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HIS3232 : Civil Rights and Armalites Northern Ireland since 1969

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Campbell
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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. It will focus on the move towards conflict resolution on the island and in Britain, examining the roles of both the Dublin and London governments during the conflict and peace process.

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.

Seminar 1: The ‘Irish Question’ – Perspectives on the Conflict
Seminar 2: The origins of the ‘Troubles’
Seminar 3: From Civil Rights to Armalites – Dissent into violence
Seminar 4: The new Opposition – ‘New’ Nationalism?
Seminar 5: Direct Rule and the power-sharing experiment, 1972-1974
Seminar 6: The Limits of British Politics – ‘Ulsterisation’ and the Hunger Strikes
Seminar 7: The Anglo-Irish Agreement
Seminar 8: Thinking outside the (ballot) box – the origins of the Peace Process
Seminar 9: From Ceasefire to Good Friday Agreement
Seminar 10: Endgame? Implementing the Agreement
Seminar 11: Memory and the ‘Troubles’

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
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 teaching123:0036:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

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

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Documentary commentary of 1,500 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay2A552,500 word essay including footnotes, excluding bibliography
Written exercise2M20Weekly seminar contribution 1-2 page summary of reading each week to be emailed in advance.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticise a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure.

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.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange 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