Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The Order of St John 1530-1798: A Cultural History Approach

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit is intended to provide students with insights into various aspects of the Order in early modern times. Each lecture will be a case study aimed at teasing out a particular theme from the Order’s early modern history. Students will be introduced to a historical approach known as ‘cultural history’ and encouraged to reflect about ways in which this could be applied to the study of the Order. Topics to be covered in this study-unit include (among others):

• An introduction to cultural history
• Childhood history and becoming a Hospitaller
• Hierarchy and patriarchy
• Age and seniority
• The influence of Protestantism
• The impact of the Counter-Reformation
• The role of magic
• The Hospitaller body
• Gender and the Hospitallers
• War and violence
• Interaction with the non-European world
• Hospitallers and urban development


• To offer students insights into the history of the Order of St John, from a cultural history perspective;
• To highlight developments in the Order's history over the period 1530-1798;
• To make students aware of divergent points-of-view about history as a discipline and the Order of St John as a subject;
• To underscore the interaction between the Order and the various environments in which it operated;
• To alert students about varying interpretations of the past.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• explain what cultural history means and give examples of how it can inform their understanding of the past;
• highlight and analyze key themes in the history of the Order of St John within a specific time-frame and geographical setting;
• within the context of a written test situation, describe developments in the history of the Order of St John and critically appraise how cultural history can shape interpretations of such developments.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• read critically and selectively and make sense of a range of secondary sources;
• navigate with confidence through online resources and understand how to distinguish between generic web sites and serious academic tools for the study of history;
• distinguish between primary and secondary sources;
• write an essay with a clear structure and logical presentation of arguments.

All of these skills are transferable and will prove useful to students in a variety of fields and career avenues.

Reading List

On cultural history:
• Jacob Burckhardt, (1860) The civilization of the Renaissance in Italy,
• Lynn Hunt (ed.), (1989) The new cultural history, (Berkeley)
• Roger Chartier, (1993) Cultural history: Between practices and representations, (Cambridge)
• Peter Burke, (1997) Varieties of cultural history, (Cambridge)
• Peter Burke, (2004) What is cultural history?, (Cambridge)

On early modern Europe:
• Euan Cameron ed., (1999) Early modern Europe: An Oxford history, (Oxford)
• R. Po-Chia Hsia, (1999) The world of Catholic renewal 1540-1770, (Cambridge)
• Ulinka Rublack, (2005) Reformation Europe, (Cambridge)
• Merry E. Wiesner, (2006) Early modern Europe, 1450-1789, (Cambridge)

On the early modern Order:
• Victor Mallia-Milanes ed., (1993) Hospitaller Malta 1530-1798: Studies on Early Modern Malta and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, (Malta)
• George Cassar ed., (2007) The Order of St John from Jerusalem to Malta: Some aspects and considerations, (Malta)
• Johannes A. Mol, Klaus Militzer and Helen J. Nicholson eds., (2006) The military orders and the reformation, (Hilversum)

During the course of the lectures, students will be advised about, and provided with material for further reading.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Emanuel Buttigieg

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.