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Seminar Group: Dr Sarah Hodges


At the end of term 1, we decided that in term 2, students will write 1 x 1000 word exam style essay based on a past exam question. Students are also invited to write an additional 2000 word essay on a topic of their choosing. Feedback on 2000 word essays will be provided in a tutorial meeting before the end of term 2. In term 2, all 1000 word pieces for Friday circulation / Monday discussion must include 200 words (total) on (1) the guy (2) the name of his book/s (3) the main argument of the book/s and (4) why he matters to historyland / this module.

To be discussed in week 1 (seminar is Thursday 14 Jan, 4-5.30). EP Thompson - Amelia and George

Week 7 - Gender - Dilly and Maddie

George on Said

Shaun and Dan on Foucault

Amelia on subaltern studies

Anna on visual culture

Bethan on history and biology

Feedback from students

Keep doing...

class essays are great for exam prep and putting ideas together

enthusiasm x 3

critical evaluation / encouraging us to question / respond

'historyland' and 'theoryland'

explaining the lecture and topic for the week in the same level of detail

essay feedback at the beginning of seminars and trying to get everyone to talk x 9

favourite sentences x 4

whole group discussion generates the best notes

smaller group discussions

updating seminar webpage

Cease immediately...

would rather we branch out into more discussions of the reading in general rather than justtalking about the concepts raised in class essays x 2

favourite sentence (and Friday deadlines for them)

get through the essay discussion more quickly by having fewer people report bak

The most important thing i have learnt so far...

the Enlightenment approach to historiography x 3

others' essays are helpful in showing what I could do better

knowledge is a myth?

the development of History as an academic field

power resides where people believe it resides

essay practice is everything x 2

engaging with primary sources

exam technique

who's the guy, what's his book, when did he write, why's he important

The thing i am most looking forward to learning [about] is...

Anything else...

mini half way break please?

personal face-to-face essay feedback sessions, please?

I like the seminar more than I thought I would

undertsanding how the historiography module works; understanding each week in larger context



Style: Towards Clarity and Grace

Explorations of Style

Week 10 Amelia

Week 9 Bethan

Week 8 James A and George

Week 7 Larry

Week 5 Shaun

Week 4 Dan and Dilly

Bonus materials for this week! Prizes will be given for the person who tackles the most (in addition to the seminar reading):

First, a link to a radio programme from a couple of weeks ago in which Niall Ferguson criticised historical novelists for just making stuff up (whilst plugging his new book on Kissinger):

And some commentary from the Guardian and Telegraph

Week 3 Maddie and Anna

Week 2 Reflections on the past as a way to understand human nature

For Week 2 seminar, everyone read the three texts, and three seminar readings. Everyone write about fifty words (at least) in answer to each of the three seminar questions. By 12 noon on Friday 16 October, everyone also **email me** your favourite sentence from Week 2's reading. James S will email a .pdf of his 1000 word exam style answer to me by 12 noon on Friday 16 October and i will email it round to all you.

Favourite sentences

"Progress was therefore ultimately a product of dysfunction, the practical outcome of successful adaptation in response to the fatal failure of older and
simpler modes of existence." from David Allan on Adam Smith

'The poet, the historian, and the moralist, frequently allude to this ancient time; and under the emblems of gold, or of iron, represent a condition, and a
manner of life, from which mankind have either degenerated, or on which they have greatly improved.' Ferguson.

'This false opinion of their great antiquity was caused among the Egyptians by a property of the human mind--that of being indefinite--by which it is often led to believe that the things it does not know are vastly greater than in fact they are.' - Giambattista Vico, The New Science, third edition, 1744

‘In the condition of the savage, as well as in that of the citizen, are many proofs of human invention; and in either is not any permanent station, but a mere stage through which this travelling being is destined to pass.’ p. 12 from Adam Ferguson's An Essay on the History of Civil Society.

'We have every reason, however, to believe, that in the case of such an experiment made, we shall suppose, with a colony of children transplanted from the nursery, and left to form a society apart, untaught, and undisciplined, we should have the same things repeated, which, in so many different parts of the earth, have been transacted already.' (Adam Ferguson, p.5)

"Nothing so deeply perverts the judgement and corrupts the heart as the fury of civil contention when excited by religious bigotry." Allan piece on page 8, by Hugo Arnot in 1779.

"I remember I was once desired by a young beauty, for whom I had some passion, to send her some novels and romances for her amusement to the country; but was not so ungenerous as to take the advantage, which such a course of reading might have given me, being resolved not to make use of poisoned arms against her." - David Hume, Of the Study of History

'Whoever reflects on this cannot but marvel that the philosophers should have bent all their energies to the study of the world of nature, which since God made it, He alone knows; and that they should have neglected study of the world of nations, or civil world, which, since men had made it, men could come to know.'

"But in the night of thick darkness enveloping the earliest antiquity, so remote from ourselves, there shines the eternal and never-failing light of a truth beyond all question: that the world of civil society has certainly been made by men, and that its principles are therefore to be found within the modifications of our own human mind. "- Vico Giambattista, The New Science, 1725

Week 1

This week has two meetings- one logistical (5 Oct) and one that follows the week 1 syllabus (12 Oct).

On 5 Oct we decided the following:

(1) This seminar observes a 'no-gizmo' policy -- towards greater collective focus and engagement. No laptops, tablets, phones... NB If you require assistive technology, please contact me (by email or have a word in person) and we will sort out an arrangement.

(2) Unassessed writing. In term 1, students will write 1 x 1000 word exam answer style essay. In term 2, students will write 1 x 1000 word exam style essay and 1 x 2000 word short essay. In term 3, students will write 1 x 1000 word exam answer style essay. For 1000 word writing, students will choose titles from past papers. For 2000 word writing, students will choose titles from seminar / essay questions.

(3) For this term's 1000 word writing, students will each sign up for one week in term 1 (indicating their choices by email, or in person, to Sarah). Writing is due to be emailed to Sarah by noon on Friday ahead of the Monday seminar. PLEASE make sure you send this across as a .pdf. Sarah will, in turn, email the essay(s) to everyone in the seminar group. Everyone will come to seminar Monday having prepared the readings for the week and having read the circulated essay(s). Sarah will mark the essay and return it over email with written comments to the student(s), ahead of Monday's seminar. Every seminar will begin with a student-led iscussion of the circulated essay(s). Readers of essays: please read for, and come prepared to comment on, the following: Does the essay answer the question? Does it demonstrate a good grasp of the key concept/s? Is the argument clear? Is it well structured? Is it well written? Is the argument supported by good evidence? To what degree does the discussion of the historiography work?

(4) The core readings are the assigned readings for the 12 Oct seminar. Everyone will read all 3 items. We arranged the following groups of student experts to help us think about the relationship between the readings and the seminar questions: CARR- Maddie, Shaun, Amelia; LOWENTHAL - James S, Anna, Bethan; MUNSLOW - Dilly, Dan.

Please be in touch if you have any questions.