Specialized heuristics and exercises on questions of history : the Middle Ages

lhist1432  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Specialized heuristics and exercises on questions of history : the Middle Ages
4 credits
15.0 h + 15.0 h
Bertrand Paul;
The "Exercises" are designed as a practical application of the principles of critical history and as a complement to the course of Heuristic of the Middle Ages to the extent that they presuppose recourse to bibliographical and heuristic tools. Knowledge of Latin is desireable.

The prerequisite(s) for this Teaching Unit (Unité d’enseignement – UE) for the programmes/courses that offer this Teaching Unit are specified at the end of this sheet.
Main themes
The student is progressively introduced to working tools, synthesizing works and important monographs, as well as the typology of sources for the period considered. These exercises are designed to complement the corresponding heuristics course. During group exercise sessions, various sources related to the period concerned are successively presented and analysed, on the basis of a preliminary, personal work by students.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


By the end of the course, the students should be capable of carrrying out documentary research for the medieval period, situating it in the context of the problems analysed as finely as possible and grasping the link between the problem and recourse to documentation.

By the end of the exercises, the student should be capable of successfully carrying out in-depth study of documents related to medieval history (nature of the source, contents, critical problems, interest).


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Heuristic is a skill and know-how helping us familiarize ourselves with a field of knowledge and, perhaps, make it progress. Heuristic of the Middle Ages introduces students to documentary research procedures particular to the western Middle Ages : typology of sources, recourse to bibliographical tools, ways of analysing documents. After a few sessions dedicated to basic concepts of medieval heuristic and the principal working tools, the course consists in analysing documents of various types (diplomatic, narrative, figurative). We set out the specific works and students prepare the analysis of these documents from week to week.
Exercises : Contents : Rather than rapidly taking up many categories of sources, we have chosen to study a certain document in-depth (for example, a manuscript, a charter ...) in all its complexity.
This study involves the following aspects : - elements of typology; - contextualization; - critical problems; - methods of analysis.
Teaching methods
After a few introductory sessions, each student begins his/her personal, step by step, analysis of a medieval document.
Evaluation methods
Oral Examination with recourse to the principal working instruments.
Exercises : based on a work written by the students.
Other information
Support : Student Notes - syllabus (a text) including a selected basic bibliography and documentary dossiers
Teaching : the professor and, should need arise, assistants assigned by the Department. Library work sessions are planned to complement the course.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in History

Minor in History

Minor in Medieval Studies