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HI4518: HISTORY IN PRACTICE II (2016-2017)

Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Heidi Mehrkens

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • History (HI) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course aims to give a greater sense of History as an applied subject with considerable public relevance and socio-economic significance beyond its academic forms. The course looks at the different practices that characterise the discipline of History in universities and in society at large. Students will refect upon and utilise both factual knowledge and generic techniques and genres inherent in the subject of History. By critiquing six academic papers, undertaking (where possible) workplacements, or reviewing how historical topics are selected, edited and packed in non-academic formats, students will gain a deeper knowledge of the many varieties of History which can and do exist. Beside a comparative review of how academic historians practice their discipline in the format of seminar papers/and or lectures, the course will enable students to evaluate how public, heritage, or civic institutions (libraries, archives, museums, History societies, tourist boards etc.) select, construct and present different, but equally valid, forms of History. Finally, students will then apply their knowledge, understanding and skills to develop an historical project and presentation based on a particular archival or primary source/s. In doing so, students are asked to ponder the wider issue of who 'owns' History and how, if at all, are competing claims to such ownership and practices addressed, mediated, and presented?

Further Information & Notes

This course is not available as a disciplinary breadth option for the enhanced study requirement.

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

  • History and Public Policy (1500 words, 20%)
  • Reviewing Public History (3000 words, 50%)


  • Work Placement Report (2000 words, 30%)


  • Practising Public History (2000 words, 30%)

Formative Assessment

Students will submit a one page outline of their intended workplace activities or, alternatively, their intended analyses of how a public organisation/institution practices and presents History. The outline should indicate how the workplace report or critique of the institution's practice of History links directly to the aims and objectives of the course. Feedback on issues of clarity of methodology, appropriate scope, realistic, achievable aims, sufficiently critical analysis, or any obvious omissions, will be returned with comments and suggestions by the teaching team. The same process of outline submission, feedback and comments will also occur in relation to the practising 'public' History element of assessment.


Specific written (via feedback forms) and verbal feedback is given on the comparative seminar report, the workplace/public History review and the practising public history assessment.

Course Learning Outcomes


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