His 40002 Approaches to Historical Research Autumn Semester, 2014

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Keele University

HIS - 40002

Approaches to Historical Research

Autumn Semester, 2014

medieval scribe

Module Convenor/ Postgraduate Tutor in History:

Dr Shalini Sharma

CBB 1.060

Internal: 33206

External: 01782 733206


This module introduces different approaches to the research and writing of history, engages with debates on the status of historical knowledge, and examines the sources and resources available. The course aims to broaden students’ understanding of methodological debates within history and to provide conceptual and other tools for their own research work. The core seminars are led by specialists within the department and are open to all postgraduates in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Throughout, students are encouraged to reflect on the relevance of the material under consideration to their own research topic.

Those students taking the module as part of their MRes degree will give a short presentation in the final week of the course and write a 4 – 5000 word essay. Both elements will normally centre on the methodological or sources/resource issues at stake in their own research project. Only the essay is subject to formal assessment and is worth 30 credits. You should discuss your essay topic and title with your dissertation supervisor, though I will be happy to help as well.
Seminar programme

1. Introductory Meeting (SS) 1 October 2014

2. What is History? Historians, Historical Writing and

Historical Awareness (KGC) 8 October 2014

3. Locating Your Topic within Historical Debates (BA) 15 October 2014

4. Sources, Evidence and Explanation (KGC) 22 October 2014

5. Gendering the Past (KH) 29 October 2014

6. The Limits of Historical Knowledge: The Case of Martin

Guerre (IJA) 5 November 2014

7. Questioning the Mainstream: History at the Margins (SS) 12 November 2014

8. Reading Week 19 November 2014

9. Social Theory and History (AK) 26 November 2014

10. History in Space and Place (BA) 3 December 2014

11. History in Practice (KH) 10 December 2014

12. Summary and Student presentations (SS) 17 December 2014

All Sessions take place on Wednesdays between 2 and 4pm in room CBB0.030 except the first session (2 October), which will take place in CM 0.12.
General Reading

Appleby, Joyce and Hunt, Lynn (eds), Telling the Truth about History (1994).

Burke, Peter, ed. New Perspectives on Historical Writing (1992).

Cannadine, David, ed., What is History Now? (2002).

Carr, E.H., What is History? (2001).

Collingwood, R.G., The Idea of History, rev’d edn (1993).

Jordanova, Ludmilla, History in Practice (2000).

Southgate, B., History: What and Why? (1996).

Tosh, John with Lang, Sean, The Pursuit of History 4th edn (2006).

Tosh, John, Why History Matters (2008).

Warren, J., History and the Historians (1999).
Seminar reading
All material is available in the university library. Additional copies of some chapters and articles are held in the Short Loan Collection. If you are having problems getting hold of material please contact me or the seminar leader beforehand.
WEEK 1 – 1 October 2014

Introductory meeting.

Dr S.Sharma s.sharma@keele.ac.uk

WEEK 2 - 8 October 2014

What is History? Historians, Historical Writing and Historical Awareness

Dr K.G.Cushing k.g.cushing@keele.ac.uk

What is history? How do historians know what they think they know? How valuable is historical research and why are some historians having doubts about our ability to understand the past? Recently some academic historians have begun to question how far we can confidently talk about what has happened in the past, and to deny that we can ever understand ‘the truth’. Instead they have started to concentrate on the variety of ways we can imagine the past and on the language people use to express themselves (both historically and now). This session will have three parts:
I. Before reading this week’s texts (see below), read through and consider the following questions. You do not need to have a definitive reply, just try to answer them impressionistically. Then read the chapters below and see if your thoughts have changed. Make a note of both your initial thoughts and your subsequent ideas to bring to the seminar.

  • What is history? Why do you study history? What sorts of history best satisfy your curiosity?

  • Is it possible just to say what happened? Does history contain more than a transparent account and if so what else is included?

  • What are academic historians trying to achieve when they write history? Do they aim to write ‘the truth’, composed from ‘facts’? Is it possible to write a purely factual account?

  • What sort of ideas might underpin historical writing? Is it possible to write history without taking a specific viewpoint (which people either admit to, tacitly confirm or deny)?

  • Can the past be said to exist? If so, how? If not, why not?

Please read one or more of the following:

Cannadine, David, ed., What is History Now? (2002), 1-19, G.R. Evans, ‘Prologue’.

Carr, E.H., What is History? (2001), 1-24.

Collingwood, R.G., The Idea of History, revised edn (1993), 1-13.

Jordanova, Ludmilla, History in Practice (2000), 27-42.

Tosh, John with Lang, Sean, The Pursuit of History 4th edn (2006), 1-28.
II. How would you challenge the statement that follows (taken from L. Jordanova, History in Practice, London, 2000, p. 91)?
‘Historians produce knowledge of the past, which draws its authority from a number of sources. These include the meticulous study of a wide range of primary materials, the evaluation of results by a range of experts, the provision of transparent scholarly apparatus so that claims can be checked by other scholars, specialised training in approaches and techniques, and the careful scrutiny of references and qualifications when university appointments are made. When it comes to publication, refereeing guarantees quality. The evidence historians use indicates what happened, and thus historical knowledge offers a kind of objectivity and in this respect is unlike, say, literary criticism where a significant element of subjectivity is involved. While historians cannot predict the future, they can explain the past, which involves showing why things happened. Some areas of history, such as cliometrics, are more “scientific” than others, and the goal of the discipline as a whole is recounting what really happened.’

III. Finally, please come prepared to discuss three examples of different styles of historical writing relevant to your topic. What readerships are expected? What different aims and purposes do the examples reveal? How do the sources used vary? Why are particular writing and referencing styles adopted?

WEEK 3 - 15 October 2014

Locating your Topic within Historical Debates.

Dr Ben Anderson b.anderson@keele.ac.uk

Any focused historical study – a book or article as well as a dissertation – has to be located within the existing scholarship connected with the topic, within the ‘historiography’ in other words. We all hope to make original contributions but these are rare and they do not emerge from nowhere. Perhaps we take one side in a historical debate so that our detailed work supports or confirms a particular argument; occasionally we may establish new approaches or agendas. However, placing your work within these debates is not something that you add in at the end – it should instead guide your whole project, so that the finished piece is relevant, interesting and dare I say, exciting!
There is no set reading for this topic – rather I want you to prepare for the session by beginning to think about the historiographical context in which your topic will be developed. Please think about the following questions and bring details of at least two examples of scholarly work which illustrate the issues in your field.


  1. How – briefly – would you sum up the broad field of study in which your particular topic sits?

    1. Is there more than one? If there is, you need to be clear which has priority.

    2. Why might your topic be important to this field? In other words, what might your contribution be?

  1. How long has your topic been of interest to scholars? If it is of recent concern what intellectual or other developments have affected this? If it is an older topic, how has it developed over the last few decades?

  1. What are the most significant debates or controversies in your field? Who are the most influential scholars? (Make sure you are up to date here – a controversy that took place in the 1980s is not useful!)

  1. How and why have these disagreements emerged? Do they reflect historians’ differing ideas about which historical processes are the most important – political, social, religious, cultural, economic, environmental? How has opinion changed as the field has developed? Is this down to new sources? New theoretical or methodological approaches? Contemporary political or social concerns?

  1. What do profound disagreements suggest about processes of historical research or about the ultimate status of historical knowledge?

  1. Would it be easier/better if we didn’t have debate and controversy?

WEEK 4 - 22 October 2014

Sources, Evidence and Explanation

Dr K.G. Cushing: k.g.cushing@keele.ac.uk

Ancient, medieval and early modern sources include a tremendous variety of written records (scrolls, manuscripts, printed pamphlets, etc) and genres, as well as architecture, reliquaries, liturgical and other objects, vestments, material culture and the evidence of archaeology. Modern sources extend this spectrum in terms of a variety of written genres: ostensibly verbatim court proceedings, journalism, medical and statistical documentation, oral history (videoed, taped or otherwise), photography, film, documentaries, and now of course the Internet. The assumptions and ambitions of ancient, medieval and early modern writers as well as their varied ‘texts’, however, can differ radically from those of our time. ‘Modern’ sources are in some ways even more difficult about which to generalise, chiefly on account of what is meant by ‘modernity’.

We tend to assume that modern historical sources writing is objective, impartial, critical and ‘accurate’; that the memories or testimonies of eyewitnesses, perpetrators, bystanders, survivors and victims are unbiased and are not subject to context, interpretation or especially to change. These all, even ‘unedited’ filmed footage, offer at best ‘a truth’ rather than ‘the truth’.

In this seminar we will address the ‘raw materials’ that historians use to recreate and interpret the past and begin to address issues involved with using different types of sources across a wide timeframe. A document pack will be provided in advance. Please look at/read through this and come prepared to discuss the following questions/themes listed below, with reference to these sources:

  1. How can or should the historian cope with a partial or fragmentary record? i.e. what strategies of reading or interpretation can be useful?

  2. How should the fantastic or ‘impossible’ be understood, or is it simply to be disregarded?

  3. Medieval writers talked about different levels for the interpretation of texts. What are these, and how might they help the historian?

  4. How can the historian recognize a negotiated ‘text’?

  5. How important is contextualization for understanding a text or object’s shifting meaning?

You are also asked to find a primary source related to your topic which has been interpreted in radically different ways and come prepared to discuss it.

There is no set reading for this seminar but students may find it helpful to consult one or more of the following:

Arnold, J., History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2000).

Black, J. and MacRaild, D.M, Studying History (1997, 2nd edition 2000), chp.4 ‘Approaches to History: Sources, Methods and Historians’.

Tosh, John with Lang, Sean, The Pursuit of History 4th edn (2006), 57-113.

Southern, R.W., ‘Aspects of the European Tradition of Historical Writing, 4. The Sense of the Past’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th ser. (1973), 243-63.

Spiegel, G., The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography (Baltimore, 1997).

Stock, B., Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past (Baltimore, 1990).

WEEK 5 – 29 October 2014

Gendering the Past

Professor K.Hunt k.hunt@keele.ac.uk

This session explores Joan Scott’s contention that gender is ‘a useful category of analysis’ for all historians, whatever their subject matter. We will consider a range of questions including: Is gender history just another term for women’s history? What is the relationship between women’s history, gender history and feminist history? What aspects of gender history have been most contentious, and why? How does doing gender history differ from other approaches to history? How does a gendered past differ from an ungendered one? Can you afford to ignore gender in your MRes project?
Defining Gender History:

Read Scott and 2 other essays on the debate about the nature of gender history.

Consider when you are reading:

  • How does Scott define gender history?

  • Why is gender history contentious?

Joan W. Scott, ‘Gender: a Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, American Historical Review, 91, 1986. KSL(xerox) (also in Morgan)
Sue Morgan (ed), The feminist history reader (London : Routledge, 2006)KSL, part 2.

Laura Lee Downs, Writing Gender History (London: Hodder Arnold, 2004) chap 7 KSL

Jo Alberti, Gender & the Historian (London: Longman, 2002) K, chap.4.

Gisela Bock, ‘Women's History and Gender History: Aspects of an international debate', Gender and History, 1, 1, 1989 K (also in Morgan)

Kathleen Canning, Gender History in Practice (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2006), K, chaps 1, 2, 3.

Joan Hoff, ‘Gender as a postmodern category of paralysis’ Women’s History Review, 3, 2, 1994 + responses in WHR, 5, 1, 1996. (also in Morgan)

Sonya Rose, Kathleen Canning et al ‘Gender History? Women's History: Is Feminist

Scholarship Losing its Critical Edge?’, Journal of Women’s History, 5, 1, 1993 (also in Morgan)

Doing Gender History:

Find 2 examples of a gender history of your research topic, however broadly defined and bring these to the session.

Examine each and prepare to introduce your choices to the whole group.

Consider the following questions:

How has the author approached the subject? What is their understanding of the gendering of their subject? How do their historical questions differ from those of the mainstream? What sources have been used to produce this history and how have they been interrogated? What are the advantages and limitations of this approach?

Week 6 – 5 November 2014

The Limits of Historical Knowledge: The case of Martin Guerre

Dr Ian Atherton: i.j.atherton@keele.ac.uk
N.Z. Davis’s short Return of Martin Guerre poses interesting questions for historians about the limits of historical knowledge, about the use of anthropological approaches, and also about the nature and value of the case study or micro-history. Accused by her critics of ‘novelizing’ the past, Davis helped turn the story of the sixteenth-century French peasant Martin Guerre into a film, Le Retour de Martin Guerre (1982) which has been adapted for various media: given the Hollywood treatment (and transposed to the American Civil War) in Sommersby, 1993; made into the 1996 West-End musical Martin Guerre; and Guy Meredith’s Radio 4 play, The True Story of Martin Guerre, first broadcast in 1996.
Questions to frame your reading and thinking

  • What are the principal strengths and weaknesses of Davis’s account of Arnaud du Tilh?

  • To what extent is Natalie Zemon Davis guilty of ‘novelizing’ the past in The Return of Martin Guerre?

  • ‘Historical reconstruction at best must go beyond vulgar Baconian reasoning upon data; it must include the (also Baconian) category of imagination’ (Donald R. Kelley). Discuss.

  • How should a historian approach gaps in the historical record?

  • What would you have done if you had unearthed the case of Arnaud du Tilh?

  • How far does Davis’s work support the value of what Clifford Geertz calls ‘Thick Description’?

  • What is the value, and what are the limitations, of microhistory?

  • What other examples of microhistory would you recommend?

  • What role do imagination and empathy play in the writing of history?

Reading * = available online
Start with Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard UP: Cambridge, MA, 1983), a good, short read.

Almost any standard work on historiography or the writing of history (the kinds of works many of you may have read for the level-two module Sources & Debates, HIS-20020) will make some passing reference to Davis and her work, and will introduce questions of the limits of historical knowledge with discussions about evidence and interpretation.

A good starting point linking Davis, anthropology, Geertz, microhistory and the so-called ‘new cultural history’ is Peter Burke, History and Social Theory (1992), pp. 38-42, 128-9, 158-65

For discussion of Martin Guerre see:

Debate between Robert Finlay and N.Z. Davis in American Historical Review, 93 (1988)

R. Finlay, ‘The Refashioning of Martin Guerre’, pp. 553-71 *

N.Z. Davis, “On the Lame”, pp. 572-603 *

Lisa Jardine, ‘Unpicking the Tapestry: The Scholar of Women’s History as Penelope among Her Suitors’, in B.S. Travitsky & A.F. Seeff, eds, Attending to Women in Early Modern England (1994), pp. 123-44

D. Goodman, ‘The Martin Guerre Story: A Non-Persian Source for Persian Letter CXLI’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 51:2 (1990), pp. 311-16

N.Z. Davis, ‘A Life of Learning’ (Charles Homer Haskins Lecture for 1997), American Council of Learned Societies, Occasional paper, no. 39, http://www.acls.org/Publications/OP/Haskins/1997_NatalieZemonDavis.pdf *

Reviews of The Return of Martin Guerre:

D.R. Kelley, in Renaissance Quarterly, 37:2 (1984), pp. 252-4 *

A.L. Moote, in American Historical Review, 90:4 (1985), p. 943 *

D. Potter, in English Historical Review, 101:400 (1986), pp. 713-14 *

E. Le Roy Ladurie, in New York Review of Books, Volume 30, Issue 20 (22 December 1983), pp. 12-13

On microhistory, Clifford Geertz and ‘thick description’

István Szijártó, ‘Four Arguments for Microhistory’, Rethinking History, 6:2 (2002), pp. 209–215 *

B.S. Gregory, ‘Is Small Beautiful? Micro-history and the History of Everyday Life’, History and Theory, 38:1 (Feb. 1999), pp. 100-10 *

Clifford Geertz, ‘Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture’, in his The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, 1973, but various edns.), pp. 3-30.

Giovanni Levi, ‘On Microhistory’, in P. Burke, ed., New Perspectives on Historical Writing (2nd edition, 2001), pp. 97-119

WEEK 7 – 12 November 2014

Questioning the Mainstream: History from the Margins

Dr Shalini Sharma s.sharma@keele.ac.uk

The idea of historical knowledge has been questioned and reformulated in a number of ways. In the recent past, some historians, influenced by Marxism and feminism, have transformed our understanding of what constitutes the historical subject. This session will look at another approach to history – one that even posits Marxist history as a Eurocentric grand narrative. This is an approach emerging from historians working on areas of the world that were, until recently, colonised by ‘the west’. We will look at the development of this approach and the varied contributions that historians attempting postcolonial history have made to historical knowledge.

RR Grinker and C B Steiner (eds.) Perspectives on Africa, Oxford, 1997, pp.623-671

Franz Fanon, Black Faces, White Masks, 1967

Edward Said, Orientalism, 1978 available: http://www.odsg.org/Said_Edward(1977)_Orientalism.pdf

Guha, Ranajit. "On some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India," Subaltern Studies I: Writings on South Asian History and Society, pp.1-8. Available: http://pages.ucsd.edu/~rfrank/class_web/ES-200C/Articles/Guha.pdf
Vinayak Chaturvedi, Mapping Subaltern Studies, 2000

Guha, R. (ed) The Subaltern Studies Reader, 1986-1995

C. A. Breckenridge and P. van der Veer (eds), Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament, Philadelphia, 1993.

Robert Young, White Mythologies: writing history and the West, London, 1990.

Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism, Delhi, 1983

T Ranger and R Webner (eds), Post-colonial identities in Africa, 1996

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference, 2000

Gayatri Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, 1998, Available at Short Loan: Xerox Copies (XER12308)

Barbara Bush, Imperialism and Postcolonialism, 2006

Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism: A historical introduction, 2001

Graham Huggan, The Postcolonial Exotic; Marketing the Margins, 2001

WEEK 8 – 19 November 2014

Reading Week

WEEK 9 – 26 November 2014

Social Theory and History

Dr Anthony Kauders a.d.kauders@keele.ac.uk

In the 1960s, secondary school teachers sought to assess the epistemological make-up of history by drawing a line on the blackboard and asking pupils to determine where history belonged on the continuum. All the way on the left they wrote SCIENCE, all the way on the right they scribbled LITERATURE.  Pupils were prodded to consider the scientific as opposed to the literary merits of history. Not surprisingly, most of them placed history somewhere in the middle, hoping to account for the exacting as well as the artistic nature of the discipline.

Theorists today would dismiss this exercise as rather naïve, given the discursive developments that have ensued. Changes have occurred on several fronts. Science, for example, is no longer seen as the simple rendition of chemical, physical, and biological facts “out there”. The work of Thomas Kuhn and Ludwik Fleck in particular has seriously undermined the idea of linear progress in science. Both contextualized science as a practice defined by the intellectual options and strategies available to scientists at a given time, in a given place.

While the literary qualities of historical works remain important for readers and prize committees alike, many theorists have become interested in the literary conventions adopted by historians. More seriously, deconstructionists have dismissed the very notion of clear boundaries separating different disciplines, such as history and literature or literature and philosophy. Boundaries are blurred, this reading suggests, because everything is a text, and since everything is a text, disciplinary divisions cannot account for (or rein in) the limitless possibilities of reading and understanding written documents.

These trends might suggest that we ought to embrace the “and” in the title of today’s session: history and social theory, since social theory emerges in historical time and since both are texts pure and simple. But I would like to return to the “naïve” divisions of yesteryear by doing two things:

First, I would like you to contemplate the following questions, based both on the previous sessions in Approaches to Historical Research and on your own work. (I would ask you to think about these questions before reading the texts below.)

When you are writing historical texts, are you aware of a divide?

When you add tables or statistics, do you feel that your texts are more solid, more scientific than otherwise?

Do you yourself feel threatened by the idea that everything is a text? If so, why? If not, why not?

Do you sometimes feel that style obscures content?

What counts more when you are reading a text: the facts that you can gather and underline or the rhetorical skills of the author?

We shall discuss these questions at the beginning of the seminar.

Second, once you have considered answers to these questions and written them down for discussion in class, I would like you to engage with Social Theory in a more detailed and reflective manner by reading the following:

Elizabeth A. Clark, History, Theory, Text. Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Cambridge, MA 2004), chapter 3.

Stefan Berger, Heiko Feldner, Kevin Passmore (eds.), Writing History. Theory and Practice (CUP 2003), chapters 4 (digitised on KLE) & 5.

Peter Lambert and Philipp Schofield (eds.), Making History. An Introduction to the history and practices of a discipline (London 2004), chapters 2 (digitised on KLE) & 9.

William H. Sewell Jr., Logics of History. Social Theory and Social Transformations (Chicago 2005), chapter 1.

During the second part of our meeting, we will discuss questions related to these readings. Come prepared, i.e. make sure you have read the pieces and understood central concepts such as structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism.

Week 10 – 3 December 2014

History in Space and Place

Dr Ben Anderson b.anderson@keele.ac.uk

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is spatial history?

  2. How does Foucault explain the links between constructs of space and power? Why is this so important?

  3. How do you account for the influence of Foucault’s theories amongst historians?

  4. Foucault once claimed that he was ‘not a historian, nobody’s perfect’. Does working on ‘the past’ make a scholar a historian, whatever his or her scholastic background?

Key Readings:

It is essential that you read some of Foucault’s writings before the seminar. I would suggest the following, but feel free to read other pieces of his work if you prefer.

M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, London, 1977, esp. ‘Panopticism’ and ‘Complete and Austere Institutions’

M. Foucault, ‘Of Other Spaces’, Diacritics, 16, 1986, pp. 22-27

For an understanding of Foucault and spatial history:

T. Flynn, ‘Foucault’s Mapping of History’, in G. Gutting, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Foucault, Cambridge, 2005, pp, 29-48

‘Space, Power and Knowledge’, in P. Rabinow, ed., The Foucault Reader, Harmondsworth, 1986, pp. 239-256

Further Readings:

F. Driver, ‘Discipline without frontiers? Representations of the Mettray Reformatory Colony in Britain, 1840-1880’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 3, 1990, pp. 272-93

F. Driver, ‘Bodies in space: Foucault’s account of disciplinary power’, in C. Jones and R. Porter, eds., Reassessing Foucault: Power, Medicine and the Body, London, 1993, pp. 113-31

S. Elden, Mapping the Present: Heidegger, Foucault and the Project of Spatial History, London, 2001

M. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, London, 1972

M. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, New York 1978

G. Gutting, A Very Short Introduction to Foucault, Oxford, 2005

G. Noiriel, ‘Foucault and History: The Lessons of a Disillusion’, Journal of Modern History, 66, 1994, pp. 547-68

J. Weeks, ‘Foucault for Historians’, History Workshop Journal, 14, 1982, pp. 106-119

In 1971, Foucault entered into a television debate with Noam Chomsky. Extracts, available on youtube, give an excellent impression of Foucault as a person:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WveI_vgmPz8

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0SaqrxgJvw

WEEK 11 – 10 December 2014

History in Practice

Professor K.Hunt k.hunt@keele.ac.uk

Historians like to think that their discipline is not just about appreciating and understanding the past, but also about gaining insights which help us better understand the world of today. Whether engaging in the academic fiction that is counterfactual history (or should that be ‘history’?) or pontificating on trends and parallels, historians are rarely short of an opinion on current events. Whether or not historians themselves seek to influence the modern world, history crops up again and again, in politicians’ rhetoric, in popular analogy, in mass culture. Indeed, is it a dereliction of duty for historians not to engage in wider debates?


This seminar will consider one aspect of this wider debate about the engagement of historians in the contemporary world that is connected to the issue of reparation and historical justice. Should historians make judgments on the past, or collaborate in judgments which are made by policy makers or sought by victims?


In the first half of the seminar we will consider some recent philosophical writing on this topic.

As preparation, please read the following:


Janna Thompson, Taking Responsibility for the Past. Reparation and Historical Justice (2002), esp chapters 1-3.




Social and Legal Studies, 21:2 (June 2012) Special Issue: ‘Repairing Historical Wrongs’. Read the introduction and the article on apologies.


The second part of the seminar will consider some practical examples of historical justice. One might define the topic by kinds of reparation, including financial compensation (eg. The Versailles Treaty or German reparations for the Shoah), apologies (eg. The Vatican’s apology for the Crusades or Tony Blair’s apology for the Irish famine), reconciliation (e.g, The Truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa), the writing or revision of history, and the return of historical objects. I would like you to ask, first whether your own research area has examples of this kind of ethical issue, or to try to compile one or two case-studies where you can see this kind of approach having an impact on historians.


WEEK 12 - 17 December 2014

Summary and student presentations
This is your chance to reflect on the course as a whole and its relationship to your own research. If you have taken the course as part of your MRes degree, come prepared to give a presentation of up to 10 minutes on your work, the methodological challenges it poses and the ways in which the material considered on this course has helped (or hindered!) you.


4-5,000 word essay, usually relating to the methodological or source/resource issues at stake in your topic. It is important that you discuss your essay title and topic with your supervisor. 30 credits

Full-time students: 19 January 2015 before 1 pm

Part-time students: 11 May 2015, before 1 pm

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