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Exploring the Past


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 4000-word portfolio (100%) and 60% attendance

Module description

Building on skills learned at Level 4, Exploring the Past looks at how scholars have discussed the past and how our ways of approaching our evidence shape the stories we tell.

The module will provide opportunities to engage with staff members in exploring themes across periods, regions and disciplines. In addition to thematic lectures examining how particular ways of viewing the past have developed over time, in seminars you will explore how arguments about historiography and methodology have created the modern disciplines of History, Classics and Archaeology. You will learn how to use references and reviews to quickly understand the landscape of study in topics of interest to you. You will develop familiarity with a range of theoretical frameworks that continue to be crucial to the study of the past, and you will learn how to situate your own work in relation to other scholars: how to join the conversation as a scholar. Alongside its focus on ways of thinking about the past, this module also includes training in key practical areas of advanced research, such as effective referencing, identification and interrogation of evidence in secondary literature, and structuring extended academic writing.

Exploring the Past will support you in your growth from introductory and survey modules in your first year of study to tackling more advanced, specialist modules. For those of you taking your degree in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology it will help to prepare you for your final-year dissertation project.

Indicative module syllabus

  • What is historiography?
  • Researching the historiography of a topic (using references, reviews, etc.)
  • Situating your work within a historiography
  • Theoretical frameworks
  • Methodology versus historiography

Learning objectives

By the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • identify and describe a range of historical debates
  • evaluate evidence and arguments presented by other scholars in a range of periods
  • write an extended piece semi-independently
  • reference and create a bibliography.