HISTY206-22A (HAM)

History in Practice: Historical Methods and Research

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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This paper surveys the methods employed within the discipline of history. It focuses on developing the historian’s toolkit with particular emphasis on the problems of research, evidence and representation. Students will engage with various historical sources, with particular emphasis on the ways in which historians utilise those sources to construct narratives about the past. In addition, the course closely considers the underlying ideas that inform these methodologies and pays specific attention to them as essential components in the process of historical ‘research.’

Research is a process often described as a ‘dialogue’ between historians and their sources. Throughout the course we consider how the study of the past has changed over time to reflect prevailing ideas and social conditions; how thinking about the past is debated by scholars; how its presentation and the questions asked by historians are themselves dependent on the researchers’ subjective, rather than objective, positioning. In exploring these areas, we consider the different kinds of evidence (archival documents, photographs, statistics, etc.) that historians employ and the ways in which this evidence can be contextualised and interpreted.

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Paper Structure

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This course is taught with ONE lecture and a corresponding tutorial per week. Students should ensure they complete readings in order to enhance their understandings of the course content. You should attend all of the 12 week lectures along with ONE tutorial per week. Students should sign up for tutorials on Moodle. There will be no tutorial in the first week. Tutorials will be based on either the reading for that week or a forthcoming assignment.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • develop their knowledge of a variety of sources which may be utilised by historians, and advantages and difficulties these may offer
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • develop a range of analytical skills and methods relevant to the interpretation and reading of multiple historical sources
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  • understand how methods are informed by a range of theoretical approaches
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  • identify disciplinary protocols, including ethical practices and references to sources
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  • build their understandings of the ways in which the discipline of history has evolved and continues to evolve via new questions asked, sources utilised, and perspectives taken by successive generations of scholars
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Assessment 1. Tutorial quizzes 20%

Assessment 2. Primary Source Analysis 30%

Assessment 3. Plan 20%

Assessment 4. Secondary Source Analysis 30%

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Quizzes
14 Mar 2022
No set time
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Primary Source Analysis
8 Apr 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Plan
13 May 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Secondary Source Analysis
17 Jun 2022
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Readings will be made available via the Reading List and Moodle. Weekly readings should be completed before tutorials.
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Recommended Readings

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Introduction to historical methods

Iggers, Georg G., and Q. Edward Wang, eds., with contributions from Supriya Mukherjee, A Global History of Modern Historiography (Harlow: Pearson Education, 2008)

Rublack, Ulinka, ed., A Concise Companion to History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)

Black, Jeremy and Donald M. MacRaild, Studying History, 2nd edition (Houndmills; New York: Palgrave, 2000)

Burke, Peter, The French Historical Revolution: the Annales School 1929-89 (Cambridge: Polity, 1990)

Burke, Peter, New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Cambridge: Polity, 1991)

Burke, Peter, Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001)

Gaddis, John Lewis, The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Preziosi, Donald and Claire Farago. ed., Grasping the World: The Idea of the Museum (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004)

Green, Anna and Kathleen Troup, The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory (New York: New York University Press, 1999)

Iggers, Georg G., Historiography in the Twentieth Century (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1997)

Iggers, Georg G. and Q. Edward Wang with the assistance of Supriya Mukherjee, A global history of modern historiography (Harlow, England; New York : Pearson Longman, 2008)

Jordanova, Ludmilla, History in Practice (London: Arnold, 2000)

Keith Jenkins, ed., The Postmodern History Reader (London and New York: Routledge, 1997)

More on historical methods and theories

Appleby, Joyce et al, Telling the Truth About History (New York and London: Norton, 1994)

Bentley, Michael, Modern Historiography: An Introduction (London, New York: Routledge, 1999)

Black, Jeremy and Donald M. MacRaild, Studying History (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)

Darnton, Robert, The Great Cat Massacre and other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Vintage Books, 1985)

Foucault, Michel, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, trans. Richard Howard (London: Routledge, 1989)

Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: Penguin, 1977)

John Tosh. ed., Historians on History (Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited, 2000)

Marwick, Arthur, The Nature of History (London: Macmillan, 1970)

Marwick, Arthur, The New Nature of History: Knowledge, Evidence, Language (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001)

Said, Edward, Orientalism (New York: Vintage, 1994)

Scott, Joan Wallach, Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988)

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Online Support

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Availability to any online resources or support will be accessible through Moodle.

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Normal class contact time is 24 hours of lectures over the twelve weeks of teaching during the semester, and an extra 10 hours of tutorials. For a typical student in a 20 point paper (offered over one semester) the expected workload is approximately 9 hours per week on top of classes. Students should average at least 9 hours of time spent on study, reading, and/or assessment work per week. These figures are only approximations, as papers vary in their requirements, and students vary in both the amount of effort required and the level of grades they wish to achieve.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: HIST206

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