Early Modern Histories: Landscape, Place and Identity, c. 1500-1750 (HIC3511)

30 credits

This module explores the concepts of landscape, place and identity as important avenues of historical research. Focusing on the early modern period we shall examine the meanings of landscape, how historians have interpreted the concept and how people in the past created the physical worlds in which they lived. We will place a strong emphasis on the power of material culture, monuments, memorials and landscapes in conveying ideas about status, reputation, gender, ritual, custom, power, memory and identity in the early modern period. We will study a range of spaces and places – domestic, social, work, religious, public, political – in both urban and rural locales, and how they each provided contexts for negotiating social relationships and forging identities. We will critically assess the historiography of early modern landscape, place and space, paying particular attention to the assumptions that are made by historians in their work. We shall study a number of themes and issues informed through the detailed analysis of primary sources including, prescriptive literature, maps and plans, court records, diaries and accounts, and the physical landscape itself. Our approach will be informed by themes of difference, resistance and conflict in ways of experiencing and understanding early modern landscapes.