This week, from Monday 9th to Friday 13th July, postdoc Temi Odumosu was a co-tutor on a summer history course for A-Level students, organised by Villiers Park Education Trust in Cambridgeshire. Titled Hidden Histories: Sourcing the Past, the course provided a group of young budding historians the opportunity to explore both the study and application of History in more focussed way. The aims of the course were to:
- explore multiple and contested historical narratives
- study the ways in which history is recorded and handed down
- critically examine the authenticity and reliability of primary sources as evidence of historical fact
From the fall of Rome to the transatlantic slave trade, the course encouraged students to investigate the challenges involved in historical research, within an interdisciplinary framework that incorporated textual, visual and multimedia elements. For example students engaged in lively debate on historiography and the ownership and narration of multiple histories in the public realm, questioning whether historians can ever be objective.
In a session titled “From Text to Gene” Dr Odumosu introduced students to EUROTAST and its research methodology, highlighting the ways in which historians, archaeologists and geneticists are working together to build a more nuanced and detailed picture of African lives and experiences during the transatlantic slave trade.
Written feedback to the course was very positive. Responses included:
“I most enjoyed ‘from History to Gene’ as it added a new perspective to history”
“I enjoyed all sessions, but I really enjoyed the lesson on slavery in the 18th century as it challenged traditional ideas and beliefs”
“The links with other subjects challenged my perceptions of history in a fascinating way”
“I most enjoyed studying slavery and its abolition, as well as the trip to Cambridge looking at prints and various coins, because it expanded my knowledge.”
This Hidden Histories Course was developed for Villiers Park Education Trust by Dr. Odumosu and Dhwani Patel, a PhD student from King’s College, London. The course was sponsored by New College of the Humanities. Villiers Park is dedicated to helping able young people to reach their full academic potential and develop a passion for learning. In particular, they are committed to fair access – enabling students from less advantaged backgrounds to gain places at leading universities, through bespoke and holistic learning programmes with specialists across multiple disciples.