Module HTW-3127:
Wales, Renaissance & Europe

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Shaun Evans

Overall aims and purpose

The Renaissance was a phenomenon which inspired a vibrant period of innovation in human achievement. It transformed art, architecture, education and fashion, and exerted considerable influence on aspects of society as diverse as politics and religion, science and literature. However, its impact, chronology, origins, definition and reach remain hotly contested amongst historians. The Renaissance provides a focus for assessing degrees of continuity and change, innovation and tradition in Early Modern Europe.

This module examines cultural developments in Wales across the late-fifteenth, sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, in the broader context of European experiences. A commonplace view is that Wales saw only a ‘limited’ Renaissance. A number of themes and case studies will be explored to assess the validity of this claim. What conditions needed to be in place in order for Renaissance culture to thrive? How did ideas, styles and forms permeate into Wales from continental Europe and via England? Did the Renaissance change Wales? Was there anything distinctive about the ‘Welsh Renaissance’? To what extent did the gentry support Renaissance culture and how did it impact upon how they presented their image and identity? These issues are only beginning to be explored by historians and this module provides an exciting opportunity to make fresh contributions towards the debate.

The module is set up to encourage students to take an analytical approach towards the study of history, providing a framework in which to explore a number of contested historiographical issues and questions. The module will promote knowledge and understanding of the period c.1450-1630, including relationships between Wales and other parts of Europe. The multifaceted nature and impacts of the Renaissance demands an interdisciplinary approach and will encourage students to explore a diverse range of subjects including literature, art, architecture, education, cartography, poetry, fashion, history, politics and drama. The module will include continuous opportunities for engagement with a range of primary source materials, including unique resources held by Bangor University Archives and Special Collections, and via a number of fieldtrips to local cultural heritage sites of relevance to the module.

Course content

The module will examine cultural developments in Wales across the late-fifteenth, sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries, in the broader context of European experiences. This will be explored through numerous thematic strands. An indicative list of the topics that will be covered in the module:

Lectures x10

1) Introducing the Renaissance: origins and key features.

2) The transmission and translation of ideas: discussing the ‘European Renaissance’

3) Court, culture and civility in 16th century England

4) Wales and the wider world, c.1400-1630

5) The printing press and the vernacular in Europe and England

6) Literary developments in 16th and 17th century Wales

7) Images of status, honour and authority? The Welsh gentry c.1500-1630

8) Early portraiture in Wales – cosmopolitan contacts and provincial perspectives

9) An archaeology of early modern Wales – visual and material culture c.1550-1645

10) The ‘anglicisation’ debate in Renaissance context

Seminars x7

1) Introduction to the module

2) Renaissance culture – key themes and issues

3) Discussing 16th century Wales

4) Renaissance and Reformation – what’s the relationship?

5) The Welsh gentry – identifying continuity and change

6) Consuming splendour? Strategies of display and the material life of things

7) A ‘limited’ Renaissance? Concluding thoughts

Archival workshop x2

1) From manuscript to print

2) Strategies of gentry self-fashioning in 16th and 17th century Wales

Assessment Criteria

threshold

There are three grades for third-class performance:

D+ (48%) Work is marked D+ if it: shows evidence of acceptable amounts of reading, but does not go much beyond what was referenced in lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers much of the necessary ground but fails to discuss one or a few vital aspects of a topic; deploys relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole, or sustains a clear argument only for the greater part of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points, but sometimes fails to do so, or shows difficulty in weighing evidence, or chooses unreliable evidence; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but without devoting sustained discussion to this; is for the most part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious problems in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction; and uses references and bibliography where needed but occasionally misunderstands their appropriate use or makes mistakes in their presentation.

D (45%) Work is marked D if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based partly on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers some of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only some parts of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical or inappropriate evidence; shows some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is often correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction; and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.

D- (42%) Work is marked D- if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based largely on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers parts of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some potentially relevant material but fails to bring it together into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only parts of the piece; occasionally deploys evidence to back some individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical, or inappropriate evidence; may show some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is in part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction; and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.

C- to C+

There are three grades for lower second-class performance:

C+ (58%) Work will receive a C+ mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains partially superficial; covers the important aspects of the relevant field, but in some places lacks depth; advances a coherent and relevant argument; employs some evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only a few or no mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.

C (55%) Work will receive a C mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains superficial; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth; advances a coherent and largely relevant argument; employs some limited evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only limited mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, contain some mistakes or be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.

C- (52%) Work will receive a C- mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but little knowledge of in-depth studies - the student may not have read a good selection of journal articles and specialist monographs; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth or misses a significant area or fails to deploy the historical details found in specialist literature; advances a coherent, and sometimes relevant argument, but drifts away from tackling the task in hand, for example by ordering the argument in an illogical way, becoming distracted by tangential material, or lapsing into narrative of only partial pertinence; usually employs evidence to back its points, but occasionally fails to do so or deploys an insufficient range; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways, but may fail to get to the heart of the central scholarly debate or fully understand a key point (there may be a failure to discuss important subtleties or ambiguities in the evidence, or a lack of awareness of the current state of historical debate); is reasonably well presented and contains appropriate references and bibliography, but makes some mistakes in presentation or appropriate use.

good

There are three grades for upper second-class performance:

B+ (68%) Work will receive a B+ mark if it is consistently strong in: covering the necessary ground in depth and detail; advancing a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analysis and deployment of an appropriate range of historical evidence and consideration of possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

B (65%) Work will receive a B mark if it: is clear that it is based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in depth and detail; advances a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

B- (62%) Work will receive a B- mark if it: is clearly based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in some depth and detail; advances a properly-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

excellent

There are four grades for first-class performance:

A* (95%) At this level, first-class work earns its mark by showing genuine originality. It may advance a novel argument or deal with evidence which has not been considered before. Such originality of ideas or evidence is coupled with the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected of first-class work graded at A or A+. At this level, the work exhausts relevant secondary material, may show reflection on primary evidence, and betrays no factual or interpretative inaccuracy. It can also show a mastery of theory and deploy hypotheses subtly and imaginatively. In the case of essays, work of this standard will be impeccable in presentation and will be publishable.

A+ (87%) At this level, first-class work will also have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail, but will further deploy the evidence consistently accurately and give indications of deploying unexpected secondary sources. It may also show reflection on primary evidence. It will habitually demonstrate a particularly acute and critical awareness of the historiography, including conceptual approaches, and give a particularly impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. It will show a particularly sophisticated approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. It will be original work. The standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently first-class work. The standards of presentation will be very high.

A (80%) At this level, first-class work will have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail. It will usually also demonstrate an acute awareness of historiography, and give an impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. It may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken 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 be high. A- (74%) A first-class mark at this level is often earned simply by demonstrating one or more of the features of a good upper-second essay to a peculiar degree, for example presenting a particularly strong organization of argument, strong focus, wide range of reading, engagement with the historiography, depth of understanding, an unobjectionable style, and strong presentation.

Learning outcomes

  1. Assimilate and assess knowledge, research and interpretation from a range of disciplinary perspectives (e.g. art, literature, architecture) and apply them to the study of the module

  2. Understand Wales’ shared historical and cultural connections with other parts of Europe

  3. Prepare for and deliver oral PowerPoint presentations in front of an audience, through participation in the oral presentation assessment / special module symposium

  4. Demonstrate enhanced knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of Wales during the period c.1450-1630 through in depth engagement with primary and secondary sources

  5. Interpret, analyse and contextualise a range of primary sources from the 16th and 17th centuries (including textual, visual and material culture), through participation in seminars, workshops and fieldtrips; and through the gobbet exercise

  6. Judge between and challenge different arguments and interpretations within the historiography, including viewpoints which are contested, controversial or politically-informed

  7. Employ evidence from a variety of sources to build clear and convincing arguments relating to the role and impact of Renaissance culture in Wales, through seminars, workshops and the assessments

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK GOBBET EXERCISE

A 1,500-2,000 word analysis of a primary historical source, or extract from a historical document. Gobbet to be selected from a list provided in the module handbook. Response must include an additional primary source identified by the student and introduced and assessed as part of the analysis. Responses must be fully referenced (with footnotes) and include an indicative bibliography.

25
ESSAY ESSAY

An essay of 3,000-3,500 words to be completed at the end of the module on a specific theme, issue or question relating to the module. Title to be selected either from a list provided in the module handbook or by agreement after discussion with the module convener. Essay must be fully referenced (with footnotes) and include a bibliography.

50
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION ORAL PRESENTATION

10-15 minute PowerPoint presentation, to be delivered as part of a special group symposium. The presentation will consider the extent to which Renaissance ideals were reflected in the life and/or works of an individual or family (list to be provided in the module handbook).

25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Practical classes and workshops

Practice presentation session: 1 hour (1 x 1 hour)

Informal group session to allow students to practice the delivery of an oral presentation and to allow them to receive feedback and guidance on the same – in preparation for the special module symposium.

1
 

Module symposium: 4 hours (1 x 4 hours)

Special symposium involving the whole group, for delivery of assessed presentations. Students to take a lead on chairing the sessions and contributing towards the question and answer sessions.

4
Tutorial

Personal tutorials: 1 hour per student (1 x 1 hour)

Sessions with individual students to discuss module progress, provide feedback on assessed oral presentations and to discuss preparations for the assessed essay and gobbet exercises.

1
Private study

Private study forms an integral part of the module. Students will be expected to familiarise themselves with a sizeable body of published material relating to the subject, guided by a full bibliography which will be provided in the module handbook. Students will have full control over how to arrange their study. Reading, research and preparation will be

167
Workshop

Practical archival workshops: 2 hours (2 x 1 hour)

Two archival workshops will be held in the reading room at Bangor University Archives and Special Collections and will provide an opportunity for students to engage with primary source materials, including manuscripts, early printed books and estate collections.

2
Fieldwork

Fieldtrips: 8 hours (2 x 4 hours)

Two visits to external heritage sites (e.g. town house, church, country house) which are relevance to the study of particular themes within the module.

8
Seminar

Thematic seminars: 7 hours (7 x 1 hour)

Thematic seminars allow students to share ideas and discuss themes, issues and questions – first introduced through the lectures – in greater detail. Each seminar will focus on a subject of importance to the module and will include analysis and interpretation of primary source material. Seminar preparation instructions will be posted on blackboard at least a week before the session. Thematic seminars will interchange with practical archival workshops and the practice presentation session giving a total of 10 x 1 hour sessions)

7
Lecture

Lectures: 10 hours (10 x 1 hour over 12 weeks)

Lectures are designed to provide a synopsis of key subjects. They will outline important themes and issues; highlight significant debates within the historiography; and introduce source materials. They are intended to supplement private study. Associated PowerPoint presentations will be made available to students via Blackboard.

10

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • 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.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

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
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • 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 a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
  • demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
  • presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
  • engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity

Resources

Reading list

Key texts will include:

Davies, C. (ed.) Dr. John Davies of Mallwyd: Welsh Renaissance Scholar (2004).

Davies, C. and Law, J.E. (eds.)The Renaissance and the Celtic Countries (2005).

Griffith, W.P., Learning, Law and Religion: Higher Education and Welsh Society, c.1540-1640* (1996).

Gruffydd, R.G. (ed.), A Guide to Welsh Literature, Vol. III, c.1530-1700 (1997).

Gruffydd, R.G., ‘Wales and the Renaissance’, in A.J. Roderick (ed.), Wales through the Ages II (1960).

Jones, J.G. (ed.), Class, Community and Culture in Tudor Wales (1989).

Jones, J.G., The Welsh Gentry, 1536-1640: Images of Status, Honour and Authority (1998).

Lord, P., The Visual Culture of Wales: Imaging the Nation (2000).

Williams, G., Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales c.1415-1642 (1987) / Renewal and Reformation: Wales c.1415-1643 (1993).

Williams, G., Wales and the Reformation (1997).

Williams, G. and Jones, R.O. (eds.), The Celts and the Renaissance: Tradition and Innovation (1990).

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: