HS1BEL-Belonging: architecture and identity in Renaissance Florence

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Paul Davies

Email: p.davies@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY.

The aim of this option is to introduce you to the idea that architecture can be used as a source for the understanding of history. Indeed, architecture can be explored as a way of investigating a wide range of historical ideas, but this option considers just one – the notion that buildings act as a means of reinforcing our sense of identity. Architecture does this today and has always done so, often in strikingly different ways. The module aims to heighten your awareness of the importance of architecture in constructing our sense of identity.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • identify the sources of the topic in question

  • trace its historical development

  • be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of this development

  • understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed coursework

  • demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims:
•to encourage students to think independently
•to help students develop good oral and written communication skills
•to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations
•to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:
This module will explore the role of architecture in ‘constructing’ identity by focusing on Renaissance Florence. It will consider how architecture made a Florentine feel Florentine. It will explore how buildings were used as tools to represent sets of ideas, in particular the concepts of national identity, of family and individual identity, of the city’s place in history and its sense of self-importance, and of Aristotelian magnificence. As you will discover, architecture also helped create a public image – an ‘identity’ – for many different parts of society, such as political organisations, guilds, hospitals, monastic communities as well as families and individuals. The module will investigate about how architecture was read at the time and what particular features would have provoked responses in fifteenth-century viewers.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 74
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Written exam 50% 

one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written assignment 50%:

1 written assignment of c. 1,250 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin, by 12 noon on the submission deadline in Week 11 specified on the module site on Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 11 September 2018


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