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Society and Religion in Sixteenth-Century France (HI933)

Module Leader

Dr Penny Roberts

Module not available for 2011-2012

Context of Module
Module Aims
Intended Learning Outcomes
Outline Syllabus
Illustrative Bibliography
Context of Module

This module may be taken by students on the MA in History, and the MA in Religious, Social and Cultural History, or any taught Master's student outside the History Department.


Module Aims

Sixteenth-century France was a country riven by religious turmoil, whilst undergoing less dramatic but equally significant social developments. The aim of this module is to introduce students to the main social and religious themes and historiographical debates current among historians of sixteenth-century France.


Intended Learning Outcomes
  • the opportunity, through regular seminar presentations, to critically assess a variety of historical sources and approaches to the social and religious history of sixteenth-century France, and to summarise them in a coherent and stimulating way
  • the opportunity, through seminar discussion, to engage with, criticise and react to both conflicting and complementary historical approaches to a range of topics and associated debates, such as the nobility in crisis, the motivation for religious violence, changing attitudes to popular culture
  • for those students wishing to do so, the opportunity to make use of French reading skills
  • the opportunity, through the independent preparation and writing of a 5,000 word essay, to choose and frame a topic worthy of analysis in the light of the advanced literature in the relevant area of study; to construct a bibliography from books, articles and websites; to gather evidence and use it to shape a cogent and coherent extended analytical discussion; and where appropriate to deploy evidence from primary sources


Outline Syllabus

(Seminar topics may vary according to the interests of the individuals taking the module)

Seminar 1: Monarchy and Royal Power

Seminar 2: Nobility and Clientage

Seminar 3: The Peasantry and Popular Culture

Seminar 4: Urban Society

Seminar 5: The Huguenot Church

Seminar 6: The Catholic Response

Seminar 7: Religious Violence

Seminar 8: Warfare

Seminar 9: Toleration and Peacemaking


Illustrative Bibliography

P. Benedict, Rouen during the Wars of Religion (1981)

R.Briggs, Communities of Belief: Cultural and Social Tensions in Early Modern France (1977)

K. Cameron etc (eds), The Adventure of Religious Pluralism in Early Modern France (2000)

N.Z. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (1975)

B.B. Diefendorf, Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris (1991)

M.P. Holt, The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629 (1995)

R.J. Knecht, The French Civil Wars, 1562-1598 (2000)

R.A. Mentzer (ed.), Society and Culture in the Huguenot World (2002)

J.H.M.Salmon, Society in Crisis: France in the Sixteenth Century (1975)

M. Wolfe (ed.), Changing Identities In Early Modern France (1997)



1 assessed essay of 5,000 words: the course is taught in weekly 2-hour seminars