuss: their prior knowledge and experience; set reading of secondary and, where appropriate, primary readings; information provided during the session. They provide a forum in which to assess and comment critically on the findings of others, defend their conclusions in a reasoned setting, and advance their knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural history of early modern Britain and Europe.
  • Structured reading requires students to focus on set materials integral to the knowledge and understanding of the module. It specifically enables the acquisition of detailed knowledge and skills which will be discussed in other areas of the teaching and learning experience.
  • Assessment is by means of a 5000 word essay which requires the acquisition and application of advanced knowledge and understanding of an aspect of the social and cultural history of early modern Britain and Europe. Essays require a sustained and coherent argument in defence of a hypothesis, and must be presented in a clearly written and structured form, and with appropriate apparatus.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 Weekly in Term 1 2 hours 20
Preparation and Reading 280
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One or more short assignments delivered orally and discussed in a group context.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University