School of History

HST6354 – The Supernatural in Modern Britain

Module code: HST6354

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Rhodri Hayward

This module provides a broad introduction to the changing ideas of the self and supernatural nineteenth-century Britain. Using a mixture of primary and secondary sources, it will look at how supernatural events - from ghostly encounters through to astral projection were experienced and understood across the course of the nineteenth century. It will pose questions about the moral and political impact of these experiences and the different models of selfhood that were deployed in making sense of them, paying particular attention to the interaction between social, medical and religious history. Students model a holistic approach to the study of the supernatural, drawing on religious, mind sciences, and historical perspectives. They analyse and interrogate claims made in mesmeric, hypnotic and psychical research, and critically evaluate different understandings of the supernatural, the imagination, and the nature of selfhood.

Assessment: Essay 1 (2,000 words) [50%] and Essay 2 (2,000 words) [50%]
Level: 6