The University of Southampton
Courses

HIST1173 The First World War

Module Overview

The history of the First World War will be studied through consideration of the literature concerning its diplomatic origins, its nature as a military conflict, the social history of warfare, the nature of the home front, its impact on gender relations, its impact on the landscape, and its memorialisation and commemoration.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- examine how some of the approaches to the past discussed in the History and its Sources, Historiography and Uses and Abuses of History courses have been brought to bear on a specific historical event - make connections between the methodological and theoretical issues raised in these three spine courses and the research work carried out by scholars working on a particular historical topic – in other words, to examine how changing and competing conceptions of what the study of the past should involve have affected the work of historians in practice, with reference to the specific topic of the First World War.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the history of the First World War
  • the ways in which the discipline of History has evolved from “traditional” to “non-traditional” over the last 40 years in response to the challenges and stimuli of other disciplines and approaches
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse ways in which different historical interpretations are formed not merely through differences of opinion concerning the content and significance of the text per se, but as a product of different, changing methodological and critical approaches deployed by various historians
  • examine and analyse ways in which historical interpretations of the First World War are rooted in consideration of varied forms of textual evidence
  • demonstrate, through systematic and guided study of the different types of historical literature available on the First World War, the ability to assess primary and secondary source material
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate oral communication skills at a standard appropriate for Level 1 study, preparing as required brief reports to start discussion in classes and taking part actively in debate
  • write fluently and effectively, preparing assessed work independently
  • find, assimilate and analyse diverse and complex information
  • formulate arguments that are clearly reasoned and based on evidence
  • manage your own learning and your time effectively, meeting deadlines
  • demonstrate problem-solving skills

Syllabus

The history of the First World War will be studied through consideration, in turn, of the literature concerning its diplomatic origins, its nature as a military conflict, the social history of warfare, the nature of the home front, its impact on gender relations, its impact on the landscape, and its memorialisation and commemoration. Seminars will introduce you in turn to diplomatic history, military history, social history, medical history, gender history, landscape history, cultural history, the study of material culture. In each case, a key source will be considered; for example, on medical history an excerpt on shell-shock from The Lancet. The emphasis of this module is on your close reading of a set of defined primary texts which illustrate well the different types of history under discussion. In addition, a core set of historiographical readings will be focussed upon. These texts are chosen to illustrate how the historiography of the particular field has developed. Where possible, articles or monographs which refer to, and are to be understood in the context of, pre-existing scholarship discussed in previous seminars are used to underpin the cumulative and developmental aspects of the learning process. Emphasis is placed on research-based articles to encourage you to acquaint yourself with journal literature.

Special Features

- the lecture elements will be designed to give a broad introduction to each theme/topic - you will in each case be given set reading (typically 3-4 articles) for each historical approach, which you will be expected to have read, and which, together with more general background reaching, will form the basis for seminar discussion both of your content (e.g. why did the First World War break out?) and your approach (e.g. why is this diplomatic history and what can it tell us?) - assessment questions, both for exam and essay, will be devised so that will be required to consider a range of interpretations and scholarly approaches but will be given the chance, at the same time, to pursue at least some topics in detail.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - lectures - seminars As seminars will be ‘large group’ sessions (25-28 students), we will use appropriate methods to stimulate small group discussion and report to the full group on key themes and debates raised by the lecture and individual reading. Training on the use of original sources will be integrated into the seminars, and you will be expected to produce short commentaries on selected documents. You will receive a course booklet, with seminar list, essay questions and book and resource list. Learning activities include - intensive reading, guided by annotated reading lists - independent study supported by a course website and email discussion list. Innovative or special features of this module - There will be an optional field-trip to Netley Hospital/War Cemetery.

TypeHours
Independent Study140
Teaching10
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1000 words) 20%
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Exam  (1 hours) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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