Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
12 January 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA VV31 Art History and History,
BA VV32 Art History and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV38 Art History and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV3B Art History and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV3C Art History and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA V100 History,
BA V101 History (Including Year Abroad),
BA V102 History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V103 History (Including Placement Year),
MHISV199 History,
MHISZV98 History (Including Placement Year),
MHISZV99 History (Including Year Abroad),
BA MV91 History and Criminology,
BA MV92 History and Criminology (Including Placement Year),
BA MV98 History and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA MV9C History and Criminology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV11 History and Economics,
BA LV18 History and Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1L1 History and Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA VL11 History and Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA QV21 History and Literature,
BA QV22 History and Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA QV2C History and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA VQ12 History and Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV31 History and Sociology,
BA LV32 History and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV38 History and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV3C History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1W6 History with Film Studies,
BA V1W7 History with Film Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA V1W8 History with Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1WP History with Film Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1L2 History with Human Rights,
BA V1L8 History with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1LF History with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1LG History with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA V140 Modern History,
BA V144 Modern History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V148 Modern History (Including Placement Year),
BA V149 Modern History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VL12 Modern History and International Relations,
BA VL14 Modern History and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
BA VL18 Modern History and International Relations (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL1F Modern History and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV21 Modern History and Politics,
BA LV22 Modern History and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LV28 Modern History and Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV2C Modern History and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V309 Curating with History,
BA V310 Curating with History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V311 Curating with History (including Placement Year),
BA V312 Curating with History (including Year Abroad),
BA V200 History and Heritage,
BA V201 History and Heritage (Including Foundation Year),
BA V202 History and Heritage (including Placement Year),
BA V203 History and Heritage (including Year Abroad),
BA VM10 History and Law,
BA VM11 History and Law (Including Foundation Year),
BA VM12 History and Law (including Placement Year),
BA VM13 History and Law (including Year Abroad),
BA V114 History and Drama,
BA V115 History and Drama (including Foundation Year),
BA V116 History and Drama (including Placement Year),
BA V117 History and Drama (including Year Abroad),
LLB M1V1 Law with History,
LLB M1V2 Law with History (Including Foundation Year),
LLB M1V3 Law with History (Including Placement Year),
LLB M1V4 Law with History (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module helps you to develop the critical mindset needed to analyse historical arguments wherever you find them, but also the constructive skills essential to researching and writing your own histories.

The module combines lectures and seminars exploring how history "works" in different contexts with archive visits and library workshops that expose you to the raw materials of History.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To communicate ideas and arguments effectively, whether verbally or in writing, in an accurate, succinct and lucid manner.

  • To understand historical arguments as presented in secondary scholarship and diverse public contexts.

  • To identify and analyse different types of primary sources.

  • To formulate and justify arguments and conclusions about a range of issues, and present appropriate supporting evidence.

  • To think critically and challenge assumptions.

  • To modify as well as to defend their own position.

  • To use a range of resources to assist with information retrieval and assignment presentation.

  • To manage their time effectively and independently organise their workloads.

  • To work effectively with others as part of a team in seminar discussions, group meetings, and group assessments.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to read and understand historical arguments.

  2. Locate different types of historical evidence, including primary sources.

  3. Demonstrate some understanding of the distinctive features of different types of historical evidence.

  4. Show insight into how and why ‘myths’ about the past are formed and gain purchase, and how historical research can challenge such myths.

  5. Present, accurately, succinctly and lucidly, in written or oral form, their arguments in accordance with appropriate scholarly conventions.

  6. Organise their time to work effectively both independently and as part of a team.

Module information

'The past is never dead. It's not even past'. In a world of conspiracy theories, toppling statues, and 'culture wars', the novelist William Faulkner's most famous line resonates more than ever.

Across the globe, History is co-opted to multiple causes and used to justify contradictory positions. Such uses of History often rely on myths, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. How can we separate political belief, personal opinion, and false information about the past from historical knowledge and understanding?

Rebellious Pasts looks at the creation, consolidation, and operation of historical myths and stereotypes – and at how we, as historians, can use the tools of our trade to identify and challenge misleading representations of the past, replacing them with richer forms of understanding.

On this module, you will undertake self-directed research drawing upon digitized collections, archives, and heritage sector institutions, and translate your findings into accessible public history artefacts. At its heart, History is the refusal to accept easy assumptions and the insistence on negotiating with evidence, no matter how tricky that is. By the end of the module, you will understand why History is a rebellious discipline – and how to harness its unruly powers.

Indicative syllabus

Lectures - Autumn Term

  • Introduction: Rebellious Pasts.

  • What is History?

  • Writing and Rewriting History.

  • Public History.

  • Archive Visit I.

  • Researching and Writing History.

  • Using Secondary Sources.

  • History, Memory, and "Myth".

  • Archive Visit II.

  • Making History: the Group Project.

Lectures - Spring Term

  • 11. Archive Visit 3.

  • Getting the Project Off the Ground.

  • Independent Group Meeting I.

  • Thinking about Primary Sources.

  • Independent Group Meeting II.

  • Library Workshop Day I.

  • Historical Debate in the Project.

  • Independent Group Meeting III.

  • Communicating Research.

  • Library Workshop Day II.

Seminars & Group Meetings - Autumn Term

  • Introduction.

  • Historians and "Facts".

  • Rebellious Histories Case Study I.1: Introduction.

  • Rebellious Histories Case Study I.2: Historical Debate.

  • Archive Visit I.

  • Rebellious Histories Case Study 1.3: Public History.

  • Assessment I: Tutorials.

  • Marking an Essay.

  • Archive Visit II.

  • Rebellious Histories Case Study II.

Seminars & Group Meetings - Spring Term

  • Archive Visit 3.

  • Guided Group Meeting I.

  • Independent Meeting I.

  • Guided Group Meeting II.

  • Independent Group Meeting II.

  • Library Workshop Day I.

  • Guided Group Meeting III.

  • Independent Group Meeting III.

  • Guided Group Meeting IV.

  • Library Workshop Day II.

Seminars & Group Meetings - Summer Term

  • Guided Group Meeting V.

  • Independent Group Meeting V.

  • Independent Group Meeting VI.

  • Independent Group Meeting VII.

  • Student Conference.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • A combination of lectures, seminars, archive visits, library workshops, guided group meetings (meetings at which a seminar tutor is present to guide discussion and respond to questions), and independent group meetings (student-led meetings with no seminar tutor presence).

Lectures, seminars, guided group meetings, and independent group meetings are all 50 minutes long. Archive visits and library workshops are half-day or full-day events. All Module information will be available via Moodle. Key readings will be digitised an available on Talis Aspire.

The range of learning and teaching methods, and the provision of full information and materials on Moodle, ensure that diverse groups of students will be supported to learn to the best of their abilities, to excel in areas of existing strength, and to further develop skills in areas where this is required.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Reading exercise (formative) (500 words)  10/11/2023  0% 
Coursework   Seminar Diary exercise (formative) (250 words)  28/11/2023  0% 
Coursework   Seminar Diary (1250 words)  25/01/2024  20% 
Coursework   Group Presentation Research Proposal (2000 words)  22/03/2024  20% 
Coursework   Portfolio (2000 words)  23/04/2024  30% 
Coursework   Group presentation (10 minutes + questions)  23/05/2024  30% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Tracey Loughran, email:
History UG Administrators:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 97 hours, 80 (82.5%) hours available to students:
17 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


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