PG7037 Text and Method: Critical Thinking

For MRes, MPhil, First-Year PhD, and Taught Masters students (from specific programmes)

Semester 2.  Mondays.  11.00am - 1.00pm.  CACSSS Seminar Room, G27B, O'Rahilly Building.  See Timetable for more details.

This element of research training grounds students in a range of theoretical and material approaches to humanities research. The cases examined are largely located in the historical period from 1500 to 1800

The module examines critical themes in the culture of knowledge mainly in Europe, between 1500 and 1800.  Questions include:  how did human feeling contribute to knowledge?  What was nature, according to early modern people?  How was beauty recorded and protected?  What was the relation between philosophy and other kinds of knowing?  What role did religion play in the knowledge of the self and the world?  How was religious knowledge evaluated?  What were place, space and time, and how did such concepts change?  Theoretical as well as practical perspectives will be examined, and modern interpretations (Foucault, Toulmin, Ginzburg, Nussbaum, Bouwsma, Bendix, Darnton, Israel etc.) as well as interpretations by the early moderns.  The interests of the course will be moulded by the interests of participants, and bibliography will be formulated to accommodate participants’ needs and interests.

Documents and course material will be coordinated with the Blackboard VLE.

Assessment: submission of ongoing research or relevant professional document in agreement with course director. Assessments are due on the last day of class.

For further information contact Professor Brendan Dooley (

How to enrol: Please email your full name, student number, programme and year of study (eg PhD 3 Archaeology) to Karen Coughlan at  Once you have completed the assignment for this module you will be registered for the module

Mondays.  11.00am - 1.00pm.  CACSSS Seminar Room, G27B, O'Rahilly Building 


1.     Introduction. 23 January 2017

 2.      Media Histories. 30 January 2017

            selections from THE INVENTION OF NEWS: How the World Came to Know About Itself by Andrew Pettegree.  Illustrated. 445 pp. Yale University Press 2015

 3.      Historical psychology of emotions. 6 February 2017

           Translated selections from B. Dooley, Amore e guerra nel tardo Rinascimento (Polistampa, 2009)

 4.      Time and Narrative. 13 February 2017

           Stefania Tutino, Shadows of Doubt.  Language and Truth in Post Reformation Catholic Culture, Oxford, 2014.  selections.

 5.      Cognitive Cartographies. 20 February 2017

           J. B. Harley, “New England Cartography and the Native Americans,” The New Nature of Maps.  Essays in the History of Cartography, ed. P. Laxton              and J. H. Andrews, Hopkins 2001

 6.      Words and Things. 27 February 2017

           Paula Findlen, “Possessing the Past:  The Material World of the Italian Renaissance,” American Historical Review 103 (1998): 83-114

 7.      Truth and Power. 6 March 2017

           Barbara Shapiro, A Culture of Fact.  England, 1550-1720, Cornell, 2000, chap. 1.

 8.      Enlightenments Old and New. 13 March 2017

          Jonathan Israel, “Enlightenment! Which Enlightenment?”  Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 67, No. 3 (Jul., 2006), pp. 523-545

 9.      The Dangers of Knowledge. 20 March 2017

          B. Dooley, “Keep This Secret!  Renaissance Knowledge between Freedom and Restraint,” in Dooley, ed., Renaissance Now!

 10.  The Nature of Books.  27 March 2017

         From F. Redi, Experiments on the Generation of Insects, in B. Dooley, Italy in the Baroque (NY 1995):

 11.  Conclusion.  TBC

In order to submit the assignment and access content you must self-enrol on Blackboard for the module.

Instructions for Students to Self-Enrol on PG Module

Click the Courses tab at the top right of the screen >

Click Browse Course Cataloguein the Course Catalog box on the right and select the exact search settings below:

Course ID > Contains > 2017-PG7037

The module code must entered exactly (without spaces), and then click GO to the right of the code.

This displays a page listing the module.  Students must hover their mouse over the module code and click the down arrow that appears, then click Enroll.

Type the necessary Access Code 16177037 in the box displayed and click Submit.

Click OK on the lower right of the screen when the Successful Enrolment message displays and the module will open for you.

These steps only need to be completed once.  Following successful enrolment, the module will then display automatically in your My Courses listing

if you encounter any difficulties please email

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