Medieval Studies Dissertation
A dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words written on a topic decided by the student in consultation with the dissertation supervisor. This represents Part Two of the MA programme in Medieval Studies.
The Historian's Craft
This module provides a concise and compact training in advanced historical research. It is designed to introduce students to the techniques of historical research and to train them in historical methodology, as well as historical argument, writing, and presentation. We consider how to search archives for primary sources, use evidence, and critique sources. In addition, we investigate the various sorts of sources available to historians and evaluate their usefulness. Finally, the module also considers the history of historical writing and examines different approaches to and theories of history.
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, or public policy within government. In the UK, it is a new and burgeoning area of academic interest. The central challenge and task of public history is making history relevant and accessible to its audience of people outside academia, whilst adhering to an academically credible historical method. This module explores the theory and practice of public history in heritage, broadcasting, and publication. The module considers the principles of visitor interpretation, museology and curatorship, asking questions such as, how is the past used? What is authenticity? What decisions are made in the presentation and interpretation of museums and historic houses? The module also seriously engages with the challenge of how to represent history in television documentaries, radio broadcasts, mainstream cinema, in the making of public policy, and as popular history or historical fiction. Must public history mean `dumbing down¿, or can we satisfy the public¿s curiosity about the past in a way that also satisfies us as historians?
Applied Public History
This module builds upon the theoretical grounding acquired in `Public History¿ to evaluate specific case studies of public history, and to develop a project to communicate history to a public audience that draws on best practice in the field.. The module examines the characteristics of `successful¿ public history by prompting participants to review an example of their choice and present their findings to the class. These discussions form a base from which participants will develop a public history project of their own, based on their dissertation topic. Participants will be given scope to develop an innovative project to disseminate their research findings to the public and will be encouraged to take into consideration factors including intended audience, appropriate media and practical constraints of time and budget.
The Royal Court: Ritual, Culture, and Power in Medieval England
This module investigates the role of the court in central medieval England in political and cultural life, with a particular focus on the importance of ceremony and symbolical behaviour. It introduces students to the ways in which these subjects have been treated in social anthropology and the insights and difficulties involved in using methods developed here for the study of medieval Europe. Throughout the module, students will be engaging with a range of medieval sources, royal records, chronicles, saints¿ lives and romances. In this way students will develop familiarity with the methodological challenges involved in the study of medieval history.
Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern World
This module explores encounters between Europeans and the wider world during the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century period of discovery, conquest and colonization. An exploration of the mentalities that accompanied early modern European expansion is crucial to understanding the age. We consider multiple cultural and interracial encounters, studying the narratives about and attitudes towards them, and the ways of negotiating cultural difference. We concentrate first on the Spanish encounters with the Mexica and the Maya, the motivations of the conquistadors, native American accounts, the debate over the justice and rights of the native peoples, and the efforts of missionaries. We then explore the English in North America, considering early sixteenth-century texts like Hariot and Ralegh, but also later seventeenth-century accounts of settlement, including European captivity narratives. We turn to examine travel writing about the `Orient¿ and the experiences of emissaries and ambassadors, both to Europe and to Asia. We finish by considering literary representations of Otherness.
The Later Victorian Age: Society and Culture, 1870 - 1900
This module examines the nature of a society in transition in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. Economically, politically, and culturally, Britain was being rapidly transformed during these decades, and this module sets out to understand precisely how and why this was occurring. We consider economic changes, including urbanization and the Great Depression, and how these affected social class, before considering shifts in the nature of religious belief, and whether Britain was becoming more secular. Politically, we examine the effects of the 1867 and 1884 Reform Acts, consider the degree to which politics in Britain was become more modernized, and look at the development of new forms of political thought, under the influence of British Idealism and social Darwinism. Finally, we examine the impact of imperialism and the mass market on British culture, and look at some of the literature that was popular in the late Victorian era.
African Americans and Economic Inequality from Civil War to Civil Rights
This module examines the evolving ways in which African Americans experienced and responded to the economic dimensions of racial inequality between the 1860s and 1960s. Participants are prompted to engage with recent scholarship challenging traditional views of civil rights as a narrowly-focused battle for equal political citizenship. Primary sources drawn from both `white¿ and `black¿ America are used to examine the shifting mechanisms by which economic restrictions - especially surrounding equitable access to employment - underpinned more familiar social, cultural and political forms of discrimination. Particular attention will be paid to the decisive establishment of `Jim Crow¿ segregation in the late 19th century and the rise and fall of the so-called `New Deal order¿ in the 20th century. This backdrop is used to critically assess diverse campaigns undertaken by black organizers and their allies that drew upon strategies including racial self-help, Progressive-era liberalism, interracial trade unionism, Cold War-era liberalism and black nationalism. Participants will consider how studying these movements affects answers to unresolved questions about the civil rights movement¿s periodization, geographical range and impact.
This module is designed to help students identify a dissertation topic appropriate to their interests, expertise, and the time available. Through one-to-one tutorials, the tutor will help the student tackle the problems of methodology, develop the research techniques, analyse the historiography, and undertake the project planning that are the necessary preliminaries to researching and writing a 20,000-word dissertation. The outcome of this module will be a 5,000-word research proposal and bibliographic essay.