A Level Requirements
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Full time 3 Year(s)
Develop your critical abilities and historical knowledge within a vibrant department of committed students and expert scholars.
Lancaster’s first-year core History module offers a fascinating survey of world history from Ancient Greece to the twentieth century. The course encompasses histories from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia and examines pivotal events, transformative processes and historical debates. Weekly lectures and seminars will deepen your critical historical knowledge and support you in developing your own research, essay-writing and presentational skills. The majority of our students choose from a second set of optional first-year modules. These specialised modules include ‘The Fall of Rome’ and ‘Histories of Violence: How Imperialism made the Modern World’.
For second and third-year students, the Department offers an extensive range of over thirty modules that includes both short term-length modules and the third-year Special Subjects. You can choose to focus on a particular period, theme or region or to develop a breadth of chronological and geographical knowledge. These module options include British, European, American, Asian and Middle Eastern history, from the ancient world to the twenty-first century. These modules emerge from the research expertise of academic staff in the department. You will be taught by leaders in the field of critical historical research.
In your second year you can also choose to undertake a heritage placement project. These placements allow our students to gain invaluable work experience and enhance their employability. Our placements partners include The National Trust, Cumbria County Council and The Duchy of Lancaster
The Department of History is a thriving centre of historical teaching and research. Our undergraduate programme scored 98% overall satisfaction in the 2017 National Student Survey and our research environment was ranked 100% world leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
A Level AAA-AAB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 36-35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction
Access to HE Diploma 36 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 9 Level 3 credits at Merit to 30 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via email@example.com
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
An introduction to the discipline, Lancaster’s first-year History core course offers a fascinating survey of the last fifteen-hundred years. The course focuses on pivotal trends and events in European history, but it encompasses regions of wider world as distant as California, India, Japan and the South Pacific.
You’ll become familiar with a wide range of primary sources used by historians in the writing of history. You’ll gain insights into how historians conduct research and interpret the past, and will therefore better understand the reasons for changing historical interpretations.
In the process, by undertaking directed reading, by independent research, by attending lectures, by participating in seminar discussions, by working sometimes in a team, and by writing and receiving constructive feedback on what you have written, you will develop your study techniques and other transferable skills.
The long chronological range and types of history covered by the course will extend your intellectual and historical interests and enable you subsequently to make informed choices from among the many historical options available to you in Part 2, either as a History Major student or as a Minor.
This module is an introduction to the systemic and episodic violence that characterised Imperial British authority during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will begin by exploring recent debates about British imperial history and British identity. Has Britain ignored its imperial past? Should Britain apologise for its Empire and, if so, to whom? Subsequent seminars will look at the ways in which violence was normalised as inevitable and necessary during imperial endeavours. The specific topics for lectures and seminars include slavery, genocide, anthropology, photography, imperial sexualities, rebellions and counter-insurgency. The module will draw on examples and analysis from a range of geographic areas: the Translantic, South Asia, Australia, East Africa, North Africa and the Caribbean. The final week will return to Europe’s late-colonial twentieth century and discuss Aimé Césaire’s argument that European fascism represented the return of imperial violence to Europe.
This module combines social, political and military history, and will give you the opportunity to examine some of the current debates concerning the nature and evolution of the Great War, in particular the emergence of 'total war', using certain conceptions of mass industrialised warfare, especially after 1915.
You’ll focus on the Western Front and compare and contrast not only the nature of constantly evolving warfare on the battlefields but also include the so-called 'revisionist' arguments about the wider conflict, examining the unwelcome and unwanted national mobilisation forced upon Britain, France, and Germany and the many different consequences for these three war-fighting societies.
To conclude, you’ll examine the postwar building of memorials and the emergence of new socio-cultural dimensions for the three 'total war' societies.
Britain underwent radical change in the early modern period. In 1500 England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland were insignificant nations on the fringe of Europe. Out of the change came the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland', now a world leader on many fronts: for example, democratic government, religious pluralism, a consumer society and cultural achievements that rivalled France in art, science and philosophy.
This module will enable you to explore how groups of people who were not part of the traditional ruling elite came to exercise more power and control over their lives, and thus played their part in shaping modern Britain.
You’ll also develop an understanding of the periodisation of, and differences between, the medieval, the early modern and the modern, and you’ll develop familiarity with recent historiographical approaches to the period, notably those that emphasise underlying commonalities.
Ever since the English historian Edward Gibbon wrote his ground-breaking work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the late eighteenth century, the question of caused the loss of the Empire’s western provinces and the transformation of its eastern half into Byzantium has preoccupied historians. They have identified much relevant data, but they continue to disagree as to what happened to the Empire between the third and the seventh centuries AD and why. For some historians the barbarian invasions of the late fourth and fifth centuries were crucial, but others have argued that they merely finished off a society that was already in deep moral, social and/or economic decline. For some historians the Empire’s ‘decline and fall’ was a disaster; but others have maintained that the Empire never regressed, that the foundations of medieval (and even modern) civilisation were forged in the cultural ferment of the later rather than the earlier Roman Empire, and that the barbarian takeovers in the West made little difference to the lives of those who lived there. An introduction to this exciting period of history, this course invites you to discover what really happened and to assess the theories and interpretations that currently command historians’ support.
What is ‘good’ history, and what is ‘bad’ history? What should historians do in theory, and what do they do in practice? Why, moreover, does history matter? This module offers you the opportunity to think through these fundamental questions, and it invites you to think critically about the nature of the discipline of history – its good practices and its bad practices, its methodologies and different genres, its relation to both past and present, its limitations and its opportunities. The module is organized around a set of broad themes, including history and context; sources and evidence; and history and the public sphere. Each of these themes is explored through carefully selected case studies. The topics covered in these case studies varies from year to year, but their purpose is to sharpen your awareness of the varied nature of the discipline of history and the ways that historians ‘create’ history when designing and writing up their research. To this end, the case studies usually explore the scholarly standards that inform the ways historians research, reference, deploy and assess their evidence and source materials. These case studies are accompanied by weekly introductory lectures that address the broad themes of the module.
HIST251 is designed to make you more aware of the processes you have to follow to define a research topic for yourself, whether an essay question or a dissertation; locate it in its field; test its viability; and scope available sources. To help you prepare for your dissertation, you will construct detailed research proposals; conduct a feasibility study; present your preliminary findings; and respond to feedback from professional historians. It is taught through lectures in the Lent Term; a Dissertation Conference early in the Summer Term; consultation sessions in the Lent and Summer Terms; and Moodle-supported independent learning. The lectures introduce you to the variety of geographical and temporal possibilities for your dissertation; support your engagement with primary and secondary sources; emphasise the significance of titles; and discuss how to hone your research proposals and prepare for the months of independent research ahead. The Dissertation Conference (held over two days) enhances the relevant skills you will need to conduct independent research. Staff offer a range of skills sessions and Third Year students share their experiences of writing a dissertation.
This module explores the history of the city of Paris in the modern age, asking how and why Paris has captured the imagination of generations and remained a focal point for the study of politics, art and culture. Key topics will include Paris's role in the Enlightenment and French revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, the birth of a bourgeois consumer culture in the latter part of the nineteenth century, political and artistic movements of the fin de siècle and the turbulent history of twentieth-century Paris as a site of war, immigration and cultural exchange. The module places marginal social groups centre-stage, arguing that the identity of Paris has been shaped in large part by the diversity, vitality and increasing visibility of these communities. Another core component of the module is its engagement with non-traditional historical sources – film, literature, music and art.
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.
This module examines Russian history during the period 1825-1914. It focuses in particular on how Russia’s development during this period – cultural, political, economic and social – was affected by the country’s position on the periphery of Europe. The module places particular attention on the way that successive tsarist governments did – and did not – seek to introduce major reforms. It also examines the rise of radical and revolutionary opposition movements (liberal, populist and Marxist). A good deal of attention is also paid to the role of successive tsars in shaping policy both at home and abroad. The module is taught through two weekly lectures and a fortnightly seminar. The seminars will revolve around set readings and (in some cases) documents which are all available via Moodle.
The module gives a broad thematic overview of the history of Britain in the twentieth century. Twentieth-century British history is largely a story of change. The impact of democratisation, war, economic decline, the loss of empire, and internal fragmentation has resulted in a nation seemingly in constant flux, often unsure of its identity and its values. In this module you will explore the patterns of social, economic, cultural and political change which have most affected the lives of the British since 1900. The overarching themes are the formation and reformation of identities based on class, gender, race, empire, nation, and the dual process by which the British were integrated into the state as citizens, and into the market as consumers. Throughout the module, as well as being introduced to the key historiographical debates, you will be encouraged to explore the subject through an eclectic mix of primary sources, including film, television, cartoons, posters, press reports, and advertisements.
This course offers a new introduction to a formative and exciting period in Mediterranean history after the fall of Rome and the rise of the Arabs. The main focus is on the central Mediterranean, especially Sicily and southern Italy, which was the rich prize for competing empires of the region: the contracting Byzantine empire and the expanding Muslim empire in North Africa. The course covers about 500 years of history through the medium of a range of sources, including archaeological finds, and rare documentary sources, which will be studied in translation.
The papal call of 1095 to take up arms in holy war began a phenomenon that would endure for centuries, transforming the medieval world as masses of men and women were moved to journey thousands of miles to kill and die in the service of God. In this module you will explore the religious, cultural and military history of crusaders and mujahideen from the First to the Seventh Crusade, focusing on the Holy Land and Egypt.
From the Christian triumph of the First Crusade, to the encounter of Richard the Lionheart and Salah ad-Din, and the calamitous defeat of Louis IX of France, you will investigate fundamental questions: why did people take the cross?; how did Christians and Muslims in the crusader states interact?; did women fight on crusade? You will also examine in combination Arab perspectives on the period, including the concept and preaching of jihad.
You will be encouraged to engage with the diverse range of sources available for the period, from narrative texts to letters, sermons, law codes, and physical evidence (in the form of the great crusader castles), as well as poetry written by the crusaders themselves.
Topics will typically include:
The First Crusade and its narratives
The Templars and Hospitallers
Women and crusades
Society in the crusader states
The Battle of Hattin
Salah ad-Din and Richard the Lionheart
The preaching of crusade and jihad
The campaign and captivity of Louis IX
The commemoration of the fallen
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.
History students at Lancaster University are offered the chance to take part in work placements in the heritage sector, with our partners ranging from prominent multi-site organisations, such as the National Trust, to small independent museums. We also work with local authority archives and heritage charities. A range of voluntary placements are organised by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, but all second-year History Students are eligible to apply for an accredited placement that counts towards your degree. Reasonable travel expenses are covered, and in some circumstances we can pay for overnight accommodation near the placement location. This module gives you the opportunity to find out what it is really like to work in a museum, archive, stately home or other heritage setting whilst developing your skillset and enhancing your employability. You will work on a project that will have a real impact in some aspect of the work of the heritage organisation, and gain a range of insights into the challenges faced by the sector. Students who have completed this module have gone on to be accepted onto highly competitive postgraduate training in Museums Studies, Archival Studies and also teacher training. One student, who was placed with the National Trust at Sizergh Castle, said: “I recommend both HIST299 and this placement, particularly to students who want to get practical experience of using historical skills.”
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.
Since May 2010, the Coalition and Conservative Governments in Britain have sought to tackle an alleged 120,000 ‘troubled’ families. But how are these families defined? Are their problems caused by the circumstances that they find themselves in, or by the choices that they make? What can or should be done about them? And do they really exist at all, other than in the minds of civil servants and policy-makers? This module explores the history of fears about an ‘underclass’ in Britain and the United States, from the 1970s to the present day. It explores four reconstructions of the same basic idea – the ‘cycle of deprivation’ notion of the 1970s; debates about an ‘underclass’ in the United States in the 1980s; debates about an ‘underclass’ in Britain in the 1980s; and the more recent emphasis on social exclusion, ‘problem families’, and ‘troubled families’. Together, these reconstructions form a set of conceptual stepping stones through which the same basic idea has been reinvented in successive decades.
Since May 2010, the Coalition and Conservative Governments in Britain have sought to tackle an alleged 120,000 ‘troubled’ families. But how are these families defined? Are their problems caused by the circumstances that they find themselves in, or by the choices that they make? What can or should be done about them? And do they really exist at all, other than in the minds of civil servants and policy-makers? This module explores the history of fears about an ‘underclass’ in Britain and the United States, from the 1880s to the 1970s. It explores four reconstructions of the same basic idea – the ‘social residuum’ notion of the 1880s; the ‘social problem group’ of the 1930s; the ‘problem family’ of the 1950s; and the ‘culture of poverty’ in the 1960s. Together, these reconstructions form a set of conceptual stepping stones through which the same basic idea has been reinvented in successive decades.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
This module introduces you to the most important journeys of exploration to the Americas and the Pacific from 1492 to 1642. You’ll study the journeys of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan to illustrate the ‘mapping of the world’ from the late 1400s to 1642. The module then focuses on the main incursions into American lands during the sixteenth century, including the conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. These are contextualised within the rise of mixed-race peoples, the role played by missionaries and the development of a colonial urban culture. You’ll also study the first English settlements in North America, the ‘Lost Colony’. The module is taught through lectures and seminars, making extensive use of films and documentaries.
How did life come to be located within the body? How did the boundaries between life and death become matters of intense political regulation? This module seeks to answer these basic questions by introducing you to topics as diverse as the arguments over body snatching in Victorian Britain and the importance of political disagreements over the conduct of medical experiments to the development of drugs to treat AIDS.
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.
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.
After a brief survey of the main events leading to the declaration of war and the invasion of Poland, this module allows you to explore resistance and collaboration in countries that were first occupied in 1940, namely, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and the Netherlands. The transition between active collaboration to increasing resistance is next traced through Vichy France. The module then moves to the Eastern and Mediterranean fronts where the resistance was more effectively organized. The countries studied in this segment include Yugoslavia, Greece, and the USSR (Belarus, Russia, Baltics and Ukraine). Lastly, you’ll examine countries that were first part of the Axis and eventually switched sides from 1943 onwards (Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania). Special attention will be given to the treatment of Jews, the Holocaust and the difficulties of coming to terms with what remains a contested past. Besides political documents, you will engage with photography, posters, films, documentaries and personal memoirs.
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' (Vergangenheitsbewältigung).
In this module, you will explore the simultaneous rise of slavery and freedom in North America between 1620 and 1800. You will first examine the colonization of Massachusetts by Puritan migrants, and see how their liberty was constrained by gender relations, market dependency, and religious orthodoxy. Viewing the southern colonies in comparative perspective, you will explore the reasons why tobacco and rice planters transitioned from employing white indentured servants to enslaving Africans, and the racial codes that they developed to justify their decisions. You will understand how slave-holding American colonists could espouse discourses of liberty during the American Revolution, and the differing outcomes of the Revolution for Patriots, Loyalists, enslaved people, and Native Americans. You will conclude by studying the rapid expansion of slavery into the Deep South and the settlement of the trans-Appalachian frontier by free settlers after the Revolution. You will thus see how the United States—the “Empire of Liberty”—was forged in both slavery and freedom, creating a divided nation at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
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.
After the dramatic fall of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187, the Crusader States underwent a major period of reconstruction and recovery. A series of large-scale crusades, from Richard the Lionheart’s 3rd Crusade (1189-92) to the diverted 4th Crusade (1202-4) and St Louis’ disastrous attack on Egypt (1248-50) confirmed the continuing importance of holy war in Christian society, but also revealed the changing nature of crusades and their military, political and ideological underpinnings in the 13th century in the context of developing ideas about Islam in the West. In this module you will track the history of crusading and the crusader states by examining individual crusades, the shifting political sands in the Eastern Mediterranean, changing perceptions of the centrality of Jerusalem, and the consequent widening of crusading theatres to include non-Muslim targets.
The module combines lectures offering an overview of the development of the Crusades and crusading practices from the late 12th to early 14th centuries, and of the history of the Crusader States and crusader society in the Levant, with linked seminars focusing on selected issues for student-led discussion.
What are the clichés we have about the Netherlands? That the British call it ‘Holland’ and it is decked out in garish tangerine orange during World Cup fever; that it’s a land of cheese, windmills and clogs; that it’s a densely populated, technologically-advanced, liberal and tolerant society and a major importer of foreign exotica.
All of these clichés were formed during the Netherlands’ ‘Golden Age’, when the United Provinces, led by Holland and the House of Orange, gained independence from Hapsburg Spain, built a republican, inclusive, merchant economy, and developed the technology and ideas to hold back the water, conquer the oceans and bring back luxury goods which everywhere represented the success of this revolutionary experiment in government. So the Netherlands became the envy of the world and the butt of its jokes: fat red-nosed shopkeepers, with their diet of beer and dairy-produce; sour, judgemental puritans in black coats, plant-pot hats and starched white collars; ruthless and greedy businessmen who would kill to garner the world’s riches for themselves.
This module combines local, national and global history, giving you the opportunity to study the Dutch Golden Age through the lens of the city of Delft. It also introduces you to ways of using primary sources in early-modern history and what is possible to learn from them without the ability to read text in Dutch. All the material will be in English, and while some background knowledge of the early-modern period might be an advantage, it is not a pre-requisite. You will gain practice in compiling bibliographies, citations and footnotes, and in essay writing, in a module which is assessed by coursework only.
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.
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.
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.
This 15-credit module explores the cultural and environmental history of the English Lake District, and it investigates how perceptions of the region have influenced modern ideas and attitudes about the natural world. We start by reading accounts by c17 travellers to the Lake District (many of whom found the region to be horrifying) before considering the causes of a dramatic change in popular opinions about the Lakeland in the c18 and c19. We conclude by examining the dedication of the Lake District as a national park in the c20 and by discussing political and cultural debates that are currently shaping the region’s future. Along the way we will have the chance to delve into a wide range of important topics. These will likely include (but will not be limited to): the Lake District’s place in the history of environmental activism; the region’s connection with key cultural movements (e.g. the Romantic movement of the early c19 and the Outdoor movement of the early c20); the rise of mass tourism and commercial leisure culture; the development of landscape aesthetics and modern cartography. We will also have a chance to evaluate the effect of the industrial revolution on the Lake District, and we will explore the region’s industrial history and heritage.
This module combines a lecture series that offers an overview of the history of the United States in the 19th century with a closely linked set of seminars that focus on the construction of race, class and gender difference 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 in the 19th and/or 20th centuries. The module builds upon skills that you gained in Part I and, in particular, will explore the history of the United States, from the passage and implementation of the US Constitution (1789) to the conclusion of the Civil War (1865). The module is particularly focused on the culture and politics of race, class and gender in the rapidly industrialising and expanding nation. Seminars meet fortnightly and are structured around primary readings and recommended secondary texts that offer critical and historical insight into the topics under consideration.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Islam is deeply set in world history and the roots of many debates and issues in the modern Middle East can be traced back over a long period. This module provides an introduction to many such questions by offering an overview of the political, cultural, religious and social history of the main Islamic lands of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Syria and Iraq/Iran covering roughly the first five centuries from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the Crusades.
You’ll develop an understanding of the diversity and fluidity of both Muslim identity and the nature and priorities of the early and developing Islamic community, and you’ll also engage with key debate regarding the source material on the period, both literary and artistic.
In particular you’ll explore Islam's place in Late Antiquity; the rise and fall of the caliphal dynasties of the Umayyads and Abbasids; the evolution of political and religious authority; the cultural and political position of non-Arab converts to Islam; the impact of non-Muslim influence on politico-religious debate in Islam, as well as sectarianism and the rise and fall of key dynasties in North Africa, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
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.
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.
Who were the Victorians? Sometimes they are credited with inventing modern Britain, with the industrial revolution, urbanisation, democratisation, the transport network, and the law and order system listed among their achievements. Yet at the same time, they exhibited attitudes to gender, sexuality, race, politics, and poverty which would be considered shocking and disgraceful by modern standards. This module introduces you to a fascinating and contradictory period in British history. You will discover nineteenth-century Britain by exploring its most important and contentious spaces, such as the factory, the workhouse, the prison, the city, the railway carriage, and the home. You will find out what life was really like in the long nineteenth century by studying a range of primary sources, including novels, press reports, paintings, cartoons, and autobiographies.
Why can't women pull the trigger? Why are men who refuse to fight labelled cowards? The experience of total war in the twentieth century has had major implications for understandings of both masculinity and femininity in war and in peace. In this module you’ll examine the experience of war on both the home and the battlefronts in Britain and learn how war both confirmed and challenged existing gender constructions.
Through an examination of gender roles in war and the representations of these in cartoons, films and posters, you’ll explore how war impacted on understandings of gender identities in the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the First and Second World Wars. Themes include industrial and military contributions to the war effort, the relationship between the Home Front and the Battle Front, social change, as well as the combat taboo. In seminars you’ll contrast the expectations of men and women at war with actual practices by those conforming to or transgressing conventional gender roles.
This module explores the relationship between imperialism, race and the making of modern French identities. France's overseas empire was a context in which coloniser and colonised interacted in complex and unexpected ways, forging new hybrid cultures and redefining the meaning of metropolitan centres and colonial peripheries. You will encounter a variety of case studies from the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to the end of the French empire in Algeria in 1962, from the Americas to Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Key themes and topics include race, class, citizenship, the civilising mission, knowledge and power, gender and sexuality, violence and decolonisation, and the role of literature and film in history.
This course explores the problems of founding a new society in the Americas during the earliest years of English adventurism. The course begins, chronologically, with the earliest voyages to the North American mainland, the adventurism of Sir Walter Raleigh and the settlements on Roanoke Island, the relationship with the Powhatan Confederacy, and the Lost Colony. It then moves its attention to the Virginia Company and the settlement of Jamestown, and explores the different experiments by successive governors - John Smith and Sir Thomas Dale in particular - to build an stable and workable community. It looks at the introduction of tobacco and the state of trade and the switch towards a plantation economy and society using slave labour with the concomitant fall of the Company. Finally it explores the problems of proprietary government, and ends with the governorship of Sir William Berkeley and the rebellion by small-scale planters under Nathaniel Bacon.
The Dissertation (HIST300) is a module that progresses from the methodological understandings acquired in Second-Year courses.
You will write a 10,000-word dissertation exploring a challenging historical problem. While, in many cases, we expect that the topic chosen will arise from courses you are studying, it should also be possible to accommodate topics which do not have a direct bearing on your taught courses. The aim is to give you the opportunity to work in depth on a topic of your choice, and to gain the satisfaction of working independently and of making a subject your own. Research for dissertations will usually combine work on secondary literature with the use of primary sources (in translation where necessary). You are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the wider historical context of the subject being explored by including a critical review of relevant published work and to show an awareness of the limitations of primary sources used.
Many writers have described the years of unprecedented historical change that surrounded the turn of the twentieth century as a time of 'cultural crisis'. This interdisciplinary module in US cultural history explores that so-called crisis through the close reading and analysis of a variety of important written and visual texts, including fiction and non-fiction, architecture and urban design, painting, photography and cinema. Course themes include: technology and culture, labour and capital, imperialism and the 'myth of the west', immigration and urbanisation, celebrity and consumer culture, reform politics, the Great War, and cultural modernism.
This module will explore how objects defined as ancient, beautiful or ugly, antique, artistic or collectable reflect the history of British Imperialism in South Asia. From the end of the eighteenth century, European scholars and bibliophiles were fascinated by Indian landscapes and objects. Sculptures and architecture could be described as beastly and regarded as dangerously erotic or they could be lauded as worthy of emulation. The pursuits of art history and archaeology were used to justify the necessity of foreign power in India. Antiquities were classified according to religious and chronological divisions, separating 'Buddhist', 'Hindu' and 'Muslim' materials. Museums and Art Schools were established to teach western aesthetic mores and technologies. By the end of the nineteenth century, Indian artists and art historians rejected these understandings of Indian art and art was used to challenge the colonial state. The course will familiarise you with a range of sculptural, painted and architectural forms from India and the changing interpretation of those objects. The objects we will explore date from the third millennium B.C. to the 1940s.
This module explores the origins of modern ‘consumer society’ in Britain, introducing you to an exciting and innovative new field of historical research. In the hundred years from the abolition of advertising tax in 1853 to the birth of commercial television in the 1950s, advertising became a ubiquitous feature of modern capitalism. You will examine the causes and consequences of this process of commercialisation using a variety of primary sources, from press reports, novels, and cartoons, to business archives, social surveys, and, of course, the advertisements themselves. You will explore the changing relationship between people and their possessions, new retail environments, including the department store and the supermarket, how advertising has shaped modern gender identities, and how ethical consumerism was pioneered by the co-operative movement. Advertising is political, and you will also see how it helped Britain win two world wars and market the Empire to its own people. You will learn how advertisements work by designing your own advertising campaign in a particular historical context. You’ll never look at shops or advertisements in the same way again.
This module presents an unprecedentedly vivid picture of the lived experience of Europeans, Africans and indigenous Americans over a three-million square mile area (Carolina to the Equator; central America to Bermuda) in which Britons settled an area smaller than Yorkshire. Though you are unlikely to have much knowledge of the place or period when you start the module, most students' interests can be accommodated within the sources. You will also have access to a unique collection of (digital) facsimiles of printed and archive sources. You will study the roots of the colonial process but can adopt modern techniques of analysis and presentation such as web-authorship, databases, palaeography (handwriting). You will write traditional essays but also create an individual project, plunging into a fascinating period and place, asking challenging questions of the human experience and learning valuable transferable skills.
The seventh and eighth centuries A.D. were a time of tremendous ferment when the conflict of peoples (the Angles, Saxons, Britons, Irish and Picts), the introduction of Christianity and the partial recovery of Classical learning and knowledge were transforming the social and political landscape of the Britain. You will examine this formative period and its social and cultural conflicts as seen through the eyes of its most prolific writer, the Venerable Bede (673-735). The class will read and discuss several of Bede’s writings, especially his Ecclesiastical History of the English People; but these will also be set in their wider political, social, and cultural context through consideration of the rival perspectives of writers such as Adomnan, Aldhelm and Stephen the Priest.
With its invention of democracy, the grandeur of the Parthenon, and the drama of Aristophanes, the Classical period in ancient Greece is often said to be the ‘Golden Age of Athens’. This module investigates religious, social and cultural life in ancient Greece in the Classical age, paying particular attention to how the Greeks negotiated relations with their gods, and how Greek religion interacted with politics, culture and other categories in the historical process. Major themes include Athenian democracy, gender identity, archaeology of sacred space, monumentalisation of the Greek past, deification of kings, dedicatory practices, divination and other means of communication with the divine.
This module investigates Europe’s Age of Extremes (1918-45) and its memorialisation up to the twenty-first century. The primary materials used are fiction films and documentaries, which we study alongside photographs, posters and political documents. Departing from the Soviet Revolution and the rise of Nazism, the module first explores the development of historical films as propaganda. We then trace the use of films to mobilise support for the war effort during World War II, concentrating especially on Great Britain and the USA. The second section of the module deals with the memorialization of World War II in the War’s aftermath and up to the 1980s. Italian neo-realism of the 1940s provides the starting point, while the main segment of this section deals with Soviet cinema of the ‘The Thaw’ and the cinematic construction of France as a ‘nation of resisters’ up to the 1970s. The third segment of the module showcases the challenges to the post-war resistentialist mythology and the increasing centrality of the Holocaust, paying attention to the role of Testimony. The module concludes with twenty-first century films from Holland, Denmark and Norway, which either recast or question the early resistentialist mythology. Throughout this module, we engage with practices of Memory Studies and Film History.
The labelling of the Second World War as the People’s War in Britain draws attention to the importance of the men and women who waged it. With the blurring of the Home and Battle Fronts, the conventional gender contract in which men fight to protect the vulnerable at home and women keep the home fires burning was challenged, not least by the revolutionary act of conscripting women to the war effort. In this module you will examine how the Second World War was experienced by a wide spectrum of British men and women, some of whom identified with the war effort, some of whom were deliberately excluded, or chose to challenge gender conventions in their choice of role. You’ll consider different categorisations of experience (military/civilian; home front/ battle front; male/female) and explore whether there was a hierarchy of service and subsequently of remembrance. Were gender roles in Britain really transformed by the exigencies of war? Through a wide range of written and visual sources, including autobiographical materials, poems, photographs, films, parliamentary minutes, newspapers, posters and cartoons, we will seek to understand individual and collective experiences of the war, and their gendered dimensions.
This is a module about historiography - the writing of history - over the long twentieth century. It uses the work of a group of French cultural historians as a case study of profound change in the way history was thought about and written. Founded in 1929, the Annales School challenged the political and military focus of many nineteenth-century histories, emphasising in its place social and cultural trends, the history of mentalities and the lives of ordinary people. The Annalistes' cross-disciplinary dialogue with economists, geographers, sociologists - and the emerging disciplines of anthropology and psychology - has influenced much of the most innovative historiography of recent decades and raised important questions about how history relates to other disciplines in the arts and humanities and to the societies and contexts in which it is produced.
In September 1939, around 1.5m children and adults were evacuated from the cities to the countryside in Britain in the ‘official’ Government evacuation scheme. Another 2m children were evacuated privately. In this Special Subject you will explore such questions as how did children and parents cope with the long periods apart? What happened if brothers and sisters were separated? How did the children feel when they finally went home? And what impact did the evacuation have on ideas about poverty, state intervention, the scope of health and welfare services, and British society more generally? Taught by the leading authority on the evacuation, this module makes particular use of primary sources such as diaries, novels, newspapers, articles in journals, Parliamentary debates, official reports, social surveys, and memoirs. Evacuation has been the subject of important debates between historians in recent years. Whereas earlier accounts argued that the evacuation had a significant impact on British society, more recent revisionist interpretations have stressed how its influence has been exaggerated. In all of this, the effect of evacuation on the children themselves has been relatively neglected. The underlying themes of the module are those of the parallel histories of public policy, and private lives.
Despite the title, this module explores a breadth of issues that preoccupied the educated elite of seventeenth-century England. We look at religious, political, intellectual, social and economic and intellectual factors affecting the emergence of the ‘new natural philosophy’ in England. One of the most debated questions in the history of science is whether there was a ‘Scientific Revolution’ in early modern Europe. Mid seventeenth-century England underwent profound change, and makes an ideal test case. The achievements of Robert Boyle, Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton (“the last magician”) provide intriguing evidence, as do more co-operative ventures such as the founding in 1660 of the Royal Society and the earlier efforts of radical Puritans. Can we connect changes in thinking with the political crises of the English Civil War, The Restoration of the Monarchy, and the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688? (We can!) What were the roles of religious conflict and of England’s emergence as a modern capitalist society? (Big!) The course begins with overviews (helpful for those new to the subject) of the developments we will study. It goes on to consider what we might mean by a revolution in thinking, and examines four leading historical explanations. We turn to the influence of Francis Bacon and his New Atlantis, his vision of a pious scientific utopia. We ask whether he inspired Royalists like William Harvey, Cromwellians like Samuel Hartlib and, later, the moderate Fellows of the Royal Society like Robert Boyle. Recent reassessments of Boyle and Newton as alchemists lead us to ask how new was their “new philosophy” or “new science”. Likewise, although The Royal Society is a prestigious institution today, how did it fare when first founded by Charles II, and did it produce useful knowledge and inventions of the kind foreseen by Bacon?
The Norman conquests in the central Mediterranean ended Muslim political power in Sicily, formed a single kingdom in 1130, and divided Christian Europe from Muslim Africa. The Norman Sicilian kingship that emerged was like no other in Europe: an absolutist, sacral monarchy that conspicuously made use of the Byzantine, Islamic and Latinate arts as well as the kingdom’s three languages – Latin, Greek and Arabic –in inscriptions and chancery documents. In this unique Special Subject module you will gain a detailed knowledge of the history of Sicily and the south Italian peninsula through the medium of Arabic, Latin and Greek narrative sources and charters. These will be studied in translation. Many have never been published. You will trace the region's complex transition to a unified kingdom after the Norman Conquest, focusing in particular on the subsequent development of authority and society on the island of Sicily in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. You will be engaging with the formative history of the Latin West, as well as the political, religious, economic and social dynamics of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. The course will provide a detailed introduction to the Norman kingdom for those wishing to delve deeper into one of the most spectacular and unusual kingdoms of pre-modern Europe.
The module addresses the construction of memory at various sites, principally museums and monuments, in which versions of the past are represented or conflict with one another. The main substantive module content concerns some of the crucial cases in memory studies: the commemoration and representation of the Holocaust, war, and the history of race and slavery. We’ll encounter the commemorative landscape of the Washington, DC, Mall as well as memorials, museums, and historic sites in Britain and continental Europe. You will also consider representations of the past in materials such as films and written works. The module will require several field trips to regional museums and memorials, which will help to illuminate and prompt debate on module themes and form the basis for some of the assessed work.
In this module you will study the content, character and function of Nazi propaganda as it was presented in film. The films will be used to understand how National Socialism tried to sell its messages, ranging from the ideal of a harmonious national community, national strength and a militaristic attitude, to anti-Semitic hatred, the commitment to total war and relentless fanaticism. You will also study the retrospective presentation of the Third Reich in film ranging from the struggle to come to terms with a difficult past to the financially successful marketing of history. This will show both a wide variety of perspectives on National Socialism as well as the function such representations serve at the time they are articulated and visualised. The module thus enables you to explore the challenges and opportunities films provide as historical sources in trying to understand the past.
The Vikings inspired both fear and fascination in medieval times, and they continue to exercise a powerful hold on the modern imagination. In this Special Subject you will explore the Viking Age in the Irish Sea region and the Isles. The course ranges from the first Viking raids to the creation of the kingdom of Man and the Isles, a ‘sea-kingdom’ that encompassed numerous islands. The course offers you the chance to develop a sophisticated understanding of textual sources as well as non-textual material. You will gain a grasp of political history, and you will also have the opportunity to study the economy, culture, ethnicity and gender. The field is flourishing, and exciting new finds such as the Silverdale Hoard continue to refresh our understanding of the period. You will have access to plenty of secondary literature, but there is scope for developing original interpretations by studying the primary material. There will be some focus on the prolific evidence from north-west England, including artefacts in local museums and impressive stone monuments. You will participate in two field trips to sites and museums (you should set aside approximately £35.00 for local transport). The local evidence will be set in the broader context of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the North Atlantic.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Our graduates have a number of career paths open to them, including journalism and publishing, marketing, PR and retail management. Core skills including independent research, critical analysis and effective presentation have enabled recent graduates to gain roles with major employers including Marks & Spencer, Santander, BskyB and Sainsbury’s. The interdisciplinary research methodologies, critical analysis, organisational and writing skills developed over the course of our degrees can lead to career destinations including business, marketing, the media, publishing, the Civil Service and the public sector. Many of our graduates decide to progress to postgraduate studies with us or other institutions, often entering into research and teaching positions.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2018/19 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2017 were:
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Optional field trips may be offered on this course for which students will be required to pay their travel costs.
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework