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Unit information: Early Modern Italy (Level H Lecture Response Unit) in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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


Interest in Italy – academic and popular – has generally tended to wane after the Renaissance, picking up again only with unification in the nineteenth century. This unit seeks to address that omission by drawing on the growing body of work concerned with the ‘long forgotten centuries’ in between. Within a broadly chronological framework, this unit examines the political, social, intellectual, cultural and religious history of Italy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. This will involve specific local case-studies (such as Rome, Florence, Venice and the Kingdom of Naples), consideration of national-level developments (such as the treatment of minority groups, the emergence of the baroque, efforts at censorship and the trial of Galileo) and reflection on Italy's place within a European context (from the Italian Wars through foreign domination and on to the Grand Tour, when Italy again emerged as a destination for pilgrimage). 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 be able to:

(1) demonstrate an understanding of the development of Italy from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries;

(2) analyse 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) show an ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general issues and arguments;

(4) identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically, and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching details

1 x two-hour lecture per week

1 x one-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 3000 words (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

One 2 hour exam (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

  • Christopher Black, Early Modern Italy: A Social History (2000)
  • Paula Findlen et al (Eds), Beyond Florence: The Contours of Medieval and Early Modern Italy (2003)
  • Gigliola Fragnito et al (Eds), Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy (2011)
  • Gregory Hanlon, Early Modern Italy, 1550-1800: Three Seasons in European History (2000)
  • John A. Marino (Ed.), Early Modern Italy: 1550-1796 (2002)