Royal Propaganda in England and Wales, 1509-1685
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Tony Claydon
Overall aims and purpose
The late Tudor and the Stuart eras saw considerable remodelling of the English monarchy and its relations with its subjects. The rise of parliaments, a revolution and the advent of open public debate, transformed both the powers rulers the ways they presented themselves to their public (their propaganda). This course wil aim to acquaint students with these changes in royal propaganda; it will challenge them to relate these changes to underlying alterations in the political position of the monarchy; it will ask how the effectiveness of propaganda in the early modern world can be assessed; it will introduce students to a number of vigorous historiographical debates in these areas. As much royal propaganda in the period took the form of cultural patronage ( of literature, architecture, painting, or music), the course will also introduce students to the problems of interpreting art as historical evidence.
Media of early modern propaganda; the propaganda of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, of the early Stuarts, of the republican and Cromwellian regimes of the mid-seventeenth century, and of Charles II and the post-restoration regimes; the social, political and cultural context of early modern propaganda - especially the rise of the public sphere; the particular advantages and problems of interpreting art, architecture, music, ceremony and literature as propaganda.
Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing. Students in the band above (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
Demonstrate an in-depth and comparative knowledge of the strategies used by early modern monarchs to publicise themselves, and of the political, social and cultural contexts in which these were used.
Judge between relevant historical arguments (including current historiographic positions) about the effectiveness, audience and messages of royal propaganda in the period.
Present a clear and comparative historical argument about an aspect of early modern propaganda in the form of a degree essay, and back this argument with evidence.
Analyse one piece of propaganda (which may be an artistic production) in depth
Teaching and Learning Strategy
Twelve 90 minute lectures (including break out activities) will outline the main techniques of royal propaganda at different points in the period, and introduce the historiographic controversies about these
Six two hour workshops will allow students to discuss and analyse the themes of the course in more depth, and more interactively, than lectures.
Students - guided by the course bibliography - will engage in private reading to gain a deeper understanding of the field; choose, research, and write up their choice of propaganda piece, and research and write their essay.
Drop in sessions in the early part of the course will allow students to discuss their choice of piece of propaganda to analyse, and gain advice on how to shape the piece of writing around this.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
Subject specific skills
- problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
- understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
- being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
- producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
- planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
- marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
- demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
- preparing effective written communications for different readerships
- making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
- appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
Resource implications for students
None beyond the time involved in study
Kevin Sharpe, Selling the Tudor monarchy (2009) Kevin Sharpe, Image wars: promoting kings and commonwealths in England 1603-1660 (2010) Kevin Sharpe, Rebranding rule: the restoration and revolution monarchy, 1660-1714 (2013)