Making History: Theory and Practice - HIST4260

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module has two aims: 1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level; 2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it.

It will focus on the process of 'getting used to' undergraduate history; the difference between university life from school/college. These sessions are reinforced with inhouse study skills sessions. This will be reinforced through the seminar teaching in the remainder of the module.

The module identifies and explores three main areas of history, asking: what is medieval history; what is early modern history; what is modern history? Students will also explore different central historical themes and approaches in historical scholarship, such as Marxism or nationalism, thereby introducing them to history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level. This will cover the development of university history in the broad sweep of history from approximately the twelfth century to the late twentieth century. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.

The seminars will reinforce these sessions through discussion of selected readings on relevant topics. Students will also study how to use and analyse a primary source and a variety of historical methodologies.


Contact hours

Lecture, Seminar and Workshop Hours: 44
Independent Study Hours: 256
Total Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Source analysis 1 (1,000 words) (25%);
Source analysis 2 (1,000 words)(25%);
Group conference presentation (10%); and a
2,000 word essay (40%).

Reassessment methods:
100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Stefan Berger et al (eds), Writing History: Theory and Practice, 2nd edn (Hodder Education, London, 2010)
Anna Green and Kathleen Troup (eds), The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1999)
George. G. Iggers and Q. Edward Wang, A Global History of Modern Historiography 2nd edn (Routledge, London, 2017)
Bonnie Smith, The Gender of History: Men, Women and Historical Practice (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1998)
Garthine Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (Bloomsbury, London, 2005)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate the ability to undertake research with the aim of addressing a particular question, or problem, relating to a variety of historiographical approaches.
2 Demonstrate the ability to communicate their analysis of historical sources accurately and appropriately, using coherent and well-structured arguments, and utilising historical methodologies and approaches.
3 Demonstrate knowledge of the conceptual, practical and intellectual principles in the discipline of history that they will build upon during the remainder of their degree.
4 Use and understand a wide variety of historical methods, schools and genres that will increase their understanding of the discipline and the historian's relation to it, as well as giving some epistemological awareness of the different types of historical knowledge.
5 Identify and use a range of historical sources (both primary and secondary) to help promote critical thinking and analytical awareness.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Demonstrate a number of transferable skills and general academic disciplines necessary for study at degree level, including; general IT skills, communication skills, research skills.
2 Demonstrate effective use of library catalogues, online journals, and other web-based resources.
3 Work effectively in groups and to be able to ability to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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