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Unit information: Early Modern Italy (Level H Lecture Response Unit) in 2018/19

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Unit name Early Modern Italy (Level H Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST30026
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Austin
Open unit status Not open




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


Until quite recently, historical interest in Italy tended to tail off after the Renaissance, and only really picked up again with unification in the nineteenth century. Over the last thirty years or so, however, scholars have devoted considerable efforts to investigating the intervening centuries, and it is with these that this LRU is concerned. Within a broadly chronological framework, this unit examines the cultural, political, social, intellectual and religious history of Italy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Traditional narratives of decline and stagnation will be challenged, and instead we will seek to understand this nation's history on its own terms. This will involve specific local case-studies (such as Rome, Florence and Venice), consideration of national-level developments (including language and learning, faith and philosophy, and regional rivalries) and reflection on Italy's place within a European context (from the Italian Wars in the sixteenth century through to the Napoleonic invasion at the end of the eighteenth). Taken together, these layers of analysis will allow us to build up a comprehensive picture of the Italian peninsula in this important but often overlooked period.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed: (1) a broad understanding of the development of Italy from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries; (2) the ability to analyse and generalise about how and why Italy developed in the way that it did and the extent to which long-standing perceptions that this was a period of stagnation are accurate; (3) the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general issues and arguments; (4) the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically, and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 3000 words (50%) and one unseen examination of two hours (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

Christopher Black, Early Modern Italy: A Social History (2000)

Eric Cochrane, Italy, 1530-1630 (1988)

Ronald K. Delph et al. (Eds), Heresy, Culture and Religion in Early Modern Italy: Contexts and Contestations (2006)

Gregory Hanlon, Early Modern Italy, 1550-1800: Three Seasons in European History (2000)

John A. Marino (Ed.), Early Modern Italy: 1550-1796 (2002)