The following is a sample of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change, for example due to curriculum developments.
Students must take all modules from the following list:
Reading Old English
This module teaches the students the fundamentals of the Old English language, providing a thorough grounding in its grammar and an introduction to a range of texts in both prose and verse. These will be analysed in class, and preparation will include translation and language exercises. The module’s assessment will require students to demonstrate a good understanding of the structure of Old English and knowledge of the selected texts.
Reading Old Norse
This module provides an intensive introduction to Old Norse language and literature, based on carefully-selected extracts from real texts, including sagas, and historical and mythological narratives. By the end of the module, you will have been taken through all the main aspects of Old Norse grammar and have translated the set extracts. In class we will discuss questions of translation and style, and you will gain an overview of the main genres of Old Norse-Icelandic literature and their literary and historical characteristics. Regular preparation and revision will be required, and your understanding of the language and the set texts will be tested in the coursework assessment.
Research Methods in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies
The module provides a substantial grounding in the research resources and methods appropriate to interdisciplinary Viking and Anglo-Saxon studies. Teaching takes place during an intensive field trip, which includes a series of half-day workshops; students can participate in the Vikings for Schools programme, creating lesson plans or reports as part of their assessment. The workshops introduce students to a variety of approaches to the study of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, including runology and name-studies. Students will also be given bibliographical training which will be assessed by an annotated bibliography and book review. The field-trip allows students to discover a range of material and linguistic evidence relevant to the study of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, and to understand the importance of interpreting the evidence within its landscape setting.
The final element of the course is a 14,000 word dissertation, which students complete over the summer period. You will be provided with guidance and and advice to help you complete your independent research in a specialist area of your choosing.
Students must then choose 60 credits worth of modules from the following list, with each module being worth 20 credits each.
Conflict and Cohesion: Religion and Cultural Change
The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings is a marked watershed in both cultures. While Anglo-Saxon Conversion appears to be straightforward, the Conversion of the Scandinavians seems to have been more complex, or so it seems. This module will introduce the processes that led to the Conversion; it will introduce the major texts and primary sources, but also consider the important research questions and the methods with which we can approach such a complex period of change, with often incomplete or missing sources.
Contextualising Old English
This module follows on from Reading Old English, offering students the opportunity to explore the culture of the Anglo-Saxons through the surviving literature in Old English. The focus will be on extensive reading of texts in Old English and discussing themes which may overlap in the different genres. Classes will cover topics such as history and hagiography, heroic and homiletic writing. Texts to be read will include Beowulf and related narratives. Practical skills such as palaeography and theoretical topics such as metrical analysis give added depth to the contextual study of the literature.
Contextualising Old Norse: Vikings, Myths & Sagas
This module introduces students to current critical thinking about Old Icelandic literature and its historical and cultural contexts. Students will read texts in both poetry and prose, and the module will equip them with a range of practical and theoretical frameworks for their own study of these. Seminars will be student-led: they will present and discuss recent critical approaches and test them against their own readings of the texts themselves. Students will write an essay similarly combining theoretical reflection with analysis of a text or texts of their choice. Texts will be read in English translation, though students who have completed Reading Old Norse will be expected to show familiarity with texts in the original.
Place-Names in Context: Language, Landscape & History
This module employs the study of place-names to illustrate the various languages - British, Latin, French, Norse, and English - that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years. Students will learn how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English (its interaction with other languages, its regional and dialectal patterns, and its changing vocabulary) and for the history of the English landscape. They will also undertake a directed self-study project which will assess the value of place-name evidence for some aspect of Anglo-Saxon and/ or Viking settlement-history.
Reading Runes: Language, Literacy and Material Culture
This module trains students in the essential skills of runology: they learn how to examine, transliterate, transcribe, translate and present runic inscriptions. This includes working with databases, corpus editions and specialist literature. In the workshops participants will develop and practise skills using photographs and other visual materials and will then be able to apply these skills on a field trip, with hands-on study of inscribed objects. At the end of the semester students undertake an independent project on a set of inscriptions.
More information on the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.
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The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.