What you will study
The purpose of this masters-level module is to equip you to undertake higher-level study in British and Irish local and regional history. Part 1 covers key theoretical and methodological issues and develops analytical skills through the close study of influential books, followed by three thematic studies (from a choice of six themed units, outlined below), using set books and associated materials. It offers a distinctive approach by bringing together ‘old’ and ‘new’ histories, and by covering, as appropriate, developments in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries. By successfully completing this module, it will enable you to carry out supported independent study and provides progression to a research project and the preparation of a dissertation in MA History part 2 (A826).
You will learn that local and regional history has contributed to a better historical understanding of what was happening not only in localities at different points in time, but also nationally; thereby providing a greater understanding of national trends or developments, in the broader political, social, economic or cultural history of the nation (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). The module will explore sources for local history, providing a review of the resources on which historians draw, and an introduction to the types of primary and secondary sources that are available, including: published books and articles; local and regional history libraries; archives/record offices; other repositories; and online resources. For each, it deals with the best ways that these sources can be accessed and used.
You will also study a choice of three out of the following six units:
Crime and policing
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, crime, policing and penal policy became major areas of interest for social and cultural historians. This unit will introduce you to crime and policing, using set books to review the topic and examine current debates. It will then look at the research agenda and suggest potential subjects for research projects and the kinds of sources available.
The theme of this unit is the study of what has been called the ‘Urban Renaissance’: the way that between about 1700 and about 1850, towns in the British Isles changed the way that they fitted into the local and national economy. These changes expressed themselves in both the social and the built environments. As well as considering the relevance of this concept, the unit will also introduce methodologies and debates that will enable you to cover later developments in urban development up to c.1900.
This unit will explain the importance of understanding the major ideas and debates about industrialisation nationally, so that you can better understand what was happening in localities and regions at different times. It will outline how historians have described the broad developments in the period, including some of the ideas and debates about the origins, progress and outcomes of industrialisation.
Poverty and welfare
The purpose of this unit is twofold – to introduce you to the changing nature of welfare provision during the period c.1750–1914 (and to some of the historiographical debates this has engendered), and also to consider the poor themselves, the nature of poverty and how far it is possible to unearth the authentic voices of the poor from the past.
This unit focuses on families as central to notions of belonging and security. It draws attention to the way governments consider family relationships to be key formal means by which citizenship is legally conferred. It points to the fact that for individuals, families are a key experience through which they are identified, and self-identify, as belonging to particular local, national, religious or other communities.
This theme will survey the major developments in the religious history of Britain and Ireland from approximately 1740 to 1960. Using local and regional examples, it will survey the various approaches that historians of religion have adopted to interrogate their field. It will also consider the main historiographical debates in which historians have engaged, in particular secularisation and the notion of religious decline.
If you are considering progressing to MA History part 2 (A826), normally you must have completed this module.