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

Postgraduate Course: History as Romance, Profession, Critique: Theory and Scholarship in the West, 1835 to 1985 (PGHC11332)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCritical understanding of the history of historical inquiry now extends beyond the province of intellectual historians. Indeed, attempts to trace the methodological, epistemological, ideological, institutional, and stylistic trends that have characterised the theory and practice of historical scholarship now constitute a growing preoccupation for social, material, cultural, and political historians. This course examines key developments in the history of 'History', from Michelet's romantic popularisation of Vico during the 1830s, through Ranke's invention of historical disciplines during the late nineteenth century, through to the debates concerning 'the new cultural history' during the late-twentieth century.
Course description This course will enable graduate students to engage meaningfully with key philosophical concepts, research methods, and publications that have contributed to the history of modern historical inquiry in Western Europe and North America, c.1830-1985. Using Jules Michelet's popular rediscovery of Giambattista Vico's Scienza Nuova (1725) in 1835 as a departure point, we will address the ways in which historians, who maintained a wide range of commitments (including nationalist, romantic, positivist, sociological, materialist, anthropological, structuralist, and poststructuralist commitments), made use of historical scholarship and Viconian historicism in particular to elaborate their projects. Drawing on theoretical readings and historical publications from across the West that span some 150 years, the weekly readings and discussion also will feature documentary evidence (including music and visual art) to illustrate the legacies of this past in current professional practice. All readings will be provided in English, or in English translation.
This course will comprise weekly 2-hour seminars, each of which will include a short lecture, informal student presentation, and discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, through an in-class presentation and submission of a final paper, a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge that documents the emergence of historical scholarship as a cultural and intellectual phenomenon, in the West, c.1835-1985
  2. Demonstrate through the in-class presentation and submission of the final paper, an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the emergence and development of historical scholarship, 1823-1985), its documentary source materials, and their conceptual significance.
  3. Demonstrate, through seminar participation, an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course: these include close-reading of historical sources, and articulate engagement with the associated scholarship.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form, in seminar discussions, the in-class presentation, and written submission, by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  5. Demonstrate, in seminar discussions, the in-class presentation, and written submission, originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
W. Von Humboldt, "On the Historian's Task," trans. Louis. O. Mink. 1822. History and Theory 6 (1967): 57-71

G. Vico, "Principles of the New Science concerning the Common Nature of Nations," 1725, New Science. Trans. D. Marsh London: Penguin, 1999. 1-23; 24-5; 128-9; 152-3; 355-7; 367.

A. Comte, A General View of Positivism, 1848, trans. J. H. Bridges. London: Truebner, 1865. 8-60; 340-426.

K. Marx with F. Engels, "Premises of the Materialist Conception of History," 1845, The German Ideology. Trans. and ed. S. Ryazanskaya, New York: Prometheus, 1998. 36-7, 41-3, 57-51. *

É. Durkheim, On Suicide. 1897. Trans. R. Buss. Introd. R. Sennett. London: Penguin, 2006. Third part: "On Suicide as a Social Phenomenon in General".

M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1904-05. Introd. A. Giddens. London: Routledge, 2001. [Main text of 1904-5]

O. Spengler, "Form and Reality," The Decline of the West. Outlines of a Morphology of World History. Trans. J. Boll in A. Budd, The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources. London: Routledge, 2008. 239-44.

M. Bloch, "A Contribution Towards a Comparative History of European Societies," 1928. Trans. J. E. Anderson.

F. Braudel, Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism, trans. P. Ranum. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1977.

E. Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village, 1294-1324, trans. B. Bray. 1975. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980.

W. Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, 1933. Trans. V. F. Carfagno. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1972. [Trans. T. P. Wolfe]

J. Scott, "History-Writing as Critique," Manifestos for History, ed. K. Jenkins et al. London: Routledge, 2007. 19-38.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRomance Profession Critique
Course organiserDr Adam Budd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3834
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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