Imagining the First World War (HIH2231A)
|Staff||Dr Timothy Rees - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
This module is not a history of British involvement in the First World War, as such, but focuses upon the war as an experience that has left an indelible mark upon British culture and identity. It examines our images of the war: ranging from physical and cultural forms (photographs, paintings, film, poetry, prose, posters, cartoons, memorials, language, rituals) to historical ones (the experience of the trenches, the role of women, the notion of total war, of social and economic change, for example). We will explore these images, looking at how we construct and remember the past, how our sense of history affects our behaviour and the ‘lessons’ we draw from it today, and comparing ‘image’ and ‘reality’. Lectures involve the study of a series of images (photographs, paintings, drawings, cartoons) that illustrate the main themes of the module, interspersed with a series of feature films concerning the war that date from the conflict itself up to the present day. The module encourages a high degree of student engagement with primary sources.
You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate. This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work. It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history. It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of the British experience of the First World War.
- 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates in British perceptions and understanding of the First World War.
- 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 4. Analyse the key developments the impact of the First World War on British culture.
- 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
- 6. Interpret primary sources.
- 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
- 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
- 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
- 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
- 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.
There are 11 two-hour lectures. A majority of these are presentations based upon original visual sources (photographs, paintings, sculpture, cartoons, and drawings) which examine a series of key themes such as mobilisation for war, the nature of the trenches, the development of a home front, remembrance and memory. These are interspersed by a series of cinema films depicting the war ranging from 1918 to the present day.
The seminars examine a wide variety of different aspects of our understanding of the war, including:
- Literary and visual representations of the war
- The war and changing gender relations
- Life in the trenches
- The rush to the colours
- Pacifism and war resistance
- The war as a ‘total’ war
- Moral panic and the war
- Democratization and the war
- Remembrance and memory
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||22||Lectures examining key themes on the course, interspersed with screenings of films depicting the war as described in the Syllabus Plan.|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||22||Seminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4.|
|Guided independent study||256||Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay plan||500 words||1-12||Verbal and written|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||30||3000 words||1-12||Verbal and written|
|Exam||50||2 questions in 2 hours||1-12||Written|
|Group presentation||20||25 minutes||1-12||Verbal and written|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Essay||Essay (3000 words)||1-12||Referral/deferral period|
|Exam||Exam (2 questions in 2 hours)||1-12||Referral/deferral period|
|Group presentation||Script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes||1-12||Referral/deferral period|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Ashworth, Tony. Trench Warfare (London, 1980).
Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford, 1975).
Gregory, Adrian. The Last Great War. British Society and the First World War (Cambridge, 2008).
Hynes, Samuel. A War Imagined (London, 1990).
Robb, George. British Culture and the First World War (Basingstoke, 2002).
Todman, Dan. The Great War: Myth and Memory (London, 2005).
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
Imperial War Museum http://www.iwm.org.uk/
Indicative learning resources - Other resources
Shoulder Arms (1918).
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).
King and Country (1964).
Barker, Pat. Regeneration (London, 1991).
Brittain, Vera. Testament of Youth (London, 1935).
Faulks, Sebastian. Birdsong (London, 1994).
Graves, Robert. Goodbye to All That (London, 1929).
Sassoon, Siegfried. The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (London, 1937).
Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
First World War, Warfare, Great War, Popular Culture, Britain, Film, Television, Remembrance