• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest Health Medicine and the Body, History, European Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Mark Dawson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    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 have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Analyse 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; and
  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: 750 words (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Research Proposal: 750 words (10%) [Learning Outcomes 3, 4]
Research Essay: 5000 words (70%) [Learning Outcomes 1-5]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of seminars and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; andb) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST4010

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, eds., 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:
6 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3360
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
4355 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View

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