Medieval European Contacts with the Non-European World

Overview

This course investigates travellers and travel writing in the Middle Ages. It begins with an examination of different types of medieval travel, including pilgrimage, warfare, exploration, and proselytisation. We will also look at medieval conceptions about the world and its geography, cartography, and different types of maps. This is followed by an examination of medieval beliefs about inhabitants of other lands - real and fantastic humans, animals, and plants. The remainder of the course will focus on travel to different regions within and beyond Europe, including imaginary lands and realms.

The use of travel accounts from authors of various cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, as well as maps and images, will help students gain an understanding of travel in the Middle Ages, the most significant travel accounts and their wider influence, as well as medieval ideas about the world and its inhabitants.

Programme details

Courses starts: 25 Jan 2022

Week 0:  An Introduction to Teams – Course orientation

Week 1:  Mapping Medieval Spaces and Places

Week 2:  Inhabitants of Other Lands

Week 3:  Travel within Europe

Week 4:  The Middle East

Week 5:  Africa

Week 6:  India

Week 7:  Mongolia

Week 8:  China

Week 9:  Islands

Week 10:  Imaginary Realms

Certification

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Fees

Description Costs
Course Fee £229.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutor

Dr Trish Stewart

Patricia Stewart completed her PhD in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews and works as a Science Editor for the Oxford English Dictionary. She specialises in manuscript studies and the history of science and magic.

Course aims

To develop students' knowledge and understanding of medieval travel and travel writing, as well as medieval ideas of geography, cartography, and ethnography.

Course objectives:

1. To develop an understanding of medieval travel, the motivations behind it, and medieval ideas of geography, cartography, and ethnography.

2. To examine travel accounts from authors of differing religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

3. To compare and contrast travel accounts relating to different regions of the world.

Teaching methods

The course will be taught through informal lectures and class discussions. Students will be provided with the primary source material that will form the basis of discussions, as well as supplementary material to aid in source analysis. Some reading between sessions is expected of students.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be expected to:

1. Gain knowledge about medieval travel, the motivations behind it, and medieval ideas of geography, cartography, and ethnography.

2. Develop skills in analysing and interpreting different types of medieval texts and images. Develop skills in synthesising complex material.

3. Be able to objectively and historically explain beliefs and practices which are no longer widely held or which may not seem rational.

Assessment methods

Students will choose one of two options:

Option A: Two 750-word analyses of primary source texts, chosen from a list provided.  Students will be invited to submit, for formative assessment, a 500-word plan for their first analysis.

Option B: One 1500-word essay, chosen from a list of topics provided, or on a topic of the student's own choice that has been approved by the tutor.  Students will be invited to submit, for formative assessment, a 500-word essay plan and bibliography.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form

Application

We will close for enrolments 7 days prior to the start date to allow us to complete the course set up. We will email you at that time (7 days before the course begins) with further information and joining instructions. As always, students will want to check spam and junk folders during this period to ensure that these emails are received.

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

No prior background in history is required.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)