Tutor: Chris Webb
Module type: MA Skills
Module code: HIS00106M
Reading, understanding and interpreting the records of the past is a core skill for anyone working in History. This module provides the technical foundation for developing fluent reading of handwritten records at all periods, and the knowledge and practice required to work with Early Modern handwriting. We will learn letter shapes, combination patterns, abbreviations and numbers, using original records in the Borthwick Institute.
We will learn the basics of representing texts through editing in order to understand our own practice and the ways in which editors of texts choose to present written materials in printed form. We will use court records, probate records, title deeds, petitions and accounts, concentrating our attention on the period 1500-1720. Class sessions are collaborative and iterative; we will learn from each other in relaxed sessions, with access to the original records in the study space. Our records will be in English, and each session will use an original record and an edited version of at least part of the record.
Students will attend an hour long briefing in week 1 of the spring term and weekly 2-hour seminars in weeks 2-9 at the Borthwick Institute for Archives. The provisional programme is as follows:
Week 1: Briefing: Learning to read and handle archival records (1450s)
Week 2: Learning to read (1500)
Week 3: Learning to read, introduction to editing (1530s)
Week 4: Learning to read, editing practice, introduction to numbers and accounts (1540s)
Week 5: Learning to read: secretary hand (1590s)
Week 6: Learning to read carefully, and editing in practice (1590s)
Week 7: Reading with understanding (1620s)
Week 8: Reading with understanding, editing (1690s)
Week 9: Reading with fluency and accuracy, for meaning (1720s)
For more information, please refer to the module catalogue.