I am writing to tell tutors and prospective postgraduates about an innovative MA in the History of Early Modern Political Discourse (1500-1800).
Intellectually, the programme builds on the transformation over the last forty years of what used to be called the history of ideas or political thought into a history of political discourse, concerned with context, genre, concepts and language.
Technically it is taught simultaneously from UEA and Hull, with joint classes made possible by web-based video-conferencing, access to electronic resources and interactive web pages.
It is the first virtual Masters programme of its kind and its virtual research environment has been recognised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as one that will 'spearhead the AHRC's strategy for developing and applying e-Research in the Arts and Humanities'. Details can be found at http://www.uea.ac.uk/his/research/projects/vre/ma/.
The MA programme contains two core modules. The first examines the foundations of early modern thought, focusing in particular on the way in which classical texts influenced early modern writers. The second examines seventeenth century England, focusing on the relationship between texts and their political, religious, cultural and social contexts. Students also study the historiography of their subject and research a dissertation on a subject of their choice.
The programme draws on the expertise of Prof. Colin Davis, Prof. Glenn Burgess, Prof. Howell Lloyd, Dr Simon Hodson and myself. Hull was rated 5 and UEA 5** in the last RAE exercise. In addition, experts from other institutions also participate where applicable; and students and staff from both institutions will meet physically at a specially organised conference. Students can register at either Hull or UEA.
We believe this programme offers exciting features, enhanced by technology, which make it extremely attractive to students considering further study in this discipline.
Some of the advantages of the VRE for the MA are that
a) We fully exploit wonderful on-line resources such as Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online and add real value to them.
b) The pooling of faculty expertise offers the students a wider range of perspectives and a greater choice for specialisation when it comes to their dissertation.
c) Students will be part of a larger cohort, a positive factor in a specialised sub-discipline.
d) Technology allows for the joint viewing of the texts and for discussions/presentations to be displayed and shared at each site.
These features are considerable pedagogical assets, and help equip students with important transferable skills.
Further information about the MA programme is available from me (Mark.Knights@uea.ac.uk; tel. UK 01603 592792) or Dr Simon Hodson (firstname.lastname@example.org tel. UK 01484 465647).
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