Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City - MEMS8640

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Sheila Sweetinburgh checkmark-circle


The teaching will focus on a number of inter-related themes which will be studied through differing types of evidence from written and printed texts to objects and standing buildings. Consequently, certain seminars will take place outside the seminar room, looking at the evidence in situ. Topics covered will include topography, civic governance, urban defence, house and household, commercial practices and premises, parish church development, the place of religious houses, pilgrimage and city-crown relations, as a way of examining issues such as space, power, patronage and responses to changing social, political and economic conditions. Students will be encouraged to think comparatively, both nationally and internationally, to assess Canterbury's place within medieval European society.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 5000 words 100%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

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:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.

1 Students will improve their skills of 'close reading' and 'close looking', enabling them to analyse better primary sources: texts, objects, buildings.
2 Students will develop a working knowledge of medieval urban history and medieval urban archaeology and the attendant research resources.
3 Students will improve their ability to engage critically with the secondary literature on medieval urban society through the use of Canterbury as a detailed case study and the deployment of comparative approaches.
4 Students will develop their ability to assess and apply critical and theoretical strategies appropriate for the study of material culture in the later Middle Ages.

The intended generic learning outcomes.

1 Students will develop writing and presentational skills by delivering short talks on the material covered in the course, and by producing an assessed essay of not more than 5,000 words.
2 Students' ability to articulate sophisticated, coherent and persuasive arguments will be enhanced through structured in-class debates.
3 Students' research and organisational skills will be developed through preparation for seminars and the assessed essay.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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