Pre Modern History (A/T)

Course information

The Pre Modern History curriculum enables students to study life in the pre modern period based on the analysis and interpretation of physical and written remains. The pre modern period, as defined in this curriculum, is global in scope and covers the period c. 400-1750 CE.

Pre modern history stimulates students’ curiosity and imagination and enriches their appreciation of humanity and the value of the past. It shows how the world and its people have changed, as well as the significant legacies that exist into the present. The study of pre modern history illustrates the development of some of the distinctive features of contemporary societies for example social organisation, culture, systems of law, governance and religion. Pre modern history is also concerned with the possible motivations, and actions of individuals and groups, and how they shaped the political, social and cultural landscapes of the pre modern world.

Post-school pathways

Do you enjoy or are you good at History? (pdf, 110kb)

Workload expectation

Three hours outside of class per week to complete homework and assignments.

Course Pattern

Available as a Minor or Major.

Suggested Minor Course

Semester

Unit

1

Unit 1: Transformation

2

Unit 2: Golden Ages

Suggested Major Course

Semester

Unit

1

Unit 1: Transformation

2

Unit 2: Golden Ages

3

Unit 3: Conflict

4

Unit 4: Power

Unit descriptions

Unit 1: Transformation

The unit provides an introduction to the pre modern world. It looks at the factors that transformed societies in this period. It also explores the problematic and contestable nature of the evidence, both written and archaeological, that has survived. The fragmented nature of the evidence requires students to develop techniques for analysing historical silences. In addition, students will investigate the contested nature of interpretations and representations of this evidence.

Unit 2: Golden Ages

This unit examines the role of individuals and personalities in historical causation and compares this to social structural theories. Students will undertake two case studies in which they explore the role of a great person within the ‘golden age’ in which they lived.

Students will examine the notion of a Golden Age, and the role of a great people within that age, with particular reference to political, economic, social, artistic and cultural developments. They will ask questions such as:

For whom this was a Golden Age?

To what extent can a ‘great person’ claim the creation of a Golden Age?

Unit 3: Conflict

This unit examines the interaction of societies in the pre modern period and the impact that they have on one another. The approach taken by this unit is comparative in that it explores different perspectives on the same events. This will include interrogating different perspectives through source material and examining its origins, purposes, values and limitations.

Students will also investigate archaeological sources and develop techniques for interpreting and understanding historical material other than the written word. Further, the fragmented nature of the evidence requires students to develop techniques for analysing historical silences and the way that these have shaped the cultural narrative.

This unit will explore the complexities of contact between groups of people and the adaptations, confrontations, benefits, relationships, or violence that might result.

Unit 4: Power

This unit examines the nature and exercise of power and authority in pre modern societies, with reference to formative ideologies. Students will analyse structures, loci and relations of power to understand their varied and complex nature. This type of analysis requires students to engage with scholarly and historiographical debate.

Students will employ theoretical frameworks for analysis of Historical phenomena. These theories may include: Gender Theory, Marxism, Modernism/ Positivism, Post-modernism, Post-colonialism, Subaltern Studies, Orientalism, etc.