MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Historiography of STM

Course unit fact file
Unit code HSTM60651
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


In the history of science, technology and medicine (HSTM) and related fields, researchers use a variety of analytical and theoretical approaches to interpret the past in different ways: making sense of historical practices and ideas, of broader issues such as the relationship between STM and society, and even how we conceive of ‘society’ itself. These different analytical approaches are the focus of this unit. Each week we introduce, discuss and critically appraise significant conceptual models and approaches in HSTM. We analyse how and why specific approaches emerged and have a history themselves, discuss their relationship to trends in other fields, as well as their benefits and drawbacks in comparison to alternative methods. The unit further contextualises the ideas and concepts introduced in Major Themes and will help you think about different analytical tools you might employ in your semester two assignments and dissertation.

Topics addressed include: -

  • Historiographic foundations of STM
  • Sociology of Scientific Knowledge and Actor Network Theory
  • Gender and STM
  •  HSTM ‘from below’
  • The medical humanities
  • Writing HSTM in the Anthropocene


The unit aims to:

  • introduce students to key methodological and analytical approaches to the history of science, technology and medicine (HSTM) and medical humanities (MH);
  • give students an understanding of changing scholarly approaches to the understanding of HSTM;
  • enable students to analyse critically key methods and techniques used by researchers to understand and analyze science, technology and medicine in their historical and cultural contexts;
  • give students the skills and knowledge to produce critical writing of scholarly books and articles that reveal and assess approaches, methods and techniques
  • promote scholarly reflection on the relationship between expert knowledge of STM and human experience;
  • enable students to communicate HSTM and MH concepts and approaches through a variety of media.

Assessment methods

  • Critical analysis of key text in HSTM (1000 words) 30% weighting                         

    Essay presenting an argument on a particular historiographic problem or methodological approach (2000 words) 70% weighting

Feedback methods

General comments on standard programme feedback sheet; specific notes via GradeMark; standard turnaround time applies

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Duncan Wilson Unit coordinator

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