Summer School: History

This summer, study at a university in the world's top 150* and the 22nd most international university in the world**. Explore our Summer School History module below.

History modules

The University of Sussex reserves the right to cancel modules due to staff availability, student demand, minimum enrolment, or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

Session One

  • A People's History - British History from Below

    Module code: IS415

    This module uses the world famous Mass Observation Archive to research a people’s history of Britain over the last eighty years and provides insight into the changing face of Britain. Through hands-on experience of archival materials, students will explore historical shifts through the eyes of ordinary people.

    From 1937 onwards Mass Observation sought out the views and experiences of British people asking them to write dairy entries about key events at home and abroad, as well as family life, friendships and the everyday. In this module students will explore major historical shifts through the eyes of ordinary men, women and children and gain hands-on experience of working with archival material in The Keep – the state of the art archive facility that houses the Mass Observation Archive.

    Students will develop historical research skills as well as a substantive knowledge of modern British history. Topics to be covered may include war, gender, sexuality, activism and technological change.

    It is expected that this module may include field excursions to the Imperial War Museum and/or The National Archives in London.

    This module is ideal for a wide audience, at introductory level with no pre-requisites, and is aimed at those interested in historical shifts and archival practices.

    Learning outcomes:

    • To understand a historical moment by reference to the particular context in which it occurred
    • To develop skills of primary source analysis and an understanding of a particular archive and body of evidence
    • To supply evidence for these skills in assessments that distil information provided in the workshops

    Teaching method: Fieldwork, lectures and workshops
    Assessment: 50% essay, 50% presentation
    Contact hours: 40 hours

Session Two

  • Holocaust Studies: Experience, knowledge and memory

    Module code: IS415

    In this module, we will explore the experience, knowledge and memory of the Holocaust through source materials from contemporaries, who experienced this devastating European event. This module is ideal for a wide audience, at an introductory level with no pre-requisites, and is suited to students and interest in historical shifts and archival practices. The Holocaust represents a civilizational rupture, a European event with global reverberations that questioned the most dearly held assumptions about humanity. During the Summer School, we will investigate some of those through the eyes and experiences of contemporaries, Jews and non-Jews alike. How did life change for German Jews, the first to be exposed to Nazi brutality? How did Jews elsewhere in Europe experience German occupation and how did they react to the ever more murderous policies they were subjected to?

    You will access The Keep, a state of the art archive facility and one of the foremost social archives in the world that documents these two life stories, and will shed light on questions around Jewish discrimination, antisemitism to all forms of racism. You will develop skills of primary source analysis and a deeper understanding of a particular archive and body of evidence in relation to Jewish history. This hands-on learning will provide students will the skills of primary source analysis and a deeper understanding of the history of Jewish discrimination, antisemitism to all forms of racism and the wider context of humanistic, democratic and liberal views in our modern society today.

    Through life stories documented at The Keep, you will learn about the lives of Max Goldschmidt who escaped from Frankfurt to Britain before the war, and Arnold Daghani, who was deported from Romania to a death camp in Ukraine before he came to Brighton after the war.

    This module may include a field excursion to the London Imperial War Museum.

    Learning outcomes:

    • To understand a historical moment by reference to the particular context in which it occurred
    • To relate the history of Jewish discrimination and antisemitism to all forms of racism and to the wider context of humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in modern society today
    • To develop skills of primary source analysis and an understanding of a particular archive and body of evidence
    • To supply evidence for these skills in assessments that distill information provided in the workshops

    Teaching method: Fieldwork, lectures and workshops
    Assessment: 60% essay, 30% project, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 43 hours


About the School of History, Art History and Philosophy

The Department of History within the School of History, Art History and Philosophy is a top-20 UK history department. We have world-class expertise in a broad range of historical periods and subjects, but we are primarily interested in British, European and Global History over the last four centuries.

The School of History, Art History and Philosophy provides opportunities to explore unique collections and resources from the Mass Observation Archive and access to specialist collections and facilities at The Keep – a state-of-the-art archive conservation centre.

BA English Literature and History graduate, Ella Beales started volunteering at The Keep while she was a student and used archival material to write her undergraduate dissertation on tea drinking and the Second World War. Read more here on how Ella is currently helping to catalogue and digitise the Mass Observation Archive.

  • 8thin the UK for History***

  • 91%of students in work or further study six months after finishing

Register your interest

* The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, ** The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, *** The Guardian University League Tables 2018


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