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History, Heritage & Memory

30 Credits

This course has three components:

  1. Historiography

This introduces students to the history of historical writing, examining: historians of classical antiquity, medieval uses of the past, Renaissance history and the humanist historical method, the seventeenth-century historical revolution, eighteenth-century Enlightenment history, the influence of Hegel, Marx, Ranke, and Nietzsche, and twentieth-century writers and movements such as Elton, Carr, Foucault, Skinner, Evans, historical anthropology and postmodernism. The course considers different sorts of history: political, intellectual, cultural, social and economic, and will consider the impact on the writing of history of other disciplines, such as anthropology; of social movements, such as feminism; of ideologies, such as imperialism.

  1. Practical training in historical methodology,

This includes four sessions of training in searching for primary sources, early modern palaeography, and quellenkritik, or source criticism. Students are used trained in digital literacy and research skills.

  1. Public History, Heritage, and Memory

Public history is history in the public sphere, whether in museums and galleries, heritage sites and historic houses, radio and television broadcasting, film, popular history books, social media, or public policy within government. The central challenge and task of public history is making history relevant and accessible to people outside academia, whilst adhering to an academically credible historical method. This part of the course explores the theory and practice of public history in heritage, broadcasting, publication and policy, asking questions such as, how is the past used? what is authenticity? must public – or popular – history mean ‘dumbing down’? can we satisfy the public’s curiosity about the past in a way that also satisfies us as historians? We will consider historical controversies, the abuse of the past, and the ethics of misrepresenting the past.