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Image by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral

Approaching History

History is far more than simply the old dusty books of kings and rich men. Archaeology, anthropology, art, and economics (to name just a few) all contribute towards constructing a better understanding of the past.


The curriculum allows you to explore a broad range of methods and theories to approaching the past. If you're starting out on your history journey, maybe thinking of applying for university, this is a useful starting place. If you're a little further along on your journey, you'll find interesting new ways to think about the periods that interest you.

This is a working document, and will be added to over time.


Does Everything Have a History?

Textiles - lost forever?

How do we explore material culture that is lost to the past through decay and destruction? Is it a lost cause to try and reconstruct the textile world of history? If we can reconstruct it, what can it tell us about past societies and cultures? 

A History of Food

Do we know what ancient societies ate? How do we conceptualise food in past societies - is it simply fuel, or a complex culture of presentation and pomp? From the limited textual and zooarchaeological evidence that we have left, can we begin to understand how long-dead people understood their food?

Nicknames - 1 and 2

Can the nicknames of past societies tell us anything about how that society worked; their systems and group dynamics, their concerns and preoccupations?

Objects, and Archaeology

Historical Objects, museums, and 'reality'

What is the role of replicas within a museum context? Can a 'fake' ever be as meaningful as the 'real' deal? Do historical objects have some inherent special quality just because they were shaped and observed byt people who are now dead?

Experimental Archaeology

What is experimental archaeology, and can it ever make a serious contribution to historical narratives?

The Historian

The Politics of Writing History - 1 and 2

Writing history is an inherently political action, irrespective of what that history is about. As historians, do we have a moral obligation over the history we right? Is history being actively misused for political end?

Theoretical Frameworks

Post-Colonialism of the Medieval Period

Post Colonialism is an increasingly popular theoretical framework through which to approach the past? What does this approach include? Can it be meaningfully applied to a medieval context, where it is primarily applied to a modern context? 

Exploring 'Disability' in History

Like so many other social categorisations, academics are not starting to accept that 'disability' is socially constructed, and varies by time and place. How did past societies draw boundaries between the physical 'norm' and impairment? Were impaired individuals always excluded by society?

Further Reading and Bibliography

[UNDER CONSTRUCTION - subscribe with the form below to be kept up to date]

  • The Yale Early Medieval Lecture Series - free on Youtube here, this is a great introduction to longer form history education - particularly good if you're going to university and want to get used to lectures. They are, of course, also incredibly good if you want to learn more about the Early Medieval period too.

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