Representing the Past: Historiography and Historical Methods

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Timothy Hochstrasser E407 and Mr Vladimir Unkovski-Korica E306


This course is compulsory on the BA in History. This course is available on the BSc in International Relations and History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The purpose of the course is to provide advanced undergraduate students with an overview of historiography from ancient times to the present and an introduction to the methodological implications of a wide range of present types of historical writing. The growth of scientific history: von Ranke and the foundation of professional journals; primary sources - archival; primary sources - oral history; types of historical writing, good & bad; the development of history before the 19th century: Thucydides to Gibbon; military history; ideology and history; religion in history; nationalism; revolutions; economic history; empires and imperialism; the Annales school; the end of History? - the case of the cold war; the future of history; gender and sexuality in history; Holocaust and genocide; art and art history; the creation of 'collective memory', the emergence of the 'heritage industry' and history on TV.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be required to complete four different projects. Students will be required to write three essays (two in Michaelmas term and one in Lent Term) from the specified essay list and to deliver a class presentation in the Lent Term. NB: HY300 students may find it useful to choose a series of works relating to their chosen research area.

Indicative reading

A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course but will include the following introductory surveys: Berger, Feldner and Passmore, Writing History; D Cannadine (Ed), What is History now?; L Jordanova, History in Practice; R Evans, In Defence of History; J Tosh, The Pursuit of the Past; M Bloch, The Historian's Craft; R G Collingwood, The Idea of History.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2012/13: 47

Average class size 2012/13: 24

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78.9%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)