HIST4101 Historiography

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in History [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
Historiography is the study of how history is written. How can we 'know' the past? What assumptions underpin our historical methods? What truth claims can historians validly make? Part 1 analyses three major schools of history writing from the nineteenth century to the present: positivist (or empiricist) history; social and cultural history; and the challenges posed to history by postmodernism. Part 2 consists of three modules, each of which addresses the theoretical underpinnings, strengths and weaknesses of one particular form of recent historiography, concentrating on the works of major writers in the field. Each of the historiographical approaches have their own claims to validity, and have mounted strong critiques of the others.

The academic objectives of this unit are (1) to familiarise students with, and develop a critical understanding of, the literature on historiography; (2) to develop an understanding of the relationship between different concepts of and approaches to history; and (3) to evaluate both the claims and the criticisms of these concepts and approaches.
Students are able to (1) develop a critical understanding of the historiographical issues in the questions provided; (2) develop concrete essay writing skills, including the ability to research and write an effective essay, the ability to communicate ideas persuasively, the ability to develop and sustain an original argument, and the ability to critically understand historiographical issues and, hence, the discipline of History; (3) communicate verbally the arguments about the nature of historiography and the issues and arguments involved; (4) read widely and understand the material presented; and (5) express independent and critical positions on the literature and the issues presented in the unit.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) seminar participation; (2) two seminar papers; and (3) major essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Assoc/Prof Ethan Blue
Unit rules
a major in History to an adequate standard
Contact hours
Seminar - 2 hrs per week
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