Global Opportunities

HIS2250 : The Scientific Revolution: Transformations in Knowledge 1500-1700 (Inactive)

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The Scientific Revolution has been hailed in certain historiographical traditions as a development of greater significance to Europe than the Renaissance, the Reformation, or even the rise of Christianity. The term encompasses a period of scientific and scholarly advancement which fundamentally changed how the world, nature, and the place of man, were each understood. Key figures such as Galileo, Copernicus, Bacon and Newton pursued radical changes to how knowledge was acquired and tested. Traditional sources of authority, primarily based in antiquity or the Church, were challenged with ideas based on reason, evidence, and observation. The power wielded by religion and magic was undermined, as the ‘New Science’ explained the previously inexplicable. A rich historiographical tradition debates how this period of intellectual and cultural transformation might be characterised. Are the concepts favoured by intellectual historians, such as the age of ‘Scientific Revolution’ or the ‘Radical Enlightenment’, still useful? Did humanism yield entirely to science? How then can the continued influence of humanist scholarship and the classical heritage be explained? This module will explore these questions by investigating the most significant intellectual developments of the early modern period, balancing the close reading of significant sources with a broad narrative of development, against which the major historiographical accounts of the period can be tested.

Outline Of Syllabus

The key intellectual developments of the period will be examined and situated in a longer narrative of the development of knowledge. Topics will include:
•       The validity of the notion of the ‘Scientific Revolution’
•       Aristotelianism, Ptolemy, and the influence of Ancient astronomy
•       Renaissance humanism
•       Copernicus and the repositioning of the Sun
•       Francis Bacon’s natural knowledge
•       Confronting the supernatural: Witches and Demons, Miracles and Magic
•       Descartes’ rational method and mechanical universe
•       The Royal Society and its experiments
•       Women of science: can women be rational?
•       Isaac Newton and the new world

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials361:0036:00A combination of recorded lecture sessions, quizzes, and guided exercises engaging with sources.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00Assessment preparation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading481:0048:00Set, recommended and further reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Synchronous online discussion. Needs timetabling.
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion92:0018:00Discussion board on weekly topic
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Drop-in surgeries/weekly support and Q&A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The structured guided learning hours will combine short (c. 20 mins) pre-recorded lecture sessions explaining key context, concepts and historiographical issues with exercises intended to reinforce understanding through direct engagement with the sources discussed. These hours will be supported by discussion boards for each topic on the VLE. These activities will inform the structured research and reading activities, which will allow students to use the knowledge acquired through the learning materials to produce their own responses and ideas to the material. These ideas will then be presented and discussed in small group teaching, encouraging independent learning, discussion, and debate, while also guiding students on how to approach primary sources and historiography in a critical and effective manner.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A802,000 words (including footnotes, but excluding bibliography)
Portfolio1M20Weekly portfolio contribution (200 words weekly)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will test intended knowledge outcomes, together with skills in analysis and argument. The portfolio will assess development, comprehension, and participation across the module.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam -
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only -
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only -
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable