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HCA1003 : Global Middle Ages

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Ms Anne Redgate
  • Lecturer: Dr Philip Garrett, Dr Willow Berridge, Dr James Gerrard, Dr Sophie Moore, Dr Nicola Clarke
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module seeks to provide a global framework for understanding the thousand-year span between 500CE and 1500CE: the Global Middle Ages. This global focus is in concert with the School-wide aim of supplementing traditional focuses with new, inclusive ways of thinking about the world’s historical past.
In exploring medieval worlds, students will be introduced to the diversity of cultures around the world and investigate the interconnections of trade, travel, and ideas which linked them together. Students will study the how as well as the what and who of the medieval world, investigating how the concepts of ‘medieval’ and ‘middle ages’ came about and the strengths and weaknesses in how these labels have been applied to different histories and periods around the world.
This module draws on expertise from across the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology to introduce interdisciplinary methodological approaches to understanding the ‘medieval’ period from a global perspective. Global Middle Ages encourages students to examine the past from a variety of perspectives, inviting you to see familiar places in a new light and unfamiliar places as more central than previously understood.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is shaped by research-led teaching, with themes and case studies reflecting the contributions made by experts in their respective fields from across the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology. Key themes for investigation may include topics from among the following:

Central thematic ideas that may be covered include:
Networks of trade and exchange
Networks of knowledge
Empires and complex societies
The history and concept of the ‘medieval’ age
Religion and the history of ideas
‘Civilisation’ and ‘Barbarism’
Migration, Ethnogenesis, Slavery, and Gender

Regions of the medieval world that may be covered include:
Arabian Peninsula
Central Asia
North Africa
North America

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Part of student contact hours
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading651:0065:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities361:0036:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce topics and provide expert orientation and exposition on a broad range of themes and issues, supplemented by the module reading list. In-person lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue, while lecture materials can be reviewed at any time across the week and revisited numerous times afterwards. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures, lecture materials, and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and facilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions). In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M301000 word commentary on an object or document. Word count is inclusive of footnotes and exclusive of bibliography.
Essay2A702000 word essay. Word count inclusive of footnotes and exclusive of bibliography.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays test students’ abilities to conduct independent research, relate primary source documents to broader problems, the ability to formulate an interpretation of evidence in response to a question, and academic writing skills. The researching and writing of an essay is a tool of learning and understanding rather than merely a means of assessing progress. The development of research and writing skills is a core element of an undergraduate and is supported in this module through a scaffolded approach with a formative written assessment providing a foundation for reflection and feedback before students compose their essays.

Reading Lists