Time and Place: 1517: Self, Sex and Emotions in Early Modern Europe

Module code: V1455
Level 5
15 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Not yet finalised
Assessment modes: Coursework

In 1517, Martin Luther circulated his 95 Theses in which he launched a sustained attack on the abuses of the Church. This critique profoundly transformed Christianity. This course examines whether 1517 and the birth of Protestantism marked a new age of modernity.

The aim is to examine the ways in which common folk experienced their lives during one of the most transformative periods in Western History. It will do this by examining a range of ego-documents, from diaries to letters and in particular through trial records, to examine how people gave meaning to their lives, and to how they understood their body and emotions.

In the wake of the Reformation, gender and sexuality became a key battleground between Catholics and Protestants. In the witch-hunts that swept early modern Europe, it was women who were primarily accused and executed. Understanding how ideas about emotions and gender interacted is one of the keys to understanding the mass violence of early modern witch-hunts. This course will start in 1517 and will span the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

Module learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate the historiography around a particular moment.
  • Appreciate the importance of locality in history and the specificity of particular historical events.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use primary source material in extended historical argument.
  • Demonstrate the ability to deploy these skills in extended essay form.