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HIS3346 : The Rising Generation: Youth, Age and Protest in Cold War Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laura Tisdall
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module considers how both conservatives and radicals used the language of age and life-stage to construct visions of the future between 1960 and 1989. How far can protest movements - second-wave feminism, black civil rights, gay liberation and CND - be understood as generational conflicts? And how does employing age, gender, class, race and sexuality as categories of historical analysis change the way that we do history?

This module aims to introduce students to important empirical and methodological questions about age, gender and sexuality, using a case study of Cold War Britain. It will consider the histories of 'muted groups' such as children, women, people of colour and LGBT people, but also demonstrate how the language used about such groups is used to structure power relations in society; for example, how groups and individuals are demeaned by being told 'that's childish' or 'you're acting like a girl'. The module will draw on a wide range of primary sources - for example, periodicals, photographs, maps, oral histories and self-narratives - and will be situated in the relevant historiography on post-war and Cold War Britain.

Particular attention will be paid to the following objectives:

•       How to use oral history and self-narrative sources.
•       How to use ‘secondary’ historiography when the main histories of a movement are written by contemporaries e.g. the historiography of second-wave feminism.
•       How to handle conflicting narratives about race, gender, sexuality and age critically, and how to use historical empathy to assess these sources.
•       How to analyse histories of particular phenomena using race, gender, age and sexuality as categories of historical analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

A suggested list of seminar topics is as follows:

1.       Cold War Britain
2.       Class, trade unionism and the ‘New Left’
3. Race and immigration
4.       Black activism and Black Power
5.       ‘Second-wave’ feminism
6. CND and anti-nuclear activism
7. Childhood and the children's rights movement
8. Adolescence and student protest
9.       Lesbians and political separatism
10.       Gay men and AIDS
11. Trans, bisexual and gender non-conforming identities

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion561:0056:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials110:305:30Recorded online teaching materials of various kinds. Part of contact hours
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00Seminars.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study561:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time110:305:30Asynchronous discussion on online discussion board.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The large % of independent study promotes self-directed learning and the effective use of primary and secondary literature. PIP seminar teaching encourages the close analysis of primary source material and the development of critical thinking and historical empathy. Online asynchronous discussions allow students to participate in class in a different way if they are less confident in PIP seminars. Recorded lecture materials provide scaffolding for student learning while preserving time in seminars for student discussion and analysis of primary sources and set reading, ensuring all students have a basic understanding of the topic and can participate in discussion.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A702500 word essay.
Portfolio1M301000 word portfolio.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MLength: 10 Minutes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This source-led course privileges close reading of the source material rather than memorisation for a timed examination. Therefore, the main assessments are coursework-based. This will allow the assessment of the intended knowledge outcomes by testing the students' understanding of the primary and secondary literature, and their ability to examine this literature critically and to situate their own argument within this existing work. Formative assessment, in the form of oral presentations, will allow students to develop their confidence both in public speaking and in posing questions to other students, skills which are important for the job market as well as for personal development

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists