HST2520: Revolution, Reform and Crusade in 11th-c. Europe


20 credits (semester 1)

Module Leader: Dr Charles West



Pass in at least two of the Level One modules History Units HST112-121.


Module Summary

This module explores one of the most dramatic, debated and formative centuries in European history. It considers how power was constructed in this period, who exercised it, and for whose benefit, in a century framed by apocalyptic fears and the conquest of a distant Middle Eastern city by a crusading army.


Along the way, the module explores the establishment of new political and cultural frameworks, the place of Islam and Judaism, and the steady transformation of Europe’s economy. You’ll be presented with the two dominant approaches to the period, church reform and feudal revolution, and asked to decide: which does better at explaining this remarkable century? And what did ‘Europe’ really mean in this period?


               World map, made in Canterbury c. 1030Wikimedia Commons


The module will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of Europe in the eleventh century. Lectures, seminars, and assessments will be designed to improve candidates’ analytical abilities and communication skills. Content is organised thematically: political, economic and socio-cultural transformations are considered in turn, enabling an analysis of current paradigms for Europe as a whole and in a wider context. Although undergraduates may be unfamiliar with 11th-century European history, the module builds on themes embedded in HST112 and HST116 at Level 1, and the first lecture and seminar will aim to set down a solid foundation for further study of the region.


Teaching and Assessment

The module will be taught through eleven lectures and eleven seminars. Lectures will examine particular events and developments in the history of eleventh-century Europe, while seminars will focus on historians’ and students’ interpretations of those events. Formative feedback on both written work and oral participation will help prepare students for the summative assessment.

Indicative list of lectures and seminars*
subject to change

Lecture  Seminar
1 Introduction: the first European revolution? Apocalypse Then: the year 1000
2 Emerging kingdoms: Ireland, Castile and Hungary A Europe of bishops – the case of Bishop Burchard of Worms
3 Queens: dynastic pawns or co-rulers? Emma of England and Agnes of Poitou
4 Peasants: from Iceland to the Three Orders Tales from the village: The Story of One-Ox and the Vampires of Drakelow
5 A commercial revolution Riot: Milan, Thiel and Le Mans
6 The Feudal Revolution The Conventum Hugonis c. 1030 and the Peace of God
7 Cluny in context Heresy in the eleventh century: Orléans, Cambrai and Reichenau
8 Gregorian Reform: empire and papacy The Council of Reims in 1049: simony & nicolaitism
9 A diverse Europe? The place of Al-Andalus Constantine the African and the Rhineland Jews
10 The wider world: Vikings in America and schism with Constantinople The First Crusade: the first European colonisation?
11 Conclusion: the making of Europe? Concluding seminar

The module will be assessed in part by one formative essay, which will allow students to advance their understanding of aspects of the module in more detail, to develop skills of analysis and argument, and to improve their writing. Formative feedback will offer advice on how to improve for the forthcoming summative assessment. A written examination will require students to demonstrate that they have absorbed and understood the material and that they can express this in clear prose and a structured argument.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level2


Selected Reading

Rob Bartlett, The Making of Europe 950-1350 (1993)
Kate Cushing, Reform and the papacy in the eleventh century (2005)
R.I. Moore, The First European Revolution, c. 970-1215 (2000)
Megan McLaughlin, Sex, Gender and episcopal authority in an age of Reform, 1000-1122 (2010)


Intended Learning Outcomes
Plus Icon