Why Study Landscape History at UEA?
The English landscape has been described as ‘the richest historical record we possess’ and this MA programme focuses both on the skills of ‘reading the landscape’ and also the practical and theoretical issues involved in the study of the historic countryside. The importance of landscape history is not something that is confined to the academic seminar room, however, as an understanding of the historic environment has relevance to the heritage industry, conservation agencies, local government and archaeological management.
Landscape History at UEA is deliberately eclectic in its approach: it is not constrained by period or geographical boundaries. The teaching material therefore ranges from early prehistory to the Cold War, from henges and hillforts to historic gardens and wartime pillboxes. An emphasis is also placed on long term trends over time and the way in which the landscape has had an enduring legacy in the structuring of attitudes and beliefs of local and regional communities. The MA programme offers an intensive and practical preparation for those people who wish to undertake further post-graduate study in landscape history, but also for those who wish to enter a profession for which knowledge of the historic environment is desirable.
Content and Structure of the Course
The MA in landscape history discusses key elements in the history of the English countryside from prehistory to the present day. The core module revolves around four major themes that impacted upon the landscape in different ways in different periods:
What is Landscape History? explores the ways in which landscape history is practiced and its relationship with other disciplines.
Landscape and Environment discusses the history and archaeology of various manmade and semi-natural environments (such as woodpasture, heaths and moors) and introduces ideas of historical ecology and what is sometimes, mistakenly, called ‘environmental determinism’.
Society and Landscape is more concerned with human agency in the landscape and the more obvious signs of manipulation of the countryside. It discusses ideas concerning landscape design, enclosure and the impact of modernity.
Regions and Regionality, takes a slightly different approach and examines patterns of regionality in the landscape. Why do regions exist? Are they created by social and economic behavior that reflects different regional identities or more the product of later ‘attrition’? Needless to say, all overlap to a certain extent and should not be thought of as neat boundaries between different practices; in effect, they encompass a range of issues and methodologies that are really part of a single whole.
Course Tutors and Research Interests
- Dr Rob Liddiard – medieval history and archaeology of secular and ecclesiastical landscapes; vernacular landscape; parks and hunting; tenurial geography
- Dr Tom Williamson – all aspects of English landscape; designed landscapes, esp. eighteenth- and nineteenth-century parks and gardens; landscape archaeology
This school offers programs in:
Last updated August 1, 2016