HI6020 - 'Europe's Greatest Killer: The Black Death, Ethnic Cleansing and Biological Warfare in the Late Medieval World'

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn how Europe was hit by a mass outbreak of plague known as the Black Death in the mid-fourteenth century. Waves of plague continued to strike Europe every 10-15 years until the disease disappeared in the eighteenth century. Its effects were devastating and it impacted on almost every aspect of European society. Plague was closely linked to war and famine, and the combined effects of all three frequently led to periods of crisis and discord in Europe. It begins by examining the use of plague as a weapon of biological warfare and its subsequent spread around Europe. A deep-seated fear that plague was being deliberately spread emerged throughout Europe. In particular, Jews were accused of deliberately poisoning wells with the plague virus and their communities across Europe were exterminated as a result. In addition, witches, lepers, prostitutes and minority ethnic groups were also persecuted for spreading plague. After considering the social tensions unleashed by the appearance of the Black Death, the module will move on to examine the ways in which European societies sought to cope with the disease, including developments in public health, sanitation and medicine. It will examine the ways in which different European states responded to plague (especially England, France and Italy), as well comparing and contrasting Christian and Muslim reactions.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending lectures on plague’s impact on the social structures of late medieval Europe. You will be expected to prepare for the weekly seminars by undertaking essential and recommended reading, and will build on your independent reading by presenting your ideas and arguments in seminar discussions with your peers. All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLearning Portal (Blackboard) to enable participation within the seminar programme. You will participate in formative assessment activities and receive feedback, and will be responsible for your own guided and independent learning. Summative assessment matches your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through engagement with your peers, academic tutors, and programme leaders. Academic support is provided through group/individual tutorials which allow specific issues to be addressed and to promote progress in academic development. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised office hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your course. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and resources available on the eLearning Portal. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar activities and through assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Exhibit in-depth knowledge and understanding of key themes and literatures relating to how plague impacted on European society.
2. Take a critical approach to historiographical debates about the Black Death.
3. Demonstrate the appropriate knowledge and necessary skills to express an advanced awareness of the role played by plague in shaping European society.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Express a critical awareness in relation to scholarship in this field and an ability to formulate judgements and ideas independently.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of historical and contemporary relationships and how these relations shape our perceptions.

How will I be assessed?

Your knowledge and understanding of how the Black Death impacted on late medieval Europe will be tested in one 3,000 word essay and one two-hour exam, which will span the breadth of the module’s coverage. (MLOs 1-5)

You will receive written feedback on your assignments and will also have the opportunity to see your module tutor for individual feedback tutorials. Feedback on your first summative assessment will allow you to improve on later ones.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LV21

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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