Historians have many different ways of viewing the past: we do not just pick up facts like sweets from a jar. Instead, we craft different stories based on the sources we choose to examine, the approaches we choose to take and the way that our training, our beliefs and our identities shape our interaction with the past. In this history department, we have historians working on periods from the ancient world to the contemporary moment, covering the whole world (and beyond!) and working on themes like envionment, technology and the material world; artistic, intellectual and cultural life; race, gender and the promise of a civil society; and big topics like faith, power, empire (and after), conflict, tolerance, prejudice and migration. This course will introduce you to some of these topics and themes, show you some periods and regions that you might not have encountered before, and introduce you to some of the stories that we find especially interesting and important.
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- how historians use different historical approaches to construct different interpretations of the past
- How different world regions have influenced and affected each other
- How politics, economy and culture interrelate in past and present societies
Transferable and Generic Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Organise and structure material to write and present confidently
- Critically analyse a diverse range of source material
- Use a range of perspectives in problem-solving
- Participate actively in group discussions and debate
- Communicate a coherent and convincing argument
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Understand the interplay between historical sources and interpretations of them
- Understand how major interpretations of past societies evolve
- Identify and evaluate different historical interpretations of past events
- Think critically about the practice of history
This module will help you to think about different ways to approach the study of the past, and will also introduce you to the research that is being done in the history department at the University of Southampton. It will showcase the specialisms of our academics, from the ancient period to the contemporary. We will explore histories from across the world, exploring different geographic regions and the rise and fall of empires, nations and international alliances and organisations. The module will take a variety of different approaches -- social, cultural, political, economic -- to show the different stories we can tell about the past through the research that we are doing here at Southampton.
The course is split into three sections, which will take a variety of different approaches to the study of the past, showing alternate chronologies from the ancient world to the contemporary moment. There will also be a focus on historiography, exploring different conceptions of what history is for, how our contemporary context shapes the historical research that we undertake, and how the study of the past can inform our approach to the world today. You will also explore relevant primary sources, the same primary sources that the historians lecturing on the course use in their own research, to think about how we develop our knowledge of the past and what skills we need to conduct primary research.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching methods include:
- Introductory sessions, including an introduction to library resources, an essay tips and presentation skills session, and a short introduction to the study of history and historiography
- Lectures which will introduce a topic, key primary sources and the main features of the historiography in relation to it.
- Seminars focusing on the detailed reading and analysis of primary sources, accompanied by discussion of the implications of these documents and how they connect with the principal historiography and wider perceptions of the period in question.
- Opportunity for individual essay consultations with seminar tutors and feedback on essay plans
Learning activities include:
- Analysis of selected key readings in the historiography
- Preparatory reading and individual study
- Individual participation in seminars and group work on seminar themes
- Group presentations at the end of the module
Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your ideas on a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument. Such discussions will also allow you to reflect on the historiography and on broader attitudes towards the period in question.
|Completion of assessment task||64|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||200|
|Total study time||300|
Resources & Reading list
Richard Reid (2009). A History of Modern Africa. Chichester: John Wiley.
James VanderKam (2001). An introduction to early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans.
Daniel K. Richter (2001). Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
James Lehning (2013). European Colonialism since 1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
J.M. Brown (1995). Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ulinka Rublack (ed) (2012). A Concise Companion to History. OUP.
Fred Donner (2010). Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Robert Bartlett (1993). The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.
Julia Smith (2007). Europe after Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The links between assessment methods and learning outcome are as follows:
The essays will draw on the period blocks, and you will have a choice of titles relating to individual blocks. They will relate to one or more of the key texts discussed in the seminars, and will draw on the broader contextual background given in the lectures.
The written evaluation of a journal article will draw on the discussions in the seminar during skills week, which will help you to follow the most effective strategies for critical reading. This will involve talking about themes such as how to find the argument in an article, how to work out how an author relates his or her work to previous historiography, or how to establish the original contribution of an article.
The final assessment will comprise a group oral presentation, in which five or six students will offer a ten-minute presentation looking at a major theme across the periods (for example: ‘Are there patterns in how elites define themselves across periods?’, ‘Is the story of religious influence one of simple decline?’). By its nature, this will involve integrating material from across many of the lectures. This will allow you to practise your formal presentational skills (as opposed to your skills in discussion and debate exercised through the seminars), and to provide an opportunity to ask questions cutting across the period blocks. Groups for these presentations will be assigned by your seminar tutor.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External