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The fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries were a period of seminal transformation in the politics, beliefs, social structures and global views of those in the western world. Traumatized by the deaths of 25 million people from plague, the period witnessed endemic warfare, as well as rifts in the Catholic Church which culminated in the reformations of the sixteenth century. The period also saw the persecution of thousands of Jews, the intrusion of the Inquisition into people’s daily lives, and accusations of witchcraft. The New World of the Americas and the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope changed how Europeans saw themselves and other peoples, triggering a global era of mercantile and cultural contact. Politics and governance were transformed and the beginnings of nation states were reinforced by courtly rituals and splendor. Trade and resulting wealth created new patrons and saw the funding of unparalleled creative and artistic endeavours. The rise of the printing press facilitated the rapid spread of new ideas and the emergence of new voices from all social levels, women as well as men. Whether characterized as medieval, renaissance or reformation, this was a period of intense transformation, which laid the foundations for our modern world.
This subject forms part of the pathway ‘social and cultural history’ within the History major.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:
- Reflect critically on the complexities of periodization in History;
- Demonstrate familiarity with the major social, political, and cultural developments of Europe in the period 1348-1618;
- Demonstrate an ability to analyse primary and secondary material in writing about the past;
- Develop critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing, and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
- Demonstrate skills in public presentations, and confidence in self expression through tutorial presentations, essays, and online forums.
- Use of online and text-based sources
- Critical analysis of texts, images, and objects
- Ability to speak and write with precision and clarity
- Development of academic referencing and integrity.
Last updated: 22 November 2023