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Level 5

5AAH0001 History & Memory I

Credit value: 15
Module convenor: Professor Adam Sutcliffe
Teaching pattern: 10 x 1-hour lectures (weekly); 10 x 1-hour seminars (weekly); 2 field trips
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2,500 word essay (60%); 1 x 1,500 word field trip case study (30%); Preparedness component (10%) 

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment 2018/19: 1 x 3,500 word essay (60%); 1 x 1,500 word field trip case study (30%); Preparedness component (10%) 

Assessment (pre-2018/19):1 x 3,500 word essay (70%); 1 x 1,500 word field trip case study (30%)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years

This core module examines contemporary approaches to the past through a critical examination of current literature, case studies – mainly British, European and imperial/colonial – and fieldwork excursions in and around London. History and Memory I and II are designed to explore the complex relationships between past and present, promote an understanding of the nature of history as a discipline, and investigate the social and public functions of historical research. The emphasis is on the often controversial relationship between professional historians and other groups with an interest in the past – politicians and states, cultural institutions, the media and the general public. History & Memory I serves as an introduction to the themes further explored in History & Memory II, and also functions as a stand-alone module for those outside the King’s History honours programme selecting the module as an option. Organisation of the module content is thematic rather than regional or chronological, and the skills you learn here will inform other research throughout your degree as well as your thinking as historians in the making.

Among the general issues to be explored are the evolution of the historical profession, the connection between history and nation-building (as manifested in monuments and acts of commemoration), the role of history in the ‘identity politics’ of minority groups, and the problems of preserving and displaying aspects of the national heritage as exemplified in London’s museums, churches and historic sites. Our case studies are global in reach, with a particular interest in dealing with the past.

As well as seminar- and library-based research, you will be expected to visit sites in London including: St Clement Danes Church (the ‘RAF Church’); Brick Lane; the Foundling Museum; St Paul’s Cathedral; the Old Operating Theatre at Guy’s Hospital; Postman’s Park; the Enlightenment Galleries at the British Museum, and the various locations featured in ‘Imperial Images’ podcast. On KEATS you will find podcast lectures and accompanying material relating to these field trips, as well as guidance on writing your assignments. Our intention is that you organise visits to at least two of these sites for each module per semester.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • Anna Maerker, Simon Sleight and Adam Sutcliffe, eds.,  History, Memory and Public Life: The Past in the Present (Routledge, 2018)

 This is a core text that students may find beneficial to purchase (though this is      not compulsory).

  • Geoffrey Cubitt, History and Memory (Manchester, 2007)
  • Richard J. Evans, In Defence of History (London, 1997, 2000)
  • Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice (London, 2006)
  • Peter Mandler, History and National Life (London, 2002)
  • John Tosh, The Pursuit of History (Oxford and New York, 2006)
  • John Tosh, Why History Matters (Basingstoke, 2008)
  • Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge, 1989, 2014)
  • Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, ed. Lewis A. Coser (Chicago, 1992)
  • William Logan and Keir Reeves (ed.), Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing with ‘Difficult Heritage’ (Abingdon, 2009)
  • David Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (London, 1997)
  • Barbara A. Misztal, Theories of Social Remembering (Maidenhead, 2003)
  • Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory, vols 1 and 2 (London and Brooklyn, 1994, 1998)

For recommended introductory reading pertaining to particular countries, or conceptual approaches (and useful for comparative perspectives), also see:

  • Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton (eds), Memory and History in Twentieth-Century Australia (Melbourne, 1994)
  • David Glassberg, Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life (Cambridge, MA, 2001)
  • Greg Dening, Performances (Chicago, 1996)
  • Astrid Erll, Memory in Culture, trans. Sarah B. Young (Basingstoke, 2011)
  • Pierre Nora, ‘Between History and Memory: Les Lieux de Mémoire’, Representations, vol. 26 (1989), 7-24
  • Jeffrey K. Olick, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi and Daniel Levy, The Collective Memory Reader (Oxford, 2011)
  • Roy Rosenzweig and David Thelen, The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (New York, 1998) 
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