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Course Structure

Public History and Cultural Heritage

The course is offered on a one-year full-time basis, or two-year part-time basis, starting in September 2011. (The School will require part-time students to take a minimum of 45 credits in their first year but they must be available to attend timetabled classes.)

In the Michaelmas term (September to December) students will take three core modules [1, 3-4] and one elective module, chosen from the options below (although it is possible that may be some changes in the final list of electives on offer). In the Hilary term (January to April) they will take one core module [2] and two elective modules. In the third term (April to August) the emphasis is exclusively on the Dissertation.

In the Michaelmas term Core Module 1 is co-taught with the participating cultural institutions, and in the Hilary term Core Module 2 is built around the internship programme in these cultural institutions.

The electives are divided into two groups (divided below into A and B), and in the course of the year students must select at least one elective from each group.

Core Modules in 2011/12

  1. Remembering, Reminding and Forgetting: Public History, Cultural Heritage and the Shaping of the Past (10 ECTS) This module seeks to introduce students to the relationship between history, historical study and museums and galleries. It explores the role of collectors and museums and their place in contemporary society, investigating the meanings that can be attributed to objects. Aspects of curiosity in the museum setting are touched upon, as well as matters of authenticity, conservation and display. The module introduces students to the work being undertaken in a variety of cultural institutions located in Dublin and to the problems which specialists in these institutions encounter and resolve. The first six weeks are taught by academics within the School, in preparation for the following five weeks when classes will be held in the museums and libraries where specialists will texture the debate to objects in their care. The institutions will change from year to year but may include the National Archives, the National Library, the National Museum, the Chester Beatty Gallery, and the Hugh Lane Gallery.
  2. Internship - Remembering, Reminding and Forgetting (10 ECTS) This module introduces students to practical work experience, as encountered by specialists in one of the partner institutions (the National Archives, National Library, National Museum, Chester Beatty Gallery, Hugh Lane Gallery or TCD Libraries and Special Collections). Each student will spend one day a week (or a full week at a single stretch) working with a professional curator, librarian or archivist in one of the nominated cultural institutions, working on a pre-agreed project. This person will serve as the student's mentor for the duration of the student's internship and oversee the practical work that the student undertakes. Projects will vary but may include helping to prepare exhibitions (research as well as set up), helping with the preparation of catalolgues, working on digital projects and virtual exhibitions etc. The student may be expected to work as part of a small team or to undertake independent work. Each internship will also have a nominated TCD advisor to liaise between the School and external mentor, as well as to provide the academic framework for the internship project (in consultation with the external mentor). The assessment of these projects will be the responsibility of the TCD advisor.
  3. Approaches to Historical Research: Sources and Methods (5 ECTS) This module introduces graduate students in History to a selection of the disparate range of sources used by professional historians, the interpretative problems these sources may pose and the ways in which they have been used by historians. Although many of the sources discussed may not be obviously or immediately relevant to the themes or periods upon which students will concentrate on for their dissertations, the objective is to encourage lateral thinking about the application of sources and questions about sources.
  4. Generic Skills (5 ECTS) This module introduces students to generic research, presentation and IT skills and tools at postgraduate level, applicable and required across the wide range of disciplines in the School of Histories and Humanities. It also refreshes and reinforces skills that have been acquired during undergraduate study and provides exposure to cognate disciplines within the School. Topics covered in seminars include: academic presentation skills; academic writing and editing; endnote; digital humanities; web design; IRCHSS applications; and careers.
  5. Dissertation (30 ECTS) The aim of the dissertation is to enable students to devise, initiate and complete an original research project, within a defined time-frame and drawing on the insights, skills and knowledge acquired during their study on the M.Phil programme. While the dissertation process serves both developmental and scholarly purposes, the completed work will be assessed in terms of its contribution to knowledge. Both part-time and full-time students will begin discussing topics for their dissertations early in Hilary term, and supervisors will be assigned then. Students are expected to complete preliminary bibliographies and dissertation outlines by the beginning of April. Dissertations between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length are due for submission by 31st August of the first year of entry for full-time students and by 31st August of year two for part-time students. Note that students with a proficiency in European languages will be encouraged to exploit this in their choice of project (and/or internship).

Elective Modules in 2011/12 Group A

  • History, Memory and Commemoration (10 ECTS) This module seeks to analyse the way in which significant people and/or events have been, or are to be, commemorated in monuments, museums, and other forms. The culture and politics of commemoration (both today and in the past) will be considered, as well as tensions between public perceptions of the past and those advanced by professional historians. The module will focus on three selected themes drawn from a list including Martin Luther and Reformation, the French Revolution, the 1798 rebellion, the Great Famine, the Great War, the Easter Rising, and the Gandhi dynasty.
  • 1641 (10 ECTS) This module examines the impact of war on early modern Irish society with particular reference to the manner in which the general public and specific elites were affected, addressed and depicted in the course of the 1641 rebellion. Students will make extensive use of the ‘1641 Depositions’ and will be introduced to a number of other online resources, most importantly, Early English Books Online. The after-effects of the rebellion and its profoundly contested history will form a major pre-occupation of the module.
  • Cultures, Memories and Identities in Central Europe (10 ECTS) The dual aim of this module is to bring together selected chapters of Central European area studies with central notions of cultural theory such as space, memory, nation and identity, transformation/transition, etc. This should lead to a better knowledge of the CEE countries on the one hand, and, on the other, provide an introduction to some crucial approaches in cultural studies to inform future projects of the student.

Elective Modules Group B

  • The Classics and European Identity (10 ECTS) This module explores the historical reasons for the importance attached to the study of Classics in school and academic curricula from antiquity to modern times. It discusses the intellectual and political force of a supposedly ‘authoritative’ past in the shaping of cultural and national identities, and examines the ways in which classical texts have been approached, appropriated and communicated over the centuries. It aims to debate the relevance of classics as a discipline to contemporary western society.
  • Curating Art in Theory and Practice (10 ECTS) This module addresses the skills and responsibilities involved in art curatorship, including policy formulation, principles of developing collections, the theory and design of exhibitions, as well as the philosophies and issues involved in conservation, cataloguing, acquisition, and lending. Students engage directly with the collections and facilities devoted to art in Trinity College, and in relevant state, municipal and regional art institutions many of which are located in the immediate vicinity of the University.
  • Cinema in Communist and Post-communist Eastern Europe (10 ECTS) The aim of the module is to explore the experience of communism and its aftermath in several East and Central European countries, as expressed through the medium of film. The module follows a standard lecture-seminar format, each week students are required to familiarize themselves with a set film or body of work as well as to complete reading assignments.

Last updated 11 August 2011 History (Email).