The Re-Birth of Europe? Renaissance and Renewal in the Long Twelfth Century (HIH2182A)

StaffDr Helen Birkett - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module explores the transformation of European politics, society and culture over the course of the long twelfth century. The first half of the module will focus on the broader political, social and economic context of change. The second half will concentrate on the cultural response to these developments as expressed through religious movements (including the crusades, reformed monasticism and popular heresy), intellectual ferment (including the growth of schools, scholasticism and the impact of Greek and Arabic scientific texts), and new modes of literary and artistic production (including Latin histories, vernacular romances, and the transfer from Romanesque to Gothic in art and architecture).

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history.  It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of Europe from c.1050-1220.
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates concerning renaissance and renewal in the twelfth century.
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments in European politics, society and culture.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussion.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

The following themes will be covered over the course of the module:

  • Kingship, lordship and government
  • Economic recovery and urban revival
  • Elite and peasant life
  • New orders and popular religious movements
  • Inter-cultural exchange
  • Scholasticism, the schools and religious reform
  • Court culture, vernacular literature and chivalry
  • Art and architecture

The lectures will provide a general outline of topics, events and historiography as a foundation for independent reading and thought. The seminars will offer a forum for in-depth analysis of selected primary source materials and broader discussion of the topics. Seminars in weeks 6/7-10 will also include group presentations.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities22 hoursLectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursSeminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4 on 4 occasions
Guided Independent Study22 hoursWeb-based activities located on ELE – preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided Independent Study 234 hoursReading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303,000 Words1-12Written and verbal
Group Presentation2025 Minutes1-11Written and verbal
Exam502 Questions in 2 Hours1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay3,000 Words1-12Referral/deferral period
Group Presentation1,500 script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-11Referral/deferral period
Exam2 Questions in 2 Hours1-12Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

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

  • Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350  (London, 1994)
  • Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable (eds), Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century (Oxford, 1982)
  • Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA, 1927)
  • R. I. Moore, The First European Revolution, c. 970-1215 (Oxford, 2000)
  • Thomas F. X. Noble and John van Engen (eds), European Transformations: The Long Twelfth Century (Notre Dame, 2012)
  • R. N. Swanson, The Twelfth-Century Renaissance (Manchester, 1999)

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

Renaissance, Medieval, Culture, Intellectual History, Religion, Crusades, Science, Literature, Universities