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

Postgraduate Course: 'Chained Crusaders'?': Press, Power and Mediation in Britain, 1789-the Present (PGHC11388)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe newspaper press argues that it is an intermediary between politicians and people: a 'Fourth Estate' that has, since 1695, represented and protected the nation's people. While the notion of a Fourth Estate has long been questioned by historians, a continuing focus on press-political relationships, however, has masked a more complex media culture, to which scholars are increasingly turning. On the one hand the British press was the most precociously commercial newspaper press in the world; an economically powerful institution driven by owners and advertisers, and one that panders to, and encourages, particular political views and often skewed moral values in its readers. On the other, newspapers have championed, and have been sought out by, groups and movements seeking liberties whether related to politics, gender, sexuality or race. New questions are emerging in the scholarship. How have British newspapers married these competing ideals? What is liberty and what role has the press played in attaining it? What role does the media play in cultural continuity and change? How did newspapers create the illusion of a Fourth Estate? What is the relationship between the immediacy of the press and long-term cultural change? This course offers the advanced study of the press in Britain over the modern period. It examines the agency of newspaper owners, journalists and editors in society; tensions between journalistic integrity, economic necessity and political control; and the implications of these for press liberty and news culture. Throughout, it examines cross-cultural links, and draws comparisons, with America and Australia.
The course is organised into thematic sessions, which will interrogate secondary literature, engage with historiographical debates and theories of mediation and communication, and analyse primary evidence. This evidence will be drawn from a wide range of newspapers and printed material available online, including British Library Burney Collection and Nineteenth-Century Newspapers, Australia's Trove Database, Library of Congress newspapers, UK Press Online, Daily Mail Online, Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), and Nineteenth-Century Pamphlets online. Other sources include business papers, correspondence, government and legal records, magazines, pamphlets and cartoons.
Course description Week 1: Introduction: press freedom [asynchronous seminar]
Week 2: The political economy of news [synchronous seminar]
Week 3: Competition and cooperation [asynchronous seminar]
Week 4: Press barons [synchronous seminar]
Week 5: Newspapers and radicalism [asynchronous seminar]
Week 6: Sex and sensationalism [synchronous seminar]
Week 7: Moral panics and institutional control [asynchronous seminar] Week 8: International news networks [synchronous seminar]
Week 9: Newspapers, radio and television [asynchronous seminar]
Week 10: War and the press [synchronous seminar]
Week 11: Conclusion
Asynchronous forum discussions will be supplemented by front-loaded video lectures of 10 minutes duration introducing the topics to be discussed. In addition to this there will be a one-hour virtual office slot each week, via Skype.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 12/01/2015
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Online Activities 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 1,000 word article/chapter review (20%), and one 3,000 word essay (80%). These pieces will be submitted via Learn and marked using TurnitIn. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most An understanding of the principal influences which transformed the press in Britain between the eighteenth century and the present.
- A better understanding of historical method;
- A familiarity with a selection of relevant contemporary sources;
- A capacity to evaluate conflicting historical interpretations;
- independently identify and pursue research topics;
- exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches for the study of this period of British history; - analyse and contextualise primary source material; - arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay; - demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises (such as with wikis or group essays) and presentations;
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework;
- demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading & research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers.
Reading List
Up to two books will be provided to the students out of their fees.
Ebooks of some of the more important works will be purchased (if available) in addition to an extensive use of eReserved chapters from some of the following:
Bingham, A., - 'The "K-Bomb": social surveys, the popular press and British sexual culture in the 1940s and 1950s', Journal of British Studies, 50/1 (2011), pp. 156-179.
- 'The British popular press and venereal disease during the Second World War', Historical Journal, Vol. 48, No. 4, 2005, pp. 1055-76.
- Family Newspapers? Sex, Private Life, and the British Popular Press 1918-1978 (Oxford, 2009)
Brake, L., Bell, B. and Finkelstein, D., eds., Nineteenth-Century Media and the Construction of Identities (Basingstoke, 2000).
Curran, J. and Seaton, J., Power without Responsibility, 6th edn (London, 2003)
Hampton, M., Visions of the Press in Britain, 18501950 (Champaign, 2004)
Heyd, U., Reading Newspapers in Britain and America (Oxford, 2011)
Koss, M., The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain (Chapel Hill, 1990)
Slauter, W., 'The Paragraph as Information Technology: How News Traveled in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World', Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales 2012, no. 2 (avr.-juin 2002) : 363-389.
- 'Forward-Looking Statements : News and Speculation in the Age of the American Revolution', Journal of Modern History 81, no. 4 (Dec. 2009) : 759-792.
Wiener, J. H., The Americanization of the British Press, 1830s-1914: Speed in the Age of Transatlantic Journalism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
In addition the library has strong holdings on national histories of individual European countries during the interwar period.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the past that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of current political questions
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
KeywordsChained Crusaders Press Power Mediation
Course organiserMr David Kaufman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3857
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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