The skills of being a historian take time to master and any good historian worth his or her salt will readily admit that the learning process is ongoing. As for myself, many of the pieces of this puzzle fell into place when I undertook an MA at Birkbeck in social and cultural history. The course was modular and we had the opportunity to engage in robust debate during seminars. Instead of exams, we were asked to formulate a question on a topic that tied in with each module and then write an essay of around 5,000 words. We also undertook a major dissertation. I have presented most of the work here, although not in its original form as I subsequently tightened up much of the word flow and edited numerous paragraphs that were not precise enough for my liking in their original form. If you are a casual reader, please do not let the academic angle put you off as I have tried to maintain a clear and engaging style and I'm sure there's much in here that you will find of interest.
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Examining the past can often overturn our own preconceptions and guide our decisions for the future. That history is now a poor relation in schools is disturbing; how can a society understand itself without knowing where it has already been?