(Photo by Michael McDonnell, Broken Hill Railway Museum)
After several years in the planning, HSTY 3902: History Beyond the Classroom is finally under way this semester. I’m looking forward to teaching this, and to learning a great deal from each other. The main aim of this unit is as follows:
In this unit you will produce an independently framed and original researched project drawn from an engagement with communities and organisations outside the University. Students will explore history in action in a variety of contexts and think about different ways of creating and disseminating
history other than the traditional research essay that might appeal to a public audience. Lectures and field trips will help students frame relevant community-based questions, adopt appropriate methodologies, and explore new ways of presenting arguments or narratives. In tutorials we will workshop every stage of your project.
Part of the aim of this unit is to introduce students to history as a lived and lifelong practice and to appreciate history as a vital individual, community, and organizational practice. Together, we will explore a variety of histories in action via time spent working with or alongside community organizations outside the University and discuss the challenges and opportunities of history beyond the classroom. In keeping with this idea, we will also explore different formats for presenting our histories that might reach a wider and more public audience. In doing so, we will also discuss the vital questions around the issue of whether reaching for a wider audience means changing or diminishing academic standards. Can history beyond the classroom co-exist with and inform and enrich history practiced in the classroom?
The ‘History in the Making’ unit has produced some fantastic research projects.
By James Findlay
The ‘History in the Making’ unit has produced some fantastic research projects. The breadth of topics as well as the quality of the finished writing has been a real joy to watch develop over the semester. I have enjoyed immensely the variety of weekly in-class lectures, panels and guest speakers, all of which provided invaluable insights into the craft of history writing. On top of this, a major highlight has been watching the student research clusters workshop each other’s projects. The level of investment the cohort have demonstrated to each other’s work has been unique to my experience in teaching, and it was wonderful to see students actively helping to shape each other’s ideas in a variety of intelligent and creative ways.
One of the most rewarding parts of teaching ‘History in the Making’ has been the process of seeing ‘Historians in the Making’.
By Kirsten McKenzie, UoS Coordinator ‘History in the Making’
One of the most rewarding parts of teaching ‘History in the Making’ has been the process of seeing ‘Historians in the Making’. Across the semester I have enjoyed seeing the way in which the students involved in this class have emerged as independent scholars, both in their specific skills and more generally in their attitude towards their work. The collegiality that students have shown in their research clusters – commenting in constructive ways on their colleagues work, being prepared to take those adjustments on board – have offered a model of enthusiastic professionalism to us all.