Module Identifier HY34520  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor William D Rubinstein  
Semester Semester 2  
Mutually Exclusive HY32920, HY33020, HY33120, HY 33420, HY 33620, HY 33720, HY 33920, HY 34320, HY 34420  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 2 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 1,500 WORD ESSAYS(40%) & 1 X 4,000 WORD PROJECT (60%)  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
better understand the critical skills of the academic historian

contrast the approach of academic and non-academic historians

become familiar with some of history's popular controversies

Brief description

This module will examine a number of well-known historical events which have in common that they have typically been written about by `amateur' historians but ignored or virtually ignored by academic historians. These topics will include the assassination of President Kennedy; the identity of `Jack the Ripper'; the real authorship of Shakespeare's plays, and the fate of the `little princes in the Tower' under Richard III. The modular aim, however, is to enlarge and extend the critical skills of university-trained historians by looking at how `amateur' historians have typically treated these topics, and how these contrast with the approaches and skills of the academically-trained historian.


This module aims to teach the skills of the critical historian and the evidence he or she employs, based on an examination of well-known topics examined by `amateur historians'.


1. Introduction: "Amateur Historiography" vs Academic Historiography
2. The Assassination of JFK I
3. The Assassination of JFK II
4. "Jack the Ripper" I
5. "Jack the Ripper" II
6. Who Was Shakespeare?
7. Richard III and the "Little Princes in the Tower"
8. The Mysteries of Rudolf Hess
9. Ancient Mysteries I
10. Ancient Mysteries II; Conclusion and Summary

Module Skills

Problem solving Students will be expected to identify and respond to historical problems and carry out appropriate research before the seminars and before writing essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays.  
Research skills These skills will be developed through the research students are expected to carry out before the seminars and for the essays. This will be assessed as part of the assessment of the essays.  
Communication This skill will be developed through the two essays, the project and the seminar discussions. This will be assessed as part of the essay and project assessment.  
Improving own Learning and Performance Written work will be returned in tutorials where advice will be given on improving students? research techniques and essay writing skills.  
Team work Students will work together in seminar preparation and discussion  
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word process their work. These skills will not be assessed formally.  
Application of Number Students will be presented with some statistical data during the seminars and the appropriate use of such statistics will form part of the assessment of the written work.  
Personal Development and Career planning This module will help develop written and oral skills. Other activities, including research, assessment of information and writing in a critical and clear manner, will further develop useful skills of analysis and presentation.  
Subject Specific Skills Critical Historical skills  

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Bertram Fields (1998) Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes
Gerald Posner (1993) Case Closed
John F. Mitchell (1999) Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, and Stephen Prior (2000) Double Standards
Paul Begg (2002) Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History


This module is at CQFW Level 6