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HI2E9-30 Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Norms in the Medieval World

Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Aysu Dincer Hadjianastasis
Credit value
Module duration
23 weeks
60% coursework, 40% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This 30 CATS second-year undergraduate module provides a thematic introduction to European history of the later medieval and Renaissance periods.

Module web page

Module aims

Original documents form an integral part of the module, and students can develop their computing skills in consulting them. The module syllabus includes Feudalism, economic life, religious life and spirituality, human relations and the family, intellectual life and education, visual culture, politics and war, Europe and the wider world, the crusades and the age of discovery. This module is compulsory for all single-honours History students who select the 'Renaissance and Modern History' pathway, and is an option for other second-year undergraduate students.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Term 1

  1. Defining the Middle Ages
  2. Freedom and Unfreedom: Serfdom and slavery
  3. The Medieval Family
  4. Transgressing Gender roles in Middle Ages: Cross-dressing and prostitution
  5. Towns, Trade and Wealth: Debt, Credit and Profit
  6. Revolt and Rebellion: Urban and Rural Uprisings
  7. Death and the Plague
  8. The Medieval Church
  9. The 'supernatural': Revenants, Witches and Ghosts

Term 2
10. Religious Norms and Heresy: Cathars, Lollards and Hussites
11. The Avignon Papacy
12. Science and Learning: Universities and Learning Outside Universities
13. The Italian Renaissance
14. War and Chivalry: The Hundred Years War
15. 15th-century England and France: Late Medieval Monarchies
16. Female power and Queenship in 15th-century England and Renaissance Italy
17. Religious Warfare: The crusades
18. The Rise of the Ottomans

Term 3
19. Latin Christendom and Asia
20. Exploration and Expansion

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the Medieval World between c.800 and c.1500.
  • Communicate ideas and findings, adapting to a range of situations, audiences and degrees of complexity.
  • Generate ideas through the analysis of a broad range of primary source material, including electronic resources.
  • Analyse and evaluate the contributions made by existing scholarship.
  • Act with limited supervision and direction within defined guidelines, accepting responsibility for achieving deadlines.
Indicative reading list
  • Barth√©lemy, Dominique, 'Revisiting the "Feudal Revolution" of the Year 1000' in The Serf, the Knight and the Historian (New York: Ithaca, 2009)
  • Geary, Patrick J., The Myth of Nations : The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2002)
  • Bailey, Mark, The English Manor, c.1200-c.1500 (Manchester, 2002)
  • Bailey, Mark, The Decline of Serfdom in Late Medieval England: From Bondage to Freedom (Suffolk : Boydell & Brewer, 2014)
  • Day, John, The Medieval Market Economy (Oxford, 1987)
  • Lambert, Malcolm, Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1992)
  • Cohn, Samuel Kline Jr., (ed. and trans.), Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe (Manchester, 2004)
  • Cohn, Samuel Kline Jr., The Cult of Remembrance and the Black Death : Six Renaissance Cities in Central Italy, (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)
  • Dyer, Christopher, Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social Change in England, 1200-1520, rev. ed. (Cambridge, 1998)
  • Herlihy, David, The Black Death and the Transformation of the West, ed. Samuel K. Cohn, Jr. (Cambridge, Mass., 1997)
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo, Unmarriages: Women, Men and Sexual Unions in the Middle Ages (2012).
  • Karras, Ruth Mazo, Sexuality in Medieval Europe: Doing unto others (2005).
  • Curry, Anne, The Hundred Years War (Basingstoke, 2003)
Subject specific skills

See learning outcomes.

Transferable skills

See learning outcomes.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 20 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Seminars 20 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Tutorials 2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Other activity 2 hours (1%)
Private study 256 hours (85%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

History modules require students to undertake extensive independent research and reading to prepare for seminars and assessments. As a rough guide, students will be expected to read and prepare to comment on three substantial texts (articles or book chapters) for each seminar taking approximately 3 hours. Each assessment requires independent research, reading around 6-10 texts and writing and presenting the outcomes of this preparation in an essay, review, presentation or other related task.

Other activity description

Revision seminar.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group D2
Weighting Study time
Seminar contribution 10%
1500 word essay 10%
3000 word essay 40%
7 day take-home assessment 40%
Feedback on assessment

Written comments and oral feedback will be provided for assignments.

Past exam papers for HI2E9


This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of UENA-VQ32 Undergraduate English and History

This module is Option list A for:

  • UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
    • Year 2 of V100 History
    • Year 2 of V100 History
  • Year 2 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
  • Year 2 of UHIA-VL13 Undergraduate History and Sociology

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
  • Year 2 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics

This module is Option list C for:

  • Year 2 of UHIA-VL13 Undergraduate History and Sociology