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HYM4085 - Reading History

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Sarah Pinto


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit focuses on the types, or 'genres', of historical sources: their origins and history, the uses made of them by their originators and by later historians, and how they may be read. 'Reading' includes the interpretation of visual, oral, architectural and material sources as well as textual ones. Themes will include the translation of oral communication into writing and the rendering of writing into print; issues of authorship and audience; the construction of inquisitorial, confessional and narrative sources; the rise of the press and the history of the newspaper; the interpretation of maps, photographs, and documentary film; and architectural analysis.


Students successfully completing this subject should have developed an understanding of key theoretical and conceptual issues in the reading of diverse kinds of texts and of the relationship between 'text' and 'genre', and a greater awareness of the nature of historical writing. The subject also aims to assist students in developing skills in critical reading and the analysis of historiographical debate and to lay the groundwork for successful thesis writing.


Classroom exercise (750 words): 20%
Critical essay (2750 words): 50%
Project/thesis proposal (1000 words): 30%
Students taking this unit at Level 4 will be expected to critically analyse a wider range of genres and develop a more sophisticated array of questions concerning issues of authorship and interpretation.

Contact hours

1 hour lecture, 90 minute tutorial