Inventing Modern Man: Contructions of Mind, Body, and the Indivdual, 1400-1800 (HIH2137A)
|Staff||Dr Hester Schadee - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
This module investigates the various and competing notions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ from the late middle ages to the enlightenment. The module has five primary aims:
1) Generate knowledge of a historical period. Through the prism of man, the module familiarises students with developments in the cultural, religious and intellectual history of early modern Europe.
2) Generate knowledge of historical disciplines and fields of enquiry, and their sources and methodologies. The module introduces students to the history of science and medicine, the study of emotions, the body and childhood, to fields such as theology, art history, and literary analysis, and to approaches such as gender and race.
3) Enhance skills in interpreting, discussing, and orally presenting primary sources. The module introduces a range of primary sources, and teaches students to read them productively, to discuss them in a group setting, and to present them to their peers.
4) Enhance skills in independently selecting and processing secondary sources. The module encourages students to find and read productively relevant secondary literature.
5) Enhance writing skills. The module provides the students with individual guidance during the production of one essay in which they present their own research on a topic of their choice pertaining to the topics and materials studied in this course.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Identify the major developments in early modern notions of man and woman.
- 2. Contextualise these with reference to contemporary cultural, religious and intellectual history.
- 3. Appraise in detail the primary sources and questions focused on in oral and written presentations.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 4. Read independently and productively primary sources regarding early modern cultural, religious and intellectual history.
- 5. Select and process secondary sources relevant to early modern cultural, religious and intellectual history.
- 6. Recognise trends and approaches in early modern historiography, and be alert to the subjectivity of historians.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. Actively participate in seminar discussions and orally present own research to a group.
- 8. Define a question, locate sources, conduct research, and present research in clear and cogently reasoned writing.
- 9. Manage time and preparation so as to deliver required outcomes to a deadline and under examination conditions.
Inventing Modern Man: Constructions of Mind, Body, and the Individual, 1400-1800
The below indicates the range of topics we will address in chronological order. Exact Syllabus to be confirmed.
-Late Middle Ages: the soul and the body in fifteenth-century devotion and medicine
-Renaissance: humanism’s rediscovery of ancient man; the dignity of man; self-fashioning
-Reformation: free will and predestination in Luther and Calvin; witchcraft and demonic possession in popular culture
-Scientific Revolution: anatomical dissection; dualism of mind and body; and the body as machine
-Enlightenment: equality, race, and slavery; the discovery of childhood
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning and teaching activities||22 hours||Lectures (22 x 1 hour)|
|Scheduled learning and teaching activities||22 hours||Seminars (11 x 2 hours)|
|Guided independent study||22 hours||Research for and writing of essay|
|Guided independent study||234 hours||Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations.|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay plan||500 words||3-6; 8-9||Verbal and written|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||30||3000 words||3-6; 8-9||Written|
|Group Presentation||20||30 minutes||3; 7; 9||Verbal|
|Exam||50||2 questions in 2 hours||1-6; 8-9|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Essay||3000 words||3-6; 8-9||Referral/deferral period|
|Group Presentation||1,500 script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes||3; 8-9||Referral/deferral period|
|Exam||2 questions in 2 hours||1-6; 8-9||Referral/deferral period|
The re-assessment of the essay and exam are exactly the same, a 3,000 words essay (worth 30%) and a 2 hours exam (worth 50%). The group presentation will be replaced by a written script equivalent to 10 minutes of speech.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
[Late Middle Ages]
-Wallis, F., ed. (2010) Medieval Medicine: A Reader [C15] Toronto: U of Toronto Press
Nutton, V. (1995) 'The medieval body', in The Western Medical Tradition, eds Conrad, L., M. Neve, V. Nutton, R. Porter, and A. Wear. Cambridge and New York, pp. 175-183-
-Pico della Mirandola (2012), Oration on the Dignity of Man  : A New Translation and Commentary, eds F. Borghesi, M. Papio, M. Riva. New York: Cambridge U Press
-Eden, K. (2012) The Renaissance Discovery of Intimacy. Chicago/London: U of Chicago Press
-Erasmus (2012), ‘The Freedom of the Will’ , and Martin Luther ‘The Bondage of the Will’ , in The Battle over Free Will , ed. C. Miller. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing
-Clark, S. (1997) Thinking with Demons. The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. Oxford: Oxford U Press
-Andreas Vesalius (1952) On the Human Brain , ed. C. Singer. London: Oxford U Press
- Cottingham, John (2005) 'The Mind-Body Relation', in Blackwell Guide to Descartes' Meditations, ed. S. Gaukroger. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005, pp. 179-193
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1979) Emile, or On Education , tr. A. Bloom. New York: Basic Books
Cunningham, H. (2006) The Invention of Childhood, ch. 3, 'The Eighteenth Century'. BBC Books, pp. 109-121
Module has an active ELE page?
Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
Early modern history, cultural history, intellectual history, history of medicine, religion, renaissance, reformation, scientific revolution, enlightenment, individual, body, mind, soul, gender.