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HYM4690 - Pageant and Power: The Renaissance Papacy

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Peter Howard


Not offered in 2007


In the period 1300-1600 the papacy, as a supra-territorial institution, was central to the development of Europe. The unit explores the nature and role of the papal prince and his court and the papacy's responses to changing political, social, intellectual and cultural circumstances. The impact of changing understandings of polity, the crisis of the Great schism, urban revolt, the intellectual currents of humanism and conciliar theory, the cultural encounters and exchanges at Councils, ritual, patronage and power, architectural and visual representations, will provide the context for an exploration of different programmes of religious change from an institutional and cultural perspective.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Have acquainted themselves with the considerable body of knowledge on the changing nature of the papacy and religious reform and be able to evaluate it critically.
  2. Have some knowledge of the ways in which religion interacts with social, cultural and political experience in specific contexts.
  3. Be able to evaluate the various methodologies and the theoretical issues surrounding recent approaches to the study of religion and religious reform.
  4. Be able to engage in critical discussion of the issues raised by the subject.
  5. Have acquired critical and analytical skills, and the ability to communicate their views verbally and in writing (coherently, economically and rigorously), in a way which is appropriate to the advanced study of religious discourse within an historical framework.
  6. Be able to display an independent approach to research on the issues involved.
  7. Be able to demonstrate a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical issues involved.
Students taking the subject at Level 4 have the additional objectives of acquiring a greater degree of analytical skills and a greater understanding of the key conceptual and methodological issues involved in using different kinds of literary and historical works in the context of social history.


Research Essay (6000 words): 60%
Critical Journal (2000 words): 20%
Seminar presentation (1000 words): 20%
Students taking the subject at Level 4 will be expected to demonstrate more sophisticated analytical skills and submit work incorporating a higher level of competence in independent reading and research.

Contact hours

2 hours per week


A History or RLT Sequence