HISTORY 197 - First-Year Seminar
Section: 001 Modern British History in Fiction
Term: WN 2010
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Course Note:
A basic introduction to historical thinking and method through small-course seminar experience. Topics vary from term to term; however, no matter what the topic, students can expect to spend a great deal of time learning to think critically about historical questions and to write well. As such, the First-Year seminar should serve as an introduction to upper-level course work in history and related fields of study.
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course begins with the observation that history is a notable presence in contemporary British novels, These novels are not "historical fiction" in the sense of romance novels set in some bygone age, but they are also not simply set in the author's "own" time or the present. Moreover, they take history as a theme, rather than simply a setting; they explore memory, representation, gaps, contestations, and what counts as knowledge. At their best, such novels have been serious contributions to historical writing, imaginatively exploring both the complexity of the past and the ways it may haunt the present.

This course will use novels to think about how British history has been represented through fiction and to explore broader themes. The goal is not to judge fiction against "real" history but to consider how fiction can present history and be about history, how fiction may produce historical knowledge and what kinds of historical knowledge novels may presume. What kinds of history get represented? How do authors show relations between different histories? What are the risks of fiction as a mode of writing history? What kinds of historical forces does fiction have a hard time with? What does it do especially well? Does fiction always "domesticate" history, making it a story of individuals and emotions? What techniques of writing have authors explored to capture the difference, the strangeness of the past? We may also consider film versions of some texts.

No previous knowledge of British history is required, and we will read a range of works that address different areas of British history, within and beyond the British isles, with most works dealing with modern history.

HISTORY 197 - First-Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
003 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
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