History of history of York

Posted on 8 October 2013

My internship with the History Department at the University of York has been a wonderful experience. I have had the chance to research over 50 years of archived student dissertations.

‌Reading about the interests of students from the 1960’s to the present and their changing views on the nature of the study of history has proved to be a challenging and very rewarding opportunity.  Looking through the many handwritten essays of the 1960’s and 1970’s as well as the typewriter produced work, and the recent neatly printed computer-made dissertations has helped underscore the technological as well as logistical changes to studying at York over the last 50 years.  I have found that the History Department has many things to be proud about over its half-century of teaching. The expansion into Oral History, Women’s History, and International Studies paints a bright picture of the growth of the study of history here at York. Not many universities can say they maintain such a trove of hard work produced from their first students to their most recent.  It has been both an eye opening and valuable research experience that I hope shall leave the University and the History Department with a better picture of the great evolution that has taken place over 50 years here at York.

I chose this internship as I had heard that there was a chance the university would throw away 50 years worth of student dissertations to save space. I found the thought quite shocking that such a store of resources for education at the university might be disposed of.  When I was informed of an internship to look at the dissertations and see if there were things of value to be researched I quickly applied with the hope that their significance could be shown. I am happy to say that their value has well exceeded even my high hopes at the start of the internship. My work has only been the start of what can be done with study of the universities preserved dissertations. This internship has yielded great results and would be a firm foundation for any future study of both the department's and the university's educational development through the highest academic work of their students. 

Additional research skills have been picked up in the process including a renewed proficiency in Microsoft Excel, as it was needed to quantify the great amount of data found within the dissertations. Working with members of the History Department and the Bothwick Archives has been a wonderful learning experience and one that has helped create valuable research from a great collection of neglected student works. As I end my MA in Modern History I can gladly say that this internship has been one of my proudest accomplishments at the University of York.

‌Jonathan Rubashkin

MA Modern History
IPUP Intern