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Unit Overview


This unit explores the cultural and intellectual history of the period of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe (ca. 1450-1650). The intellectual life of humanists both within and outside universities will be explored in the context of the emerging technology of print. Students analyse the major beliefs and practices of the Reformation and Catholic Reformation movements, and their expression in written texts, art, music, literature, social experience and missionary contact. The rise of the nation state along with other major shifts in the political landscape, including wars both within and outside Europe, will be considered. Students will engage broadly with the history of science, religion, philosophy, literature, art, and emotions in the late medieval and early modern era. Students are given extensive opportunities to interpret original documents and artefacts across a broad geographical survey of Europe and in its interactions with Asia and the Americas. Students develop training in historiography by debating the key narratives of this period related to 'Renaissance' and 'Reformation', across Europe in the broader context of social, cultural, gender and intellectual approaches to the period.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic historiographical issues characteristic of the discipline of History through the example of the historiography of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe; (2) identify and evaluate the historiographical problems posed by historical interpretation of the cultural, religious and intellectual life of the early modern period; (3) demonstrate a detailed understanding of the period 1450 to 1650 in Europe; (4) demonstrate the ability to locate sources for research essays; and (5) present arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) primary source assessment; and (3) research essay with a self-developed annotated bibliography. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Kirk Essary
Unit rules
a Level 1 HIST
or GEND unit
or EURO1101 Europe Now: Cultures and Identities
HIST2012 Renaissance, Reformation, Revolt: Europe 1450–1650
Contact hours
Up to 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.