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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2590 Public History and Popular Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Katie Carpenter

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

History is all around us. Or, to put it another way, representations and interpretations of the past are all around us. In popular culture, anything and everything, from museums to Game of Thrones and TikTok, tell us something about how history is presented to or made by the public. In the first half of this module, we closely examine some case-studies. These may include: museums and colonialism; family history; television and film; video games; fiction; and time travel. These case studies will serve as examples of how history is presented to and made by the public. In the second half of this module, we shift to a more practise-based approach. You will work towards researching your own public history project and creating an output aimed at a general audience.


This module offers an introduction to public and practice-based history. Its aim is to encourage students to think critically about how history is communicated to the public and to develop the skills needed to create their own public history projects

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students will have:

1. Demonstrated an understanding of a variety of approaches to public history
2. Developed skills in critically analysing representations of the past in public, particularly in popular culture
3. Developed skills in communicating historical research to a range of audiences
4. Applied creativity in making public-facing outputs
5. Applied fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.


This module is divided into two sections.

In the first half, we discuss and critically analyse case studies of representations of the past in the public, particularly popular culture. Case studies may include: museums and colonialism; family history; women’s history; memory studies; video games; and time travel.

In the second half of the module, the theory is enacted in practice, as students work towards producing their own creative, public-facing output. Workshops in this half may include: digital skills; communicating to different audiences; audience analysis; and evaluating public history outputs.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours182.50
Total Contact hours17.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive feedback on their essay and via seminar discussions and office hours. Students must submit a non-assessed project proposal in advance of their portfolio assignment; they will receive feedback on this proposal via written comments and office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2000 Words40.00
PortfolioA public history output and a 2000 word report60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

For the portfolio, students can choose their own historical topic and what they produce. The output should not exceed 2,000 words (and indeed, may be wordless); however, the final word count should reflect the chosen audience. The research report of 2000 words will accompany the output, justifying its form and demonstrating the underlying research.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/08/2023 13:52:28


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