Photo of Dr Diana Jeater

Dr Diana Jeater DPhil (Oxon); FRHistS

Associate Dean (Education), HLC; Emeritus Professor of African History, UWE, Bristol History

    Teaching

    "As Associate Dean for Education, I have an overall interest in how teaching is delivered within the School of Histories, Languages & Cultures. My own teaching focuses on two main areas: African/Decolonial History and Learning for Life/Employability skills."

    African History

    I teach African History, not colonial history. Where white people come into the story, it's from the perspective of Africans, who largely encounter and interact with white people as outsiders and invaders.

    I teach African History as ideas, not as narrative. Most people significantly underestimate how big Africa is (Europe, the USA and China could all be comfortably accommodated within Africa's landmass, with plenty of room to spare). They also underestimate how long and complex its history has been. So I don't attempt to teach big survey stories, which would be so general as to be meaningless. Instead, I look at themes that help us to understand the history. That includes learning about, for example, kinship-based politics; witchcraft and territorial cults; healing systems; nationalist movements; and religious institutions, in order to understand how they act as motors of change.

    Modules I have taught in the past include:
    Themes in African History
    Africa and the Black Diaspora: cultural transformations in the Americas and the Caribbean
    Health, Healing and Illness in Africa
    Adultery, Sexuality & Witchcraft in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) 1890-1930
    Sex & the African City: gender and urbanisation in Southern Africa

    History in Practice: using your degree in the wider world

    Studying History is a good in itself, but most people hope that their History degree will also help them to get a good job. The History Department placement module offers a semester-long work experience in a local museum, archive, library or heritage centre. Placement modules like this significantly enhance employment prospects. But I don't think that placement modules should just be work experience. My approach to placement modules is also about reflecting on how study of the past within the universities links to how 'history' is understood more generally in the wider world. I encourage students to use the placement module to become more aware of how 'the past' is everywhere being constructed in the public sphere, while at the same time developing useful workplace skills and building up an enhanced CV.

    Theory and method

    I have an essay on teaching theory, in this volume
    I have an essay on teaching theory, in this volume

    History, for me, is a practice. Even theory is a practice: a set of ideas to be used. I have spent many years developing my expertise in teaching students how to study history, how to research effectively, and how to apply theory.

    Modules for 2021-22

    HISTORIES OF SLAVERY

    Module code: HIST581

    Role: Teaching

    HISTORY DISSERTATION

    Module code: HIST396

    Role: Teaching

    HISTORY IN PRACTICE

    Module code: HIST200

    Role: Module Co-ordinator

    HISTORY IN PRACTICE PLUS

    Module code: HIST286

    Role: Module Co-ordinator

    PRESENTING THE PAST

    Module code: HIST106

    Role: Teaching

    THE GLOBAL HISTORY OF THE PRESENT

    Module code: HIST114

    Role: Module Co-ordinator

    THE HISTORIAN'S TOOLKIT FOR LIFE

    Module code: HIST246

    Role: Module Co-ordinator

    USES OF THE PAST: HISTORY IMPACT MODULE

    Module code: HIST388

    Role: Teaching

    USES OF THE PAST: HISTORY IMPACT MODULE

    Module code: HIST320

    Role: Teaching