Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: A History of the Modern Body (1800-1950) - HIST7003

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module examines the cultural, social, medical and scientific understanding of the modern body. The nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century saw a reconceptualization of the body, through technology, environments, conflict, the economy and the cultural construction of the body in relation to the wider world. The course makes it clear that the body is not neutral, and provides a way to explore wider concepts relating to biology, relationships, and experience.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 (3,000 words) 30%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) 30%
Take Home Assignment (2,500 words) 20%
Seminar Participation 20%

Reassessment methods:
100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a familiarity to the main socio-cultural, medical and scientific developments relating to the body 1800-1950; and the skills needed to understand, critically evaluate, contextualise and communicate effectively their knowledge of this history and the complex issues involved.
2 Demonstrate intellectual interests in the history of the body and develop their skills in comprehensively researching historical subjects and in effectively communicating their detailed knowledge and ideas, both orally and in writing.
3 Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of the contexts and interpretations relating to the medico-scientific, social and cultural history of the body.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an understanding of the body in relation to modern history, and the history of medicine, science and the environment in an international context
2 Consider critically relevant intellectual concepts as well as differences of opinion and interpretation both in the past and among historians, which will encourage the development of abilities to identify issues and engage in meaningful discussion.
3 Utilise problem solving skills, and the ability to work both independently and within groups. Students will engage in independent work, using library resources, and will practice and improve their skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, oral presentations and essay-writing.
4 Communicate complex concepts effectively both orally and through written work.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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