The MA in Cultural and Social History is run jointly by the Departments of History and Sociology. Students take two specified training modules, and three optional modules, which reflect the research interests of the academics teaching them. Assessment takes the form of coursework and a 20,000 word dissertation. This course introduces students to current approaches and debates in cultural and social history, and to a range of recent work in this exciting field. It encourages critical assessment of what makes cultural history distinctive and, in particular, the extent to which it can be considered as distinct from social history. Students explore the varied ways in which understandings of the relationship between evidence and interpretation, language and the material world, economies and identities, have been challenged and changed by the ‘cultural turn’.
Modules and Options
The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.
Compulsory: RESEARCH METHODS IN HISTORY
Core: APPROACHES TO CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY
Core: DISSERTATION: MA IN CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY
CULTURAL STUDIES: THEORY AND HISTORY
GENDER IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE C.1500-C.1800
HISTORY OF MEDICINE
RACE AND CLASS IN THE UNITED STATES, SOUTH AFRICA AND BRITAIN: SELECT TOPICS
SLAVERY IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD
THE PARISH CHEST AND BEYOND: SOURCES FOR LOCAL AND REGIONAL HISTORY, 1500 TO THE PRESENT
THINKING ABOUT COMMUNITIES: CONCEPTS AND APPROACHES IN LOCAL & REGIONAL HISTORY, 1500 TO THE PRESENT
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the broad themes of historical analysis, including continuity and change, the specificity of particular historical processes, and the 'otherness' of the past.
A2 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the models used by the discipline to conceptualise and analyse change in past societies.
A3 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of some key historical sources available for historical research.
A4 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of some selected topics of social and cultural history
A5 : Demonstrate substantial knowledge and critical understanding of a particular area of social and cultural history through an independent piece of research
A1-A4 are acquired through seminars where there is an emphasis on group discussion and which allow for dynamic interaction based on directed pre-set reading.
Throughout students are encouraged to develop their knowledge through independent, self-directed research and reading.
A5 is acquired through work on the dissertation.
Testing the knowledge-base for A1-A4 is through essays and the dissertation. A5 is assessed through the dissertation.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : A student should be able to identify accurately issues which require researching.
B2 : A student should be able to assemble information from a variety of sources, and discern and establish connections.
B3 : A student should be able to synthesise and evaluate primary and secondary information.
B4 : A student should be able to rank and collate items and issues in terms of relevance and importance.
B5 : A student should be able to critically evaluate the merits of conflicting arguments and advanced scholarship in the field.
B6 : A student should be able to present and make a reasoned choice between alternative solutions or methodologies and, where appropriate, propose new interpretations or hypotheses.
B7 : A student should be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, or conflicting evidence, and communicate their conclusions clearly
B8 : A student should be able to demonstrate independence of thought where appropriate.
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1-B8 are obtained through seminars, where there is an emphasis on group discussion and an analysis of original material and historical problems. All skills are further developed by the course essays and the dissertation. Skill B1 is fostered in particular through the dissertation, and student formulation of their own essay topics in consultation with the course tutor/supervisor.
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1-B8 are assessed via essays and the dissertation.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : A student should be able to identify, select and retrieve a wide range of relevant source material.
C2 : A student should be able to design, use and reflect on various research/study techniques.
C3 : A student should be able to interpret qualitative material.
C4 : A student should be able to compose extended bibliographies, using relevant reference systems according to established conventions.
C5 : A student should be able to design a substantial work of independent study.
C6 : A student should be able to project plan, manage and complete a substantial work of independent study.
C7 : A student should be able to identify, select and retrieve a range of primary source material.
Skills C1-C5 are developed through research for the course essays and dissertation, and by feedback and discussions with the tutors on written work. They are also developed specificaly through preparation for tutorials, and the medium of group interactive classes in HR935 (Research Methods in History). Skills C2, C3, C4 are developed through seminars by way of the medium of problem solving and group disucssion.
Skills C1-C7 are developed via the dissertation.
Practical skills C1-C4 are assessed through essays, and all the skills C1-C7 via the dissertation.
D: Key Skills
D1 : A student should be able to i) work with the English language proficiently in relation to matters pertinent to the historical discipline; ii) present knowledge or an argument in a clear, coherent and relevant manner; iii) analyse materials that are complex and/or technical; iv) liaise directly with academic supervisors on the dissertation.
D2 : A student should be able to use appropriate IT where relevant for research and presentation purposes (including searchable databases such as library catalogues and internet sources, and word processing).
D4 : A student should be able to analyse a reasonably complex set of data and apply relevant explanatory models thereto.
D6 : A student should be able to i) with limited guidance, to reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback; ii) to appreciate when s/he does not know enough and needs to undertake further research.
Key skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 are acquired through tutorials where students debate historical issues and problems.
Skill D1 ii) can in addition be obtained through the University's online essay writing tutorial at:
Skills D1, D2, D4 and D6 will be learnt through writing assessed and formative coursework and consequent feedback, both written and that obtained in oral sessions.
Skill D2 can be obtained in particular through preparation for tutorials and the medium of group interactive classes in HR935 (Research Methods in History).
Skills D1-D6 are assessed through essays and the dissertation.