Ideas of History (V1375)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module is about different ways of doing history. By studying a variety of approaches to history you will sharpen your critical skills in evaluating different types of historical writing.

Ranging from Whig history in the nineteenth century, to non-western historical traditions, and to recent innovations such as microhistory and the history of emotions, the module will introduce you to some key approaches to history and to some fundamental methodological issues in our discipline.

  • What explains the differences in the ways historians have tried to make sense of the past?
  • What are the key methodological concerns that have shaped the writing of history?
  • What counts as evidence, and what, indeed, counts as historical writing?

The plurality of approaches to history introduced in your weekly lectures attests to the diversity of possible perspectives on historical change and agency, sources and evidence, and to the changing relationship between historical writing and its context.


52%: Lecture
48%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Group presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: