Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: History


Type Open Level 3 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • A pass mark in at Least TWO level two modules in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students at Level 3 to the historical study of alcohol and drug use.
  • To encourage students to see the possibility of using the study of drink and drugs as tools for political, social and economic history.
  • To develop students' understanding of the effects of colonial rule and the nature of post-colonial society, and of the change in African society in this period.
  • To introduce students to the use of a range of source materials in historical study.
  • To satisfy the generic aims of a Level 3 triple module in History.


  • For European observers, the use in Africa of alcohol, cannabis and other drugs raised terrifying possibilities.
  • Europeans who drank would forget their position, and disgrace themselves.
  • Africans who drank alcohol or smoked bangi would entirely lose their reason and become uncontrollably violent, or incurably workshy.
  • For African societies, the advent of European colonial rule offered new opportunities, and dangers.
  • There were new kinds of drink, notably spirituous liquors and there was a new political and economic order in which established ideas about who could drink or smoke, and where and when they might do so, were suddenly open to challenge.
  • The decades of colonial rule saw determined attempts by the state to restrict and regulate drink and drugs.
  • and saw also the development of a largely new market in drink bottled beers and spirits - were markers of status, as well as important economic resources for the state.
  • This Special Subject module offers students the opportunity to use a range of primary sources to explore a series of historical questions around drink and drugs in Africa in this period.
  • Focussing particularly on alcohol, it will look at questions of regulation and the nature of the colonial and post - colonial state, at the economics and gender politics of drinking, and at wider questions about why people use drink and drugs.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should be able to: Critically discuss theories about the role in society of alcohol and drug use.
  • Understand the nature and consequences of colonial rule, and the nature of postcolonial states in Africa.
  • Discuss the nature of social and economic change in African societies under colonial rule and afterwards.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/Index.htm
Key Skills:
  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/history.internal/local/ModuleProformaMap/Index.htm

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of:
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students' ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals;
  • tutorials either individually or in groups to discuss topics arising from prepared work, allowing students the opportunity to reflect upon their personal learning with the tutor.
  • Assessment:
  • Unseen Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The unseen examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge;
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources;
  • Assessment of Primary Source Handling Students are assessed on their understanding of original primary sources, usually in print, their character varying according to the nature of the subject, and the students' ability to bring that knowledge to bear on 'cutting edge' research-based monographs and articles. Students are given the opportunity to discuss and articulate an understanding of changing interpretations and approaches to historical problems, drawing evidence from a body of primary source materials. Students are required to demonstrate skills associated with the evaluation of a variety of primary source materials, using documentary analysis for a critical assessment of existing historical interpretations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 2 Termly in Terms 1 & 2 30 mins 1
Seminars 19 Weekly in Terms 1 & 2 3 hours 57
Revision Sessions 2 Revision 1 hour 2
Preparation and Reading 540
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essays Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 Max 3000 words, not including scholarly apparatus 50%
Essay 2 Max 3000 words, not including scholarly apparatus 50%
Component: Unseen document examination Component Weighting: 35%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen document examination (gobbet paper) 3 hours 100%
Component: Essay Examination Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen essay examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

One formative essay of not more than 2,500 words ( not including footnotes and bibliography), submitted in Term 1. This will be returned with written comments and a standard departmental feedback sheet; Coursework essays are formative as well as summative. They are to be submitted in two copies, of which one will be returned with written comments and a standard departmental feedback sheet; Preparation to participate in seminars and tutorials; At least one oral presentation in each term, and at least two practice gobbets in each term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University