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16th Century England

30 Credits

This will be a social, political, religious and cultural history of sixteenth-century England in its European context. The first half of the course will give a ‘top-down’ approach, covering the traditional territory of the political and religious history of sixteenth-century England, and examining this in the context of the rich historiography and primary sources that exist for the period.

We will consider the Reformation in Europe, and how that manifested itself in England under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and examine the material and cultural context of politics and religion in this period. We will then focus on social and cultural history, examining lives at both the top and bottom of society. We will cover themes such as popular culture and rebellion, witchcraft, crime and punishment, masculinity and patriarchy.

The course is designed to bring together several approaches to the study of early modern history – political, religious, social, and cultural – and to try to approach the study of the country in a rounded way, looking at the lives of both the elites and the ordinary people who made up the population of England.