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HIU22001 History Group Projects

The module is designed to enable students to undertake directed research on a project of their choice, as a preliminary to final-year dissertation work and as a means to develop student-centred learning.
  • Module Coordinator:
    • Dr Robert Armstrong
  • Duration:
    • All Year 
  • Contact Hours:
    • Induction meeting, presentation forum and at least six contact hours between the group and its allocated mentor
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% coursework
  • Group Projects Handbook

Students will develop skills through working in groups, including setting objectives, assigning tasks, collating information and completing co-operative assignments.

Generally there will be at three ‘research streams’ available in a given year.  Each will focus on a broad area of history, allowing groups to develop their own projects across a range of types of history (cultural, social, political, etc.) as well as relating diverse times and places.  In 2017-18 the four ‘research streams’ are:

Landscapes in Time: How Societies transformed the Natural Environment


We normally think of landscapes in terms of space. However, they also have a temporal dimension, which is closely linked to human history. Many places that are normally considered part of the natural environment have been deeply imprinted by intended or unintended human intervention in the past. Resource extraction, settlement, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure all left their mark on the world we inhabit. This module encourages you to challenge common ideas about nature and to think about the relationship between place and time in history, looking at how certain political, social or cultural contexts changed the outlook of the planet. Group projects in this strand will focus on a concrete place to explore historical environmental change. Possible research topics include: the making of the Irish rural landscape; urbanization, transport and nature in Dublin; landscape change in European colonies; economy, leisure and demography in the transformation of coastlines; the emergence of ‘globalized’ landscapes; the ‘natural’ or ‘artificial’ nature of national parks. Depending on your thematic choice, you will be able to draw upon a wide range of different sources, such as scientific writings, maps, visual arts, literature, policy documents or interviews. You might even be able to go and visit the places you study: Dublin port, the fields outside of your hometown, the river Liffey, the suburbs of Dublin … Landscapes in time will give you the opportunity to explore the material and spatial dimensions of history and to ‘read’ the world around you.

Radicals, Rebels and Revolutionaries in the Early Modern World


What is a radical, a rebel or a revolutionary? This research stream is intended to allow you to ask just such a question, and offer an answer based on your shared research. If ‘rebel’ suggests one who challenged an established political or social order, perhaps with violence, and ‘revolutionary’ one who succeeds in overturning it, either term might just as well be applied to those ‘radical’ thinkers and activists who struck horror among the respectable by advocating such frightening options as religious toleration, democracy, divorce or communism. A research project in this field could investigate an individual, a group, a movement or an event, drawing on primary source materials. Huge quantities of these are now available online, allowing for a very wide variety of projects. Mentors will guide groups in the identification of a suitable project, and offer guidance as to the kinds of materials available. So whether studying bandits or prophets, printed pamphlets or trial reports, this research stream encourages you to question what it means to be a challenger to the ideas and practices which prevailed in the early modern world.

War and Society in the Twentieth Century


War is a major catalyst of social, political, and economic change. Over the past century, wars have transformed world politics by mobilizing soldiers and civilians, redistributing economic resources, developing new technologies, and redefining state borders. A research project in this field could examine war and international law in the 20th century, war crimes (perpetrators, victims, judicial process), wartime destruction, “total” war, technology and warfare, fascist warfare, post-war reconstruction, peace agreements, gender and war, occupation regimes, guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, origins of the Cold War, war and social change, economic history of war, culture and war, or war and the transformation of communism. You may use the holdings of Trinity College Library on British and American wars and warfare. Sources on French, German, and other post-war societies are more difficult to access, but not excluded. Mentors will guide groups in the identification of a suitable project, and offer guidance as to the kinds of materials available.

The People's Century


In 1942, United States Vice-President Henry Wallace described the advent of what he termed ‘the people’s century’ or the ‘century of the common man’. In the 1990s a television series by the same name examined the 20th century from the perspective of the ordinary people who lived it in the Western World. In this research stream you can examine the social, cultural or economic history of that century, and analyse the factors, movements or events that influenced people’s lives. A wide variety of research projects come under this strand, such as those that focus on new developments in popular culture or protest, or projects that assess the impact of economic or technological change on different groups. You can consider a broad range of research questions: Where did people work? How did they use their leisure time? What kind of education did they receive? Where and why did they migrate? Why did they protest and how did they agitate for change? What influence did the state and churches have over peoples’ lives? How did gender, class and race differentiate and shape people’s experiences? Primary source material such as census data, official reports, parliamentary debates, and magazines will help you analyse the factors that affected broad societal trends and individual lives. Research groups can focus on a particular place, country, or region, or can take a transnational approach. Mentors will help groups identify feasible projects, offering guidance on the source material available.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Contribute to the design of a group research project, including framing research questions and identifying source materials
  • Contribute to the allocation of tasks within a group setting
  • Work successfully within a group in pursuit of shared goals
  • Undertake research using relevant primary sources
  • Evaluate primary and secondary source materials for use in the group presentation
  • Produce an individual synthesis based on a reading of primary and secondary sources.
  • Contribute to a group presentation setting out the results of the research project
  • Contribute to the completion of a research portfolio.