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Unit information: Horrible Histories And All That in 2021/22

Unit name Horrible Histories And All That
Unit code HIST30119
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Reeks
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

What makes a historian and a history? Many historians have been conscious of the need to tell great and memorable stories: to what extent have they sacrificed their academic credentials to do so? This unit will focus on storytellers and their techniques, from novelists and children’s historians, to ‘Twitterstorians’ and dramatists, and even comic books and video games. Indeed, the impact of new technology and media, combined with the self-consciously public role of the historian, is rapidly increasing the number of forums in which historical discourse might take place. Whether through stage-plays, social media, or television documentary, historians have found new ways to tell their stories, and storytellers have found in history a compelling subject matter. This unit will consider what it means to be a historian in the twenty-first century: does the blurring of the lines between academic and popular cultures amount to a window of opportunity, or a compromise of intellectual values?

This unit aims to:

Provide students with a sense of the range of employment opportunities in sectors adjacent to historical research.

  • Develop students’ understanding of how large research and writing projects are conceived and planned.
  • Expose students to the range of different creative projects connected to the discipline of history.
  • Question the relationship between formal academic history and history in the creative industries.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of different forms and genres of historical discourse, why authors adopt them, and what they are designed to achieve.
  2. Critically compare and analyse a range of creative and non-creative historical outputs from within the academy and beyond.
  3. Discuss and evaluate the key historiographical debates surrounding the production and consumption of history.
  4. Understand and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  5. Present and frame their ideas in a fashion consistent with the conventions of proposals and applications familiar to the academic world and to the creative industries.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 2500-word Mock Proposal (50%) [ILOs 1-5]

1 x Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-4]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST30119).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.