The study of urban history is particularly pertinent for a world in which the majority of the population lives in cities. The city is the crucible in which modern society has been forged. The global economy is predominantly urban; our political structures emanate from the city; our social and cultural identities are formed and shaped by our urban experience. Cities and towns represent the summits of human achievement, but they generate in turn some of the greatest challenges for the modern world. Urban history offers the opportunity to understand where we are and where we have come from. The multifaceted complexity of modern urban society is analysed in the context of its long term historical development. Urban history is also one of the most innovative and challenging areas of historical research, employing a truly interdisciplinary approach.
This is what we offer at the Centre for Urban History at the University of Leicester. The Centre is internationally renowned for research into towns and cities and offers a range of courses and qualifications in the study of urban history, from part-time certificates, diplomas and MA s for lifelong learners, to full time masters and research degrees, accredited by the UK’s Economic and Social Science Research Council and recognised by the European Union.
The MA in Urban History provides a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the study of the city, ranging from classical antiquity to modern times, and drawing upon archaeology, geography, sociology and the history of art, with a strong element of research training. As well as breadth, students have the opportunity to engage in more focused study – ranging from medieval urban archaeology to modern town planning – and to complete a dissertation upon a subject of their choice. The MA in European Urbanisation is based around the same interdisciplinary structure, but enables the student to live and study abroad for one semester in one of our partner institutions (Berlin, Dublin, Leiden or Stockholm) and is funded by the EU Socrates programme. The MA (two years) or Post-Graduate Diploma (one year) in Social History is a flexible, part time course which focuses upon the urban experience of communities and individual lives, and is unique in offering a strong oral history element.
We have extensive informal networks across Western Europe which enable our staff and students to attend meetings, exchanges ideas and research results and enhance their understanding of urban history. The Centre offers a stimulating and supportive research environment. It organises and hosts several academic meetings a year and has a regular programme of public seminars with distinguished visiting speakers running through the academic year. It is the hub for information about the Pre-Modern Towns Group and the Urban History Group, and produces a newsletter and electronic bulletin for urban historians. The staff have a record of excellence in research and publication, and at any one time there are numerous research projects being conducted by the three staff and around twenty research students of the Centre. Current research initiatives include the East Midlands Oral History Archive and Urban and Industrial Change in the Midlands 1700-1840.
For more information about the Centre, our activities and the courses we offer visit our website below.
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