HIST3011 The Vikings

6 points
Not available in 2019UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
In the eighth to twelfth centuries, England, Normandy, Ireland, Iceland and the Ukraine were colonised by a people we now call the Vikings—Norse-speaking Scandinavians whose trade routes dominated the early medieval world. Yet histories of the period often marginalise the Vikings, considering them only as raiders and interlopers in the 'civilised' Latinate cultures of Continental Europe. This unit sets the Vikings at centre stage, tracing their societies, culture and history through their own sagas, poetry, art and archaeology, as well as through accounts of them by their contemporaries. It focuses particularly on the best methods of researching Viking history through a range of primary sources—literature, histories and archaeological material.
Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic methodological issues characteristic of the discipline of History through the example of the Vikings; (2) identify and evaluate the methodological problems posed by the study of Scandinavian society and culture; (3) demonstrate a detailed understanding of Scandinavian society and culture in the period c.700 to 1200 by (a) describing how it operated (particularly in regard to self-identity and the writing of history, social and gender divisions, honour and law and religious beliefs); (b) by comparing Scandinavian and other early medieval societies; and (c) by analysing the impact of Scandinavian trading, raiding and colonisation; (4) analyse a range of different kinds of primary evidence for Viking history (e.g. textual, archaeological, artistic) using appropriate methodologies which demonstrate a high-level understanding of the genres in which early medieval Scandinavians represented their world; (5) relate their independent interpretations to complex historiographical debates about the impact of Scandinavian trading, raiding and colonisation; and (6) present advanced arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a primary source exercise; (2) a 3000-word research essay with critical bibliography; and (3) tutorial/workshop attendance and participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Kirk Essary
Unit rules
a Level 2 HIST unit
EURO2201 European Civilisation
GEND2902 Men and Masculinities in History
HIST2285 The Vikings; HIST3385 The Vikings
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.