History, Memory and the Creation of Identity
In most human societies, history and memory are important in the creation of identity. For example, consider how recent political debates often involve debates about the relevance of particular strands of history (such as `empire¿) to modern society. This module explores these relationships from the ancient societies of Egypt, Greece, and Rome to the modern world. It is designed to provide Foundation Year students intending to pursue degrees in Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology or History with an opportunity to reflect critically on what the past means and how we go about studying it.
Europe of Extremes, 1789–1989
The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.
History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television.
This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.
Britain and the World, 1800–2000
This module will provide an overview of the history of British politics, society, culture, and the economy from c. 1800 to the present, from a national and international perspective. The lectures and seminars for this module will give students the opportunity to engage closely with events, processes, and people - both male and female, from diverse ethnic backgrounds - who contributed to the making of the modern British state and society, and who defined Britain¿s relationship with the wider world. We will discuss the transformative impact of warfare, Empire and colonialism, industrial and technological change. We will also consider the significance of race, class, and gender, and how they relate to national sentiment and social and political emancipation movements in Britain and beyond.
The Practice of History
The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization.
At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.
Disunited Kingdom? Class, Race, Gender and Social Division in Twentieth-Century Britain
This module examines the dynamics and structure of British society over the course of the 20th century. Despite radical social, political and economic changes, the idea of a British nation, a British people and a British way of life remained powerful and persistent. Yet beneath a veneer of social and and national unity were profound divisions and inequalities. This module explores how categories such as gender, class, race, region, nation and religion evolved and persisted. In doing so, the module considers what causes social change and the extent to which there was anything resembling British society at all. The module will relate these historical contexts to the present day. It asks how history can be used to understand contemporary social divisions and seeks to empower and enable students to think critically about how Britain and `Britishness¿ are constituted in contemporary society.
The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.
Towns and Cities in Modern Britain
This special subject examines how economic, cultural, social and demographic changes have played out in urban Britain from the Victorian period to the 1980s. We will trace the fate of towns and cities in twentieth-century Britain. We will assess the impact of war and economic depression on town life and examine the impact of house-building and reconstruction after 1945. We will evaluate how towns were re-shaped around the needs of the motor-car and the rise of new manufacturing industries in the post war-period and, in the latter decades of the twentieth century, the part played by cultural and heritage-led regeneration schemes in urban rejuvenation. Primary sources will include photographic material, town plans, publicity brochures and local government publications.