Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS3000 : Reading History

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Luc Racaut
  • Lecturer: Professor Tim Kirk, Dr Alejandro Quiroga, Dr Jonathan Andrews, Dr Scott Ashley, Dr Konstantina Maragkou, Dr Shane McCorristine, Dr Joseph Lawson
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module represents one of the capstones of the Newcastle history degree programme. Constructed around the study of a single seminal secondary text, it is designed to enable students to explore the themes, evidence, approach, argument, literary merit and methodology of said text within the broader context of the historiography within which it is positioned, the intellectual skills acquired at Stages 1 and 2 of the Newcastle degree programme, and to employ these in a genuinely independent and intellectually robust way as preparation both for the writing of a dissertation (the 'Writing History' module) if appropriate and for the challenges of the world beyond academia.

This module aims:
1.To encourage in students the habit of considering new arguments and evidence, not within the confines of a particular module's subject matter but in the light of all the historical knowledge that they already possess.

2.To enable students to relate particular areas of historical knowledge to:
i.Other areas of knowledge and issues arising from different modules taken during the three years of their Honours Programme
ii.General historical knowledge other than that acquired through taught modules (e.g. by private reading, from television etc)
iii.Ethical, cultural and political issues and debates

3.To provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

4.To provide an opportunity for students to read more widely and critically and to do so independently.

Outline Of Syllabus

Weeks 1-2: purchase of selected text and reading of same.
Weeks 3-11: discussions of topics that will vary from book to book, but which will begin and end with sessions dealing with: what does the book say and do? and summing up. In between the seminars will address some combination of: historiography, methodology, theoretical approach(es), concepts (conceived or developed in the book in question), connections/relevance/usefulness to World History, and opportunities for comparison with other examples from different periods of world regions, or with other historical works. The module is intended to have something of a synoptic character, so at all points students are encouraged to draw comparative or related examples from all the modules they have studied to date, as well as from other sources of information (the media, literature, etc).

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have the capacity to place what they have learned in three years of study within the context of, e.g.: historiography generally and the variety of approaches to historical writing, including the influence of other disciplines and areas of knowledge; the general public understanding of history, its value, its purpose and its broader social, political and ideological impact, and, where appropriate, world and comparative history.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:
1. Make connections across the full range of their own historical knowledge
2. Critique historical writing with some depth and sophistication
3. Construct and sustain their own critical arguments backed with evidence and following appropriate technical conventions
4. Associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture13:003:00Introductory lecture in week 1, guest lecture and reception in week 2.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00Seminars based on 12 groups
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars provide the necessary structure in which to discuss the selected text, debate the issues arising from it with both the member of staff concerned and with the academic peer group, be introduced to additional material necessary for the full and appropriate study of the text concerned.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M201500 words
Essay1M803000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

2. The final written assignment provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have reflected on all they have learned during their undergraduate studies and can bring that learning to bear in considering new and challenging ideas.
3. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress, student understanding and development of critical skills.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the alternative of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of other students on the module. In order to take up this option, students need to discuss it with the Study Abroad Co-ordinator and their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them. The Study Abroad Co-ordinator will have the final say on such issues.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will require the provision of an alternative assessment before the end of teaching week 12. The alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 1,500 word essays in addition to the other coursework assessment. The essays should be set so as to assure full coverage of the course content.

Study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.