Case Studies in Controversy: History and Memory in Public
The importance of the past to contemporary society is best shown by exploring some of those instances when various organisations and individuals politicians, journalists, local and national governments have been drawn into discussion and debate regarding the purpose, rights and responsibilities of History. From the Holocaust denial trial of David Irving (which saw professional historians called to the witness stand), to the ethics of museum curatorship in our post-colonial age, to the significance and worth of history and heritage to local and national communities, this unit interrogates the value of the public past in the 21st century through revealing public controversies.
Public History and Heritage students have a placement element to the dissertation, working with a local heritage group, a library or archive. This dissertation will be a negotiated assessment which can therefore take one of several forms: for example, a dissertation, a historical project in partnership with an outside organisation, or a product resulting from a work placement scheme (e.g. a museum).
Research Methods I & Research Methods II
This unit will focus on developing the necessary research and writing skills needed for postgraduate study in History suited to their chosen exit award pathway. In part one, all students will receive skills training in advanced historical research, proposal writing, and archival research. The second part of Research Methods will involve focussing on skills specific to the research interests and needs of the student.
Professional Heritage and Practice
This course provides detailed training in the methods used to record heritage and the historic environment, with the aims of equipping students with practical skills to enhance their employability in the professional heritage sector. It will focus on the process of heritage assessment and evaluation in the UK professional context, including field-recording of heritage assets, the production of industry-standard reports, and the integration of heritage decision-making into various areas of public administration.
Likely Optional Units
Women and the Slavery in America
This unit will give students an in-depth understanding of the intersections between race, class and gender in the slaveholding South. Gender has become an indispensable category of analysis in the study of slavery in the Americas, illuminating the day-to-day lives of enslaved and enslaving peoples and ideas about race and slavery. This unit examines women’s lives across the south, with a sharp focus on slaveholding women and their enslaved property. It will examine the gendered division of labour, reproduction, sexuality, family life, black femininity and masculinity and white gender identities.
Case Studies in Medieval Warfare
This unit will provide a case study on warfare in the medieval period. It will look at how and why war was launched, how armies were recruited and deployed, and the impact that this had in Western Europe or the Near East. By looking at a Case Study in depth, such as on the Second Crusade, the Wars of Edward I, or the Hundred Years War, students will be able to explore the ways in which medieval conflict and its outcomes defined medieval society, for the elites and increasingly for those who served them, and how it shaped the course of history.
Terrorism and political violence
This unit will consider the origins and development of modern terrorism. The unit will consider why individuals chose to join violent political groups and how they have sought to justify political violence. It will address state responses to political violence and their influence in shaping conflicts, looking particularly at the burgeoning field of critical terrorism studies. The emergence of terrorism as a global phenomenon shall be addressed, alongside disputes over the accuracy of the term.
Early Modern Britain
This course examines aspects of the political, religious, and social changes that took place across the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland in the period c.1550-1660. It explores the culture and society of early modern Britain, particularly related to questions surrounding religion, politics, and culture.
Shock City: Order and Disorder in the Victorian City
This unit focuses on crime and disorder, authority and order, in the Victorian city (from c. 1837 to c. 1914). It draws on newspapers and periodicals, criminal records, Parliamentary Papers, fictional writing and the work of social investigators, to explore Victorian urban society. The main emphasis of the module will be on working-class communities, considering crime and policing, protest movements, leisure and rational recreation, childhood and youth, health, poverty and education; as well as exploring elite, religious and political representations of the what was often perceived as the disorderly and intractable urban working class. The module will engage with key historiographies and draw on digital sources (such as the Old Bailey Online, British Newspaper Archive and the Punch Historical Archives), as students develop their analysis and understanding of working-class lives under pressure in the Victorian city. There will be a particular focus on the cities of North-West (Manchester and Liverpool), the latter allowing students to access and incorporate local archives as part of their study.
The World of the Courtier: Monarchy and Court Culture in Early Modern Europe
This unit brings together elements of history, art, literature and politics to enable a thorough study of the world of the royal court in a shared European past, with a focus on the early modern period (roughly 1450 to 1800). Key concepts to be discussed include debates over the decline of the old nobility at the expense of the rise of the state; the ‘civilising nature’ of the court; the rise of diplomacy; the roles of women at court; and the importance of visual representation in the expression of power.
Making Race in the Colonial World
This is a study of how categories of ‘race’ were constructed, and their evolving significance as a central mechanism of European colonialization of the wider world, c.1450-1900. Opening with a consideration of the ‘pre-history’of racial ideology and antecedents of racialised thinking in the ancient and medieval world, this unit will then focus on the role that notions of ‘race’ played in the economic, cultural and political structures of colonial societies and its broader significance to the emergence of the modern world. It will be taught through specific case studies of place, for example the Carribean and Continental North America, and themes, for example, plantation slavery or relations with indigenous peoples.
A Good War? America’s World War II at Home and Abroad, c. 1938-1947
This unit provides a cultural, social and military history of the American experience of World War II, paying close attention to issues of race, gender and class. Conceptually, the unit will interrogate the idea that this conflict was, for Americans, a ‘Good War’. The unit begins c.1938, the point in time at which FDR’s administration began mobilising for a potential conflict (expansion of the Navy and Army); it then moves through the chronology of the war, before concluding c. 1947, the point in time at which the key outlines of the postwar world had emerged (Containment, Marshall Plan, Iron Curtain, Bretton Woods).
The Returning Soldier: Veterans’ Histories
This unit explores the history of veterans and their return from war his historical perspective. It looks at the experiences of soldiers returning from wars they have won or lost, when they are mentally or physically injured, or when they return changed by war. How this change may have manifested – in increased violence, withdrawal from the world, political activism, joining other groups with a common identity – is also covered. It considers the response of state, family, and society to returning soldiers, from the practical provision of medical and financial aid, to the way society responded in art and literature. By looking at a broad range of conflicts and their veterans, it also allows for a discussion of change and continuity in the veteran experience.
Latin Sources for Historians
This unit deals with Ancient and/or Medieval sources in their original language and context, providing students with training in Latin language and translation, and background knowledge on the technical nature of particular types of Latin sources (inscriptions, charters, annals). Texts will be selected to align with students’ research interests and/or dissertation topic. Students will engage with Latin at a level commensurate with their ability: Beginner, Threshold, Intermediate, Set Book.