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HI356J: THINKING HISTORY (2016-2017)

Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history. Download course guide

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Andrew MacKillop

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4
  • History (HI)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • HI3540 Thinking History (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course introduces students to how Clio, the Muse of History, has inspired historians to carry out their craft ever since the invention of history as a discipline two and a half thousand years ago. Students examine how and why the way historians have approached the past has evolved over time. In this course, student also practice a number of approaches to the study of history themselves. The course also encourages students to debate the ways in which historical awareness makes an essential contribution to informed and active citizenship.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • 2500-word essay (30%)
  • 1500-word report on historical research (20%)
  • 3-hour exam (50%)


  • 3-hour exam (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Formal written feedback is normally provided within 3 weeks. It will focus on specifics of structure, level of critical thinking and other academic attributes. Seminars will include oral feedback during the weeks between provision of written feed back.

Course Learning Outcomes


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