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The Medieval World: From Constantine to the Khans


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The Medieval World: From Constantine to the Khans short course is a thematic introduction to the ways we imagine and write the worlds of the Middle Ages, a period roughly defined as between the fall of Rome and the ‘rise’ of modernity, or ca. 500 AD-1500 AD. The module takes you through interdisciplinary ways of thinking about the lives of people in this period, from cradle to grave, in dreams and visions, and across the globe.

The farmers, emperors, heretics, saints and soldiers, queens, monastics, and slaves who lived this period did not think they were living in the 'Middle Ages', wedged between the antique and the modern. And they did not necessarily think they were living in a single world. Some believed they were living at the end of time. For others the Middle Ages were actually the 'beginning ages', the origin point for fundamental ideas about their lives. For still others these centuries constituted the golden age of dynasties, cities and societies. In exploring the Middle Ages, then, you will find yourself also examining big ideas about what we mean by 'medieval’ and its relation to the modern world. You will have the chance to dig deep into economic, political and religious changes, and to see how people reacted to and participated in these forces in their everyday lives.

Your seminars and lectures will introduce some of the wonderful variety of sources from the period, giving you confidence to use chronicles, charters and accounts, poems and songs, images and artefacts in your own learning and research.

We plan to cover the following topics:

  • Medievalism and historiography
  • Conversion
  • Country and city: rurality and urbanism
  • Environment and nature
  • Exploration
  • Material worlds
  • Space and time
  • Everyday life
  • Gender and the medieval body
  • Close encounters: the postcolonial medieval

Assessment on this course is via a 500-word primary source analysis (20%), 500-word modern scholarship summary (20%) and 1500-word essay (60%).

This can be taken as a standalone short course or as a part of:

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.