HIH1586 - Early Modern Venice: Representations and Myths

2022/3 Module description

StaffProfessor Maria Fusaro - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level1
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module will investigate the various representations of the Republic of Venice during the early modern period through a variety of documentary evidence: political treatises; travelogues; correspondences; plays; works of art. Particular attention will be dedicated to an analysis of the ‘myth’ of Venice in an Italian and European perspective and to its development over time. Both Venetian and non-Venetian authors will be analysed, and special attention will be paid to English travellers and writers. No prior knowledge of the period is needed, and all sources will be in English. The module is suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the rich range of sources available that allows historians to study early modern history, focusing particularly on the city of Venice and its empire. By analysing a variety of genres of source, from documentary evidence to works of art and literature, students will learn about the uses and limitations of particular kind of sources, as well as the ways in which different sources can be combined to answer historical questions. When researching source commentaries and presentations, you will also have the opportunity to conduct your own research into the source material, to consider its utility and limitations, and use it to explore particular topics and themes. In this way, the module will help you develop skills in source analysis and research that will provide a foundation for future historical work, particularly the History dissertation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the nature of the early modern Republic of Venice, and the ‘myth of Venice’.
  • 2. Work critically with a range of sources related to early modern Venice.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. bias, reliability, etc., and to compare the validity of different types of source.
  • 4. Present historical arguments and respond to questions orally.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Conduct independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 6. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 7. Write to a very tight word-limit.

Syllabus plan

The course will cover aspects such as: The Venetian Constitution and its longevity; Myths and Counter-myths; Republic and Empire; Shakespeare’s Venice; the Grand Tour; Women’s Venice; Minorities’ Venice.
Almost all students will be in the first year of their degree programme. Since the aim of this module is to get you to work with primary sources, the first class will take the form of a lecture explaining the basic outlines of the subject, providing a framework into which you can then fit the sources you will be studying, as well as explaining the format that the remaining classes will take: in particular, you will be divided into groups. In subsequent weeks, the class will focus on a particular kind of source, using presentations and group work to explore the source’s uses and limitations.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22 hour lecture as introduction to the module
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2010 x 2 hour seminars. During seminars generally a different group of students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided Independent Study128You prepare for the session through reading and research; writing a weekly source essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-6Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Source Commentary 133850 words1-3, 5-7Mark and written comments
Source Commentary 233850 words1-3, 5-7Mark and written comments
Source Commentary 334850 words1-3, 5-7Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Source Commentary 1 (850 words)Source commentary 1 (850 words)1-3, 5-7Referral/Deferral period
Source commentary 2 (850 words)Source commentary 2 (850 words)1-3, 5-7Referral/Deferral period
Source commentary 3 (850 words)Source Commentary 3 (850 words)1-3, 5-7Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • D. Chambers, The Imperial Age of Venice, 1380–1580, London, 1970
  • E. Crouzet-Pavan, Venice Triumphant: The Horizons of a Myth, Baltimore and London, 2002
  • E. Dursteler ed., A Companion to Venetian History, 1400–1797, Leiden and Boston, 2013
  • J. Eglin, Venice Transfigured: The Myth of Venice in British Culture, 1660–1797, New York, 2001
  • J. Martin and D. Romano eds., Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797, Baltimore, 2000

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Key words search

Republic of Venice; Early Modern Europe; Maritime Empire; Renaissance

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