Course syllabus



HISTORY 219: Medieval Mentalities, Western Europe c.1100-1500

SEMESTER 2, 2018

15 points

 For full syllabus click here:219Courseguide2018-1 .doc
Course Convener: 

Kim Phillips -

Course delivery format:

E.g. - 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

 Summary of Course Description:              

When we study the cultures of the past, is it possible to gain a sense not only of what people did but also how they thought and felt? Can we gain a sense of their worldviews, their attitudes or outlooks, their understanding of themselves and others? This course seeks to explore the central and late medieval period in Europe by addressing such questions. We will investigate some of the key cultural mentalities of the era, including concepts of the earth and its place in the cosmos, social hierarchies, monarchy and other structures of power, monasticism, ideas about gender and sex, concepts of the family and childhood, attitudes to death, religious faith and dissent, explanations for Plague, motivations for popular revolts, and the growing desire for new forms of knowledge and geographical exploration. Students will be encouraged to examine the ways in which historians have sought to understand past mentalities and to consider some of the practical difficulties and creative possibilities in undertaking such a project.

 Course outcomes:

A student who successfully completes this course will:

  • Analyse and discuss a range of primary sources
  • Engage with and critically evaluate relevant academic literature
  • Undertake library research with the aim of organising and writing academic assignments that include coherent arguments and supporting evidence
  • Become familiar with information technology as a tool for academic research
  • Communicate ideas and information in verbal and written formats

 Assessment Summary:


  • Lectorial engagement and leadership. 10%
  • 1st Primary Source Essay, 1200 words. 20% Due Thursday 16 August.
  • 2nd Primary Source Essay, 1800 words, 30%. Due the Thursday following relevant lectorial.
  • Exam (2 hours), 40%. Date, TBA.

Weekly Topics:

Week 1

  1. Introduction: Upheaval and Innovation in the Early Middle Ages
  2. Approaching Medieval History

 Week 2

  1. Heaven and Earth
  2. An ‘Ordered’ Society?                                                      

Week 3

  1. Kingship
  2. Queenship

Week 4

  1. Monasticism and Learning                                                      
  2. The Third Estate: Those Who Worked                                            

Week 5           

  1. Religion and the People
  2. Magic, Witchcraft, and Medicine

Week 6

  1. Chivalry and Nobility                         
  2. Papacy and Christendom 

Week 7                                                                       

  1. Men and Masculinities
  2. Sexualities 

Week 8

  1. Women and Femininities
  2. Family, Marriage and Childhood                                            

Week 9                                   

  1. Death and the Afterlife
  2. The Black Death

 Week 10

  1. Popular Revolts
  2. Religious Conflict and Dissent

Week 11

  1. Voyages and Encounters 1: European Expansion
  2. Voyages and Encounters 2: The Global Middle Ages

Week 12

  1. Late Medieval Inventions and Innovations
  2. Conclusion and Course Review



 Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details