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Unit information: Approaching the Past in 2015/16

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Unit name Approaching the Past
Unit code HIST13015
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rob Skinner
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit we will be introducing you to some key skills that will carry through your degree, and in some cases into the world of work. But perhaps the most important aim of the unit is to encourage you to read, write and think as an historian and to introduce you to the challenges and the excitement of actually exploring the discipline yourself. This unit will be constructed by a series of lectures and workshops. Everyone attends the lectures, which amount to 20 hours in total. You are then divided into smaller groups, and will attend a total of 10 workshops. By the end of the unit you should understand what is distinctive about the study of history and understand why historians study their subject in the ways they do. You should also be able to reflect upon the complex relationship between evidence and interpretation, and to think about the nature of academic debate.


This unit is designed to prepare students for degree-level study in history by equipping them with the skills they will need. It focuses upon fostering the practical and interpretive skills required by those studying history, and upon developing students' sense of what being an historian involves. It thus aims to introduce students to the challenges and the excitement of studying this subject, with a particular emphasis on how to read, interpret and discuss historical texts and objects.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be equipped to: understand what constitutes plagiarism (assessed by plagiarism test) work together in a group on a research project (assessed by group project) provide a short group presentation to students and assessors based on a research project (assessed by group project) employ Powerpoint or similar technology effectively in a presentation (assessed by group project) produce a coherent word-processed exam answer to a set question within a 24-hour period based on the unit’s lecture series and associated reading material (assessed by 24-hour exam)

Teaching Information

20 1-hour lectures 10 x workshops (1 hour) Access to tutorial consultation with unit tutor(s)

Assessment Information

Plagiarism test (students are required to pass this in order to complete the unit) Group-project presentation (50% of the UAM) 24-hour written take-home examination (50% of the UAM)

Reading and References

J. Arnold, History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2000)

L. Jordanova, History in Practice [2nd edn.] (Hodder Arnold, 2006).

A. Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies (Routledge, 2006).

J. Tosh, Historians on History (Pearson Longman, 2000).

J. Tosh, The Pursuit of History [4th edn.] (Pearson Longman, 2002).