Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
Monash Passport categoryInternational Short Field Experience (Explore Program)
OfferedNot offered in 2014
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Peter Howard


This is an international study program that requires an application to be enrolled - see the Arts Prato page for further information http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/prato/
Previously coded HYM5840


This unit will examine in detail a range of texts written during the late medieval and renaissance periods in Italy. Some may be canonical, for instance Dante's 'Divine Comedy' and Machiavelli's 'The Prince'. Others will represent literary genres popular at the time: vernacular letters, diaries and sermons etc. In particular, this unit will draw on the resources of the Archivio di Stato of Prato, and the 'Archivio Datini Online' making maximal use of the digitised documents available through this portal. Texts will be read from a variety of historiographical perspectives, and considered within the appropriate historical contexts.


Students who successfully complete this unit:

  1. Will have a thorough knowledge of the text(s) chosen for study.
  2. Will have gained an understanding of different genres of text circulating in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (chronicle, letter, diary, tract, sermon, poem, play, dialogue, treatise, monument, visual representation).
  3. Will have gained a grounding in core skills for Medieval and Renaissance Studies with respect to archives, manuscripts and palaeography.
  4. Will have developed a capacity to analyze the processes which underpinned the construction of particular texts.
  5. Will have developed the capacity to detect the resonances of language and code embedded in particular texts and their relationship to social context.
  6. Will have developed the capacity to read 'against the grain' in relation to the Medieval and Renaissance Italian social, political and social contexts.
  7. Will be able to engage in critical discussion of texts in relation to the urban context of Italian Medieval and Renaissance Society.

Students taking the subject at Level 5 have the additional objectives of acquiring a greater degree of analytical skills and a greater understanding of the key conceptual and methodological issues involved in using different kinds of literary and historical works in the context of social history.


Essay related work: 60%
Class related written work: 20%
Seminar preparation and presentation: 20%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Clayton on-campus: one 2-hour seminar per week;
Prato: 4 hours per day over 5 days in December with follow-up seminars at Clayton during February