Module Catalogue 2023/24

HIS1103 : History Lab II

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Konstantina Maragkou
  • Lecturer: Dr Martin Farr, Dr Simon Mills, Ms Anne Redgate, Dr Nicola Clarke, Professor Bruce Baker
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



History Lab II (like its semester one counterpart, History Lab I) is a historical survey taught through case studies. The goal is to teach – and learn – through meaningful microcosm, rather than attempt a whistle-stop tour of everything.

Across the two modules, each member of staff will give three interconnected lectures on a specific case-study from their field: one lecture about a discrete moment/event/issue and its attendant historiography, a second lecture that features primary sources on the same, and a third lecture that features public or private representations of that event as a basis for methodological issues. The integration of these differing dimensions will showcase how historians think and work by highlighting examples of differing historical interpretations and ongoing negotiations with the past.

A key aim of the module is to support students in developing strategies for independent learning: specifically, how to get up to speed with unfamiliar topics quickly. The formative assessments will be geared towards a) summarizing the argument and methodology outlined in the lectures, and b) contextualising the events or people of the case studies in time and space.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered will vary from year-to-year, but as many members of History staff as possible will contribute a block of three lectures every year, giving students chance to explore a wide range of different periods, places, and approaches. They will thus be encouraged to draw parallels and see interconnections cross-culturally and cross-culturally, in order to move away from thinking of history in narrowly national or regional terms, a practice which tends to prioritise western histories and/or the Global North.

Each of the two History Lab modules will concentrate on a particular broad theme, with case studies ordered chronologically throughout the semester. Depending on what case studies are scheduled for inclusion in a given year, the themes may therefore change, in order to maintain a clear and coherent ‘fit’ between topics and overall theme.

Themes may include:

•       conflict
•       cities
•       social change
•       radical ideas
•       memory
•       labour
•       health

Case studies may include:

•       The ‘Martyrs’ of Cordoba, 850-859
•       James Cook Lands in Aotearoa New Zealand 1769
•       The Jarrow Crusade, 1936
•       Beyond the 'First Industrial Nation': The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective
•       Political Violence in the Weimar Republic: The Case of Horst Wessel (1907-1930)
•       Wealth and Poverty in early twentieth-century China
•       Sexual Revolution and the Pill
• The public history of bubonic plague

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should:

•       understand how and why historical interpretation varies and changes, with reference to specific case studies;
•       be able to explain the factors that affect how and why present societies engage with the past, with reference to specific case studies;
•       be familiar with the details of key episodes in the histories of multiple periods and places;
•       have a broad general grasp of historical chronology and global geography.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The two History Lab modules will complement the other Stage 1 History offerings, in giving students the chance to develop and practice the following skills:

•       critical analysis of primary sources, secondary scholarship, and popular media;
•       information gathering, including the ability to quickly gather, assimilate and re-present knowledge about new and unfamiliar topics and ideas;
•       adaptability to unfamiliar approaches to the discipline

In addition, the assessment for History Lab I and II will put particular emphasis on:

•       regular practice at clear and succinct written communication, including note taking and critical analysis

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion671:0067:00Writing position papers for portfolio
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Q and A Session each week
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1001:00100:00Directed reading to support lectures
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

LECTURES will enable students to gain a wider sense of historical argument and debate and how such debates operate, which also allows them to develop comparisons between different historiographical debates.

Q and A sessions will enable students to ask the lecturers questions about their lectures in person. This will take the form of a conversation between the module leader and that week's lecturer, with a strongly interactive dimension with the students.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A100Students to choose 3 x 1000 word position papers 3000 words in total, incl. footnotes but excluding bibliography
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MStudents can prepare one 1000-word position paper as a formative non marked assessment in order to receive feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

As a formative assessment, students can write a 'practice' position paper of 1000 words by choosing one of the position papers set within the first half of the semester. This formative assessment will not receive a mark but feedback will be provided. This formative assessment can be resubmitted as one of the three position papers which constitutes the summative assessment at the end of the module. This summative assessment is a portfolio of three position papers chosen from all of the case studies offered over the course of the module.

Position papers are short pieces of academic writing in response to a set question. They requires students to express an opinion and provide evidence as to why they are taking that particular stance. For each weekly case study, students are provided with two position papers which relate to the topic and sources at hand.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.