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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2557 Thinking about History

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Katie Carpenter

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the diverse and complex ways in which historians have approached the study of the past during the modern era. Focusing on how the profession has changed since the rise of historicism in the late nineteenth century, it introduces students to some of the most important developments in historical method and examines the challenges and influences from other disciplines, including Marxist ideology, gender studies and literary theory. This module encourages students to think about, and reflect on, their own practice as historians.


On completion of this module, students should:
- have developed a detailed understanding of the evolution of the history profession in the modern era;
- be familiar with many of the major approaches to writing about the past;
- understand, and be able to reflect critically upon, the ways in which methodological innovations and debate have impacted upon a particular field of history;
- be able to reflect critically upon their own approach to reading and writing about the past, and apply this awareness to future research and study

Learning outcomes
Deep and varied knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of history as an intellectual discipline, and an understanding of how methodological approaches have affected a particular field of historical enquiry.


Lecture topics covered may include: Von Ranke and Empiricism; The Annales School; Cliometrics; Marxism; History from Below; Gender History; History and Biography; Cultural History; The Postmodern Challenge.
The series of seminars will provide subject-specific exploration of methodological approaches. For example the 'history of slavery' or the 'history of witchcraft' may be looked at using a different historical methodology, 'school' or approach on each occasion.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.50
Total Contact hours19.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study will be comprised of:
Research, reading and note-taking for each lecture topic
Research, reading and note-taking for each seminar
VLE postings (200 words) in response to each lecture, which will take approximately an hour’s work in each case

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Group feedback from lecturer on lecture postings.
Regular monitoring and feedback during seminars.
Monitoring of attendance and participation at proctorials.
Written and one-on-one feedback on all assessed work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1x 2500-word essay reflecting on the lecture series, drawing on student's choice of 3 of the 10 non-assessed VLE responses to the lectures, due 12 noon Monday of semester 1, week 750.00
Essay1x 2500-word essay in response to one of the seminar topics. Due by 12 noon Monday of semester 1, exam week 150.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/09/2022


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