HIS42660 Historiography and Historical Debate in Twentieth-century Ireland

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module aims to introduce unfamiliar students to historiography (the study of the writing of history and of written histories); to enhance all students’ understanding of the key developments in the historiography of modern Ireland, and to develop the historiographical skills essential to the successful completion of postgraduate research in modern Irish history.

The module will explore key developments (and lacunae) in the writing of the history of political, social and cultural history, including the Irish revolution, religion and gender. and social and cultural history. It will examine the evolution of emphasis, source identification, methodologies and chronologies. Particular attention will be paid to debates on the writing of Irish history from the revisionist controversy of the 1980s and 1990s to the twenty-first century ‘history wars’ surrounding the War of Independence.

Emphasis will be placed on encouraging and enabling students to situate their own research within the appropriate historiographical context(s) and to engage in a conversation with previous scholars.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should have developed their understanding of the main currents in historiography in twentieth-century Ireland; critically examined key historical texts and enhanced their skills in critical analysis; engaged in group discussion of historical writings; further developed the historiographical skills essential to the successful completion of postgraduate research in modern Irish history; presented their work to peers and engaged in debate; produced an original paper situating their own research within existing scholarship.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will explore how historians of Ireland have approached their subject; the rise of new topics, metholodogies and interpretations; and the debates arising from these. It will begin by focusing on case studies and key texts, before moving to broader issues of political social and cultural history, including those relevant to students' own research interests, and to works of historical synthesis.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The key teaching and learning approaches used in the module include reflective learning; peer discussion; student presentation; and critical writing.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Seminar attendance and participation. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: A 4,000 word essay which situates the student’s own dissertation within the existing scholarship. Part-time students may agree an alternative, cognate, topic with the module co-ordinator. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Presentation: A 10-minute paper assessing the historiographical significance of a text relevant to the student's research topic. Part-time students may agree an alternative, cognate, topic with the coordinator. Week 7 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be given individually after the presentation and, on an ongoing basis, during preparation for the final essay. Feedback on the final essay will be provided individually once provisional grades have been published.