What is the course about?
E.H. Carr once wrote: "facts … are like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. The historian collects them, takes them home and cooks and serves them."
This course explores different ways in which historians 'serve' history. We will discuss the nature of historical facts, the role of the historian, objectivity in historical study, and how to conceive of history as a human process.
We will interrogate these ideas through the study of a number of different ways of understanding history, discussing and debating the merits and demerits of these. In discussing these we will touch on key themes in the modern discipline of history.
Alongside interrogating competing theories, we will seek to apply some of these theories to historical events, seeking to understand how different perspectives can provide us with different understandings of historical events.
What will we cover?
- The historian and historical facts
- E.H. Carr on History
- Marxist History
- The Use and Abuse of History
- Postmodernism in History.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe some prominent theories of history
- Critically assess historical texts, and the author's point of view
- Situate historical subjects within a broader understanding of the discipline of history.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and requires no particular skills other than an open mind and willingness to engage with new ideas. There will be some reading and discussion in class so students should have a good grasp of English.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be taught through tutor-led presentation, group and class discussion, as well as some in class reading. Videos, audio and other media may be used to enhance learning.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no extra costs. A pen and paper, or a laptop, to write notes on will be useful.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at our range of history and politics courses available on our website or in our prospectus.