History

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in History.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

HIST200: The Making of Germany, 843-1122

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module.

Course Description

This module allows you to explore the story of the German Kingdom, from its origins and rise in the ninth and tenth centuries to its descent into civil war in the late eleventh. Formed amid the collapse of the Carolingian Empire, it originated as a cluster of disparate sub-kingdoms. It might well have collapsed under the pressure of the Magyar invasions, yet it emerged triumphant under the leadership of new and vibrant dynasty, the Liudolfings. From their base on the north-eastern frontier they would re-found the kingdom, turning it into the most dynamic state in tenth-century Europe. The vast empire they created—the Holy Roman Empire—would endure until 1804 when it was finally suppressed by Napoleon Buonaparte; but in the mid eleventh century the power of its monarchs was hollowed out by a savage crisis from which the realm would never entirely recover—a devastating civil war that lasted five decades, from the mid-1070s until 1122. This stunning narrative raises many questions. Why did it all go right? Why did it then go so wrong? This dramatic story provides fundamental insights into the nature of the medieval kingdoms, its capacities and its limitations.

Educational Aims

The module will provide students with:

  • a concise knowledge of the history of the German kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire, c.843 to 1122;
  • a sound grasp of the pivotal events and main trends in this period – that is, a sense of the significance of key events such as the Battle of the Lech (AD 955);
  • an understanding of medieval kingship and of the political culture of the early medieval kingdom; and
  • an understanding of the concepts and terms that historians have used to analyse and to make sense of this period – concepts such as Spielregeln (the rules of the game), ‘lordship’, amicitia (friendship), and so on.

The module will help you to appreciate the interconnectedness of various kinds of history--social, economic,cultural, religious and political.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam:  60%
  • Coursework:  40%

HIST202: Norman England, 1066- 1154: Conquest, Colonisation and Conflict

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

The social and cultural consequences of the Norman Conquest of England were deep and enduring. A foreign, Francophone regime displaced the native élites: many of the former rulers, women as well as men, fled the kingdom. Enlisting in the Varangian Guard, some Englishmen even went as far as Byzantium and the Crimea. The new regime was inclusive in so far as it was eager to recruit foreigners of all kinds—Frenchmen, Bretons, Lotharingians, Italians, Spaniards, and even Jews—as long as they were serviceable and loyal; but racist in so far as it strove to deny persons of English descent access to high office. The English were denigrated as barbarians and peasants, but because the Conquest was not followed by sustained settlement from the Continent, many natives clung on in sub-altern positions, just below the foreigners who held the highest offices and the best estates. The English were also far from being the only victims: the regime also continued the later Anglo-Saxon state’s efforts to subjugate Wales and northern Britain. Offering a wide-ranging introduction to the history of Norman England, this course allows you to explore the course and effects of this transformative event.

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%

Coursework: 40%

HIST206: The Greek World c. 800-404 B.C.: from Homer to the end of the Peloponnesian War

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

How did the ancient Greeks define themselves against the barbarians? How did the Athens and Sparta came into clashes with each other? To what extent was the ‘golden age’ of Athens an invention by the Athenians?

In this module you will study the major political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the Greek world from the emergence of the city-state to the end of the Peloponnesian War (c. 800 to 404 B.C.). In particular you will focus on the Persian Wars, Sparta as a hoplite state, Athenian democracy and culture, the heyday of the Athenian empire, and the conflicts between Athens and Sparta. While the focus is on Greece, you will also study the Greeks’ interactions with neighbouring cultures in the Mediterranean such as Persia and Asia Minor.

By using the main literary texts of Herodotus and Thucydides, together with Greek drama, visual and archaeological materials, you will have the opportunity to come vividly close into contact with the political and cultural life of the early Greeks.

Educational Aims

The module aims to enable students to:

  • engage in the analysis of major political, socio-economic and culture developments of the period from 800 to 400 BCE
  • acquaint themselves with political and intellectual developments across the ancient Greek world, through analysis of key political thinkers, of social structures, of different political systems, and of the impact of pivotal historical events
  • gain indepth awareness of the interactions between Greece and other Mediterraneansocieties in shaping Greek history
  • appreciate the significance of the Persian and the Peloponnesian wars for the history of the Greek world
  • engage critically with primary sources (in translation) and secondary literature, to develop familiarity with the material culture and landscape of Greece. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

HIST207: The Greek World c. 403 - 31 B.C.: from the end of the Peloponnesian War to the Coming of Rome

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer terms
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module.

Course Description

The defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War changed the power relations in the Greek world significantly. In this module you will explore the major political, socio-economic and cultural developments in ancient Greece from the end of the Peloponnesian War through the age of Alexander the Great to the coming of the Rome (c. 403 to 31 B.C.).

You will focus in particular on Spartan imperialism, Athens in the fourth century, and Theban hegemony, as well as the rise of Macedon, the legacy of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic kingship and monarchies, and the emergence of Rome as an imperial power.

Using the main literary sources of Xenophon, Arrian and Polybius, together with iconographic and archaeological evidence, you’ll come into close contact with the most significant political, social and cultural developments in the late Classical and Hellenistic periods.

Educational Aims

The course aims to introduce students to ancient Greek history and society (the major political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the Greek world from the fourth century B.C. to the end of Hellenistic period), to encourage students to engage critically with the major literary sources and secondary literature, to improve their confidence in dealing with primary sources for studying ancient Greece (in translation), and to develop their ability to analyse and interpret historical issues in ancient history.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

HIST237: The English Civil War (1640-1660)

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

This course explores the period known colloquially as the English Civil War and the Interregnum, bounded by the traditionally-accepted dates that allow for a discussion of the causes of war and the final collapse of constitutional experimentation. It will look at the controversies which have whipped up successive generations of historians; at the birth of a republic in England; the role of Scotland and Ireland, the rise of the gutter press, and the birth of modern political campaigning; (in)famous characters such as ‘Freeborn’ John Lilburne and the radical preacher Praise-God Barebones; ask if Oliver Cromwell was a dictator, a king or a saviour; and explore the trial and execution of a king whom many believed was the Lord’s anointed and the fount of all justice.

Educational Aims

Students will have a knowledge and understanding of the nature of power and authority: what it takes to keep and to gain or lose both. They will explore the differences between riot, rebellion, civil and international war and revolution. They will explore the religious upheavals of the period and understand movements such as puritanism, Laudianism, and sectarianism. They will explore the relationship between military and civilian rule and the ethics behind these. They will be introduced to primary sources through the vast and exciting pamphlet literature produced in the era, and come to have detailed and transferable skills in research, library use, writing, exposition and explanation.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

HIST241: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 1500-1865

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

Between 1500 and 1865, Europeans embarked twelve and a half million captive Africans on slave ships for transportation to the Americas, the largest forced trans-oceanic migration in human history. In this module, you will study the slave trade in the context of broader trends in Atlantic history. You will first see how slavery diminished in Europe during the late Middle Ages, just as Europeans began to systematically explore the Atlantic basin. You will then study the rapid expansion of the trade after Columbus’ voyages, as Europeans enslaved increasing numbers of Africans to work in the fields, mines, and ports of the Americas. Focusing on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, you will look closely at how the trade operated, and how Africans experienced their enslavement. You will also study north-west England’s connections to the slave trade by investigating how Liverpool and Lancaster merchants outfitted slave ships and profited by the trade, and the slave trade’ influence on industrialization in Lancashire. In the concluding section of the module, you will see how the slave trade was abolished in the early nineteenth century, and the persistence of a clandestine trade until the end of the American Civil War.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 40%

Exam: 60%

HIST256: The United States and the Vietnam War

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

The module addresses the history of United States involvement in Vietnam beginning with the emergence of the Cold War and US support for the French colonial regime in the 1950s and the structure of US strategic thought during the period from 1945 to 1975. It goes on to address the advisory period, military escalation, the air war, the use of counter-insurgency strategy, Vietnamese Communist strategy and political organisation, the US antiwar movement, and debates about the war in the media and Congress.

Using a variety of materials including photojournalism, soldiers' narratives and film, you will examine pro- and anti-war propaganda, public opinion and the perspectives of those who fought on both sides. The module considers the international and domestic political repercussions of the US defeat in Vietnam.

Please note: regular class tests are used as part of the assessment for this module.

Educational Aims

This module aims to give students new or improved knowledge of an important episode in American political and cultural history. Students will learn about American strategy in the Cold War, particularly the debate about containment as it applied to a postcolonial context: the debates leading to the decision to escalate America’s military involvement; the United Statess tactical and strategic approaches to war-fighting through the aerial campaign, attrition, and counter-insurgency; Communist Vietnamese approaches to fighting the war and organising politically; the character of South Vietnamese society and politics; the growth of political opposition to the war among the American public and members of Congress; and the interrelationships among military events, casualties, media reporting and the antiwar movement. They will become familiar with a variety of materials, such as non-public government policy proposals, political speeches, personal testimony and memoir, opinion poll results, and pro- and anti-war propaganda, which are made available in print materials and on the modules LUVLE site. They will be invited to place such materials in the context of secondary historical arguments.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

HIST257: After Vietnam: Remembering, Representing and Refighting the 'Bad War'

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer terms
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

The module concerns the political, cultural and psychological consequences of the Vietnam War in the United States, and the ways that they combined and complicated one another. It addresses the way the war was commemorated through a so-called ‘healing’process designed to overcome wartime divisions; the repercussions of wartime atrocities; the position of Vietnam veterans as embodiments and reminders of the experience of the war; and the debates about the proper lessons of the Vietnam War and their application to later foreign and military policy contexts, including the renewed debates about the lessons of Vietnam in the wars in Asia after 2001.

Educational Aims

This module aims to give students new or improved knowledge of an important episode in American political and cultural history. Students will attain new or improved understandings of efforts by Americans to come to terms with or to contain knowledge about various troubling residual issues related to the Vietnam War: the significance of wartime atrocities and concerns about how widespread they were and how much the result of military policy; the treatment of military veterans by the government and their fellow citizens; the persistent divisions about the rights and wrongs of the Vietnam War. Students will learn about the process that led to the official recognition of the psychiatric condition post-traumatic stress disorder and how that condition manifested in Vietnam veterans and helped shape perceptions of veterans and of the war. They will learn about the motivations underlying attempts to create local and national commemorations of the war, and will gain insight into the comparative features of various genres and modes of representing the war. Students will address the political debates about the proper lessons of the war, and will examine the way that politicians contributed to and intervened in policy towards veterans and toward the commemoration of the war. Students will come to an understanding of the interaction among psychological, cultural and political processes in phenomena such as a political leaders attempts to bolster Vietnam veterans pride in their service and to encourage the nation to overcome what he considered its unjustified guilt and shame about its troops actions in Vietnam. Through this case study, students will come to a new or improved understanding of the interaction between perceptions and representations of the past and the dynamics of conflict and consensus in subsequent political and cultural life.

Outline Syllabus

The module addresses the political, cultural and psychological consequences of the Vietnam War in the United States, and the ways that they combined and complicated one another. The course addresses the distinctive features of the Vietnam War: the first military defeat for the United States, the longest U.S. war up to that time, and one stained by dishonour and division. The module addresses the repercussions of wartime atrocities and of Americans' efforts to overcome or come to terms with that legacy; the position of Vietnam veterans as embodiments and reminders of the experience of the war, and instigators of new knowledge about wartime trauma known since 1980 as "post-traumatic stress disorder"; the debates about the proper "lessons" of the Vietnam War and their application to later foreign and military policy contexts; attempts to overcome the so-called "Vietnam syndrome" beginning in the Reagan administration of the 1980s; the centrality of Vietnam veterans as participants in and beneficiaries of a so-called "healing" process to overcome national divisions in commemorations of the war; and the renewed debates about the "lessons" of Vietnam in the wars in Asia after 2001.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

HIST258: The Cold War in Europe

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

The course will allow you to study the Cold War in Europe, from its emergence in the immediate post-war period to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. You will be encouraged to question the rapid breakdown of the alliance between the victorious powers of the Second World War and how this could lead to the division of Europe into two blocs; to understand and put the role of the superpowers into perspective by studying also the role of medium and small European powers, and thereby show the room for manoeuvre that existed within the blocs; to analyse how the nuclearization of the Cold War eventually led to a ‘long peace’ in Europe; and to assess how the East-West struggle was eventually overcome. During the lectures and seminars, you will have the opportunity to engage with the vast and diverse historiography of the Cold War in Europe; study the conflict at the political, diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural levels; and focus on themes ranging from the Origins of the East-West struggle in Europe to the challenges to authority in the Eastern bloc and the end of the Cold War.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 40%

Exam: 60%

HIST259: Inventing Human Rights, 1776-2001

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

Of all intellectual and ideological concepts in the modern world, few are as contested and powerful as human rights. At their most influential, concerns for the protection of human rights have been used to justify international conflict and widespread military intervention in order to save the lives of thousands of people. Yet human rights critics argue that they are a form of cultural imperialism that limits the sovereignty of local populations. How has an ethical and moral concern for individual lives come to be so divisive? Why after years of supporting the establishment of international human rights law do many governments now pledge to scrap their own human rights acts?

This module will examine the history of human rights, putting their development into a broad historical context. It will chart the development of rights discourses from the pre-modern era through to the present, assessing the influence that the enlightenment, imperialism and war have had on their construction. It will offer students the opportunity to explore differing aspects of the history of human rights. Indicative topics include:

  • Codifying and Quantifying Rights: 1776, 1789, 1948

  • The Universality of Human Rights

  • Human Rights and Humanitarianism, 1807-2001

  • Decolonisation and Self-Determination, 1945-1991

  • Gendered rights

  • Capital punishment in the nineteenth and twentieth century

  • Responding to Genocide: The Holocaust, Bangladesh, Srebrenica

  • Amnesty International, 1961-2001

  • Helsinki Watch/Human Rights Watch, 1975-2001

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 40%

Exam: 60%

HIST268: The Making and Unmaking of Heroes in German History: from Warriors and a People's Queen to Film Stars and a Football Team.

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas term only
  • Also Available: Only available in Lent Summer term.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

The module focuses on the hero cult in German history of the 19th and 20th century as a way to understand the prevalent social values at different times in history for different groups within society. In this perspective, heroes are seen and studied:

·         as personifications of sets of social ideals, ideologies and mentalities for dominant cultures or counter cultures;

·         as persuasive means to implant collective ideals into individuals;

·         as powerful motivators for individuals to serve the community in ways that conflict with their own material interest.

Studying the making and unmaking of heroes in German history will give you a sense of the changes of social ideals, ideologies and mentalities over time.

You will study topics such as ‘the people’s queen’ Königin Luise; the emergence of the ideal of the soldierly man in the 19th century in consequence of nationalism and conscription; national hero cults such as the Bismarck cult; the radicalisation of the soldierly role starting towards the end of the 19th century and culminating in the Third Reich; industrialists such as Krupp and Rathenau, film stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl, and finally sports heroes.

Educational Aims

The module aims to give students an understanding of values and ideologies, mentalities and identities in Modern German History. Students should become familiar with the cultural constructs connected with nationalism and militarism as well as the emerging consumer society with its more individualistic ideals. They should develop a nuanced understanding of the attraction of hero cults on individuals as well as the cults' political and cultural consequences. The module will thus teach an understanding of the relationship between the personal (for example national identities, gender roles and other identity constructs) and the political.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

HIST271: The History of the United States, 1865-1989

  • Terms Taught: Lent Summer term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

This module combines a lecture series that offers an overview of the history of the United States in the 20th century with a closely linked set of seminars that focus on the construction of race, class and gender difference in over the same period. This combination allows students to explore an important thematic aspect of world history (the construction of race, class and gender difference) while simultaneously providing grounding for further study and research into the history of the United States. 

The module builds upon skills that you gained in Part I and, in particular, will explore the history of the United States from the end of the Civil War (1865) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). The module is particularly focused on the culture and politics of race, class and gender. 

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop students' knowledge of the broad contours and key events of twentieth-century United States history, beginning with post-Civil War Reconstruction and concluding with the fall of the Berlin Wall. 
  • develop students interest in social and cultural history but will also have the opportunity to learn about more strictly defined political and economic issues. 
  • familiarise students with the ways that different groups have struggled to extend the promises of democracy defined in the US Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Bill of Rights (adopted 1791), to all Americans, regardless of their race, class or gender. 

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%

Coursework: 40%

HIST279: Gandhi and the End of Empire in India, 1885-1948

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

By what means was Indian independence seized from the British Empire in 1947? This module explores opposition to British rule in India from the end of the nineteenth century until 1947 when colonial India was divided to create the nation states of India and Pakistan. In particular, we will explore the modes of resistance that emerged from the Indian freedom struggle and in particular, the role of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress, an organization that had been founded in 1885 as a loyal and moderate organization. Gandhi created a mass movement that challenged the colonial state in extraordinary ways. British rule in India gradually lost credibility and struggled to find the means of maintaining control in the face of massive resistance to its right to govern India.

You will explore Gandhi’s philosophies of personal restraint and political resistance to the injustices of the colonial state. You will also trace the emergence of religious politics in India during this period and the increasing pace of communal conflict, in particular Hindu-Muslim antagonism. What was the role of the colonial state in firing communal anxiety? Did Gandhi’s political ideas allay or encourage the conflation of political action and religious identity? The course ends with the partition of India, the largest migration in history and a process in which over one million people lost their lives, and the event that led, in 1948, to Gandhi’s assassination by a Hindu fundamentalist.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to allow students to develop an understanding of the means by which British political authority was resisted in South Asia. Students will gain an insight into the ways in which different social and political orders were affected both by colonialism and the freedom struggle. They should also become familiar with the particular historiographical questions raised by studying anti-colonial resistance. The course will develop an understanding of immediate and longer term affects of constitutional change in colonial governance, and students should also develop an appreciation of the ways in which orders of authority are reflected in the built environment.

Outline Syllabus

This course will begin by considering the relationship between imperialism and nationalism in South Asia. It will go on to explore the inception of political and religious organisations which were formed towards the end of the nineteenth century to challenge British Imperial authority. Students will engage with the various forms of criticism directed at the colonial state as well as the means by which popular support was garnered by nascent nationalist organisations. The course will examine the rise of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as a political leader, within and outside of the Indian National Congress. The course will culminate with the Quit India movement and the British acceptance of decolonisation.

Indicative content will be:

  • religion, caste and nationalism
  • the role of Indian women and the 'woman question' in nationalism
  • Gandhi's philosophy of resistance
  • communalism and nationalism
  • the constitutional organisation of British withdrawal
  •  the Partition of India

Lectures will provide introductions and background to the themes of the course. Seminars will develop explorations of visual and textual sources through discussion and assessed group work.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

HIST285: New World Order 1919-1939

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

This module explores how globalization, shared cultures and new identities – key features of modern life – are not as new as we might think. Historians understand the repeated cycles of interaction and change over several centuries, but in this course you will examine just 20 years, focusing on ‘Eurasia’, that combination of Europe, Russia China and Japan. This process between 1919 and 1939 involved virtually every aspect of life, modern and traditional, with various influences flying in every direction; indeed, aviation played a significant role in the transformation. The module therefore uses diplomatic, political, military, social and cultural histories to examine the rich, and often surprising, interplay between states and societies in the Eurasian region that now dominates the international system.

Educational Aims

The module aims to equip students with an overview of the key themes and issues involved in the creation of the 'interwar' international system bewteen 1919-1939, by means of an engagement with the most important historiographical debates. Students will gain insight into the complexities of systemic shifts in three regions, Europe, Eurasia and East Asia, each with their own dynamics but which also interact with wideranging consequences. There will be a combination of social, cultural and political dimensions as well as the various interpretations of the 'new world order' in Paris, Rome, Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo.   

Outline Syllabus

  • The course will assess the transformation from the hopes and optimism of the 1920s to the more pessimistic  and ideologically driven sense of fracture, division, conflict and finally world war by the end of the 1930s.
  • The course will assess the complexities of attempting to rebuild "Eurasia" and East Asia within a twenty year timespan.
  • The course will end with an exploration of the movement towards these regions interacting and clashing across a variety of national interests, international crises and global conflict.
  • The course will use a variety of approaches, including social, cultural, political, economic and military history.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

HIST286: Restless Nation: Germany in the 20th Century

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

This module gives a broad thematic overview of the history of Germany in the twentieth century. Few country’s histories have been more tumultuous over the past two centuries than that of Germany. Rapid industrialisation, varied federal traditions, revolutions, the launching of and defeat in two world wars, responsibility for war crimes and genocide on an unparalleled scale, foreign occupation and re-education, and political division for four decades have made German history, and the ways in which Germans have remembered it, contentious and of broad public concern. In few countries have visions of the nation's history been so varied and contested, and few peoples have created and faced such challenges when confronting their 'transient' or 'shattered' past.

In order to provide a thematic focus, this module will examine in particular the reasons for the rise of National Socialism, the character of National Socialism, and the difficulties of the Federal Republic of Germany to deal with its difficult and contentious past, that is the attempt at 'coming to terms with the past' (Vergangenheitsbewaltigung).

Educational Aims

The module aims to equip students with an overview knowledge of the key themes and events in German history from the 1890s to the 1990s. Though students will gain an insight into the timing and pace of change,  there is also a thematic focus to the module: the rise of National Socialism within a struggling democratic society, the character of National Socialism, and the difficulties of the Federal Republic of Germany to deal with its difficult and contentious past. This is to enable students to understand different political systems, the temptations of fascism, and the challenges to 'come to terms with the past' (Vergangenheitsbewältigung).

The module will thus focus on the 'shattered' past of 20th century Germany as a 'restless nation' and the varied attempts to make sense of this history. The module will also help students to appreciate the politics of history, that is the uses and abuses of history in political and wider cultural debates.

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 60%Coursework: 40%

HIST290: Culture and Society in England, 1500-1750

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only  
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits    
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits  
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module  

Course Description

The period from around 1500 to 1750 saw enormous change. The population of England and Wales nearly doubled, leading to inflation and poverty as well as commercial expansion. Urbanization increased, spectacularly so in the case of London, which grew to become by 1700 the largest capital in Europe. At the same time literacy and education developed and a print culture rapidly expanded. This was a period of religious reformation, which affected not only the lives of individuals but the culture of governance and the fabric of local communities.

By the end of the period, England had emerged from being a backwater state to a rising world power, which brought about a new set of cultural and social challenges. Hierarchies of gender and status, however, remained pervasive throughout, and in some ways became even more pronounced. The module examines these central themes during a very important and formative period in English history.

Educational Aims

The module aims to teach students about an important period in English history and come to grips with central arguments concerning historical change and continuity. It aims to introduce them to an array of themes in cultural, social, and economic history and to equip them with the means to assess critically historical arguments. By focusing on particular themes, and on the relations between them, students will acquire not only a broad understanding but also sharpen their comparative, analytical, and critical subject skills. The module will encourage students to read broadly and engage with secondary and primary sources, including textual sources (diary extracts, legal records, or literary works) and pictorial evidence. Deep engagement with the history of earlier centuries will also give students a better understanding  of the more recent past

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% - exam
  • 40% - coursework

HIST294: Nature and culture 1500-1700: Themes from the Renaissance

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module

Course Description

This is a rare opportunity to study a revolution in ideas about the world we live in. It begins in the Renaissance (1500), when blood-letting was a common treatment for diseases, when no-one suspected that the earth moved around the sun, when witches were executed for performing diabolic magic, and when students thought that the best authors on their reading lists had to have died two thousand years ago.

The module ends in the early modern period (1700), and with ‘modern’ thinkers like Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. But these people believed, respectively, that new inventions would recreate Paradise on earth, that the laws of billiards proved the existence of God, that the ocean’s tides proved that the earth moved, and that Christianity was a corrupt religion.

You will find out why Renaissance men and women believed what they did, discuss how modern the ‘moderns’ really were, and which historians have the best explanation of this exciting period in the history of ideas.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Express, in an exam setting, knowledge of the key themes and problems in the history of natural knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
  • Demonstrate competence in both written and verbal analysis and interpretation of the themes and problems contained in the syllabus.
  • Undertake competently independent historical research, including familiarity with the university library and its cataloguing systems and an ability to use critically on-line and electronic archives and resources.

Outline Syllabus

This course allows students to study the following key module themes:

  • ancient and modern models of authority in  knowledge;
  • rationality and relativity of world views;
  • the relation between science and religion;
  • site-specific forms of knowledge;
  • the emergence of operational, practical natural knowledge;
  • the rise of mechanistic paradigms.

It covers  the period of European intellectual history sometimes called "the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries".

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%