Accessibility statement

Approaches to Modern History - HIS00010M

« Back to module search

  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Catriona Kennedy
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to some of the most important and recent historiographical developments in modern history, covering works concerning the period from c.1750 to the present day. By focusing on a selection of key works by modern historians, it will show the range of modern historical practice and develop an awareness of the intellectual context of study of history in the present day. Students will be encouraged to read closely and think reflectively, developing their own critique of individual texts. It will provide an essential methodological background to the MA. The texts chosen will cover the range of subdisciplines of political, cultural, social, economic and international history.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Develop knowledge of key concepts and debates which structure the historiographies of the modern period
  • Develop skills of source analysis and interpretation
  • Assess a range of primary source material and the secondary historiography of this period
  • Develop students’ powers of historical argument

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing the module students should:

  • Have an understanding of the scope of modern historiographical practice;
  • Be able to read closely and comprehend core texts;
  • Have an understanding of the range of sources and methods used by scholars of the modern period;
  • Be able to contextualise core texts, placing them within their fields of enquiry;
  • Have learned how to conduct and write a literature survey;
  • Be aware of how and why the history of this era has been periodized;
  • Have sharpened their skills of critical analysis and presentation; and
  • Have begun the process of identifying a dissertation research topic.

Module content

Teaching Programme:
Students will attend eight weekly two-hour seminars in weeks 2-9.

Seminars may include:

  1. The European tragedy
  2. Political History
  3. Memory
  4. Transnational History
  5. Empire and the politics of identity
  6. Environmental History
  7. The History of capitalism
  8. Historians behaving badly: professional ethics and public debate


Task Length % of module mark
4,000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will complete a 2,000 word essay for formative assessment, due in week 6, for which they will receive an individual tutorial.

Students taking the module as a core module will submit a 4,000 word assessed essay in week 10 of the autumn term. For those taking the module as an option module, a 4,000 word assessed essay will be due in week 2 of the spring term.

For further details about assessed work, students should refer to the Statement of Assessment for Taught Postgraduate Programmes.


Task Length % of module mark
4,000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Following their formative assessment, students will receive oral feedback at a one-to-one meeting with their tutor and written feedback consisting of comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission. Tutors are also available in their student hours to discuss formative assessment. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, you might like to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

Bayly, C. A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Silencing the Past. Beacon Press, 1995.

Scott, Joan. "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis" American Historical Review, Vol. 91, No. 5 (Dec., 1986), pp. 1053-1075.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.