Investigating the Archive in the 21st Century - HU42002

Quick Facts

  • Level 4
  • 30 Credits
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • Module will be classed as a module outside your pathway for students not on a History pathway.

Module Details

The module aims to explore the role of the Archive in the 21st Century. Through the consideration of various themes (for example, ‘evidence’, ‘justice’, ‘memory’, ‘identity’ and ‘truth’), students will acquire an in-depth understanding of established and emerging concepts in Archival Science and will examine how the Archive impacts upon knowledge-formation, legal jurisprudence, truth, accountability, and individual and community ideas of memory and identity. The module will be a valuable resource for students in the Humanities, with relevance across the disciplines, who want to reflect on how society shapes, holds and accesses information about its activities. 


Dr Craig Gauld


11 x 2hr Seminars + 11 x 1hr Seminars.

Weekly seminars could include:  

 ·       Document, record, archive, archives  

·        Archival Institutions  

·        The Role of the Archivist  

·        Archives and Evidence  

·        Archives and Power  

·        Archives and Accountability  

·        Archives and Memory  

·        Archives and Identity  

·        Archives and Justice  

·        Archives and Truth  

·        Archives and the Digital Age  

·        Archives and Materiality 


The coursework comprises a 4,000 word essay (55% of the assessment weighting for the module), an oral presentation (15% of the assessment weighting for the module) and a module journal (30% of the assessment weighting for the module). 


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Intended learning outcomes


Students will develop sophisticated knowledge and understanding about the development of archival theory and practice, with particular focus on the role of the Archive in the 21st Century and how it informs the way societies shape, hold, access and use information about its activities. Through analysis of archival literature, as well as relevant literature from across disciplines, students will attain a deep understanding of the centrality of the archive to life and culture. Students will take an inter-disciplinary approach to consider how archives are constructed, mobilised and deployed by addressing debates surrounding: 

  • the evidential and historical value of archives  
  • social and political agendas  
  • the changing nature of the archive  
  • how social, cultural and personal memories and identities are represented and recorded  
  • the inherent tension between the use of archives to ensure accountability and their role as cultural artefacts. 

Inter-disciplinarity will be reinforced by academic staff from other disciplines being invited to talk about their experience of the Archive in relation to specific seminar areas.