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Module HXH-1005:
Intro to History and Heritage

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Raimund Karl

Overall aims and purpose

This course provides an introduction to the debate about the nature of heritage; the relationship between heritage and the disciplines of history and archaeology; and the importance of heritage to popular perceptions of the past. We will examine our changing attitude to the past and its material remains; the way in which we construct our views of the past; the arenas in which those views are expressed; and the uses to which those views are put. This course will encourage you to think critically about historical and archaeological arguments and about the way the past is interpreted in a variety of contexts, from the academic disciplines of history and archaeology to the public sphere. This course will therefore offer a critique of heritage, but also attempt to develop an understanding of its increasingly important role within contemporary society. We shall examine the history of academic approaches to the past; the development of museums; the increasing role of the state in the heritage industry; the diversity of heritage sites; and finally, how the past is used to create a sense of identity, place, and belonging.

Course content

Definitions of history, heritage and archaeology; the development of museums; cabinets of curiosities; new heritage sites; heritage agencies; the state and heritage management; heritage and landscape conservation; industrial heritage; heritage and identity.

Assessment Criteria


will demonstrate a basic knowledge of at least part of the relevant field, and will make partly successful attempts to frame an argument which recognises differences of historical interpretation.


will show a solid level of achievement in all the criteria listed in the paragraph above.


will show this solid achievement across the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtly of analysis.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of some of the major events, concepts and problems in heritage ¿ particularly the relationship between history, heritage and archaeology.

  2. Demonstrate a mastery of basic study skills, particularly the ability to follow a course of reading, make effective notes, and benefit from seminar discussions.

  3. Present historical arguments in essays and back them with evidence.

  4. Show awareness that heritage can be interpreted in different ways.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

Each student is to give a c. 5 minute presentation on a scheduled monument or listed building of their choice. You can use Power Points and/or provide handouts. Include the following: 1. Try to find out when the module was scheduled or listed. 2. Was it under threat? 3. Why is the monument considered important? 4. In what physical ways is the monument protected? 5. Is there open access? The following websites will help you: For sites in England: Historic England For sites in Wales: Archwilio Coflein

ESSAY Essay 1 (2,000 words)

The first essay should be c. 2,000 words in length and should answer one of the following questions (Section A). 1. Discuss the main differences between History and Heritage AND/OR archaeology. 2. In what ways do Historic England AND/OR Cadw protect national heritage? 3. What is the purpose and value of the Historic Environment Record (HER)? 4. How does the scheduling of ancient monuments AND/OR the listing of historic buildings help to protect heritage? 5. Why was the National Trust founded and has it remained faithful to its original aims? 6. What were the main aims of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in the nineteenth century and was it successful in protecting the nation’s heritage? 7. Discuss the major changes to the Heritage Industry since WWII and analyse the reasons for these changes. 8. Evaluate the effectiveness of the 1996 Treasure Act AND/OR the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

ESSAY Essay 2 (3,000 words)

The second essay should be c. 3,000 words in length and should answer one of the following questions (Section B). 1. Discuss the origins and historical development of museums: how did they change, and why? 2. Why have some heritage sites been accused of ‘Disneyfication’? Do you judge this to be a fair criticism? Use specific sites to underpin your argument. 3. Why was the Smithsonian’s proposed Enola Gay exhibition cancelled? 4. Discuss how museums/heritage sites engage with sensitive or controversial topics. 5. Why is the repatriation of some heritage such a contentious issue? Use specific examples to support your argument. 6. Discuss: who owns the past? 7. Using specific examples, discuss the relationship between the past and the construction of national or ethnic identities. 8. What is the value of the Faro Convention AND/OR the Valetta Convention?


Teaching and Learning Strategy

External visit

Field trips to relevant heritage sites


11 hours of lectures, starting week 1


10 hours of seminars, starting week 2

Private study 167

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
  • demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
  • presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
  • engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity


Resource implications for students

Entrance fee to Iron Bridge Gorge Museums (field trip 1), c. £ 10 per person

Reading list

GENERAL READING LIST There is no one book that covers all the themes of this course. However, the following are all highly relevant to the issues we will be dealing with. Specifically related to Heritage: G. Ashworth and P. Howard (eds), European Heritage Planning and Management. (1999) B.M. Carbonell (ed), Museum Studies. An Anthology of Contexts. (2004) J. Cuno (ed), Whose Culture? The promise of museums and the debate about antiquities. (2009) J.M. Fladmark (ed), Heritage & Identity. Shaping the Nations of the North. (2002) B. Graham, G. J. Ashworth and J. E. Tunbridge, A Geography of Heritage. (2000) J. Hunter and I. Ralston (eds), Archaeological Resource Management in the UK. (1997) P. Howard, Heritage. Management, Interpretation, Identity. (2003) D. Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country. (1985) D. Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History. (1998) R. Lumley, The Museum Time-Machine. Putting Cultures of Display. (1988) N. Merriman (ed), Public Archaeology. (2004) R. Samuel, Theatres of Memory. (1994) J. Schofield, J. Carman and P. Belfield, Archaeological Practice in Great Britain. (2011) R. Skeates, Debating the Archaeological Heritage. (2000) J.E. Tunbridge & G.J. Ashworth, Dissonant Heritage: The Management of the Past as a Resource in Conflict (1996)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: