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Approaching the Past


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor and tutor: Carmen Mangion
  • Assessment: a 1000-word workshop journal (25%) and 1500-word essay (75%)

Module description

Whatever degree you choose in the department of History, Classics and Archaeology, you will be joining a community of students and researchers dedicated to understanding the past. Whether your interest is in people who lived two, 200, 2000 or 10,000 years ago, your degree is designed to equip you with the skills to identify, investigate and interpret the traces they left of themselves and their societies.

Modules dedicated to specific periods, sources and regions will provide opportunities to immerse yourself in particular questions. Alongside these courses, Approaching the Past helps you to take your first steps, as historians, classicists and archaeologists, in understanding and explaining the past in a scholarly way. How do we work with original documents and objects and combine these with synthesis provided by specialists in our own and other fields? How do we locate information and show where we found our information? How do you take in, process and use the huge volume of information - from lectures, readings and seminars - that will shape your understanding of the past in your degree? This module will help you to apply scholarly rigour in all of your work and to think about the past through the theme of ‘the city’ and the city of London in particular. It will introduce you to staff members working across the Department and to the unique and exciting research culture of the Department. It will give you the chance in your first year of study to develop friendships, to share ideas, research development and writing.

This course is designed to start your journey with us, embedding skills and ideas crucial to your degree programme. It is a journey which continues at Level 5 with the module Exploring the Past, and culminates at Level 6 with Writing the Past, in which you are supported to produce a 60-credit dissertation on a piece of independent research of your own design.

Indicative module syllabus

Core skills (taught through a focus on London through time):

  • Note taking
  • Speed reading
  • Summarising an article
  • Understanding types of publication
  • Referencing
  • Primary and secondary sources