HIST3017 Mysticism, Melancholy and Madness

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (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
This unit explores the emotions, beliefs and thought structures of people in pre-modern Europe 1100–1800. Drawing on methods from cultural history and the history of mentalities, we examine a range of questions such as: Were medieval women mystics who only ate the Eucharist 'anorexic'? Were Englishmen more prone to melancholy than their continental counterparts in Elizabethan times? Why were some early modern delusions, e.g. the belief that one was made of glass or clay, attributed to 'hypochondria', and others to demonic possession? In short, how were altered states of consciousness—from depression to divine illumination—understood, represented and treated, from medieval to early modern times?
Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic methodological issues characteristic of the discipline of History; (2) describe, assess and evaluate methodological issues used in the study of mentalities in pre-modern Europe; (3) construct a logical argument (in written and in oral form); (4) demonstrate detailed understanding of developments in the history of mentalities, with particular reference to the history of altered states of consciousness, and an appreciation of the historiographical interpretations that have been advanced to explain them; (5) relate their independent source interpretations to the complex historiographical debates about histories of mentalities and histories of emotions; 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) tutorial participation and (2) written assignments. 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)
Professor Yasmin Haskell
Unit rules
Any Level 2 History
Level 2 Medieval and Early Modern Studies unit
EURO2201 Civilisation and Barbarism in European Cultural History.
MEMS2215 Mysticism, Melancholy and Madness
Contact hours
Workshop: up to 2 hours
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • 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.
  • 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 via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.