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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL1070 World Histories

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Stephan Petzold

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module sets out to introduce students to the complexity and diversity of human perspectives on and attitudes to history. Drawing on theories and case studies from around the world, it aims to raise critical awareness of the culturally-inflected assumptions we all bring to our study of the past, and that shape the ways history is written and interpreted in different contexts. The precise syllabus will vary from year to year, but will include opportunities to compare the writing of history in “Western” and “non-Western” cultures, and to look at a series of historical questions from diverse cultural, national and/or regional perspectives. Typical themes might include Diasporas, Time, Conflict, and Nationalism. Students will develop collaborative research skills by applying the concepts and themes introduced in lectures to contexts in which they are particularly interested.


The objectives of the module are to:
1 Develop awareness of different perspectives on the past and on the study of history, using examples drawn from a range of cultural and historiographical traditions
2. Introduce a selection of historiographical, anthropological and language-related concepts, theories and approaches, which will enhance critical understanding of the culturally-inflected assumptions underpinning historical research and writing

Learning outcomes
Familiarity with:
- The notion that people in different cultures and times relate to the past and to history in differing ways
- The importance of anthropological and linguistic insights to the historian seeking to negotiate the complexities arising from this notion, and with the basics of some pertinent concepts and theories
- The basic characteristics of selected ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ historiographical traditions
- Key features of 3 themes selected to exemplify the above concepts, covering between them a range of geographical, cultural and historical contexts (varying from year to year to reflect the research expertise of teaching staff)

Skills outcomes
Selected historiographical concepts and theories, with a particular emphasis on those related to language and anthropology


The syllabus is built in four blocks of five weeks, each consisting of 3 lectures, 1 tutor-led seminar, and 1 student-led seminar based on group presentations.
The first of these will always be an 'Introduction to World Historiographies', which will compare and contrast selected historiographical traditions (for example, the Middle Eastern and East Asian traditions). The three remaining blocks will each look at a historical theme from more than one perspective. The themes covered will vary from year to year, but will be chosen to ensure geographical and cultural diversity. Examples of themes: Nationalism; Time; Conflict; Diaspora; Trade.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading in preparation for contact hours; preparation for group presentations (ca. 25 hours); researching and writing assessed essays

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will prepare 4 group presentations, given in the fifth week of each course block, and receive formative feedback in class discussion on each one

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 words60.00
Essay or DissertationCommentary on Historical Source 1000 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students will not be required to resit individual components if the overall mark is 40 or above; if the overall mark is below 40, they will be required to resit only those components which originally received a mark of less than 40.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/08/2023


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