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Historical Methods

Historical Methods


To provide graduates members of the Faculty with a series of themed sessions concerning the nature and practice of History.

Who can attend?

All graduate members of the Faculty.

Where can I find out dates and times?

This information is in the Graduate Training Booklet, which you can access via The History Faculty's Moodle page, under Graduate Training here. You can also use the Graduate Training calendar to see when sessions are scheduled.



Digital History (Lent Term)

The Digital History program combines reading sessions, guest lectures and hands-on workshops to think collectively and critically about the impact of the digital in historical writing and research today. It is interested in, of course, exploring large-scale changes provoked by technological advancement: how new methods of archiving, data manipulation, social media, crowdsourcing, mapping and so forth are producing new ways of making history, new ways of communicating research to scholarly and public audiences, and new methodological problems for the historical profession. But we also construe "technology" in the broadest sense: from virtual databases to physical index cards; from Kindles to books; from python to provenience, from Mellel to Moleskines; from cameras to pencils; from digital archives to the manuscript that crumbles in our hands. Thus this seminar is also a space for encouraging graduate students to rethink what historians do and how we do it. Digital technologies do not only open new archives, perspectives and methodological pathways, but also invite us to revisit the lasting significance of traditional methods and practices in historical scholarship. How do you organise your research notes? How best to keep track of voluminous reading lists and new scholarship? How do we manage book collections in this hybrid age of ink and E-ink? How and where do you write? With what tools do you approach the archive? How should we think about archival serendipity in the age of Search? The Digital History Seminar is a unique conversational space for graduates to come together to explore these developments, which are slowly but surely reshaping the discipline. For questions, suggestions and anything else, please contact the convener, Dr Rachel Leow (

Weekly sessions will be held in Lent Termdetails can be found here



GIS for Historians

Course leader: Max Satchell, CAMPOP, Department of Geography & Faculty of History

Demonstrator: Ellen Potter, CAMPOP, Department of Geography

Want to make great looking maps but don’t know where to start? GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is the answer. Formerly the preserve of the IT specialist, in the last 15 years GIS software has become easy to use. GIS is now something anyone with basic computing skills can do.

As members of the University you have free access to state of the art GIS software the annual license fee of which is £50 K for individuals in the private sector. Take advantage of it! The GIS for Historians course is a practical introduction to working with GIS software. The emphasis is very much on learning by doing in a supported environment with plenty of help on hand . Students are also encouraged to ask questions about GIS as it pertains to their own research. Topics covered include basic GIS and mapping, sourcing digital historical GIS data, creating GIS datasets from written sources, digitizing from historical maps, simple and more complex GIS analyses, 3d GIS and cartograms.

The course is available to Masters and PhD students of the Faculty of History.

For information of when sessions are held, please check the Graduate Training calendar for sessions under 'GIS for Historians'.


Oral History

These two seminars aim to introduce graduate historians to the practices of planning, constructing and analysing oral histories. Each seminar will examine several of the methodological or theoretical debates within this field, and will be supplemented by discussion of a specific case study. The seminars will be discussion-based and informal, intended to support students in undertaking their own oral history-based research or reusing existing oral histories. Participants will be expected to complete the reading for each class and be prepared to participate fully, which will include discussing their own research. 

Themes will include

  • Historicising the turn(s) to oral history
  • Ethics, consent and transcription
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Composure

Numbers will be capped if necessary. Students may sign up by emailing Dr Lucy Delap  (

There will be two sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes each to take place in Lent Term.

 For information of when sessions are held, please check the Graduate Training calendar for sessions under 'Theory and Practice in Oral History'.



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