The Great Escape: Medieval Historian Nicholas Orme Believes That the Teaching of History in Britain's Universities Is Better Now Than It Has Ever Been
Orme, Nicholas, History Today
This magazine was founded in 1951, an age of rationing, bomb damage and National Service. I was at school then, went to university towards the end of the decade and started my academic career in 1964. History at the time was as drab and dull as life.
The scope of history had hardly changed in 50 years. It emphasised chronology, great tracts of the past, strained and panted over as on a cross-country run. The route led largely past kings and wars and parliaments. Religion slipped in during the earlier centuries, but thankfully it stopped with James II. After that there were a few (but only a few) economic and social topics such as 'Turnip' Townshend and the Victorian slums. Books were written about other social and cultural matters, but they were thought of as 'popular' or 'literary' and hardly impinged at all on mainstream history.
In those days nearly every English university taught history in much the same way and the schools followed their lead. It was 'Oxford history', that is to say you studied history for three years and sat a single exam at the end to get your degree, unlike Cambridge with its two-part exam and permission to change …
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Publication information: Article title: The Great Escape: Medieval Historian Nicholas Orme Believes That the Teaching of History in Britain's Universities Is Better Now Than It Has Ever Been. Contributors: Orme, Nicholas - Author. Magazine title: History Today. Volume: 61. Issue: 3 Publication date: March 2011. Page number: 44+. © 2009 History Today Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
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