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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

This course - uses the First World War as a prism through which to examine the evolution of the discipline of history over recent decades - foregrounds different historical approaches to key questions related to the First World War, in order to impart a wider appreciation of the changing historiography surrounding the conflict - explores how these different historical approaches develop and change over time, highlighting the nature of history as an active discipline, rather than a static, unchanging one - examines how changing approaches to the past have been brought to bear on this specific historical event. - consequently, by the end of the course you should be able to demonstrate both knowledge and understanding of the First World War itself, and of the ways in which the discipline of History has evolved from ‘traditional’ to ‘non-traditional’ over the last half century or so in response to the challenges and stimuli of other approaches.

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 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 - independent study - production of written work and preparation for exam. 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.

TypeHours
Independent Study126
Teaching24
Total study time150

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

The module is assessed via 1. A 500-word source commentary (20%) 2. A 2,000 word essay (40%) 3. A 1-hr exam (40%)

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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