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History and Public Policy

Convenor: Dr Lucy Delap

This course introduces students to the broad landscape of policy making – the processes and actors within government, civil society, and discusses the ways in which an understanding of history can be relevant and enriching to policy makers. It surveys a series of key policy areas, ranging across social, economic, environmental and foreign policy, aiming to give students both a broad understanding of the relevant policy issues, as well as the way in which policymaking has changed over time. Each session will be themed around a problem, such as the regulation of prostitution or the challenges of an ageing population. The sessions will be interactive, and will provide space for discussion of the present-day relevance of historical perspectives and the uses of history in public life. The overall aim will be to give students a broad grounding in historical and contemporary policy making, and the practical skills to shape their own research for impact outside of the academy.

This module will be assessed by the preparation of a 3,000 word policy paper, modelled on those published by History & Policy, and an accompanying 1,000 word action plan for policy influence. The policy paper will present an aspect of contemporary policy, and show how understanding the issue in historical perspective can connect it to wider/novel agendas, offer new policy options/forms of delivery/implementation, or recast the issue. The action plan will outline practical, evaluable means of gaining the attention of diverse audiences of policy makers and opinion formers.

This information is provided for illustrative purposes only.