HI5032 - Land of Rivers, Land of Coal: Making and Breaking Industrial North-East England, 1770-1990

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What will I learn on this module?

By the 1880s, the River Tyne estuary was the largest coal exporter and the largest centre of ship repair in the world. The tonnage of the port’s vessels exceeded even that of the River Thames, accounting for an incredible one ninth of the UK’s total shipping tonnage. Yet, astonishingly, only a century later, in 1980, the MV Lindo was the last ship to receive coal from Dunston Staiths. This module makes sense of historical discontinuity, contextualising the dramatic and fast-paced making and breaking of the region’s industrialisation. You will follow the awe-inspiring story of how north-east England utilised its fortunate natural resources, notably its navigable rivers and voluminous coal deposits, to become a powerful and influential driver of wider industrialisation both nationally and internationally. You will analyse in depth how a closer engagement with key elements of the natural environment enabled north-easterners to develop their trade and industry successfully and to invent globally game-changing scientific and engineering innovations, notably George Stephenson’s locomotive (1814). Organised thematically, and introducing you to the sub-discipline of environmental history, the module focuses on a different natural resource each week (stone; lead; peat; rivers; coal; fish; salt; steam; and iron), to reconnect the region’s dramatic story of the making and breaking of its industrial might to key elements of its natural environment. Consequently, you will understand in depth the large extent to which the region’s industrialisation was underpinned by a closer, rather than a remoter, relationship between humans and the environment.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending lectures that present core concepts in the regional history of north-east England, a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying environmental history and the historiographical debates in the field. You will be expected to prepare for the weekly seminars by undertaking essential and recommended reading, and will build on your independent reading by discussing your ideas in seminars with your peers. Through research-led teaching, seminars will provide you with expertise in the analysis of a variety of primary sources, including port books, minute books, diaries and journals, visual sources, legal records and online databases. All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLearning Portal (Blackboard) to enable participation within the seminar programme. You will participate in formative assessment activities and receive feedback, and will be responsible for your own guided and independent learning. Summative assessment will match your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through engagement with your peers, academic tutors, and programme leaders. Academic support is provided through group/individual tutorials which allow specific issues to be addressed and to promote progress in academic development. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised office hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your course. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and resources available on the eLearning Portal. Formative feedback will be on-going throughout seminar activities and through assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate critical engagement with key debates around environmental history and its innovative impact on traditional narratives of the regional history of north-east England
2. Establish an understanding of the role of socio-environmental relationships in regional identity, industrialisation and deindustrialisation

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Engage with research-informed questions, drawing on relevant theory and/or methods
4. Synthesise and communicate a coherent historical argument in writing, making effective use of primary and secondary material

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical and social consequences of industrialisation and environmental degeneration, applying these to contemporary regional identity and environmental attitudes and values.

How will I be assessed?

Your knowledge and understanding of environmental history methodology and north-east England’s regional history, your ability to develop and critically answer historical questions by drawing upon historical theory and secondary sources and your ability to analyse and present primary sources will be assessed in an essay of 2,500 words and a final exam of two hours (both of which are weighted 50%).
MLOs 1-5

You will have the opportunity to present your ideas in the seminars and will receive formative feedback from your lecturer in classroom discussions, debates, and tutorial sessions. Formative assessment through your lecturer will be written and verbal. Feedback on your first summative assessment will allow you to improve on later ones.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

Providing a thematic excursion around north-east England’s environmentally fortunate resources, systems and infrastructure, this module explains how the region’s successful industrialisation after 1770 was underpinned by a closer, rather than a remoter, relationship between humans and the environment. By the 1880s, the River Tyne estuary was the largest coal exporter and the largest centre of ship repair in the world. The tonnage of the port’s vessels exceeded even that of the River Thames, accounting for an incredible one ninth of the UK’s total shipping tonnage. Yet, astonishingly, only a century later, in 1980, the MV Lindo was the last ship to receive coal from Dunston Staiths. Reconnecting the making and breaking of the north east’s industrial might to key elements of its natural environment (stone; lead; peat; rivers; coal; fish; salt; steam; and iron), this module makes sense of the region’s marked historical discontinuities, contextualising its dramatic industrialisation and deindustrialisation.

Course info

UCAS Code QV31

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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