• Class Number 4355
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Mark Dawson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
    • Dr Mark Dawson
SELT Survey Results

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.

Required Resources

Other than the expectation that students will either print out copies of the primary sources for each week’s seminar, or bring them in e-form on a laptop or tablet, there are no materials (e.g. published textbooks) required for purchase for this course. Secondary readings for seminar preparation will also be available in Wattle as an electronic reading brick.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • individual
  • written
  • verbal feedback.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Excessive Word-Count

A 10% allowance for submitted work, in addition to the figure listed for each assignment, is permitted. For example, candidates may write up to 5500 words for the Research Essay. Thereafter, a penalty of 10% applies. 

Additional referencing requirements

History requires that your essays footnote all references and summarise these references in a bibliography. References should follow Chicago style, a brief summary of which appears below. A full manual is also available online via the Library catalogue.

Presentation and Referencing for Essays

Basics of Format

  • Use a regular 12-point font such as Arial, Palatino or Times. Footnotes can be 10-point.

  • Use double-line spacing and try to leave a minimum of 2.5cm/1 inch margins. Footnotes are again the exception – these should be single-line spaced.

  • Number the pages clearly, preferably in the top or bottom right-hand margin.

  • If more than 10%-over/under the suggested word-limit, consult me. In History, we count everything in the main body of the essay, including direct quotations. Footnotes and bibliography are excluded. Thus, only in rare instances should your main text offer the full title of a monograph, for instance. Usually you leave such details for the footnotes.

  • In the submitted version, any working subheadings should be converted into the opening, topic sentence of paragraphs.

  • Make sure to append your bibliography (see below for more advice).

  • If you wish, you may add a postscript to your essays which reflects on the writing of the essay in 200 words or so, identifying aspects of the reading and writing which you found intriguing/effective or problematic/difficult; perhaps explaining why you took a particular approach or suggesting other future questions on the same topic. The postscript is optional and does not count toward your word-limit. It’s designed to aid my assessment of your work. Its main purpose is not to excuse technical troubles with the essay (e.g. several significant works were absent from the Reserve collection and could not be consulted for the essay). Such difficulties should be resolved in consultation with me as soon as possible.

Basics of Style

  • centuries: when a time period is used as an adjective it is convention to hyphenate/compound (so: seventeenth-century London). When a time period is used as a noun then the hyphen is dropped (so: during the seventeenth century, London became the largest city in western Europe).
  • contractions: avoid these. For example, instead of couldn’t, stick with could not. Similarly, do without etc (or even the full term of et cetera). This either assumes your reader gets the wider point, or suggests laziness on the part of the writer.
  • passive voice: avoid writing of things done to/by people e.g. It has been argued by Bernard Bailyn that... . The key reason for avoiding the passive voice is length. It’s far more concise (if not grammatically nice) to write simply: Bernard Bailyn once argued that...
  • person: avoid both the second person (e.g. you can see that). Instead, use either the third person (e.g. it can be argued that...; one might suggest that) or first person plural (e.g. from these we can see that...). If your own opinion, on the basis of original research, is called for, first person singular (I) is acceptable.
  • possessives: (or use of apostrophe-s). [It’s] is only ever short for it is. Hence: the monarchy was at the height of its sovereign power during the sixteenth century. And similarly, a singular possessive would be (the Spanish monarchy’s power), a plural possessive would be (The Hapsburgs’ power). If the noun ends in ‘s’ (e.g. King Charles) then either King Charles’s demise or King Charles’ demise.
  • split infinitives: some still consider it bad form to write: ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before’, that is, an adverb (boldly) intervenes between the verb form (to go). Better to write: ‘to go boldly where no one has gone before.’
  • tenses: your essays write about the past, so use the past tense when referring to early modern people/events. By contrast, it is conventional to use the present tense when referring to scholars in print or still alive (e.g. David Eltis contends that....). Also, try to avoid shifting tense midsentence.

Basics of Structure

  • Keep the submitted work simple: a clearly expressed and structured argument that makes use of adequate illustrative examples and details (in most assignments 2-3 well-chosen examples for each main point should be sufficient).

  • In the main, introductions should outline the approach or thesis (argument, structure and/or method) of the essay. Conclusions should sum up the position of the essay. So, how its evaluation relates to the set topic (e.g. does it disagree strongly and, if so, why).

  • Edit a final draft as a paper hard-copy whenever possible. Editing on-screen can mean unintentional additions to, or omissions from, work. When editing look to eliminate slang, repetition, convoluted sentences, and ambiguity.


The essential function of a footnote is to allow readers to work their own way back to the sources you have used when writing your essay. For History this can make for quite involved references, so we ask that you use consecutively numbered footnotes at the bottom of pages and avoid either endnotes or abbreviated references placed in the main text.

When it comes to the composition of footnotes you will inevitably encounter subtle differences between courses and disciplines. Ultimately, however, your footnotes must provide ‘workable’ references and follow the same format throughout your essay.

The School of History has adopted standard Chicago style. For the manual see online.

At the first quote from a work, provide full details of author, title, and publication before the page reference. So:

Book: Mark S. Dawson, Gentility and the Comic Theatre of Late Stuart London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 222.

Journal Essays: Mark S. Dawson, “Histories and Texts: Refiguring the Diary of Samuel Pepys”, Historical Journal, 43, 2 (2000), 414-16.

Essays in Edited Collections: Mark S. Dawson, “ ‘Cast thy humble slough, and appeare fresh’: Reappraising the Advent of Early Modern English Whiteness, c.1600-1750”, in Historicising Whiteness, ed. L. Boucher, et al. (Melbourne: RMIT Publishing and Melbourne University Press, 2007), 355ff.

For subsequent citations of the same work simply use surname and brief title before page number.

The exception is if the citations immediately follow each other. For instance, if the work cited in your fourth footnote is identical to that mentioned in the third, then you can use ‘ibid.’, followed by page reference. So:

Dawson, Gentility, 21-8.

Dawson, “Histories and Texts”, 425.

For an important reminder of how proper footnoting helps you to stay on the right side of rules regarding plagiarism, see below.


Essentially, this is an alphabetical compilation, by author’s surname, of the sources you have used to write your essay. You should list only works cited in footnotes or those which you can readily demonstrate as having been read for the essay. Listing general reference works (e.g. dictionaries or encyclopaedias) is typically not required, nor are numbers or bullet points used to mark off each entry.

At this level (and certainly for a research essay), you can expect to divide the bibliography into smaller sections indicating the types of sources used. For early modern history, a common hierarchy would be:

Primary Sources

  • Manuscripts (for anyone using these, please ask for further advice)
  • Printed Works (from the period itself but usually referenced as you would any other book)
  • Modern Editions (particularly when someone has transcribed a manuscript for you or otherwise edited the primary source)

Secondary Sources

  • Books
  • Essays (either from journals or collected into a book)
  • Unpublished Works (such as an Honours thesis)

How to Reference Sources Read in Facsimile

It is both fortunate and unfortunate that many sources, secondary and primary, are available to you as photographic/digital scans rather than in the original. We will be discussing this issue further in seminars, but, generally speaking, you do not need to cut and paste lines of hypertext into your references.

If the item is a scan of an original hard-copy (e.g. a 1999 journal essay read on JSTOR) or a photographic pdf (e.g. of a book published in 1625 now residing in the Huntington Library, California), there is no great need to reference its URL (i.e. location on the Web). You can cite it just as if you had consulted the hard copy. Why? Because minimal editorial intervention is at work. The JSTOR scan, for instance, should match that of the 1999 printed journal that might otherwise be on the shelves at Chifley. No one has transcribed the original into a new form or edited out particular sections of the original (and we can look beyond the long odds that a scanning error was made). By contrast, if one browsed the web and found a site where someone had typed out a modern full-text transcription of the 1625 book, one would have to cite the website if quoting from the transcription.


The University has a Code of Practice on Academic Honesty. This code prohibits obvious forms of misconduct in formal examinations (e.g. taking notes into a closed-book exam). For written coursework, however, the main offense to avoid is plagiarism.

While plagiarism has a fairly simple definition, of presenting someone else’s work in such a way that it appears your own, each semester we will find students who have breached University rules. Sometimes the breach is deliberate (e.g. one student has copied from another, a student has submitted the same essay for two different courses), but usually it’s unintentional. Full details of the rules should be read at: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessmentsexams/academic-honesty-plagiarism

Students unsure of how these rules apply to their own work should either discuss them with the course convener or visit the Academic Skills and Learning Centre. Below, a short summary of key ways to avoid attributing work to yourself inadvertently.

It bears emphasis that most unintended misattribution can be avoided/occurs at the note-taking stage of essay preparation:

When you copy even a short phrase from your reading and then use it in your essay, the phrase must be marked clearly with quotation marks followed by a precise footnote. A first step to achieving this precision is taking notes which might, for example, keep a running tally of the page numbers down the margin and use red ink to highlight what is a word-for-word copy from the text.

When you summarize another author’s argument, or paraphrase their ideas using your own words, you must still indicate this is what you are doing. While you can sometimes begin this by referring to an author in the main body of your essay (e.g. Bernard Bailyn contends that...), the surest way to stay on the straight and narrow is to footnote your summary or paraphrase. Instead of having a direct quote and reference to single page however, your essay will refer to a page range (e.g. pp.211-25) within Bailyn’s work which your essay is condensing.

When your referencing of a (primary) source is derived from someone else’s research, your essay must show this clearly. For example, you should not lift reference to a late 17th-century letter from a scholarly monograph and pretend it’s your own; quote from it as though you had been to the archive and read the source for yourself. Instead, an example of the kind of format to use would be:

Lord Fauconberg to Lord Castleton, 23 October 1683, cited in Mark S. Dawson, Gentility and the Comic Theatre of Late Stuart London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 155.

The words ‘cited in’ signal that your own quote from a 1683 letter comes courtesy of reference to it by someone else. Curious readers of your essay can, in turn, use your footnote to track back further to the letter’s original location.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introductions – what is Body History?
2 An Anatomy of Early Modern Medicine
3 Differences of Sex/Gender Historiographical review – option (see Assessment Task 2 for details)
4 Differences of Class/Race Historiographical review – option (see Assessment Task 2 for details)
5 Research workshop
6 Food and Disease Historiographical review – option (see Assessment Task 2 for details) Research Proposals due Thursday 04 April 5pm
7 Religion Historiographical review – option (see Assessment Task 2 for details)
8 Manners and Clothing
9 Presentations and/or student choice of topic
10 Death and Discipline
11 Senses and Emotions
12 Conclusion: Embodiment as Deep History? Final Research Essays due Tuesday 11 June 5pm

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Participation 10 % 31/05/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2, 5
Historiographical Review 15 % 25/03/2019 08/04/2019 1, 2
Research Proposal 15 % 04/04/2019 18/04/2019 3, 4
Research Essay 60 % 11/06/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


As described for Assessment Task #1.


None – a research essay (Assessment Task #4) takes the place of a final exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Class Participation

Participation in fewer than six seminars will result in a lower grade.

Contributions can include, but are not limited to, informed discussion of the week’s focus questions; critique of the week’s primary sources; comment on independent reading in the historiography.

Given the emphasis on participation, you may compensate for two absences by providing written evidence of engagement with the week’s readings. If your circumstances (e.g. a chronic medical condition) otherwise prevent regular attendance and participation, we should discuss alternative arrangements that might, for example, make use of a Wattle forum.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 25/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Historiographical Review

750 words, 15% of the final grade.

Due: 10 calendar days after the related seminar – i.e. the second Monday. For example, a book discussed at Week 4’s seminar (March 15) would be due March 25.

This exercise aims to give you practice engaging closely with historiography by asking you to choose a monograph and write an informed, scholarly review of it. Therefore, your review will probably be rather different from book reports you may have written or read before (“This book was enjoyable…. I liked it because…”). 

Some suggested titles from the first part of the course are:

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

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

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 (2012).

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

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

Finch, M.L., Dissenting Bodies: Corporealities in Early New England (2009).

Goetz, R.A., The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race (2012).

You may nominate other titles on the basis of your own interests. However, you would need to select a monograph study, preferably published after 1990, and not a collection of scholarly essays. Your review should:

  • Assume a particular audience. In this case, assume your review is for someone interested in the same type and field of history as you are. If you wish, you may also frame the review in terms of monograph’s usefulness for developing your own research project. You might suggest, for example, that the monograph will serve as a model, or as a main point of comparison.

  • Summarize the book’s argument or thesis. This is not so much a synopsis of the book’s topic or content (e.g. “This is a book about physiognomy in Renaissance Europe”), as a terse summary of the claims that your author makes for their topic (e.g. “Porter argues that physiognomy became popular during the Renaissance because...”).

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis. To do this, you’ll be posing the same sorts of questions you ask yourself when framing your research proposal:
  • what primary sources are available/used? Are these sources (either types or archived collections of) which have gone largely unexamined until now? If the sources are not new in themselves, have they been interpreted by a fresh pair of eyes and put to innovative use?
  • what is the relation of the book to the wider historiography on its main topic? Has the author filled a gap in our knowledge? To what extent does the book seek to revise our current understanding?
  • how well is the book put together? In other words, there’s a place for modest comment on style, structure, format and presentation if these help or hinder the book’s argument; its coherence, comprehensibility, and comprehensiveness.

  • Keep to the word-limit. Part of the art of a review is exactly that – writing a short, incisive critique. Waffle is probably a sign that you haven’t reached the heart of the matter.
  • paraphrase tersely and use direct quotes from the book very sparingly, ‘anchoring’ these with accurate, precise page references in brackets in the main text.
  • you may occasionally need to refer to other book(s) on the same topic, especially when sketching out the wider historiography and the connections to your proposed research. You may make careful use of footnote references to refer to these other books.

Head your review with details of author, title, and publication. That way you can refer to the book/author under discussion succinctly thereafter.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 04/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4

Research Proposal

750 words, 15% of final grade.

Due: 04 April @ 5pm.

Your proposal should be for an essay based on original materials, not on a synthesis of secondary analysis. It cannot cover a large and sweeping field, but needs to be a smaller topic within that broader field. It should include: 

What’s it about? the question/hypothesis for investigation and an elaboration of your angle or approach.

Why does it matter? a discussion of the theoretical or historiographical issues the topic raises.

Who cares? a preliminary bibliography of secondary sources that establishes the intellectual or scholarly context of your investigation i.e. a literature review identifying main themes or possible problems with current scholarship.

What/where’s the evidence? an assessment of accessibility and size; a description of your archive.

What other connections could you make? speculate on additional evidence you might track down or how your approach might draw on those used in another field.

Please append a bibliography (which does not otherwise count towards the word-limit). Divide it into two categories, Primary Sources and Secondary Sources. Subdivide the categories as/if appropriate. For example, Primary Sources would list original materials you’re going to consult in facsimile/via a database, followed by those you might read in published/edited collations of material.

It is important that you make effective use of material available in, or resources accessible from, Canberra. While you need not read every page of every source at this stage, it is crucial that you do a fair amount of research in preparing your proposal. Do not attempt to write the proposal by using one source or by ‘re-writing’ out of another book. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 11/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

5000 words, 60% of final grade.

Due: 11 June @ 5pm.

This is the product of your archival research, critical thinking, and imaginative use of sources. Please be sure to:

head your first page with your specific research question as well as a proposed title, as if you were writing an article for publication (Sometimes a question will work well as a title; sometimes not).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

Online submission only is required. For this, you use the Wattle course site. On its main page you will see:

  • instructions regarding the use of Turnitin for all assessable coursework submissions, and links to Turnitin dropboxes for each of the assignments.
  • please remember to omit coversheets and any references to your name or student ID. Turnitin generates a coversheet with unique identifiers for you.

Any student wishing an exemption from the use of Turnitin should:

  • write to the course convenor at least 2 weeks prior to the submission date for the assignment.
  • be prepared to submit hard copies of all references cited in their essay and/or research notes in the case of archival sources.

Submissions should ideally be submitted: • double-lined spaced on numbered A4-sized pages.

  • in Word .doc/.docx format (export to this format if using Apple’s Pages).

Please be sure to retain copies of your essay notes, drafts, and the final proofs for your own records. 

Hardcopy Submission

Not required.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Graded essays will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Graded coursework cannot be amended and resubmitted for reassessment. 

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Mark Dawson

Research Interests

Early modern Anglo/European social and cultural history

Dr Mark Dawson

Friday 16:00 17:00
Friday 16:00 17:00
Dr Mark Dawson

Research Interests

Dr Mark Dawson

Friday 16:00 17:00
Friday 16:00 17:00

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