• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Mark Dawson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This seminar is intended as a broadly conceived introduction to the early modern history of the human body. Candidates should not expect a concentration on learned notions of the body. Our focus is wider, as we will be engaging in, and with, socio-cultural historiography. We will be surveying popular beliefs and meanings, everyday practices and social consequences, surrounding human physicality during the early modern period, particularly in terms of their relation to class, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and race. Of equal importance will be the issues of how (and why) historians go about recovering the history of the body. While the early modern Anglophone world is our main point of departure, candidates will be free to focus their attention comparatively on other regions of Western Europe.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze the historical and socio-cultural contingency of human physicality (rather than assume it is entirely natural or timeless).
  2. Speak, argue, and write about key themes and concepts in early modern socio-cultural history.
  3. Identify and transcribe sources from the period, using them to reconstruct beliefs, ideas, and attitudes.
  4. Design and execute a research project in early modern socio-cultural history.
  5. Provide and respond to feedback in the process of identifying and formulating solutions to complex historical questions.

Indicative Assessment

Class Participation: (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 5]

Historiographical Review: 1500 words (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]

Research Proposal: 1500 words (10%) [Learning Outcomes 3, 4]

Research Essay – draft version: 3500 words (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]

Research Essay – final version: 5000 words (50%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


260 hours in total:

3 contact hours per week (1 x 2 hour reading seminar and 1 x1 hour workshop) for 13 weeks.

Students are expected to spend an additional 17 hours per week completing assigned readings, conducting research, and preparing for assessments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), or completion of 144 units towards the Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts).

Prescribed Texts

An e-brick consisting of primary material and scholarly essays will be compiled and made available on Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Toulalan, S. and K.Fisher, The Routledge History of Sex and the Body: 1500 to the Present (2013).

Porter, R., Flesh in the Age of Reason (2003).

Bryson, A., From Courtesy to Civility. Changing Codes of Conduct in Early Modern England (1998).

Chaplin, J.E., Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676 (2001).

Earle, R., The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492-1700        (2012).

Feerick, J., Strangers in Blood. Relocating Race in the Renaissance (2010).

Gowing, L., Common Bodies. Women, Touch and Power in Seventeenth-Century England (2003).

Kuchta, D., The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity. England, 1550-1850 (2002).

Laqueur, T., Making Sex. Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990).

Newton, H., The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720 (2012).

Stein, C., Negotiating the French Pox in Early Modern Germany (2008).

Assumed Knowledge

Completion of a cognate major



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
12 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $5436
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $7752
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3991 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions