Ghoulish and Gruesome: Beliefs and the Body in Early Modern Britain
Level 4, 10 Credits.
- This course has already started.
Get the latest updates on our courses
Please use our subscription page to register your interest, and we will keep you updated on all relevant information and news about subjects you have chosen.
To present-day eyes, the beliefs of earlier eras can appear bizarre and absurd; the products of ‘ignorance’ or ‘superstition’. This is certainly the case for early modern understandings of the human body. Crucially, however, these seemingly irrational ideas were often based on careful study and complex systems of thought. Indeed, the ways in which people in previous ages thought about the body can tell us a great deal about how they saw the world around them and their own place within it. With that in mind, this course will examine a range of beliefs about the body in Britain from 1500 to 1700. This will include attitudes to healing and medicine, heaven, hell and purgatory, monsters and monstrous births, ghosts and witches, and the use of prophecy. Focussing primarily on England, but drawing on the wider British and European contexts where relevant, we will examine what these so-called ‘aberrations’ can reveal about how ideas of ‘common sense’ and ‘normality’ have changed over time.
Tutor, Dates, Times and Venue
- Tutor: Dr Rachel Bowen
- 9 weekly meetings
- 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
- Tuesdays from 6 October 2015
- John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone with an interest in early modern history and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses in the pathway.
Learning and Teaching
This course consists of nine units divided into themes. Each unit comprises a 2-hour face-to-face session between 7pm and 9pm. These sessions will include lectures, class discussions and group-work, source analysis activities and exercises to develop your academic skills. There will also be an opportunity for learning outside of the classroom, facilitated by the university’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central.
Coursework and Assessment
Students will be expected to complete two pieces of assessed work: a 500-word source analysis and a 1000-word essay. Advice and support will be provided for both assignments and you will receive detailed feedback relating to strengths and areas for improvement on both pieces of work.
- Manfred Brod, ‘Politics and prophecy in seventeenth-century England: the case of Elizabeth Poole’, Albion, Vol. 31, 3 (1999), pp. 395–412
- David Cressy, Agnes Bowker’s Cat: Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 2001)
- Andrew Joynes,Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels, and Prodigies (Woodbridge, 2001)
- Darren Oldridge, Strange Histories (London, 2005)
- Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe (London, 1994)
- Kevin Stagg, ‘The Body’ in Garthine Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (London, 2005), 205-26
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cf.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on (029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cf.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.