Module Catalogue 2024/25

HIS1104 : Introduction to Public History

HIS1104 : Introduction to Public History

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jack Hepworth
  • Lecturer: Professor Graham Smith, Dr Lauren Darwin
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module will introduce students to ideas and practices of public history, and critically engage with some approaches. Students will begin to develop some of the key skills of public historians, especially in regards to communication and collaboration.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics may include the following:
•Introduction: What is public history? An international overview
•Publics and counter-publics and why they matter
•The past in the present: historical justice
•Approaches to Public History

      -History for the public: delivery and reception
      -History with the public: history from below and memory activism
      -History in public: heritage, memorialisation and commemoration

Case Studies working across the inter-connected themes of race, war, environment, gender and class.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of this module, students will have:
•       Understanding that public history is the use of the past in the present.
•       Knowledge of the historiography of public history, including some of the key international debates.
•       Understanding that public history is defined and practiced in different ways in different places around the world.
•       A developing understanding of key theoretical concepts relevant to public history, including public sphere, audience, imagined communities, historical consciousness and historical justice.
•       A developing understanding of the reception of the past by publics.
•       Knowledge of different ways public history is practiced including through popular culture, cultural institutions, legal frameworks and memory activism.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       Critical thinking and evaluation skills
•       Ability to work collaboratively in small groups
•       Public speaking skills
•       Technical and communication skills for public presentations
•       Online writing skills

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion621:0062:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading451:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study601:0060:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

LECTURES: enable students to gain a wider sense of historical argument and debate.

SEMINARS: weekly 2 hour seminars are an opportunity for students to consolidate their learning. They encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills, research skills and adaptability. They will also be used to scaffold and allow preparation for assessments.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A602500 word essay
Oral Presentation2M405-minute recorded, individual presentation
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MPlanning exercise for the oral examination/recorded presentation in the form of a written plan, picture-board or outline of ideas. 600 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Summative assessment will be by (1) an individual presentation on an aspect of public history and (2) a final essay problematising public history and its central questions.

The recorded presentation is designed to assess students' skills in presenting personal reflections on a piece of public history. The more traditional essay style format will assess critical thinking, academic reasoning and execution.

The formative assessment will give students the chance to prepare and design their presentations, and to be given feedback.

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


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 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 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.