HHIK07752U Canceled: HIS 74/75. History and hegemony: interpretations of the past at heritage sites and the Use of History (30 ECTS)

Volume 2016/2017

Historical core area 2: Academic writing with focus on source analysis (HHIK03741E) and [elective and constituent] The Use of History (HHIK03751E) [Curriculum for Master´s Programme in History, 2015-Curriculum]



History and hegemony: interpretations of the past at heritage sites and the Use of History (HHIK03741E and HHIK03751E)
History is conventionally debated and explored by experts in scientific papers and scholarly books. For the non-historian, it is presented as a leisure experience at heritage sites – often without debate or exploration. In this course, we will focus on five themes of European history and how museums, historic buildings and other heritage attractions interpret them. Each of these themes, from prehistory to the present day, will be explored in two ways:

Lectures and studies: In class, we will examine and discuss the practice of interpretation at heritage sites including current hot topics and academic debates to introduce the most important concepts, scholars and practitioners. Students will consider scholarly texts and a selection of primary sources in order to cultivate an understanding of the interpretive process including identifying sources, editing material, devising narratives and illustrating them. The course will also introduce visitor studies to explore the relationship between interpretive design and the perceived audience. The course will consist of lectures by the two course leaders, guest lectures by international experts, student presentations and group work sessions. Students are expected to read 50-100 pages each week in preparation for classroom discussions and field work.

Field work: On day trips in and around Copenhagen, we will examine how each theme is presented in exhibits and displays at museums and historic buildings. Students will review exhibition texts, interpretive priorities, storylines and other narratives, and the physical presentation of archaeological and historical evidence. Other sources include the official catalogues, websites and other publications which will be compared with informal reviews and comments from online reviews and blogs. Students will also conduct interviews with museum curators and heritage site managers, when possible. After each visit, we expect all students to deliver a report in which they discuss the exhibition or site’s historical context and analyse how archaeology and/or history are represented in the interpretive choices made by the designers and/or curators.

Student workshop: In the last week of the semester, we will together host a workshop in which all students will present summaries of their reports and an international panel will provide feedback.

Research project associated this course: Students will participate in a research project Copenhagen’s Textile Trails by devising ways in which material currently available for visitors at a range of heritage sites can be brought together to develop an interpretive experience based on the theme of dress, clothing and fabric. Coursework, lectures, in-class studies, field trips, and assignments will focus on this overarching theme with the aim of producing ideas and material which identifies, highlights, and explains Danish textile heritage to domestic and international tourists.

The course takes place over full day at KUA every alternate week and over a full day at a different heritage site every other week. We invite students to plan a personal schedule, including transportation time for the field trips.

We have chosen themes and exhibitions which reflect our interests and current debates. These themes are also highly relevant for those who wish to teach in high school.

We plan to focus on the following themes:
1. The prehistory of Denmark: Methodologies for investigating the evidence. How do archaeologists and historians characterise resources, communities and gender?
Guest lecture by Dr Ulla Mannering, National Museum of Denmark.
Glyn Daniel, The idea of prehistory (1963)
2. The interpretation of the world: the Mediterranean as a concept, in antiquity and in the early modern era.
How do ancient views of cartography influence our understanding of southern Europe today?
Guest lecture by Dr Maria Papadopoulou, Marie Slodowska Curie Fellow, CTR.
Reading - Fernand Braudel, chapters from La Méditerranée et le Monde Méditerranéen a l'époque de Philippe II, 3 vols (1949)/The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (1972-73).
3. Royal palaces and sovereign style: the communication of power.
How did monarchs use their residences to convey authority and how is that reflected in their presentation today?
Guest lecture by Sidsel Frisch, masters graduate in royal iconography.
Reading - Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger, The Invention of Tradition (1983)
4. Denmark’s commerce, consumption and colonialism: Global trade in the 18th century. How does import and export history underpin the interpretation of Danish domesticity?
Guest lecture by Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset, Marie Slodowska Curie Fellow, CTR
Reading – Karl Marx, Das Kapital (1867)
5. Denmark through dress: the threads of history.
How can textiles create a narrative for Denmark’s historical development to the present day?
Guest lecture by Susanne Klose, masters graduate in museum pedagogy.
Reading – Roland Barthes, Mythologies (1957)

We plan to include the following museums:
1/ The National Museum of Denmark - Prehistoric section
2/ Amalienborg Castle - Special exhibition on memories
3/ Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek - Middelhavshorizonten
4/ Designmuseum Danmark – Clothing exhibition
5/ M/S Museus for Søfort, Helsingør - Global trade exhibit. Teselskabet – den første globalisering
6/ Frilandsmuseet, Kgs Lyngbye - Agricultural history
7/ Brede Værk - Exhibit on Krop og forklædning

Teaching and Learning Methods: This course is taught in English. Discussions in class as well as student presentations and coursework will be in English. We will upload all relevant weekly readings on Canvas. We expect you to read at least a hundred pages of primary and secondary literature (scholarly texts and sources) per week. We will also expect you to give several shorter and longer presentations in class on a topic of our choice. We will assess your performance according to a list of evaluation criteria that are necessary in the craft of scientific work (this list will also be available to you via Canvas). We expect you to attend and participate actively in all classes, because we will work through a substantial part of the syllabus in class. In the week before semester starts, we would like to interview you in person about your study plans, skills and ambitions. You will receive a personal invitation via Canvas.

Course objectives (clarification of some of the objectives stipulated in the curriculum):

After the course students will be able to:
• identify and describe some of the important primary sources for exploring a series of themes in Danish history and demonstrate the capacity to work with them critically
• demonstrate a clear understanding of the methodologies and difficulties in handling a range of sources and assess their validity and quality
• develop a hands-on approach in the assessment, selection and use different sources
• critically review secondary literature from different scholarly traditions and contextualise it
• develop and describe a new perspective on heritage interpretation and curation
• cultivate and describe an insight into heritage interpretation traditions in Denmark – in permanent and contemporary exhibitions, historic buildings and museum collections
• meet and become acquainted with the work and perspectives of Danish museum curators and heritage site directors
• identify the seminal theoretical and methodological approaches to presenting archaeology and history, and participate in contemporary debates on heritage interpretation
• read and critically review scholarly papers and presentations
• prepare and present a working paper using a scholarly approach
• participate in group discussions in class
• reflect critically and concisely on scholarly literature

- National museums and nation-building in Europe, 1750-2010: Mobilization and legitimacy, continuity and change. Eds.: P. Aronsson & G. Elgenius. London: Routledge, 2015.
- A. Bounia m.fl.: Voices from the museum: Qualitative research conducted in Europe’s national museums. Linköping: Linköping University Press, 2012. [ in full text]
- J. Diamond, M. Horn & D. Uttal: Practical Evaluation Guide: Tools for Museums and Other Informal Educational Settings, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016 (3rd edition).
- J. Dodd & C. Jones: Mind, body, spirit: How museums impact health and wellbeing. Leicester: Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, 2014. [ in full text]
- J. H. Falk & L. Dierking: The museum experience revisited. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2013.
- D. Lowenthal: The past is a foreign country: revisited, Cambridge University Press, 2015 (2nd edition).

Group instruction / Seminar
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 112
  • Exam Preparation
  • 259
  • Preparation
  • 406
  • Total
  • 777