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HIST100: From Ancient to Modern: History and Historians

Department: History NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF4//RQF4
Study Level: Part I Credit Points: 40.0
Start Date: 08-10-2018 End Date: 31-05-2019
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr SE Barber

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • The Part 1 programme for students taking History is designed to extend and deepen the students' knowledge of the past and to introduce you to some major historical topics and themes from classical antiquity to the present day.

    Students will also become more familiar with the wide range of primary sources used by historians (including yourself) in the writing of history. They will gain insights into how historians (including yourself) conduct research and interpret the past, and you will therefore better understand the reasons for changing historical interpretations.

    In the process, by undertaking directed reading, by using electronic resources, by independent research, by attending lectures, by participating in seminar discussions and workshops, by working sometimes in a team, and by producing written assignments, meeting deadlines, and receiving constructive feedback on what you have written, students will develop your study techniques and other transferable skills.

    The long chronological range and types of history covered by the course will extend your intellectual and historical interests and enable you subsequently to make informed choices from among the many historical options available to you in Part 2, either as a History Major student or as a Minor.

    The course is divided into three main blocks

    1. Core (Week 1-15): this block of the course will provide students with an overview of major historical themes throughout the centuries, enabling them to (a) appreciate the distinctive features of different historical periods; and (b) appreciate continuity and change over time by inviting comparisons across a range of key areas (e.g. society, daily life, conflict, religion, power/authority). This block is divided into three chronological segments: ancient/medieval (Week 1-5), early-modern (Week 6-10), and modern/contemporary (Weeks 11-15)

    Topics covered in this block will typically include:

    • Identity, self and society
    • Religion and the sacred
    • Kingship and empire
    • Conflict, war and peace
    • State formation
    • Global economies
    • Science and the idea of progress
    • Space, movement and expansion 
    • Revolutions
    • Urbanisation

    2. Disputed Histories (Weeks 16-20): this block will introduce students to a broad historical topic that has divided historians and caused controversies. This segment will have a distinct historiographical element, familiarising students with different interpretations and historical debates over time. It will also complement the programme of study offered by the 'core' segment, by maintaining focus on key themes already developed in preceding weeks but also introducing new perspectives and historical methodologies. 

    3. 'Dates' (Week 21-23): this block, offering student choice from a menu of options (typically 4-6 per year, depending on the size of the cohort; this will be reviewed at the end of each year), will provide students the opportunity to work in an intensive workshop format to deal with a more narrow historical topic in depth, using predominantly primary sources. In this way, students will acquire a taste of the more advanced historical learning that is practised in Part 2.

    Topics/options offered for this block will typically include:

    • 410 (Sack of Rome)
    • 800 (Crowning of Charlemagne)
    • 1066 (Norman invasion of the British Isles)
    • 1492 (Meeting the New World)
    • 1649 (The execution of Charles I)
    • 1893 (The myth of the American West)
    • 1933 (Closing of the Bauhaus School)
    • 1947 (Partition of India)


    The themes covered by the course reflect the interests and expertise of the department's many academic staff. Topics covered will include:


    • Rank and Race—Identity, Self and Society in the Middle Ages
    • Religion in the Middle Ages—Sin and Salvation
    • Kingship, Government and Empire
    • Settlement, Space, Movement—Who Travelled and Why
    • War and Peace—Conflict and Conflict Resolution 
    • State formation and war in the early-modern world
    • Overseas expansion, migration, and imperialism
    • Science and the idea of progress
    • Revolutions
    • Modernity and the 'modern world'
    • New global economies
    • Urbanisation and governing population
    • The 'violent 20th century'
    • Postwar world: modernity, progress and the 'end of history'
    • People without history (Disputed Histories)


    The programme of lectures (two per week) and of seminars (one per week) runs throughout the Michaelmas and Lent Terms and the first half of the Summer Term. The seminars will require the students to study set texts, most of which are accessed in digital form. Assessment is by coursework (essays and other exercises, plus seminar performance) and by an end-of-course examination.

    Students will spend at least twelve hours a week on their History studies, equivalent to one-third of their Part One studies at Lancaster. The other Part One subject(s) that students will study - some of which, especially in the Arts and Social Sciences, have historical content or are in allied disciplines - will take up the rest of their working week.


Curriculum Design: Single, Combined or Consortial Schemes to which the Module Contributes

  • The new course has similar aims and intended learning outcomes as the History Part 1 course, and therefore constitutes an acceptable replacement.

     Compulsory for:    

    •           History: UCAS Code: V100 BA/Hist
    •           English Literature and History: UCAS Code: QV31 BA/EnglHis
    •           French Studies and History: UCAS Code: RV11 BA/FrH
    •           German Studies and History: UCAS Code: RV21 BA/GerH
    •           History and International Relations: UCAS Code: VL12 BA/HisIR
    •           History and Music: UCAS code: WV31 BA/HisMus
    •           History and Philosophy: UCAS Code: VVC5 BA/HiPhil
    •           History, Philosophy and Politics: UCAS Code: V0L0 BA/HiPhiP
    •           History and Politics: UCAS Code: LV21 BA/HisPol
    •           History and Religious Studies: UCAS Code: VV16 BA/HisRes
    •           Medieval and Renaissance Studies: UCAS Code: V125 BA/MedvRS
    •           Modern European History: UCAS Code: VV12
    •           Social History: UCAS Code V320 BA/SocHis
    •           Spanish Studies and History: UCAS Code: RV41 BA/SSH


  • 50% Exam
  • 50% Coursework

Assessment: Details of Assessment

  • COURSEWORK (50% of total)

    • a bibliographical exercise (Week 3 - formative);
    • two short essays (1500 words; 20% each of CW total, due in Weeks 8 and 16);
    • one longer (2,000-2,500 words; 30% of CW total) reflective essay on a topic of historical controversy (corresponding to the 'Disputed Histories' segment) due in Week 21;
    • a gobbet-style exercise (three gobbets of 500 words each, making up 20% of CW total; due in Week 24);
    • a seminar grade (10% of CW total): determined by seminar tutors on the basis of student attendance and contribution to classroom over Week 1-20.

    Thus, coursework assessment will be made of two short essays (20% each; total 40%), one longer essay (30%), the gobbet-style exercise (20%), and a seminar grade (10%).



    • three-question three-hour unseen examination (Summer Term). Students will be asked to answer two questions from Section A (core component) and one from Section B (Disputed Histories).

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • The principal subject specific aims are

    • to make students better informed about the historical past from the ancient to the modern, and aware of the history of different geographical areas;
    • to make students aware of how historians (including themselves) study the past and how in their research and writing they ‘create’ history and therefore why interpretations of the past develop and differto alert them to historical inquiries which principally concern political, economic, social and cultural forces and practices, and the relationship between them;
    • to make them sensitive to issues concerning continuity and historical change, allowing them to appreciate and study the forces that shaped the history of Europe and the wider world;
    • to make them aware of the distinction between primary and secondary sources, some of the forms (and not just written text forms) they take, and how historians (including themselves) use them or should use them. 


    This Part One module will also make History students better able to choose their Part Two programme on an informed basis from among the range of specialist modules available.

    With regard to the individual components of the course, the specific aims are:

    • CORE: coherent chronological coverage, providing students with a strong sense of historical context in the long term; appreciation of historical change over a long period of time with a focus on key thematic areas; thematic structure offers opportunity to also address historiographical and theoretical/methodological questions about history as a discipline;
    • BLOCK 1 (Disputed Histories): notions of ‘historical truth’; awareness of methodological and theoretical issues regarding the discipline of history; engagement with historiography; ability to praecis and critique; relationships to own argument (inspiration; foil etc.); referencing conventions; 
    • BLOCK 2 (Dates): awareness of significance of genre; different types of sources; close analysis of historical evidence; how sources are used as evidence; how evidence is used to create an argument.


Educational Aims: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • The principal general educational aims are to make students:

    • more informed and also more skilled in acquiring information, for example by library searches, by the use of Moodle sites, by web searches, by using multimedia resources, and especially by reading; 
    • more skilled in critically and constructively analysing information as it is being acquired and by engaging in discussion, presentation and written work; 
    • more skilled, persuasive and confident in presenting their knowledge and understanding.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    • exhibit knowledge and understanding of a range of historical topics and issues from the ancient to the modern;
    • explain how historians (including themselves) ‘create’ history when writing up their research, and of the importance and value of interpretation and debate;
    • identify historical meta-narratives and why and how they have been created, expressed and criticised;
    • demonstrate an awareness of the value of the kind of primary and secondary sources historians use;
    • demonstrate an awareness of some of the different forms in which history is presented;
    • appreciate and recognise the value of history and the use to which interpretations of the past have been put;
    • demonstrate awareness of and know the importance of scholarly standards in historical research and writing.

Learning Outcomes: General: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

    • locate, acquire and assess critically large amounts of information derived from a variety of digital, textual and non-textual sources;
    • present their findings and understanding orally in discussions and in presentations
    • present their findings on paper, including in unseen examinations;
    • reference sources of information and construct a bibliography in a scholarly manner;
    • work in teams, as well as independently;
    • manage time and have become more practised at working under pressure and at meeting deadlines;


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