Introduction to Being Human
This module will focus on introducing what it is to be human from a broad humanities and social science perspective. It will offer the opportunity to engage with key ideas, theory and literature within these disciplines. It will therefore prepare students for further academic work in the humanities and social sciences and initiate the development of critical thinking and creative abilities.
Students produce a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a historical topic, chosen in conjunction with their supervisor. This represents the culmination of the History MAs, and constitutes Part Two of the programme.
Modern Medical Bodies: Major Themes in the History of Modern Medicine
This module examines the changing conditions, roles, representations, and uses of bodies in modern medicine. It examines how historians have made the body a central focus of research to explore the interconnections of medical ideas, institutions and practices with histories of modern world and to address core problems of medicalisation, power, class, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and empire. Surveying the intersections of bodies, medicine, and modernity, students taking this module will develop critical grounding in major themes, controversies and approaches in the history of modern medicine.
Britain and the World, 1800–2000
This module will provide an overview of the history of British politics, society, culture, and the economy from c. 1800 to the present, from a national and international perspective. The lectures and seminars for this module will give students the opportunity to engage closely with events, processes, and people - both male and female, from diverse ethnic backgrounds - who contributed to the making of the modern British state and society, and who defined Britain¿s relationship with the wider world. We will discuss the transformative impact of warfare, Empire and colonialism, industrial and technological change. We will also consider the significance of race, class, and gender, and how they relate to national sentiment and social and political emancipation movements in Britain and beyond.
The Practice of History
The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization.
At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.
Medicine and the Modern World, 1800 to the Present
This course surveys the making of modern medicine from the French Revolution to the Therapeutic Revolution and beyond. It traces the creation in nineteenth century Europe and Britain of hospitals, laboratories, and public health systems, of new medical professionals working in them, of new understandings of health and disease, of the role of medicine in building modern states and empires, and fighting modern wars. Turning to the twentieth century, it examines the development of national health care systems, their role in the creation of modern welfare states, their connections to the growth of pharmaceutical innovations and industries, and challenges to their authority. Throughout, we explore how and with what consequences "Western" medicine has been globalised through colonial systems in the nineteenth century and through international systems (i.e., the World Health Organization) in the twentieth century. We will use the broad historical perspectives developed in this course to critically reflect on the crucial role of medicine in the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, students will acquire critical historical tools for understanding and analysing how medicine has become crucial to the modern world.
The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.
From Plague to Covid-19: Infections in Global History
This module aims to use and analyse a broad range of historical perspectives on the Covid-19 pandemic While much about the pandemic is unprecedented, it is also the case that responses to it are rooted in and shaped by past approaches to other infectious diseases. Hence, historical perspectives are vital for understanding responses to Covid-19. Yet if, as some historians say, societies are always fighting the last pandemic, which past infections should we look to in order to make sense of the present one? To answer this and other questions, we will take a long-term and geographically broad view of some of the most significant infectious diseases in history to explore how they have shaped and been shaped by human interactions with nature, and with the ideas, practices, and institutions that societies have developed to understand and control them. The module develops critical historical insights into the impact of and medical, social, political and global responses to past infections. We will find that while each infection presents its own characteristics and challenges, there are important commonalities in how societies, across time and place, have addressed them. The Covid-19 pandemic presents us with an opportunity to examine how infections have divided societies along lines of class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality but also how they have brought societies together. Above all, Covid-19 should remind us that the history of infections is integral to the history of the modern world.