Sources and Methods for Contemporary History LM – 2023-2024

Teacher: Prof. Gianluca Fiocco
CFU: 6
Course Code: 804002822
Degree: Master’s Degree “Scienze della Storia e del documento”
Course delivery modalities: In-presence
Language: Italian
Pre-requisites: Basic examination of contemporary history at the first degree. Students who do not have this requirement must agree on a specific program with the teacher, and can still follow the lessons.
Attendance: Optional
Assessment method: Oral exam
Period: 2nd term
Starting date: 9 Avril 2024
Class hours
Tuesday, 9.00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m., T29 
Wednesday, 1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m., T29
Thursday, 11.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m., T29
The course aims to provide students with a solid foundation regarding the main features of contemporary history and important methodological issues of which those who work in this disciplinary area must be aware. More specifically, the following questions will be addressed: possible definitions and interpretations of contemporary history; problems of historical periodization; sources for contemporary history; historiographical schools and their methodologies; role of the contemporary historian and problems related to the public use of history. Major historiographical issues will also be taken into consideration and some thematic strands of contemporary history will be explored, examining relevant authors and works.
Text books:
Textbooks will be indicated during the lessons.
Books to learn more about the different topics will be indicated during the lessons.
Educational goals and expected learning outcomes:
A) Learning outcomes: Make sure that the student master the main historiographic questions and interpretations concerning the topics of the program; moreover, that he knows how to use and work critically around the historical sources, in view also of the elaboration of the degree thesis. The student must know how to apply the skills gained in the study of other themes and historical periods. He will also have to achieve a critical spirit of judgment and be able to clearly present what has been learned.
B) Knowledge and understanding: within the framework of a solid knowledge of contemporary history, the student will acquire particular skills on methodological issues concerning historical research. Through the study of relevant texts of historiography and direct historical sources, the student will develop scientific knowledge of a specialized level.
C) Applying knowledge and understanding: thanks to the methodological preparation achieved, the student will be able to investigate other aspects and problems related to the topics dealt with. He can use the skills acquired also in the study of other historical subjects..
D) Making judgements: students will be able to collect and interpret data useful for the comprehension and analysis of historical documents and historiographic texts, to comment critically in autonomy the contents and for reflection on social, scientific, or ethical issues related to them, having acquired the ability to formulate independent judgments.
E) Communication skills: students will be able to communicate correctly, rigorously and effectively information, ideas, problems and solutions regarding the main issues addressed, both to specialist interlocutors of the discipline and to non-specialists. For this purpose we will try to direct the student to structure and refine their communication skills, including through discussion and debate in the classroom, the assignment of seminar tasks.
F) Learning skills: the module should provide a significant contribution to the development process by the student of the cognitive and theoretical-critical skills necessary for an independent and specialized study of the historical disciplines. This includes the ability to formulate original research hypotheses and to know how to properly develop them.
Methods and criteria for verifying the learning:
Students will have to take an oral test which will focus on the main topics covered during the lessons and studied on textbooks. The final judgment will be based on the knowledge shown and on the exposure skills.
Teaching methods:
Frontal lessons; practical involvement of students through the reading and analysis in the classroom of historical documents and historiographic texts
Attendance modalities:
The course is divided into 15 lessons of 2 hours, for a total of 30 hours. Additional hours will be possible to complete the program. Attending students will have to participate in the frontal explanation parts, use the teaching materials provided by the teacher and animate the debate in the classroom.
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