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Unit information: Revels and Riots: Popular Culture in Early Modern England (Level I Lecture Response Unit) in 2018/19

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Unit name Revels and Riots: Popular Culture in Early Modern England (Level I Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST20021
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Reeks
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit adopts an unapologetic focus on the lives and culture of those early modern Englishwomen and Englishmen who were neither powerful or wealthy—the vast majority of the population in fact. It explores what ordinary people in the period thought about issues such as religion, sex, work, and leisure, and investigates how they engaged in political activity in a pre-democratic society in which all but an elite few were formally excluded from the political process. Studying the culture and politics of ordinary people in the early modern period is far from straightforward, and students will need to grapple with a number of crucial historiographical issues: do we have the necessary sources to access the world of the humble farmer or ale-selling widow? Did ‘ordinary people’ really have a uniform culture distinct from that of ‘elites’? Is it really possible, necessary, or legitimate, to study ‘popular culture’ at all?

Intended learning outcomes

  1. To provide a broad grounding of the history of popular culture in early-modern England
  2. To provide a particular perspective from the tutor to which students can react critically and build their own individual views and interpretations.
  3. To explore what ordinary people in the period thought about issues such as religion, sex, work, and leisure, and understand how they engaged in political activity in a pre-democratic society in which all but an elite few were formally excluded from the political process
  4. the ability to set individual issues within their longer term historical context;
  5. the ability to analyse and generalise about issues of continuity and change; the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general historical points;
  6. the ability to derive benefit from and contribute effectively to large group discussion;
  7. the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically and form an individual viewpoint;
  8. the acquisition of key writing, research, and presentation skills

Teaching details

Weekly:

1 x two-hour interactive lecture

1 x one-hour workshop

Assessment Details

A 3000 word essay (50%) and 2-hour unseen written examination (50%) will assess the student’s understanding of the ways in which historians have interpreted developments in the field; test the student’s ability to think critically and develop their own views and interpretations; and test the student’s understanding of early-modern popular culture in England. [ILOs 1-8]

Reading and References

Tim Harris (ed.), Popular Culture in England, c1500-1850 (Basingstoke, 1995).

Barry Reay, Popular Cultures in England, 1550-1750 (London, 1998).

David Undersown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England, 1603-1660 (Oxford, 1985).

John Walter, Crowds and Popular Politics in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2006).

Keith Wrightson, English Society, 1580-1680 (London, 1982; 2003).

Andy Wood, Riot, Rebellion and Popular Politics in Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 2002).

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