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HIS3232 : Civil Rights and Armalites Northern Ireland since 1969

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Campbell
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 40 student places

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


The Northern Ireland conflict, or the ‘troubles’ first broke out in 1969 and have proved to be one of the most intractable conflicts in Europe since the Second World War. In proportion to its size, it is argued that Northern Ireland is the most heavily researched area on earth, but what caused a war of this scale to break out in Ireland, and what perpetuated it for over 35 years, with a death toll of over 3,500 people? At the heart of the conflict are a tangle of interrelated questions. Who should govern Northern Ireland and what should the constitutional position be? How can social and economic inequalities, especially in the field of employment and housing, be remedied? How can the state accommodate religious and cultural differences relating to education, the Irish language and the broad spread of cultural expression? How can political disputes be conducted and resolved without resorting to violence? How can security and order be justly and inclusively administered in a deeply divided society? This module will study the political, religious, social and cultural history of the region since 1969 and, using primary source documents and oral histories, will investigate and dispel the myths that surround some of the debates.

The aims of this module are:
-To enable students to study the conflict in Northern Ireland in-depth and analyse the different interpretations of its causes and longevity;
-To enable students to engage with both primary source documents from the period, oral testimony collected since, and the major historiographical debates concerning the conflict;
-To introduce students to recent historical research and to guide them in the analysis of primary documents and texts;
-To give students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of a short period in Anglo-Irish relations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only. Actual subjects may differ from those listed.

The Irish Question in British Politics
The origins of the ‘Troubles’
From Civil Rights to Armalites – Dissent into violence
The new Opposition – ‘New’ Nationalism?
Direct Rule and the power-sharing experiment, 1972-1974
The Limits of British Politics – ‘Ulsterisation’ and the Hunger Strikes
Memory and the ‘Troubles’

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture52:0010:00Introduction to topic, chronology, and overview.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:001-hour lectures to introduce themes in second half of module
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion233:3067:00Preparation for the two assignments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching42:008:00Seminars.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities1010:00100:00structured weekly reading and documentary work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:001- hour seminars in first half of the module to discuss key events, relationships, and chronology
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Workshops on the final project (one mid-way through and one in the final week)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Drop-in session before assessments.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an introduction or overview that introduces the key themes of each (subsequent) seminar and will give students the necessary guidance they need to direct their own study.

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem solving skills and adaptability.

Workshops will provide guidance project design and writing projects.

Drop-in session allows feedback and guidance, and students to ask questions before each assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M30Annotated bibliography relating to final project. 1,200 words
Portfolio2A70Project of choice (either written essay or creative project based on the themes). 2,500 words
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 exercise2MProject design plan - 300 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The project can either be a written essay or a creative response to one of the themes of the module. It will test students' ability to conduct independent research, relate primary source documents to broader problem, design a research question, ability to formulate an interpretation of evidence in response to a question, and academic writing skills.

The annotated bibliography will test knowledge and understanding of texts set for the module, as well as the ability to independently find relevant material for a final project. The ability to succinctly summarise the key points of an argument and outline its importance.

The formative assessment allows students to get feedback on their project design

Reading Lists