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Withdrawn Module: The British in the World 1600-1700: Travel, Exile and Empire (HI33U)

Please note that this module was available
from 2013 to 2015, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.

Tutor: Dr Gabriel Glickman

This undergraduate final-year Special Subject module will examine the way in which inhabitants of the British Isles explored, experienced and thought about the wider world through the 17th century, and the impact these exposures brought upon their conception of themselves. A rich line of recent historiography has broken down old notions of English/Scottish insularity within this period, and highlighted the centrality of a wider international context to early modern British history. This module will concentrate on travel, exile and imperial aspiration under the rule of the Stuart monarchs, and examine the debates engendered by these experiences within the British Isles. The module programme will begin with an investigation of the early modern idea of travel, and its role within patterns of learning and scholarship. The second strand of the module will investigate the extent to which the English and Scottish could be considered 'Europeans', charted through the encounters of Protestant and Catholic travellers with the different states and kingdoms of the continent, and the ideas drawn out of their time abroad. The module will then focus on the impact of wider global encounters: questions over the moral and political validity of empire, discussions stimulated by contact with, especially, Amerindian and Islamic societies. The final part of the module will draw these components together, looking at how an engagement with ‘the foreign’ stamped its mark upon scientific thinking, material culture, imaginative literature and a large corpus of debates over questions of national identity. Students will be encouraged to interrogate and contextualise a wide range of primary sources - visual and material as well as printed. The module will conclude by considering how the understanding of this wider context can shape and change our view of early modern British history.