Through this choice of papers students are encouraged to reflect on the variety of approaches used by modern historians, or on the ways in which history has been written in the past, to read historical classics written in a range of ancient and modern languages, or to acquire the numerical skills needed for certain types of historical investigation.
Students can choose any one option of:
Approaches to History
This paper introduces students to ways of looking at the past that will probably be novel to them. The course explores both the strengths and the weaknesses of looking at the past from the perspective of other intellectual disciplines, with their varied methodologies and their different types of evidence (Anthropology; Archaeology; Art History; Economics and Sociology). The paper also offers a chance to examine the particular perspective on History offered by an awareness of the role of gender and gender difference, an approach that has been developed powerfully in recent decades. Classes and tutorials are supported by a comprehensive lecture-course which runs in the Michaelmas Term. Students are encouraged to attend lectures on all the different disciplines, since these include a number of overlapping themes and interests; in contrast tutorials normally concentrate on only two or three of the disciplines. The study of each Approach is organized around a series of broad sub-topics which are described more fully below and are supported by short bibliographies. However none of the reading is prescribed and a course-tutor could perfectly well approach each subject with a different set of examples, chosen from any period. Prescribed topics The paper is concerned with the ways in which the writing of history has been influenced by other disciplines, methods and techniques. Candidates will be required to show knowledge of at least two different ‘approaches’ out of the six set out below. The sub-headings give guidance to areas in which questions will be set: