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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5055M Practising Modern History

30 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Will Jackson

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Module replaces

This module replaces HIST 5000, by providing this programme with a dedicated core for the first time. Specific research skills training will be included in new workshops attached to the dissertation module.

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Working across a broad chronological and thematic spectrum, students will develop a critical and practical understanding of approaches to modern history. Expertise is available within the School of History at Leeds to support interests from early-modern to contemporary history, with particular specialisms in 19th and 20th century global, international and cultural history. Students will engage with a variety of approaches and methods, analyse texts, and hone their skills in order to interrogate and participate in debates between competing approaches. Students will participate in the research culture of the School. They will learn how to apply these approaches and methods in their own work to a variety of historical materials and forms of evidence.


On this module students will develop a critical understanding of key historiographical debates and methodological approaches across a broad chronological and thematic range. In addition to engaging with debates and methods at an advanced level, students will enhance their own skills as practitioners.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have:
1. Explored key themes in the historiography and methodology of modern history;
2. analysed and debated a range of often competing historiographical approaches, methodologies and schools of thought;
3. applied relevant approaches/methods to documents, images, material culture and/or other relevant forms of evidence;
4. demonstrated competency and fluency in historical written work


The module will be organised around a number of possible debates and methods, each of which each has demonstrated utility in the practice of modern history, and which may vary from year to year to reflect the current research of historians at Leeds. Debates may engage with certain themes such as social justice; warfare and conflict; imperialism and colonialism; trade, travel writing and commerce; the relationship between economics and society; diplomacy; religion and secularism; family and daily life; disease and biopolitics. Indicative methods may include interdisciplinarity; carrying out archival research; accessing and interpreting newspapers; ways of doing history from below or subaltern studies; accessing Alltagsgeschichte and ‘everyday’ life; learning how to apply cliometrics and demography; interpreting visual and material culture. Each year the chosen themes and approaches will vary according to the current research of available staff.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will undertake set reading in preparation for seminars; they will read independently around the topic beyond the provided reading lists (77 hours); they will research and engage in reflection on those materials via writing assignments (60 hours for presentation or blog posting and 141 hours for essay.)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are entitled to one-to-one feedback on both pieces of work and will get feedback on the shorter piece of work before submitting the longer one. Students will participate in class discussion on approaches and methods throughout the semester.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 word essay due in exam week 170.00
AssignmentA student choice between a 15 min oral presentation accompanied by slides and a 500 word summary OR a series of blog postings adding up to 2000 words, both of which review primary sources through specific debates / methods30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Where a student needs to replace an oral presentation element, the method will be a 2000 word essay.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 15:57:33


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