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Seminar Group 2

Summer Term

  • Sadly there can be NO face-to-face teaching throughout the summer term due to the corona virus
  • Please continue to work towards the remaining written assignments (research project & reflections on oral participation)
  • Beat is available for advice and any questions via email; see also my circular of 22 April
  • Further information has been circulated by the department and module director


Weeks 19-20 - affected by industrial action

  • Please keep up with required seminar preparations (week 19: 2 slavery databases and secondary reading by Chater and Brion Davis; week 20: Turkish letter and essential reading by Subrahmanyam)
  • Work towards the revised essay deadline


Week 18 - Popular Politics and Protest

  • No lectures Mon/Tue (due to industrial action) but digests have been posted on the lecture page
  • Seminar will take place as normal, with the following content:
    • We'll start with some brief reflections on 'politics' in general & monarchy in particular (i.e. last week's topic)
    • The main focus will be on 'popular politics', so please:
      • Take a close look at the '12 Articles', the main list of complaints/demands emerging in the German Peasants' War (1525) which occurred at the time of the early Reformation & the related questions
      • Read the required text by Blickle, thinking about what it means for popuar political agency
      • Study ONE further text from the recommended/further reading to feed into discussions


Week 17 - States, Empires & the Performance of Power

  • We are now moving into the 'political' section of the module
  • All please read the Louis XIV primary source and the key secondary text by Butters
  • Individually, and in line with your personal interests, check out one of the resources in the right-hand margin of the seminar materials page for this week plus 1 item from the recommended or further reading.


Week 16 - Reading week (no lectures / seminar)

  • Please familiarize yourselves with the forthcoming essay assignment and use reading week for selecting your question, related research and the development of an argument
  • You may also wish to start your reflection process with regard to oral participation/engagement


Week 15 - WORKSHOP on Religion, Science and Print

  • For general context, please all read the essential texts by Capp, Hill Curth & Grafton;
  • To facilitate the practical exercise, familiarize yourselves with these extracts & comments from a 'how-to' guide to astrology as well as these associated images;
  • Part 2 of the seminar will reflect on the set questions relating to the popularity of astrology, its relationship to 'science' and the role played by print.


Week 14 - Popular Cultures & Witchcraft

  • Please all read the essential chapter by Capp in The European World;
  • Additionally, as assigned in the seminars, please focus on ONE of these two areas:
    • Popular Cultures, esp. with reference to the Hogarth illustration (cf. Brathwaite's The Lawes of Drinking, 1617) and the essay by Scribner
    • Witchcraft, esp. with reference to the illustration by Baldung and the texbook by Levack


Week 13 - Catholic Christianity

  • Examine the highlighted source (‘I cannot do otherwise’ by Yang Guangxian) in light of the suggested questions
  • Read the essential text on the Catholic Reformation by Ditchfield and choose one more item from the list of 'recommended' titles in line with your preferences
  • Think about points of connection with last term's lecture/classes on Asia and the Americas
  • Check out the response to student feedback by the module director, which can now be found on your moodle site for HI113


Week 12 - The Impact of Reformation

  • Was the Lutheran reform movement a success? We'll disuss this with reference to the Strauss article on 'Success & Failure'
  • How can we account for confessional divisions and the spread of Calvinism? Here we'll be guided by the essential text (Eire on the 'reform of the Reformation')
  • In which ways did contemporaries think about theological differences? See the chart by Perkins and consider the case of the Anabaptists.


Week 11 - The Origins of the Reformation

  • This term we turn our attention to the key theme of religion and religious change, starting off with an examination of spiritual life at the close of the Middle Ages
  • Please study the specified woodcut by Cranach and read the essential chapter by Swanson plus one other title of your choice on Germany/Luther
  • Discussions will focus on the 'strengths/weaknesses' of pre-Reformation Catholicism and Luther's appeal in Germany



  • Feedback on assignments will be published centrally within the vacation
  • Happy Holidays !


Week 10 - Global Trade & Economies

  • No lectures due to industrial action but some materials may be posted on the lecture/seminar page
  • The Thursday seminar will take the form of a debate on the proposition: 'The early modern period saw the emergence of a modern global economy'
    • Arguing for a 'yes': Alexander, Caroline, Côme, Dan, Elliot, Fu Ge, Giulia
    • Arguing for a 'no': Isabelle, Jonathan, Lorena, Louise, Polly, Rachel, Toby, Tom
  • Please prepare by reading the primary source, the essential article by Berg and ONE of the two recommended readings by Berg / de Vries


Week 9 - Mediterranean

  • Lectures and seminar will not take place due to industrial action, with apologies for any inconvenience caused; feel free, of course, to do the required/recommended reading on the seminar page.


Week 8 - European Invasion of the Americas

  • NB: Don't forget to submit your Historiographical Review on Tabula before the due date !
  • All please look at the primary source, read the required Elliott chapter & engage with ONE image, newspaper or European report accessible via the links on the right-hand margin of the seminar resources
  • Plus prepare to feed in key points from EITHER the titles by Brenner (Alexander, Caroline, Dan, Toby), Canny (Côme, Elliot, Fu Ge, Tom), Schwartz (Isabelle, Jonathan, Lorena) and Thornton (Giulia, Louise, Polly, Rachel)


Week 7 - 'Indian Ocean' Workshop [NB: moved to EITHER 11-12 am in H0.05 OR 5-6 pm in H4.45]

  • Read TWO items from the list of recommended titles (Parker, Interactions / Gommans, ‘Indian Ocean’ / Games, Empire); get into the habit of reflecting each text as critically as you do for the historiographical review.
  • With reference to the seminar questions, think about how different historical actors active in and around the seventeenth-century Indian Ocean might have responded to and engaged with one another.


Week 6 - Reading week (no lectures/seminars)

  • Use this time to make progress on our first module assignment, the Historiographical Review: choose your article/chapter by the end of week 5 and then think about its sources, methods, arguments, strengths & weaknesses; read 2-3 other relevant / related texts and bear in mind that this is not just about summarizing the article's contents: 'The main aim of the historiographical review is to show that you can reflect critically on a piece of academic historical writing, and demonstrate some understanding of how it fits within a wider historiographical field'.


Week 5

  • Read the Sara Pennell article
  • Select a recipe thinking about what information it might hold for historians & find an modern object you like on a museum website
  • As assigned in the last seminar, additionally have a look at ONE of these texts:
    • Fashion: Lemire, Beverly, ‘Draping the body and dressing the home: the material culture of textiles and clothes in the Atlantic world, c. 1500-1800’ in Karen Harvey, ed., History and material culture: a student’s guide to approaching alternative sources (2009)
    • Food: Lehmann, Gilly, ‘Reading recipe books and culinary history: opening a new field’ in DiMeo, Michelle, and Sara Pennell. Reading and Writing Recipe Books, 1550-1800 (2013).
    • Material Culture: Gerritsen, Anne and Giorgio Riello, ‘The global exchange of goods’, in Beat Kümin (ed.), The European World (3rd ed, 2018), 205-14


Week 4

  • Case study 1: Monstruous Births (1562 / 1568)
  • Locate and engage with the two suggested tracts (formal appearance, language, content)
  • Priority secondary text: Lotz-Heumann on 'Natural and Supernatural'


Week 3

  • Required primary and secondary sources
  • In pairs: present brief report on article/chapter(s) assigned last time, focusing on our seminar questions


Week 2

  • Required primary and secondary texts
  • Prepare to feed in information from one supplementary text


Week 1 Tasks

  • 'Europe / Beyond Europe in 1500' chapters from The European World

Time / Venue:
Thursdays 9-10 in H3.05

Tutor: Beat

Participants: Côme, Dan, Elliot, Fu Ge, Giulia, Isabelle, Jonathan, Lorena, Louise, Polly, Rachel, Toby, Tom

Link to full Seminar Resources