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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Contemporary History (PGHC11362)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis will be the core course for the taught MSc programme in Contemporary History. It will provide a general introduction to the advanced study of contemporary history and to some of the particular challenges posed by it. The course will combine two elements. First, there will be thematic sessions on broad, trans-national topics that are particularly relevant to contemporary history and that have generated debate in the relevant historiography, such as 'conflict, peace and reconciliation' or 'globalization, nationalism and transnationalism'. The second set of sessions will address methodological issues that are particularly relevant to the study of contemporary history, including the potential and pitfalls of such uniquely contemporary material as online sources, oral history, and film and sound documents.
The primary objective of the course will be to explore the nature of contemporary history, its key characteristics, and the features that set it apart from or connect it to -- other fields of history on the one hand and cognate disciplines, particularly those in the social sciences, on the other.

The course will be team-taught by a group of colleagues working in the field of contemporary history (defined as the period since roughly 1914). Therefore, the precise content of the sessions may vary from year to year, based on staff availability and research expertise, but the course's broad outlines and objectives will remain the same.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important issues, themes and methodological challenges in contemporary history;
- exhibit an understanding of different conceptual approaches to the study of contemporary history
- independently identify and pursue research topics in the field of contemporary history
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written, analytical and theoretical skills in coursework.
Assessment Information
One 1,000-word book review (30%) and one 2,000-word essay (70%).
The use of two essays, rather than one, is a change from usual past practice in History, as is the requirement of a book review assignment.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list - Abrams, Lynn, Oral History Theory (2010)
- Barraclough, Geoff, An Introduction to Contemporary History (1966).
- Catterall, Peter, "What (If Anything) is Distinctive about Contemporary History", Journal of Contemporary History 32, 4 (1997): 441-52.
- Dobson, Miriam and Benjamin Ziemann, eds. Reading Primary Sources: The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth ¿ and Twentieth-Century History (2009)
- Eley, Geoff. "Historicizing the Global, Politicizing Capital: Giving the Present a Name", History Workshop Journal 63 (2007): 154-88.
- Garton Ash, Timothy. History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s (2000). [not currently in the University Library or the NLS]
- Giles, Michael W. "Guttenberg to Gigabytes: Scholarly Communication in the Age of Cyberspace", The Journal of Politics 58, 3 (August 1996): 613-26
- Journal of Contemporary History, 46, July 2011, special
issue on contemporary history.
- Maier, Charles S. "Consigning the Twentieth Century to History: Alternative Narratives for the Modern Era", American Historical Review 105, 3 (June 2000).
- Mann, Michael. "Has Globalization Ended the Rise and Rise of the Nation State?", Review of International Political Economy 4, 3 (September 1997): 472-96.
- McKeown, Adam, "Periodizing Globalization", History Workshop Journal 63. 1 (2007): 218-30.
- Miles, Steven. Consumerism as a Way of Life (1998).
- Osterhammel, Jürgen and Niels P. Peterson. Globalization: A Short History (2005).
Salber Phillips, Mark. "Distance and Historical Representations", History Workshop Journal 57 (2004): 123-41.
- Seldon, Anthony, Brian Brivati and Julia Buxton, eds. The Contemporary History Handbook (1996).
- Seldon, Anthony, ed. Contemporary History: Practice and Method (1988). [currently NLS only]
- Stern, Peter, N. Globalization in World History (2010).
- Thompson, Paul. Voice of the Past. Oral History (2000)

The course will make extensive use of specialized journals in the field that are available electronically in our University Library, including the Journal of Contemporary History, Contemporary European History and Contemporary British History.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsIntroToContHist Introduction Contemporary History
Course organiserDr Fabian Hilfrich
Tel: (0131 6)51 3236
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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