• Class Number 4369
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Mark Dawson
    • Dr Mark Dawson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
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:

  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.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources


Candidates may wish to borrow or download from the Library one or more of the titles listed under Assessment Task #2.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introductions – what is Body History? Historiography
2 An Anatomy of Early Modern Medicine Bibliography and early print
3 Differences of Sex/Gender Digital sources
4 Differences of Class/Race Manuscripts
5 Research Workshop
6 Food and Disease Palaeography
7 Religion Alternative sources
8 Manners and Clothing Alternative sources
9 [Student choice of seminar topic] Presentations
10 Death and Discipline Writing
11 Senses and Emotions Writing
12 Embodiment as Deep History? Conclusion

Tutorial Registration


Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Participation 10 % * * 1, 2, 5
Historiographical Review 15 % * * 1,2
Research Proposal 15 % 01/04/2021 15/04/2021 3,4
Research Essay 60 % 15/06/2021 01/07/2021 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 under Assessment.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Class Participation

·       10% of the final grade.

·       Due: continuous. 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 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Historiographical Review

·       750 words, 15% of the final grade.

·       Due: 10 days after the related seminar – i.e. the second Monday. For example, a book discussed at Week 4’s seminar (Friday March 19) would be due 5pm Monday, March 29.

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: 01/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 15/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Research Proposal

·       750 words, 15% of final grade.

·       Due: 1 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: 15/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research Essay

·       5000 words, 60% of final grade.

·       Due: 15 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 the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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 after 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

Via Wattle/Turnitin

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

Not permitted

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

By Appointment
Dr Mark Dawson

Research Interests

Dr Mark Dawson

By Appointment

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