‘Writing History’ explores how knowledge of the past is constructed, and contested, in texts. It builds on the theoretical training provided by EN126 ‘History and Textuality’ by examining a sequence of four historical episodes, and considering some of the techniques that have been employed to represent them as cohesive and meaningful events in history, to widely varying intellectual and political ends. Students will develop their ability to historicise and critically evaluate historical and literary texts; consider the bases, nature, and limitations of historical knowledge; and enhance their understanding of how the practices of narrative and artistic representation, and the intellectual and political traditions within which they are undertaken, shape our conception of historical knowledge and ‘truth’.
The module comprises four units, with introductory and overview sessions at the beginning and end:
Unit 1 (weeks 2-5): The Black Atlantic in the Age of Revolutions
Unit 2 (weeks 6-10): India in 1857
Unit 3 (weeks 12-15): The Harlem Renaissance
Unit 4 (weeks 16-20): 9/11 in Global History
Week 22: Themes (2) - literary historicism and negative capability