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

StaffDr Nicola Whyte - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In a series of weekly lectures and seminars, students will be given the opportunity to explore historical and historiographical material, concerning the meanings of landscape, place and identity, and its usefulness in understanding the early modern past. Students will be encouraged to bring primary evidence to bear upon their interpretations of the secondary literature. The module is designed to encourage students to think critically about the nature of historical change, and the significance of early modern studies to understanding the significance of landscape today.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. define key concepts of landscape, place and identity within appropriate theoretical frameworks
  • 2. evaluate the different and complex sources available to the study of landscape, place and social identity in early modern England
  • 3. assess the cultural and political significance of discourses of patriarchy, improvement, enclosure and landscape change

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. formulate appropriate questions relating to a body of source material and utilize that material to answer these questions
  • 5. with minimum guidance, develop and sustain historical arguments in a variety of literary forms, using appropriate terminology
  • 6. display a command of comparative perspectives
  • 7. analyse at a close and sophisticated level original sources and assess their reliability as historical evidence
  • 8. evaluate critically the reasoning of discourses current in the period under study

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. combine independent, autonomous study with the ability to work collaboratively
  • 10. set tasks independently and solve problems, formulating appropriate questions and marshaling relevant evidence to answer them
  • 11. with minimum guidance, digest, select and synthesise evidence and arguments to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument

Syllabus plan

The lectures will provide a spine of ideas and information. These will form a basis upon which students can build their own interpretations and explore concepts and issues further in the seminars. The seminar work will comprise (1) discussions of particular topics and sources relating to the subject matter of the module and (2) group presentations on particular topics, developing students’ teamwork and oral skills. The module also includes a fieldtrip

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
Lecture11Lectures will provide a spine of knowledge through which students can develop understanding. They will introduce historiographical debates and theoretical ideas which will be explored further in the seminars.
Seminar22Seminars will focus on the themes covered in the lectures and will draw upon a range of primary sources. The structure of each seminar will be different but activities will include class and group discussions and primary source analysis. Group presentations may also take place during seminars.
Essay tutorials30 minsOptional. Students will receive individual feedback on their plans for the independent research project
Guided independent study267Independent study to prepare for lectures, seminars, assignments and essays. Students are expected to read and engage with the required reading for each topic and the primary documents provided for each seminar. Students will also spend time working as a group to prepare for group presentations.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short presentations5-10 minutes1-3,10-11

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
Essay503,000 words1-3, 5-6, 8, 10-11Written comments and verbal feedback on formal submission
Themed project part 1: individual written assignment 352,000 words4, 7, 9-11Written comments and verbal feedback on formal submission
Themed project part 2: ‘conference panel’ group presentation and discussion1510 minutes (for each student)7-9 and 11Immediate verbal feedback from peers and tutor. Written feedback on submission.

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 3,000 wordsEssay 3,000 words1-3, 5-6, 8, 10-11Referral/deferral period
Themed project part 1: individual written assignmentProject written assignment 2000w4, 7, 9-11Referral/deferral period
Themed project part 2: ‘conference panel’ group presentation and discussionGobbet assignment 1000w1-3, 5-6, 8, 10-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: Flather, A, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (2007)

Richard Hoyle (ed.) Custom, Improvement and the Landscape in Early Modern Britain (Farnham, 2011 )

Matthew Johnson, An Archaeology of Capitalism (Oxford, 1996)

Andrew McRae God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England, 1500-1660 (Cambridge, 1996)

Alex Walsham The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford UP, 2011)

Nicola Whyte Inhabiting the Landscape: Place, Custom and Memory 1500-1800 (Oxford, 2009)

ELE – 

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE - http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date