Examine the history of urban health in the Middle Ages Examine the history of urban health in the Middle Ages

Academic Lead - Dr Joy Hawkins

By using the unparalleled riches of Norwich’s medieval buildings and landscape, students will investigate standards of living alongside patterns of disease and the relative effectiveness of both individual and corporate actions in halting the spread of the plague within the medieval city. Supplementary iconographical, archaeological and documentary evidence from other cities, including Coventry, Winchester, York, London and Paris will also be used.

Plague and Disease in the Medieval City is an interdisciplinary module which examines the health and illnesses of the urban population in England and Northern Europe during the later Middle Ages. Students will examine the main influences upon the developments within medicine and its practice from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

The module considers the impact of medical theory on urban politics and planning and the relationship of medicine with the Church, notably through the medium of religious iconography. Students will assess the influences upon and developments within medicine and its practice throughout the later Middle Ages and look at how the wider changes in Europe were reflected in changes in Norwich during the same period.

By the end of this modules students will:

  • Be familiar with the main themes of European medieval medicine. 
  • Understand the influences upon and developments within medicine and its practice from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries. 
  • Gain an understanding of how we can utilise material culture alongside documentary evidence to examine themes in medical history.

Field Trips

Field trips will take advantage of the medieval landscape of Norwich and Norfolk, with trips in the previous years including:

  • Norwich Cathedral
  • Mousehold Heath
  • Dragon Hall
  • Norwich Market Place
  • The Great Hospital
  • Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham Abbey, Walsingham
  • St Julian’s Shrine, Norwich

Prerequisites

Students should come equipped with an interest in learning about medicine in medieval cities. No specific knowledge or experience is required.

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