Research Methods in History
This module provides training in constructing theoretically-informed arguments and engaging critically with primary material. This course has two purposes. The first is to ensure that you are confident with the methods and approaches required for advanced research, including bibliographical searching, locating primary sources, using archives, writing research proposals, as well as other practical techniques necessary for historical research. The second purpose is to consider how historians engage with more theoretical and conceptual texts, and how they borrow from other disciplines. You will be given the opportunity to engage with a wide range of thinkers, including historians, art historians, economists, philosophers, cultural theorists, and political scientists.
Arts in Society
We will help you to apply your arts MA across society to enhance your career and contribute to wider society.
We'll demonstrate how the arts can be used to:
- transform society, politics and culture
- enhance the careers of arts and humanities MA students.
You'll be able to explore, explain and then detail how your disciplinary skills can impact upon wider issues to emphasise the applicability of the arts and humanities. From the role of the scholar activist to understanding ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘public engagement’, you'll develop professional skills in preparation for a career within academia or across a range of sectors.
- harness the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to think differently and to innovate
- work on issues of research, networking, grant-writing and cultural exchange
- learn how to engage, communicate and create.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Conflict and Coexistence in Early Modern Europe
This module uses the theme of conflict and coexistence to examine a range of topics across a wide European geography and early modern chronology. By studying comparative frameworks (e.g. England and France), case studies (e.g. The Thirty Years’ War), and broader international environments, you will encounter conflict in multiple forms – political, religious, military, ideological, mercantile, and public. The avoidance of conflict and coexistence are also central to this module, for peoples and governments of the period often looked to peaceful resolutions and solidarity at the same time as they sharpened their wits (and swords) for polemical (and political) combat.
Past Futures: Britain and the West After 1945
This core module explores the social, cultural and political history of the twentieth century. Rather than re-telling familiar narratives that take high politics as their starting-point, it will bring these narratives under scrutiny by drawing upon the themes of temporality and memory. As well as exploring the different conception of temporality that informed social and political thought, it will also engage with the ideas of progress and decline that were advanced to conceptualise certain events and phenomena. Four themes inter-related themes will be explored: i) Temporality and change ii) Social change and memory iii) The Politics of Reproduction iv) Consumption, Mobility and Time.
Power and Authority: Sources for Medieval History
You will be introduced to a broad range of skills required for researching the Middle Ages. There are two distinct but inter-related strands.
Strand 1: Historical - You will be introduced to sources for the study of the nature and expression of power and authority in the Middle Ages. As well as gaining knowledge of the period and its history through specific topics, and the ability to interpret a range of sources in translation, you will examine how historians interpret the often problematic sources available to them and the processes which lay behind their interpretations.
Strand 2: Palaeography - Reading early manuscripts is a fundamental skill for all those interested in researching the medieval period. You will be introduced to the various types of handwriting used in medieval documents. You will begin to read these documents in their unedited, manuscript forms.
Memory and Social Change in Modern Europe and Beyond
You will enhance your understanding of various conceptual approaches to the study of modern history. Following a chronological approach, this module will use specific case studies as prisms for the interrogation of common themes, notably memory, identity, and social change. You will explore the construction and representation of national, political, local and ethnic identities which are borne out of (and continue to shape) social change. These collective identities will be analysed in terms of memory and commemoration, considering how the recent past is remembered and memorialised.
By the end of the module, you will have acquired a sound understanding of how the past has contributed to the construction of contemporary identities in Europe and beyond.
Exploring English Identity
Recent debates surrounding the Brexit vote and its aftermath have refocused attention on what it means to be English, but what exactly is ‘Englishness’ and how should we understand it historically? What has it meant to feel or be English? What has been the relationship of this to Britishness and how has that dual relationship played out in practice? Is English identity fundamentally rooted in empire and its legacies, and if so how? Could English nationalism be a positive, progressive force, or must it be divisive and backward-looking? Where historically has Englishness been located?: in a language?; in a monarchy?; in a set of ideas?; in a territory?; in a set of preferences or tastes?
Recent historians have been conscious of English identity not as a stable phenomenon ready to be described, but as a historical construct subject to regular change, revision and contestation. During this module, you will consider ‘English identity’ as a historical phenomenon, exploring the creation of an assumed English national identity that has both developed over time and been imposed retrospectively on an idea of the past.
(Mis)Perceptions of the Other: From Savages and Barbarians to the Exotic and Erotic
This module will investigate the various ways in which western Europeans and Americans have constructed and categorised peoples as the 'other' in a wide range of eras and places. This will include some or all of: views on the Jewish and Islamic faiths in the early-medieval period; notions of Russians between the 16th and 18th centuries; constructions of Amerindians and Africans in the 17th and 18th centuries; and views of various societies in the 19th and 20th-century including China and Japan.
These 'others' were variously constructed as savages, barbarians, exotic, and were often sexualised or eroticised. Even when the 'other' was perceived as fabulous, those constructions usually (though not always), had negative connotations and were often used to justify the actions towards them of those doing the 'othering'.
Key themes will be:
- conceptualisation and construction of the 'other'
- using the other to justify actions
- civilisation vs barbarism
- decadence vs progress
- East vs West
- Christianity vs paganism
Daily Life in Authoritarian Régimes in the Long Twentieth Century
This module looks at how living under authoritarian régimes affected the daily lives of populations. It is concerned with the high politics of those régimes only insofar as they impacted on the quotidian existence of men, women, and children. The focus of the module will normally be on: late Tsarist Russia/USSR; Nazi Germany and the GDR; Fascist Italy; Franco’s Spain; Communist China. However, the module may – depending on staff availability – also look at Salazar’s Portugal, Vichy France, the states of the Warsaw Pact beyond Germany and the USSR, Putin’s Russia; North Korea, Marcos’s rule of the Philippines; military rule in Myanmar; the military dictatorship in Brazil; Castro’s Cuba; Pinochet’s Chile; Péron’s Argentina; and even the USA during McCarthyism, South Africa under Apartheid, and various incarnations of twentieth-century imperial rule.
Latin For Medievalists
This module provides a structured introductory overview of Latin grammar and vocabulary, with special attention to the forms of the language used in different types of medieval documentary text. You will have the opportunity to bring along examples of texts that you are reading for other modules for guidance on interpretation and translation.
The module teaches an essential component required for medieval historical research: Palaeography. It is designed to be taken alongside the introductory Latin for medievalists module which introduces students, who have not studied the language before, to Latin of the sort used in medieval documents. This will be supplemented in the manuscripts module by studying typical medieval documents available in an edited format.
The ability to read early manuscripts is a fundamental skill for all those interested in researching the medieval period. This course will introduce students to the various types of handwriting used in medieval documents. It will enable students to begin to read these documents in their unedited, manuscript forms. It was also encourage them to think about issues relating to codicology, illumination and transmission.