Empires in World History
You will focus on historiography within a framework of empires and imperialism, from antiquity through to twentieth-century decolonisation. Areas of study might include Rome; the Mongols; Islamic imperialism; 'first contact' in the Americas and the 'Scramble for Africa'. With a particular focus on 'difference' and 'power' as central dynamics of empires throughout history, the course will ensure that subaltern studies and cultural approaches to understanding the past will be given equal priority to conventional political, diplomatic and economic interpretations. This unit is also designed to help prepare you for your independent study project in your final year.
Unit Choice 1 - History
You will choose one unit from the following options
Constructing A New World 1450-1700
For this unit you will examine the dramatic developments and sudden crises that took place across three centuries. The early modern period was one of continual conflict and change: religion, politics, national economies and even the limits of the known world were radically altered during this period. You will explore these changes, addressing major debates in early modern history.
Rome: From Republic to Empire
This unit will focus on the rise and fall of the most successful Empire the world has ever known. You will discover how an insignificant city state on the banks of the Tiber came to dominate the whole of the Mediterranean and Western Europe, and constantly reinvented itself from an oligarchic republic to a divine monarchy. The course will use classical writing, rhetoric and iconography to gain an understanding of the administrative and political developments that characterised the period.
This unit provides an introduction to the key social and economic and cultural institutions and changes in the long Victorian period. It examines the continuities and changes in the social and economic structure of Victorian Britain by focusing on industrialisation, class, gender and ethnicity. We will examine how historians have interpreted the society, and key areas to be examined will include: demography and urbanisation; work and leisure; education; family, marriage and parenthood; sexuality and prostitution; childhood and youth; poverty and welfare; religious beliefs.
Europe, Nazism and War 1930-1945
An examination of European history emphasising the two key themes of the Nazi threat and the impact of global war on Europe. It explores the rise of Nazism, the nature of Nazi society, the effectiveness of propaganda and terror in consolidating the Nazi hold on power, the impact of war on the British home front, the Holocaust, the extent and impact of collaboration and resistance in Nazi occupied western Europe, both the dramatic German military victories and the factors that led to the defeat of Germany, resistance to Hitler in Germany and much more.
Indian and South Asian History from Early Time to the Present Day
An introduction to South Asian (mainly Indian) history from the beginning to the late 20th century, concentrating on key periods, events and themes. The focus is on political and social history, though economic and cultural issues will be addressed as well. The course is structured chronologically and will concentrate on the important periods, events, figures and themes, introducing both principal sources and relevant historiographical debates
Reel Histories: Documentary Films and Production in History
This unit offers you the opportunity to study the production of historical documentaries, both in theory and practice. You will learn to analyse the film documentary as history by critiquing examples of the genre, through formative exercises in the classroom, before moving on to develop the skills to script; film and edit a short historical documentary themselves. The unit will demand both mastery of the historical content and the necessary digital skills to produce the film in equal measure.
Vox Pop! Everyday Voices from the Ancient World
This unit will focus on the lives and concerns of the other ninety-nine percent of the populations of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean: women; the oppressed; the poor; the enslaved; children; the aged; religious minorities; non-citizens; foreigners; migrants; and refugees. We will consider historical approaches to a range of themes and topics, including popular culture and entertainment, sex and sexuality, gender, the body, poverty, enslavement, and oppression. You will make use of methodological frameworks, such as feminist approaches, gender studies, Queer theory, and subaltern studies to help you frame your study of ordinary people within an academic approach to cultural, political and gendered activities and constructs. You will work with a broad range of source material, including: Greek and Roman art and vase paintings; Near Eastern art and objects; Greek and Latin epic, poetry, satire, drama and prose; Egyptian papyri; inscriptions and documents; graffiti; material artefacts.
The Spanish Civil War in History and Memory
The unit will examine the Spanish Civil War, aiming to understand not only the causes of the conflict but its legacy. It will be organised chronologically from 1900 to the debates surrounding the Historical Memory Law in the early 2000s. It will provide a detailed study of the political, social, cultural and economic aspects of Spanish history in the 20th Century. Amongst the themes explored will be the social struggles and debates about the nation in pre-war Spain, the Second Republic, the international dimensions of the Spanish Civil War, the evolution and toll of the conflict, the exile to Latin America, the portrayal of the conflict in literature and cinema, the development of Franco's regime and the role of the Spanish Civil War in the transition to democracy. These questions are central to an understanding of the larger issues that were perceived to be at stake during the civil war and continue to permeate Spanish society.
Between the Sheets: Sex and Sexuality from Antiquity to the Present
This unit will put sex and sexuality at the centre of historical inquiry. We will learn how people from across the expanses of time and geography, from Ancient Egypt to Interwar Germany, have understood themselves, their bodies and their desires.
Latin Sources for Historians: From Rome to the Medieval World
Veni, Vidi, Vici! I came, I saw, I conquered! This phrase in Latin, famously pronounced by Julius Caesar, announced his victory over Pharnaces of Pontus in 47 BCE. It is the official language of the Romans, but it is also the language of the early Church Fathers and the legal and scientific writers of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, making Latin an extremely helpful tool in exploring these societies and cultures. Latin language infiltrates modern English – you may quote verbatim or expect a quid pro quo when you are compos mentis, or vice versa. It is the basis for most modern Romantic languages (Spanish, French, Italian), and learning it is one of the best ways to develop your linguistic skills and exercise your brain through a series of mental gymnastics. This unit will teach you Latin language in its historical contexts, at a level designed for absolute beginners with no prior language training.
'The Clash of Civilisations': Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World
This course examines the medieval origins of the so-called clash of civilisations in the lands around the Mediterranean Sea, looking at the history of the medieval interaction between the Crescent and the Cross, beginning with the expansionist Muslim peoples proclaiming jihad and conquering Christian lands from the Levant to Iberia.
Myths Lies and Legends: The American West
By drawing upon the methods and practices of cultural history, you will encounter, examine, and interrogate the ways in which the American 'West' has been discussed and depicted in various popular culture artefacts, including captivity narratives, dime novels, travel literature, art, photography, Wild West shows, films, and television. You will analyse these images and ideas within the context of their times and compare them with the historical experience of the West documented in academic historiography. The unit seeks to expose you to the extent to which the American 'West' was - and is - as much an imagined and invented collage of connected and occasionally competing 'myths' as it is a geographic region and/or lived experience. Aspects of the curriculum will be fluid in order to draw upon staff expertise and contemporary developments in the mythologisation of the West, but indicative content will include: The Frontier Myth, from Turner to JFK; Euro-American constructions of Native Americans as 'Red Indians' and 'Noble Savages'; 'Annie Get Your Gun': Cowboys, Cowgirls and the Gendered Frontier; Red, White, Black: Race in the West; Reservations, Preservation, and the Invention of 'Wilderness'; Custer's Last Stand and the Massacre at Wounded Knee; Gunslingers, Gunfighters and Outlaws; John Ford, John Wayne, and the Western in the Cold War; Western Iconography and American Politics; Not Disappeared: The American Indian Movement in the Twentieth Century.
Engaging the Humanities and Social Science: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice
This is an innovative cross-departmental unit which provides an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary context alongside other students from a range of undergraduate programmes within the Humanities part of our Faculty.
Culture, Community and Conflict in Classical Greece
This course explores the fascinating world of antiquity, focusing particularly on the distinctive society and culture of Classical Greece. We'll immerse ourselves in the ancient world, learning, in the process, how the Greeks lived, loved, fought and feuded. We'll look, naturally, at their religion, politics, diplomacy, wars and conflicts, but also at the less prominent, but no less important, aspects of ancient society, like parties, prostitutes, and popular entertainment. On this epic adventure, we'll not only meet famous people like Socrates and Pericles, we'll also meet those who lived in their shadow, like the courtesan, Neaera, and when we arrive at journey's end, we'll understand antiquity, and just as importantly, we'll discover how antiquity continues to shape the world in which we live today.
History in Practice
This unit enables you to experience the deployment of history outside the university, reflect on professional historical practice and complete a specific task focused assessment.
Slavery and Civil War in America 1619-1877
In this unit, you will explore the notion that ideologies of race and the institution of racial slavery were the central dynamics of US history, from the colonial period, through the years of revolution and on to the ordeal of the Civil War. You will analyse the origins of those racial ideologies and the growth of slavery, the lived experiences of the enslaved (including their culture, their family lives and their capacity for resistance) and the debates about slavery and freedom that so profoundly shaped the new nation. You will then study the civil war that arose from the political and sectional conflicts over slavery's future and strive to understand how the United States endured the most devastating crisis in its history.
The history of France from the 'Sacred Union' during the First World War to the mass revolt of May 1968. Explores politics, society and culture. Contemporary France continues to feel the impact of the conflicts and divisions that developed during the early part of the twentieth century (from the Left-Right split to issues of national identity, cultural protection and secularism).
From Manchuria to Hiroshima: The Second World War in Asia and the Pacific
The unit will provide a social, political and military history of the Pacific War from the Japanese attack on Manchuria in 1931 to the war tribunals held at Tokyo in 1946-1948. Topics include the rape of Nanking, the fall of Singapore, the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia, Pearl Harbor and Midway, the Burma campaign, the US Navy’s island hopping campaign, and the politics of the bomb.
The Struggle For Mastery: Medieval Britain, 1066-1317
This unit examines the political, religious and social history of England from the Conquest of 1066 to the deposition of Richard II. The Conquest of England in 1066; the reigns of the Kings of England; the growth of medieval English administration; English relations with France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; the role of the English barons and the reasons for their dissatisfaction; the role of the Church; Church-State conflicts; the life of elite men and women; economic growth in England; urbanisation; the role of the Jews in England, and their expulsion in 1291.
Nazi State and Society
This unit covers an in-depth analysis of the Third Reich exploring how the state and society functioned in conditions of dictatorship, vicious racism and total war.
Revolution, Dictatorship and Freedom: Histories of Central Europe, 1918-2008
This unit covers an examination of the 20th century experience of Central Europe; from fascism to communism, to the freedoms of the 1990's. It examines the twentieth century experience of the people of Central Europe, from the end of the First World War until accession to the European Union. In particular, it take a comparative perspectives that considers a number of states, primarily Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. In comparing these states, it examines, amongst others, the following themes; the impact of war (the Great War, Second World War, Yugoslav wars, etc), the impact of ideologies (fascism, liberalism, communism), the impact of revolution, both national and communist, the impact of social and economic change, the impact of inter-ethnic conflict, the impact of political leaders, such as Stalin.
Sex, Society and the Family, 1800-1960
This unit examines changing patterns of family life, sexual attitudes and practices in the past. Topics include sources and techniques, family relationships, childhood, gender roles, sexuality, sexual behaviour and its regulation.
Twentieth Century Britain: Society, Culture and Politics
This unit examines the key features of British society, culture and politics during the twentieth century. It aims to give you a detailed understanding of key themes in British culture, society and politics throughout the twentieth century. In particular it examines: the position of Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century; the British economy; the nature and development of political parties; the changing role of women; immigration and race relations; the advent of the welfare state; political consensus; the miners strike; Thatcher and Thatcherism; and the rise of New Labour.
Women in Power in Early Modern Europe
This unit examines women who filled the highest roles in government and society in early modern Europe, starting with queenship and political power, but moving towards alternative means of expressing power that were increasingly available to elite women in the spheres of family, society, economics and learning. Particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between gender and power, and on contemporary conceptualisations of political culture and patronage.
From Revolt to Revolution: Imperial Russia, 1825-1917
This unit studies Imperial Russian History from the Decembrist Uprising in 1825 to the abdication of the last Romanov Tsar Nikolai II in 1917. The nature of Autocracy, its strengths and weaknesses, the Decembrist revolt, the development of political opposition and the debates surrounding Russia's historical destiny, the reforms of the mid C19th, economic modernisation, social developments, the 1905 Revolution and the post-1905 reforms, the impact of World War 1, the abdication of the Tsar and the end of the Romanov dynasty.