People's History II: Politics, Place and Identity (HIC1601)

StaffDr Nicola Whyte - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to studies of the past from ‘below’. While People’s History 1 focuses on the everyday lives of ordinary people, this module investigates the broader contexts of their social and cultural lives, how they engaged collectively and often in conflict. Students will engage with complex and contentious debates on the study of politics, place and identity in the past. How have historians researched place and identity among non-elite groups, the displaced, the illiterate and the poor? What does ‘community’ mean in the context of popular culture and local politics? How important was the local landscape and environment in creating a shared identity? What do studies of migration and diaspora bring to research on place, identity and local politics? Students will have an opportunity to consider the issues and challenges of revealing the lives and experiences of non-elite men and women, and from a variety of perspectives reflecting the research interests of the academic staff involved in teaching the module. The module provides the essential practical skills involved in studying history. Independent research, team work, written and oral presentation and critical thinking will be central to the way the module is taught.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the changing nature of group interrelations over time
  • 2. With guidance, evaluate the ways in which historians have studied the history of individuals and groups
  • 3. Show how specific cases can be used to reflect on historical generalisations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Deploy the basic rules of historical enquiry
  • 5. Compare and contrast different historical approaches
  • 6. With guidance, indicate how people have lived, acted and thought in a range of contexts at different times and in different locations
  • 7. Indicate some of the complexities of historical change at local and sub-national scales

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. With guidance, select and digest academic literature relevant to the topic under study
  • 9. Organize material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument
  • 10. Communicate ideas orally and respond to the arguments of others in an appropriate manner

Syllabus plan

Following an Introductory lecture on the historiographical and theoretical background to the subject, the module examines the meanings of politics, place and identity in a variety of contexts including eighteenth-century London, nineteenth-century Cornwall, South Australia, and rural villages  in early modern England. The lectures explore a number of themes including: the importance and also problems of investigating the relationship between landscape, place and collective memory; local politics and identity; custom and conflict; moral economy and popular protest; the meanings of community; and the ways in which people engaged with one another, cooperatively, collectively and often in conflict

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Lectures11Lectures: these provide the main outline of the module
Seminars11Seminars: these provide opportunity for student-led discussion of the module themes and group work
Guided independent study 128Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group discussions10 minutes1/10verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1001500 words1-9Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay 1,500 wordsref def Essay 1,500 words1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Oral History, Special Issues on “Landscapes of Memory” and “Memory and Place,” 28, 1 and 2, (2000)

Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner, Kevin Passmore, (eds.) Writing History: Theory & Practice (London 2003)

Peter Borsay, 'New approaches to social history : myth, memory and place: Monmouth and Bath 1750–1900', Journal of Social History (Spring 2006), 867–89

Peter Burke (ed.) New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Cambridge, 2001).

Bernard Deacon and Moira Donald, 'In search of community history', Family and Community History, 7, 1 (2004),13–8

Anthony Fletcher, '"": a framework for the social history of England', Historical Research, 75 (2002), 296–315

E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Harmondsworth, 1963).


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