Course Convenor: Christopher Marsh
Core Teaching Staff: James Davis, and Mary O’Dowd.
“All the world’s a stage,
And all men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”
(Shakespeare, As you like it, Act II, verse 7).
This innovative module will consider the history of the family between 1350 and 1650, concentrating on the experiences of ordinary people. What was family life like during this period? What roles and relationships existed among men, women and children? And how was the family changing in the centuries between the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century and the civil wars of the mid-seventeenth?
Our investigations will track the life cycle, conventionally divided into seven parts by commentators of the period. Topics covered will therefore include birth and childhood, adolescence, courtship and marriage, work and leisure, old age and death. Throughout, equal weight will be given to the consideration of men and women. The module will look at continuity and change against a background of social, economic and religious upheaval. Participants will examine these broad historical debates, but will also study a variety of primary source materials. We will focus primarily upon England, drawing comparisons with the situation in Ireland as and when appropriate.
One-hour weekly lectures will take place on Wednesdays at 11am. We will also hold weekly seminars (details to be organised at a later stage).
Assessment will be as follows: 2-hour examination (50%); EITHER an assessed essay OR a written group project (30%); and seminar participation (20%). The group projects are intended to facilitate and encourage collaborative written work, prepared by students working either in pairs or groups of three.
Anybody wishing to find out more about this module should feel free to contact Christopher Marsh (firstname.lastname@example.org).