HST6605: Approaches to International History
30 credits (semester 1)
2012-13 Module Leader: Dr Miles Larmer
This module introduces students to debates and issues central to an understanding of International History. Through discursive seminars students will acquire an informed understanding of significant trends in the historiography, covering topics such as theories of imperialism, the decentring of Europe, global wars, decolonisation, the rise and fall of the nation state, revolution and counter-revolution, and hegemony and its discontents. Students will thus be enabled to explore developments in international history and will also explore historiographical controversies and debates, examining the paradigms historians use to structure both their approach to source materials, and considering whether international history is inevitably interdisciplinary.
This unit aims to equip students with a clear understanding of the international dynamics which have shaped world history from the late nineteenth century onwards. Students´ knowledge will draw on an engagement with both metropolitan and area-specific historiographies, and the integration of non-Western perspectives will be a particular aim of the module. To this end, students taking this core module will explore the methodological issues raised by the advanced study of international history, a field which is much influenced by the work of scholars in other academic disciplines. Those taking the module will examine how historians explore their material and write about the past, working from examples of historical writing and the approach taken by individual historians or historiographical schools. Such an approach will enable students to consider the nature of the sources available and how the selection of source material shapes the subject matter of history and the ways in which historians write. The module will thus provide students with a context from which to begin independent research and allow them to recognise any methodological problems inherent in their chosen area of specialism.
The principal mode of contact will be ten two-hour seminar classes. Within this standard format, students will be offered
- a series of content-specific seminars, looking at a range of historical topics, issues, and problems that take the student through a particular historical period, providing both an introduction to advanced study in this field and the historical and historiographical context from which to undertake practice-based research.
- a series of methodological seminars examining different approaches to the research and writing of modern history. Some seminars will look at specific problems, such as how archives store and structure knowledge, others will focus on a particular methodological debate, such as the history of ‘everyday life’ or ‘cinematic knowledge. Students will thus have a forum in which to explore problems and methods in the advanced study of modern history.
Students will be set preparatory reading in advance for all seminars. They will be expected to share their knowledge of historiographical developments, debate controversial topics and listen and respond to the views of others in a structured environment. In addition, students attend regular individual tutorials, in which they identify topics for written papers, develop their reading around these topics, and discuss the structure and content of their written work.
Students will complete one written paper of 6,000 words. The work should engage with one or more of the concepts or themes of the module through a case-study/case-studies. It should demonstrate an advanced understanding of and critical engagement with current historiography, and advanced skills in the use of sources.
Intended Learning Outcomes