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Deviance and Nonconformity in Early Modern Europe (HI179)

        HI179 Deviance and Nonconformity in Early Modern Europe

        Module teaching arrangements

        Convenor: Dr Naomi Pullin


        Office: FAB 3.42 (History department, Faculty of Arts Building)

        Office hours: Thursdays 10-11 and Fridays 10-11 in FAB 3.42

        Seminar tutor: Dr Hannah Straw


        Office hours: Fridays 10.30-11.30 (location TBC)

        Lecture Times

        Thursdays 9-10 MS.04 (Maths)

        Seminar Times
        • Group 1 (with Hannah): Fridays 9-10 FAB 3.33 (Faculty of Arts)
        • Group 2 (with Naomi): Fridays 12-1 FAB 4.78 (Faculty of Arts)
        • Group 3 (with Naomi): Fridays 1-2 FAB 3.32 (Faculty of Arts)
        • Group 4 (with Hannah): Fridays 1-2 FAB 5.02 (Faculty of Arts)

        Please refer to the module moodle page for all instructions, reading and preparation for the seminars.

        Learning outcomes

        • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the different conditions affecting the treatment and marginalisation of deviant groups in early modern Europe.
        • Develop a basic knowledge of the political, social and religious contexts of early modern Europe affecting the treatment of minority and marginal groups.
        • Generate ideas through the analysis of a broad range of primary source material, showing an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of analysing primary sources relating to marginal groups in early modern society.

        Module Overview

        Societies are identified, at least in part, by whom they choose to marginalise. This first-year 30 CAT undergraduate module explores why and how some individuals and groups were marginalised and persecuted because of differences in their beliefs, gender, ethnicity and behaviour. The early modern period was a time of great social, economic, and religious uncertainty. Conflicts and social tensions created by developments in Europe led to the emergence of new types of deviant and radical groups and new measures to control their behaviour. The module will be structured around a series of case studies of groups and individuals identified as 'deviants' organised around three thematic groupings: non-European deviants; religious and supernatural deviants; and social and medical deviants. Among the topics studied will be Europe's Jews, black Europeans, astrologers, witches, werewolves, atheists, prostitutes, cross dressers, disabled people and mental illness, traveller communities, pirates and bandits. Though this module focuses on early modern Europe, many of the groups we discuss will be set firmly within the context of wider global developments and economic transformations. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on their own ideas about deviant behaviour and to engage with more recent sociological and political works on the subject. The assessment for this module will encourage students taking the course to examine different deviant groups through a comparative framework. A range of resources will be used in weekly seminar preparation including primary source material, podcasts, and blogs, alongside more traditional academic texts.

        Teaching and Learning

        This module consists of a weekly lecture and related seminar. Lectures will all be delivered in person, they will also be recorded.

        You can view the weekly topics on the 'Lecture Programme'. All reading and required preparation for the seminars will be provided and updated on the module Moodle Pages. The module moodle page also provides detailed instructions about the assignments for this module.


        • Blog Post, 1,000 words (10%)
        • 2,000-word focused essay (30%)
        • 3,000-word comparative essay (50%)
        • Participation / Engagement (10%)

        Student feedback

        'The lectures have been really informative. They have given in-depth insights into the treatment of deviant groups, but perhaps more interestingly, the way groups deemed 'deviant' saw themselves on their own terms'.

        'The seminars were very useful, as they inspired engaging discussions which helped me to think about the content in different ways'.

        'The provision of different types of media, such as books, journals and podcasts, alongside primary sources, has made every topic very accessible and easy to understand'

        'This has been my favourite module of history I've ever studied at Uni, A-level and high school. Will definitely be using this in my dissertation!!'