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HIS3030 : History and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christopher Loughlin
  • Lecturer: Dr Vicky Long, Professor Graham Smith, Dr Darakhshan Khan, Professor Susan-Mary Grant, Dr Shane McCorristine, Dr Sarah Campbell
  • Teaching Assistant: Miss Violeta Tsenova
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Students usually come to university to study History primarily because they enjoy the subject. They are probably more concerned initially with finding out where they have come from, than where they are going to. When, therefore, the question arises of how the knowledge that they have gained on their degree is relevant to or will benefit them in the wider world, their first thought may be that there is not much immediate value in what they have been studying from the point of view of what they will be doing next. They may also consider the development and presentation of historical knowledge to be primarily of interest to specialists, and/or a private hobby for non-specialists.

This module is designed to disabuse students of these ideas. It will do so by introducing them to various practical and societal usages of history and by guiding them through some of the ways in which the knowledge that they have gained might be applied in relation to a range of public issues. It will examine the role played by ideas about history in the formulation of public policy, in questions of regional and national identity, and in popular culture. In this sense the module is designed to help students to think about the wider significance of historical investigation as well as to make the transition to the next phase of their life.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be taught through 2 one-hour lectures and 1 one-hour seminar most weeks, together with a field trip (several different options will be offered), film screenings, and workshops on presentation skills.

The first 8 or 9 weeks will be where the bulk of the module content (in terms of lectures and seminars) is concentrated. These weeks are likely to be divided into three broad groups, to highlight the different contexts in which history may be used: region, nation, and world. Topics will explore the interrelationship in these contexts between history and various other subjects, which may include:

Public Engagement,
‘History from below’,

The final three or four weeks of the module will concentrate on training, preparation and delivery of the oral and visual assessment.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture131:0013:00Lectures to be divided between staff and external speakers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Film screening - One film screening planned; only one member of staff required to supervise
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 teaching61:006:00Seminars based on 10 groups.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Based on each tutor combining their two seminar groups, i.e. five groups in total
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Oral presentations - Based on five groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Based on each tutor combining their two seminar groups, i.e. five groups in total
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Based on 5 groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00Presentation drop in session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00Students to go to their seminar tutor
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills. They will enable students to gain a sense of the relationship between history as a discipline and the wider societal context; to critically engage with the uses of historical skills and methods; and to understand the ways in which the skill set they have acquired over the course of their degree might be utilised after leaving university.

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills, research skills and adaptability. They will have a specific focus on the adaptation of skills developed during the degree to wider social, political and cultural contexts beyond student life.

The workshops will develop computer literacy skills and enable students to find authoritative online learning resources, as well as providing in-depth guided study of primary sources.

The surgery invites individual guidance and advice tailored to suit students’ particular needs.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation102M40Students to use PowerPoint or other suitable visual aid(s).
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M603,000 words in length
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay set during the semester will allow the students to engage with a particular topic of their choice. Assessing the essay mid-way through the semester will help to determine the student’s progress and provide feedback at an early stage. The oral presentation is specifically designed to encourage the students to develop, and to test, skills that will be invaluable when it comes to applying for and engaging in a career. Module feedback forms and the National Student Survey both indicate that students do not currently feel that the History degree helps them to develop their oral skills.

Training for the oral assessment – in the form of two workshops, one on oral presentation skills and one on effective use of Power Point and other visual aids – will be offered as part of the module. Oral presentations are widely practised (and occasionally also assessed) at other points in the degree, but students are not formally trained for them.

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

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.

Reading Lists