Theory and Practice of History II (HISM170)

StaffDr Nicholas Terry - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level7
Co-requisitesTheory and Practice of History I
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module has three specific aims. First of all it will introduce students to the most influential theoretical and conceptual frameworks within the discipline of history over the past century, and critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. We will explore the relationship between research questions and the adoption of theoretical frameworks, and why particular theories and concepts gained traction and generated debate among historians at specific conjunctures in the past. Finally, the module will draw upon contemporary historical writing, and seek to assess the ways in which these theories and concepts inform historical practice in the present.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand specific key concepts and theories drawn from the social sciences and humanities
  • 2. Understand the relationship between research questions and conceptual tools
  • 3. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of different analytical and interpretive approaches
  • 4. Demonstrate the capacity to apply this knowledge to particular historiographies within social, cultural, economic, political, religious or literary history.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate awareness of the evolving nature of historical analysis and interpretation
  • 6. Recognize the theoretical and conceptual links to other disciplines within the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • 7. Apply key bibliographical skills, including the use of online finding aids.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Conduct independent study and group work, including participating in oral discussions.
  • 9. Demonstrate capacity for independent critical analysis.
  • 10. Demonstrate ability to construct and defend a sustained argument in written form.
  • 11. Manage time and meet deadlines.

Syllabus plan

The module is divided into two blocks.  All students will attend the seminars in weeks 1-5. After reading week, the cohort will divide into modern and pre-modern streams: students will attend a series of workshops whose coverage will have been decided collectively between the teaching team and students at the introduction session.

  1. Introduction to the course & admin (including set up of week 7-12 workshops)
  2. Empiricism
  3. The influence of the Annales
  4. Marxism
  5. Poststructuralism
  7. Workshop 1
  8. Workshop 2
  9. Workshop 3
  10.  Workshop 4
  11.  Workshop 5
  12.  Workshop 6

Provisional Workshop themes:

Feminist Theory, Quantitative analysis, Postmodernism, Queer Theory and Sexuality, the Body, Emotions, Feminist Theory and Masculinity, Memory, Theoretical constructs of colonialism, Mentalities and Cultural History, Microhistory, Counterfactual history, History & Sociology, History and Literature, History and Anthropology, History and Philosophy, Interdisciplinary approaches, Pyschohistory, Historical Geography, Oral history

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
Scheduled learning and teaching activities105 x 2 hour seminars.
Scheduled learning and teaching activities126 x 2 hour workshops.
Guided independent study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research

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
Essay1004000 words1-11Mark and written comments.

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Berger, Stefan, Heiko Feldner, and Kevin Passmore, Writing History: Theory and Practice (2003)

Boyd, Kelley, ed., Encyclopaedia of Historians and Historical Writing, 2 vols. (1996)

Budd, Adam, ed. The Modern Historiography Reader (2008)

Burke, Peter, ed., New Perspectives on Historical Writing (2000)

Clark, E.A. History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (2004)

Collingwood, R.G. The Idea of History, rev. ed. (1994)

Carr, E.H. What is History? (1978)

Fay, Brian et. al., History and Theory: Contemporary Readings (1998)

Fulbrook, Mary. Historical Theory: Ways of Imagining the Past (2002)

Gunn, Simon. History and Cultural Theory (2006)

Green, Anna. Cultural History (2007)

Kramer, Lloyd and Sarah Maza, eds., A Companion to Western Historical Thought (2006)

Wickham, C. ed., Marxist history-writing for the Twenty-first century (2007)

Scott, Joan. Gender and the Politics of History, 2nd ed., (2000)

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Key words search

Theory, History, Historiography, Research, Methodologies