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social history

Essays should be approximately 1500 words, not including the bibliography. The essay is due in Week 5 or 6: Friday 19 February (for those doing the Tuesday class) or Thursday 25 February (Thursday class). The essay should be handed in via electronic submission on Blackboard. When you’re researching any essay or presentation (for me or anyone else), I advise you to do a subject search in the Regent’s library catalogue, on Google and on an academic search engine (either via the Regent’s University/Webster virtual library, or via your home institution’s library). I can give further guidance on this.
What is the evidence for prehistoric London? Note: you should visit the ‘London before London’ gallery of the Museum of London to research this: the primary source is the archaeological evidence. The best book on the subject is N. Merriman’s Prehistoric London. My article on the subject, ‘The prehistory of the City of London: myths and methodologies’ (Archaeological Journal 160, 2004, 23–43) is on the course Blackboard site. Be wary of placing too much reliance on the prehistoric chapter (1) in Peter Ackroyd’s London: A Biography.
What sort of town was Roman Londinium? Note: search under ‘roman london’ in the library catalogue. Give preference to books by the London archaeologists G. Milne and D. Perring. Use the Museum of London Roman gallery and website as a resource. I suggest that you don’t rely too heavily on John Morris’ book Londinium: he wrote it in the early 1970s before the big wave of late 20th-century London archaeology (even though the library edition says ‘1999’). The library book Roman Britain: A Sourcebook (S. Ireland, 1996) is a good anthology of primary sources.
What was the role of religion in medieval London? Note: you’ll need to think about the various aspects of religion in London: parish churches, popular religious belief, monasteries…. A good new book with primary archaeological evidence is the Museum of London book Religion in Medieval London: Archaeology and Belief. Read the first chapter of S. Brigden’s London and the Reformation: this introduces religious practice in medieval London (before the Reformation). The medieval chapter (2) in Porter’s London: A Social History is a good introduction. And Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars is the best book on medieval Catholicism and popular piety. An accessible primary historical source for medieval religion in London is the London Record Society volume on the records of St Mary at Hill (search under LRS, St Mary at Hill, on the British History Online website).
How did London experience the Elizabethan age? Start with the Tudor/Elizabethan chapter (3) of Porter’s London: A Social History. The Museum of London galleries are good: they have material on the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the medieval gallery and you can move on to the next gallery, ‘War, Plague and Fire’. There’s a good survey of Elizabethan London in the ‘London’ chapter (1) of J. Bate and D. Thornton, Shakespeare: Staging the World. For an emphasis on drama and the archaeological evidence, look at J Bowsher’s Shakespeare’s London Theatreland. Lawrence Manley’s London in the Age of Shakespeare is good anthology of primary sources and descriptions. Try and find some nice visual primary sources such as maps or paintings.
• Your ideas and critical analysis
• Use of primary evidence as well as other historians’ work
• Clarity of structure; grammar, spelling, punctuation, general sense
• Consistent use of referencing and bibliography

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