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Unit information: Memory and History in the Twentieth Century in 2015/16

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Unit name Memory and History in the Twentieth Century
Unit code MODL20010
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. John Foot
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This course will examine the importance of cultural memory in Twentieth century Europe and Latin America. It will also provide an introduction to theoretical and methodological ways of seeing cultural memory.

The course will then look at specific events, memory objects, monuments, anniversaries and debates over memory linked to a key period of twentieth century history taking in two world wars, the cold war, periods of political violence and dictatorship. The course will look to cover debates in various countries and also in a comparative framework and to link methodological and theoretical debates with real events and the ways these events have been understood.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have:

  1. Demonstrated a detailed knowledge of specific historical events studied, and the relationship between these events and particular memory objects;
  2. Demonstrated a good understanding of the relationship between memory and history in individual nations but also across the nations studied;
  3. Demonstrated a good knowledge of the theoretical debates over cultural memory as a discipline;
  4. Evaluated and analyse relevant material from a significant body of primary and secondary source materials at a high level;
  5. Responded to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an high level of complexity;
  6. Developed good presentation skills, working in groups The unit will also introduce themes which will prepare MODL students for the year abroad.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught in a combination of tutor- and student-led teaching, predominantly in seminar format but with a small number of introductory lectures.

Assessment Information

One short essay or commentary of 1500 words (25%) testing ILOs 1-5 plus one essay of 2500 words (75%) testing ILOs 1-5. One formative group presentation of 5-10 minutes testing ILO 6. The short essay or commentary is normally an analysis of a specific primary text, and allows students to demonstrate their ability to analyse primary texts and relate their analysis to broader theoretical questions underpinning the unit. The longer essay will require the students to place particular debates over cultural memory or memory objects in historical context, to demonstrate ability to relate these events to debates over national identity across the various countries studied, and to draw appropriately on secondary literature to formulate their arguments effectively. The unassessed presentation will allow them to develop skills of working collaboratively and presentation in front of the group.

Reading and References

P. Connerton, How societies remember, CUP, Cambridge, 1989. ---- How Modernity Forgets (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

J. Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory, Palgrave, London, 2011.

R. Crownshaw, Jane Kilby and Anthony Rowland (eds.), The Future of Memory (Berghahn, 2010).

K. Hodgkin and Susannah Radstone (eds.), Contested Pasts: The Politics of Memory (Routledge: London, 2003).

M. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1992. Robert Perks and Alistair Thomsom eds., The Oral History Reader, Routledge, London, 1997.