2023-2024 / HIST0009-3

Historical criticism seminar (Middle Ages)


15h Th, 30h Pr, 5d FT Tr. Pr.

Number of credits

 Master in history (120 ECTS)10 crédits 
 Master in history (60 ECTS)10 crédits 


Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu, Alain Marchandisse

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

All year long


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This seminar represents the final stage of a history student's education prior to the composition of their end-of-studies dissertation. It thus stands as a venue for the initial application of the entirety of skills acquired through the standard bachelor's curriculum and/or optionally within the Master's program, encompassing diverse areas such as paleography, bibliographic research, diplomatics, medieval Latin, Old and Middle French, and also iconography, archaeology, and art history.

It is mandatory for first-year Master's students in History (of all specializations) who wish to complete their end-of-studies dissertation in medieval history.

For the academic year 2023-2024, the seminar will focus on high-level encounters between sovereigns, princes, prelates, and potentates of public authorities and ecclesiastical institutions in Europe, from the 14th to the end of the 16th century. The specific themes of each session broadly align with the rapidly evolving research fields of political and diplomatic history, the history of performances and ceremonies, and the history of international law and institutions. A significant portion of the seminar will be dedicated to the foundational sciences of history: archivistics, diplomatics, and the analysis and critique of sources (texts, images, and objects). Select sessions will feature guest researchers specializing in these topics, both from the UR Transitions and from other institutions in Belgium and abroad. Lastly, whenever feasible, two on-site visits will be organized to comprehend the context of production and the materiality of the sources, as well as to explore issues related to the transmission, dissemination, and heritage valuation of scientific knowledge within society.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The student will be able to put into practice the techniques and methods of research in medieval history to which he or she was previously acquired with a view to carrying out an original personal work.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Successful completion of the course 'Exercises on Medieval History Topics, including Bibliographic Introduction - Level I' (HIST0018-1) is required.

Having taken the courses 'Medieval and Modern Paleography' (HIST0005-1) and/or 'Medieval Diplomatics' (HIST0003-1) is a prerequisite for students enrolled in the elective module 'Medieval and Modern History and Thought'. It is considered a 'valuable asset' for other students.

Students must possess excellent oral and written proficiency in the French language.

Having a basic understanding of Latin, Old French from the Late Middle Ages, and common foreign languages is deemed a valuable asset

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Recontextualization of historical events (principalities of the late Middle Ages, Hundred Years' War, Renaissance, fragmentation of the confessional unanimity of Christendom, implementation of resident diplomacy), primarily through readings.

Development of a critical paper of approximately thirty pages on a topic related to the seminar's theme.

The classes will involve a critical discussion regarding the choice of topic, the selection of sources, the compilation of the bibliography of works, and the implementation of data.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

The active participation of students in the courses is required.

Recommended or required readings

All recommended course materials will be uploaded to the eCampus virtual course platform as the year progresses.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam AND oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Additional explanations for written and oral assessment:

The evaluation will focus on participation in the class and its facilitation, the written assignment, and its oral discussion with the examiners.

During this assessment, the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • The quality and thoroughness of the literature research.
  • The quality of critical examination and interpretation of sources.
  • The quality of the posed questions and the depth of the issues addressed.
  • The quality of language usage.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Some sessions may be adjourned by mutual agreement with the students to allow each student to progress in his or her research.

In accordance with article 41 §. 2 of the General Regulations for Studies and Examinations, any student who has not participated in the activities declared inseparable from this course or has not submitted, within the set deadlines or in the prescribed form, the work required in the course will be declared inadmissible for the examination.


Prof. Dr. Alain Marchandisse, Senior Research Fellow of F.R.S.-FNRS

Département des Sciences historiques
Quai Roosevelt, 1b, B-4000 Liège
E-mail : alain.marchandisse@uliege.be

Office hours: by appointment (in-person or via video conference).

Dr. Jérémie Ferrer-Bartomeu, Research Associate of F.R.S.-FNRS

Département des Sciences historiques
Quai Roosevelt, 1b, B-4000 Liège
E-mail : jeremie.ferrer-bartomeu@uliege.be

Office hours: by appointment (in-person or via video conference).

Association of one or more MOOCs

There is no MOOC associated with this course.