Top reasons to study with us
8th for Satisfied with teaching (Philosophy)
The Guardian University Guide (2024)
16th for Philosophy
The Complete University Guide (2024)
A global focus, with particular expertise on non-Western philosophy
Develop your critical abilities within two vibrant departments of like-minded students and scholars and gain a strong understanding of how History and Philosophy intersect and influence one another.
History's core first year module is designed to extend and deepen your knowledge of the past and introduce you to major historical topics and themes from the ancient world to the present day. You will gain insights into how historians conduct research and interpret the past and develop your own research, essay-writing and presentational skills.
The first year philosophy module ‘Introduction to Philosophy' introduces students to key themes in the study of philosophy. Consciously drawing on a broad range of philosophical traditions -- Continental, Analytic, and non-Western -- it aims to present a comprehensive overview of various theoretical sub-disciplines within philosophy, but also to equip students with the ability to reason and think clearly about the most fundamental questions of human existence. The course, though designed as an introduction to the advanced degree-level study of philosophy, will also function as a self-standing introduction to philosophy suitable for those seeking to broaden their understanding of philosophy as it has been practised throughout various traditions.’In the second and third years you will be able to choose from a broad range of philosophy modules, including for example: ‘Continental Philosophy; Logic and Language; Aesthetics; Moral Philosophy’. For more modules please see the PPR department website.
History modules in the second and third years include British, European, American, Asian and Middle Eastern history, from the eighth century BC to the twentieth century.
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.
A Level 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 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction
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
International foundation programmes
Delivered in partnership with INTO Lancaster University, our one-year tailored foundation pathways are designed to improve your subject knowledge and English language skills to the level required by a range of Lancaster University degrees. Visit the INTO Lancaster University website for more details and a list of eligible degrees you can progress onto.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and some which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
From Ancient to Modern: History and Historians
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.
Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Reality
This module introduces students to key themes in the study of philosophy. Consciously drawing on a broad range of philosophical traditions -- Continental, Analytic, and non-Western -- it aims to present a comprehensive overview of various theoretical sub-disciplines within philosophy, but also to equip students with the ability to reason and think clearly about the most fundamental questions of human existence. The course, though designed as an introduction to the advanced degree-level study of philosophy, will also function as a self-standing introduction to philosophy suitable for those seeking to broaden their understanding of philosophy as it has been practiced throughout various traditions.
The module will involve the study of European and non-European sources, and areas of study will typically include:
1. Epistemology: the study of the nature of knowledge, belief, and the mind's ability to apprehend the world.
2. Metaphysics: the study of the nature of matter, causation, freedom, and being.
3. Phenomenology: the study of the nature and structure of consciousness.
4. Philosophy of Religion: the study of the nature and existence of God and of religious faith.
5. Philosophy of Mind: the study of the nature of mind and the mental.
What does decolonisation mean for Historians? This module will provide a range of ideas and arguments about the relationship between History, race and colonialism, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the project of decolonisation. The module will explore both historical scholarship and public history through a range of themes, including urban heritage, histories of enslavement, indigeneity and erasure. The module will be delivered through three weekly sessions: one lecture, one media engagement session and one seminar. The weekly media sessions through which we will introduce the breadth and implications of decolonisation and encourage students to think about decolonisation as a project that extends far beyond the discipline of History.
Dominions of the Dead? Archives, Museums and Memorials
This module explores the role archives, museums and memorials play in shaping the study and perception of history. Archives, museums and memorials can be seen as sites where the present connects with the past. They can also be understood as places where the past is preserved. Equally, though, they can be sites of conflict and debate: places where our relationship with the past is continuously renegotiated and reframed. Over the ten weeks of this module, we shall consider each of these aspects of archives, museums and memorials. In the process, we'll engage with topical issues such as decolonisation, the repatriation of artefacts and the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies. Other topics we may examine include the nature of tangible and intangible heritage, the relevance of Indigenous and minority rights to contemporary heritage debates, and the threats that global development such as climate change pose both to heritage sites and institutions. We'll also delve into some age-old concerns about the relationship between history and heritage, and we'll consider how the ‘historical temper’ is cultivated in public institutions and spaces. In the process, you’ll have the chance to deepen your understanding of the different roles archives, museums and memorials perform. This module may involve optional site visits and sessions with heritage professionals.
Histories of Violence: How Imperialism made the Modern World
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 Transatlantic, 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.
Reform, Rebellion and Reason: Britain, 1500-1800
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.
The Fall of Rome
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 module invites you to discover what really happened and to assess the theories and interpretations that currently command historians’ support.
The Second World War in Europe: From a German War to a Continental Conflict
This module examines the Second World War in Europe, approaching it from the Axis perspective, ‘The other side of the hill’, as Sir Basil Liddell Hart called it. The module engages not only with historically significant events, but it also deals with questions surrounding discrimination, complicity, and collaboration. We will discuss the different political movements, ideologies, and events that set Germany on its path to National-Socialism, and compare them to similar movements in Europe, opening up the opportunity to think about the different European racisms more broadly. The choices available to the soldiers and civilians that were caught up in the war, the compromises they had to make, and the options available to them, run as a thread through this module. The module looks beyond Germany’s defeat, and encourages students to consider the war’s long-term consequences.
Indicative topics include:
- Germany and its neighbours in the late-nineteenth Century;
- The Central Powers during the First World War and its aftermath;
- The Weimar Republic and the Third Reich’s “years of peace”;
- The Western Front and the Eastern Front during the Second World War;
- Home fronts at war;
- The fall of Nazi-Germany;
- Revenge and justice in post-war Europe
War Machine: A Social and Cultural History of the First World War
This module explores the history of the First World War from a pan-European and international perspective and embraces social and cultural historical approaches as well as more traditional political, diplomatic, and military themes. Rather than providing a narrative account of the war in its various theatres, it is concerned with its broader implications and effects. It addresses such topics as the long-term origins and immediate causes of the war, the mobilisation of populations for service, both civil and military, the technological innovations of the war, the emotional, psychological, and social experience of the war, and its revolutionary social, cultural and political impacts. Indicative topics include:
Introduction: Legacies of the First World War
The Origins and Causes of the First World War
Fighting a Modern, Industrialised War
Mobilising Nations and Empires for Total War
Experiencing Total War
Medicine, the Wounded, and the War
Religion, Belief, and the Supernatural
War and the Arts
The Commemoration and Memory of the War
The Social and Political Consequences of the War
'Witches', Warriors and Slavers: Exploring the History of Lancaster
This module gives you the opportunity to develop your knowledge and understanding of the Lancaster City-Region and the way its history can be understood in a national and international context. You’ll also have the chance to consider how museums and other heritage sites represent the Lancaster City-Region to a non-specialist audience.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn about particular stages in Lancaster's history, and to examine the ambiguities and uncertainties of 'place' as a complex amalgam of history, culture and personal experience. You’ll also be invited to think about how regions and localities form part of wider national and international histories.
Other issues that may be explored include the nature and challenges of public history, specifically the challenges local museums and other heritage centres face in developing and presenting their collections.
Making History: Contexts, Sources and Publics
This module aims to provide you with a solid introduction to the discipline of history at the beginning of your Part-II studies. The module, accordingly, explores the discipline at large, including: its characteristic practices, methods, and traditions; its use of different source materials; and its relation not just to the past, but also to the present and the future. The module includes three thematic blocks. The first section (Contexts of History) provides an overview of different types of historical scholarship, focusing on the methods, theories and intellectual tendencies that characterise them. The second section (Sources and Evidence) examines the use and application of different types of sources as evidence in historical research. The third section (History in Public) considers the public role and function of the discipline, as well as the challenges that historians have faced in the public spotlight, and, finally, the role that the study of history can play in your future.
Writing History: Questions, Methods and Conclusions
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.
A Global History of the Mind, 1000-2020
This course invites you to explore the history of an object that is of crucial importance to our ideas about both human health, and human identity – the mind. A Global History of the Mind will give you the opportunity to explore how societies across a wide range of time and places have sought to understand, cure, and control the mind. Drawing on materials and case studies from around from world, whether modern-day Polynesia or the medieval Middle East, this offers a truly global perspective on the history of the mind.
At the same time, the course encourages you to explore the connections between changing ideas about mental health and sickness to broader questions about human identity – most notably those concerning race, gender, and the potential loss of human distinctiveness in a world where artificial intelligence is possible. Unlike traditional courses on mental health, which almost invariably focus on the emergence and spread of western psychiatry, this course offers a decentered perspective. We will examine the mind from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, bringing together philosophy, medicine, religion, race, gender, and social control. In so doing, we will explore questions of urgent relevance to our own society – most notably the ways in which ideas about the mind have featured in the racialization and gendering of people through systems of patriarchy and colonialism. In addition, this course will use case studies from history to give you the resources to consider and question modern ideas about the mind and its role in society.
Finally, this course draws on an innovative series of podcasts entitled Metaphors of the Mind (https://cargocollective.com/mind-metaphors). As well as writing and a research project, this course will help you develop the skills to put together your own podcast on the history of the mind.
Britain in the Twentieth Century
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.
Europe and the World, 1450-1650: Bodies, Cultures, and Environments
During the 16th century, Europe witnessed some of the most important developments in the shaping of the modern world. Although you will learn about these events, the module will focus on the broader historical processes through which you can understand them. At the same time, you will engage with the methodologies and debates that historians of the present-day find most interesting, critically appraising their strategies for assessing patterns of historical change and continuity.
You will therefore examine the work of environmental historians, asking whether transformations in society and the economy can be explained by changes in climate. The module will also ask whether colonial expansion led people to develop new ideas about racial and cultural difference, while at the same time trying to understand how newly colonized people tried to navigate their way through new hierarchies and relationships.
In addition, it will ask whether long-standing questions about transformations in religious life, popular culture, and the centralization of government can be enriched by approaching them through the prism of new approaches. When you study the body, health, and disease, for instance, you’ll discuss the unexpected role of medical expertise in the development of a renewed form of Catholicism at the end of the 16th century. Meanwhile, focusing on the history of printed news may enable you to understand why rumours and religious bigotry spread so rapidly during the Reformation and Wars of Religion.
From Education to Employment: History Work Placement Module
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. 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. It is worth noting that voluntary placements in a wide variety of settings are organised by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: you can undertake one of these in addition to your degree studies but it won’t be assessed, unlike the placements available through HIST299.
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.”
Idealism, Empiricism & Criticism in 18th Century Philosophy
The second half of the 18th Century was a time of fierce debate between the schools of idealism, empiricism, and criticism that extended to the nature of subjectivity and the status of nature itself. This course examines key texts from Hume and Kant, two of the greatest modern philosophers, which all confront the new realities of the modern scientific method. The course will focus on the relationship between knowledge and the natural world and evolution of subjectivity and its grounding of psychology.
Introduction to Latin Translation for Undergraduates
HIST215: Introduction to Latin Translation for Undergraduates
This is a special intensive course for students who have little or no previous knowledge of Latin. The course concentrates on the basics of Latin Grammar and vocabulary as used in the Medieval period. However, it will also be very useful for students of the Roman and Renaissance periods. By the end of the course, students should be able to read sources such as title deeds, court rolls, government records, wills, and inscriptions.
Making Modern Britain, 1660-1720
Perhaps more formative for the modern British state than any before or since, the years 1660 to 1720 saw Britain’s territorial boundaries and infrastructure forged; with constitutional monarchy, expanding state bureaucracy, and political parties as its principal tenets. During the same period, political power in England changed hands; new political personnel operated within novel political institutions and voiced innovative political economies. Making of Modern Britain will also challenge participants to analyse and debate formative changes to British literature, commerce, art, and architecture, as well as to discuss the changed relationship between Britain and the world during this period. Participants will therefore receive a broad understanding of late seventeenth and early eighteenth century British history; they will also develop expertise in the following subfields: cultural, art, political, parliamentary, global, economic, constitutional, gender, and business history.
Studying this module should improve students’ knowledge and understanding of some key issues in metaphysics as determined by the syllabus. This focuses primarily on some issues concerning space and time, the nature of physical objects and persons, and some key philosophical distinctions. Studying this module should also enable them to see connections between various philosophical issues that should be of value to them with regard to other philosophy modules that they are studying.
This course covers nineteenth-century philosophy, a crucial period in several ways: there was a new attention to history and the relation between philosophy and history; there was the rise of socialism and its impact on philosophy; and there were philosophical criticisms of Christianity, which were met by explicit defences of Christianity by some philosophers. We explore these issues through the work of six figures in nineteenth-century German and British philosophy: Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx; Nietzsche, Cobbe, and Besant.
Norman England, 1066-1154 Conquest, Colonisation and Conflict
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. A wide-ranging introduction to the history of Norman England and the debates that it has inspired, this course allows you to consider the history and effects of this transformative event.
On the Edge of Empire: Being Roman in Britain
What does it mean to be Roman on the edge of the Roman Empire? How can we write the history of people who have left very little written trace of themselves? This module explores these questions through an in-depth look at the history from the 1st century BCE to the 5th century CE of a single Roman province: Britain. You will learn to use a wide range of evidence, including not only Roman historians like Tacitus, but also archaeological evidence, stone inscriptions, and wooden documents like the Vindolanda Tablets, to reconstruct the nature of Romano-British society. How can we use pottery evidence to reconstruct Britain’s economic connections to the continent? How can Iron Age coins give us insight into the political machinations that led to Britain’s 1st century CE conquest by the Romans? Broader topics will include the effects of Roman imperialism on conquered peoples, the place of migration and ethnic diversity in Roman Britain, and the role historical trends such as post-colonialism and globalization have played in our understanding of life in the Roman provinces. The module may also include field trips to Roman sites and museum collections.
Partisans and Collaborators: World War II in Occupied Europe
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.
Philosophical Questions in the Study of Politics and Economics
This module examines some theoretical issues involved in gaining knowledge about human societies. We will look at the role of theories and models in economics and political science, the special nature of "social institutions," and whether economic and political knowledge can be separated from value-judgments:
- Rational choice theory and models based on it
- Social norms and cooperation
- John Searle’s theory of “institutional facts”
- The nature of money and different accounts of power
- Whether values can or should be kept out of economics and political science
- Some ways in which states and markets are related
Restless Nation: Germany in the 20th Century
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' (Vergangenheitsbewltigung).
Sex, Satire and British Society, 1660-1901
This module examines the role of satire in British culture between the Restoration and the Victoria era. Satire is a rich and varied mode of cultural representation. It has an ancient pedigree, and it can be found cross-culturally and trans-historically. In this module we’ll consider this broader context, including ancient satirical art and literature, but we’ll mainly focus on the different sorts of satires that characterised British culture between the reigns of Charles II and Queen Victoria. In tackling this nearly 250-year period, our aim will be to explore how satirical materials functioned as media for expressing social, cultural and political ideas, and we’ll consider the light these materials shed on their historical contexts. Topics considered will likely include courtly culture, imperial expansion, urbanisation and industrial change. We shall also pay particular attention to how satire was used to establish and reinforce ideas about class, race and sexual identity and about normative and appropriate behaviour, and we’ll reflect on the degree to which attitudes towards humour and obscenity changed over time.
Slavery and Freedom: North America, 1620-1800
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 Cold War in Europe
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 nuclearisation 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.
The Historian in the Digital Age
HIST282: The Historian in the Digital Age
This course will provide an introduction to the rapidly developing field of Digital History. It starts from the assumption that the student has only basic IT skills. It introduces them to a range of software tools and approaches, and the issues and challenges of using them properly in historical research. These will be applied to a wide range of historical sources and topics. The course is taught using a combination of lectures and workshop sessions held in an IT lab. By the end of the course the students will have a range of practical skills in topics such as spreadsheets, databases, and managing texts. As well as providing the student with an understanding of new ways in which historians are researching their discipline, these skills can be applied to other courses taken by the student, such as their dissertation, and provide transferrable skills that will help with their employability.
The History of the United States, 1789-1865
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.
The History of the United States, 1865-1989
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 Making of Germany, 843-1122
This module allows you to explore the story of the German Kingdom from the mid-ninth century until the early twelfth. Formed amid the collapse of the Carolingian Empire, it came close to collapse in the early tenth century, yet it was saved by the Magyar crisis, emerging triumphant under the leadership of a new and charismatic dynasty, the Liudolfings. They refounded the kingdom, turning it into the most dynamic state in tenth-century Europe. The vast empire they created - the so-called ‘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 kingdom, its capacities and its limitations.
The Quagmire: The Vietnam War in US History and Culture, 1964-1975
The Vietnam War remains the only war that the United States has definitively lost in its 240-year history. This course explores the political, social, and cultural effects that the fighting in Southeast Asia triggered back home on American soil, specifically between the years 1964 and 1975. Utilising a range of sources from memoirs to music, films to television coverage, you will gain a greater understanding of the forces that shaped ‘the Sixties’ and why the Vietnam War deeply affected American society for decades to come. We will engage with the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, while exploring the anti-war movement, female and Black American involvement in the war, and how veterans fared when they came home to the United States. The module, of course, will not eschew the war itself, and the first lectures will ground you in the key figures, decisions, battles, and massacres that led to a conflict which killed an estimated two million Vietnamese civilians, and 58,000 American soldiers.
The Roman Empire: Society and Culture in the Mediterranean and Beyond
The Roman Empire stretched from Britain to modern-day Syria, from Morocco to Romania. How did Rome control an empire which ranged from the societies of the Mediterranean basin to those of Arabia and temperate northern Europe? How did the peoples of these regions adapt to, or indeed resist, ‘becoming Roman’? This module will give you a thorough foundation in the history of the Roman Empire from the first emperor Augustus in the first century BCE to late antiquity and the rise of Christianity in the 4th century CE. You will study the immense social, economic, and religious changes that occurred across Europe and the Near East in this period, as well as the political and military history of the Empire. You will confront the challenges of writing Roman history from textual sources that are often fragmentary, or have political and rhetorical agenda which are alien to us today. You will also learn to integrate material evidence, from coins and inscriptions to archaeology, into your understanding of the Roman Empire.
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, 1500-1865
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.
Virginia, (1585-1685): Adventure, War and Tobacco in the First American Colony
This course explores the problems of founding a new society in the Americas during the earliest years of English adventurism. Virginia was the founding point of the presence of English people in North America; and the first Africans in English-speaking America. 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 and Chesapeake, 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 a stable and workable community. It looks at the introduction of tobacco, the switch towards a plantation economy and society using slave labour, and the fall of the Company. Finally, it explores the problems of proprietary government, and ends with the governorship of Sir William Berkeley and the rebellion for ‘liberty’ under Nathaniel Bacon, which marked the enslavement of indigenes and Africans.
'A World Full of Gods': Lived Religion in the Roman Empire
The gods are encountered at every turn in the Roman Empire, but seldom in the same way or in the same places. This module explores the immense diversity of religious experience, practice, and belief in the Roman world in order to understand religion’s role in the shaping of society and identity across the Empire. You will learn to use a broad range of archaeological, epigraphic, iconographic and literary evidence to reconstruct the lived experience of religion in the Roman Empire, from gods worshiped by German soldiers on the rain-swept Romano-British frontier, to domestic shrines in the kitchens of Pompeii, to the great Greco-Roman pilgrimage sanctuaries of Asia Minor. How can we use site plans to think about the experience of moving through a sanctuary? How do animal bones and pottery assemblages allow us to reconstruct the dynamics of religious sacrifice and ritual feasting? What insights do first-person accounts of encountering gods through dreams and visions by authors such as Aelius Aristides or Cicero give into personal relationships with the divine? Through detailed analysis of primary material and in-depth engagement with modern scholarship on Roman religion, we will explore the complex role played by divine cults, sacred spaces, and religious identities in the construction of society across the vast geographic and chronological span of the Empire. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a field trip to sites and museums on Hadrian's Wall, to experience a range of temple locations and material evidence for Roman religion in person.
American Carnage: The United States in the Age of Polarisation, 1960-Present
On 6 January 2021, the US Congress was attacked in a chaotic offensive of fire and fury that led to five deaths and countless injuries. After decades of gradual polarisation, the United States – the preeminent world power and self-proclaimed beacon of democracy – was coming apart in dramatic fashion as the world looked on. Three weeks later, the US Capitol witnessed the arrival of a new president and heard an inaugural address which focused on the need for unity and warned of democracy’s fragility.
This course will examine the reasons why, and the extent to which, American society, culture, and politics polarised in the years since 1960. To do so, it will examine a wide range of issues, such as: race relations, gender and sexuality, socioeconomic policy, media, the ‘culture wars’, the modern American presidency, and political polarisation between Democrats and Republicans.
Anarchy and Society in the Caribbean, 1620-1720
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, though students who have taken The English Civil War and Virginia will have encountered some of the issues. The course is popular with History Majors and also has resonances with Politics and with English Literature. The interests of each year’s students can be accommodated. 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 tailored in consultation with the tutor to fit your research interests, way of working, opportunity to showcase or learn new skills, and ways of presentation. You will be plunging into a fascinating period and place, asking challenging questions of the human experience and learning valuable transferable skills.
This module focuses on selected topics in Applied Philosophy. Applied Philosophy involves the application of philosophical methods and knowledge to a range of problems that face institutions, professions, policymakers and regulatory bodies. Further questions arise about the nature and limits of applied philosophy.
'Dangerous Thoughts': Soviet Dissent, Human Rights and the Cold War
Soviet history is often told through the prism of totalitarian oppression, but beneath layers of state control a vibrant dissident movement was active. Whilst they were far from an homogenous group, their presence and sustained activism in the later decades of Soviet history raises broader questions about the communist superpower. What influence could political dissidents have on the world around them? How did they exert influence in a regime that wanted them silenced? What role did they, or could they play in the Cold War?
In this module, you will explore the breadth, depth, and complexity of the Soviet dissident movement and analyse the impact that they had on the wider world. You will explore the nature of political life in the Soviet Union, ranging from the punishment of the labour camp system under Joseph Stalin, the use and abuse of psychiatry under Nikita Khrushchev, and the silencing of the shestidesiatniki under Leonid Brezhnev. This module will also consider the role dissidents played in the collapse of the Soviet regime under Mikhail Gorbachev, and the contemporary parallels with dissidents such as Anna Politkovskaya and Pussy Riot in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. By focusing on the domestic enemies of the Soviet state, this module will allow you to explore in detail how totalitarian governments function, what activists and intellectuals can do to change this, and the role played by the international community in supporting these dissidents. Alongside this, it will address broader issues such as political dissent, human rights and international relations amongst others.
Indicative topics include:
Samizdat, Natalya Gorbanevskaya and the Chronicle of Current Events
Psikhushki and psychiatric abuse
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the ‘Slavophiles’
Andrei Sakharov and the ‘Westernisers’
Vladimir Bukovsky and the ‘non-conformists’
The KGB and state intimidation
The Refuseniks and Soviet Jewry movements
Religious Persecution and Keston College
The Helsinki Accords and the move towards human rights
Amnesty International and the Soviet Union
Pussy Riot and Pyotr Pavlensky
Darwinism and Philosophy
The module will look at philosophical issues that arise out of Darwin’s theory of evolution. These include questions about how best to understand the theory of evolution, and questions about what evolution implies for our view of the world, and in particular of ourselves. The course breaks down into three broad areas:
- Different ways to understand the theory of evolution, e.g., Is evolution, as some would have us believe, all about genes? Is natural selection the only important factor in evolution?
- Conceptual issues relating to biology, e.g., How do we define ‘function’? Is there one right way to classify living things
- Implications of Darwinism for understanding human nature, e.g., Does the fact that we have evolved affect ow we should see human nature? Why are evolutionary theories of human nature so controversial? Does Darwinism have any implications for moral questions?
The Dissertation 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.
Fascism, Revolution and War in Spain: the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
On the 17 July 1936, a group of Spanish generals launched a military coup against Spain’s democratically elected Second Republic. The following three years would witness a bitter struggle to determine the future of the Spanish nation. Ending just months before Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Spanish Civil War has since been dubbed a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Second World War. On the rebel side, General Francisco Franco enlisted the help of Hitler and Mussolini to defeat his domestic opponents. Meanwhile, the Republic was supported by Soviet Russia. Yet the Civil War was also a Spanish conflict with important local dimensions. Republican Spain enjoyed a rich culture of mass politics, and Spanish socialists, communists, anarchists, liberals and feminists fought to the last against Franco’s reactionary coalition of ‘Nationalists’. Following his victory in April 1939, Franco would outlive his international fascist allies by several decades, and the difficult legacies of the war remain keenly present within modern-day Spanish politics and society. Drawing on a large range of sources, including autobiographies, oral histories, novels, films, songs, and political speeches, students taking this module will gain an in-depth knowledge on the domestic and international origins, outcomes, and legacies of the Spanish Civil War.
Indicative topics will typically include:
- The origins of the Civil War: The Second Spanish Republic, 1931-1936
- Republican militias, including anarchist and communist factions
- The Army of Africa: Legionnaires and Moroccan Regulars
- Militiawomen, the Sección Femenina and gender on both sides
- Diplomacy, non-intervention, and the International Brigades
- Fascists abroad: Hitler and Mussolini
- The aftermath of war: victors, vanquished, and repression in Franco’s New State
- Legacies and historical memory of the Civil War
This Special Subject focuses on feminist philosophy and in particular the study of women and feminists in the history of philosophy, using nineteenth-century British philosophy as a case study. The course provides an in-depth understanding of debates around women in the history of philosophy, the relation between feminism and women, and how to research and study historical women philosophers who until recently have been omitted from the canon. This will provide important transferable skills in doing research in the digital world, including working with digital archives and historical journals. The course will allow students to undertake a sustained piece of independent research on a historical essay of their choice by a woman philosopher from nineteenth-century Britain. Students taking this course will not merely be learning about philosophy as done by others; they will be doing cutting-edge philosophical research themselves.
From Rebellion to Revolution: The War for the Throne, 1199-1265
The thirteenth century began with a rebellion that sought to cast a tyrant from the throne of England, followed after fifty years by a revolution, in which a party of barons and bishops backed by a vast popular following seized power from the king and set up a council to govern in his stead: a move that was utterly radical. This period has been hailed as the foundation of the enlightened democracy we enjoy today – but the reality is far darker. This was a world in which religious leaders had the power to punish kings, where rebels fought as sworn crusaders, and where people willingly went to their deaths for a political cause believing themselves martyrs. This world was not democratic, but theocratic.
In this module you will explore the major events of the period, in England and across Christendom, from the making of Magna Carta and the Fourth Lateran Council, to the Albigensian Crusade, the seizure of power in 1258, and the bloody Battle of Evesham that brought the end of England's First Revolution. You will meet the people who shaped this world – from powerful queens like Blanche of Castile and Eleanor of Provence, to leading knight William Marshal and the masterful pope Innocent III, from tyrannical and hapless kings to the churchmen who defied them and were recognised as saints, and from Simon de Montfort, the revolution's charismatic and brutal leader, to the low-born men and women who flocked to his banner. You will be able to uncover their stories through their letters, testimonies, and eye-witness accounts, and a wealth of other primary sources.
Through a range of topics, you will be able to explore your particular interests – whether in the religious, military, political or social aspects of this period – and consider the big questions arising from this course: what can move women and men, poor and rich, to risk their livelihoods, to take life and give their own to decide who ruled the realm?
What moral obligations do we have towards future generations – to people who are yet to be born, and to merely possible people whose existence (or non-existence) depends on how we decide to act now? In this module, we explore this question in detail by examining both a series of case studies and some of the main concepts and theories that philosophers use when thinking about these issues.Question considered normally include: Is there a moral obligation to refrain from having children (e.g. for environmental reasons) and what measures may governments take to encourage or enforce population control? Should we use selection techniques to minimise the incidence of genetic disorders and disabilities in future populations? Should parents be allowed to use these techniques to determine the characteristics of their future children? How should we weigh quality against quantity of life? Would a world with a relatively small number of ‘happier’ people be preferable to one with many more ‘less happy’ ones?
Gender Identities in the People's War: Experiences, Representations and Memories
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.
Indian Political Philosophy (Special Subject)
This module will examine key sources in the history of Indian political philosophy from ancient times to the present. We will begin by looking at the most influential political sources from ancient India, including the inscriptions of King Ashoka and the Arthashastra. Some of the questions we will be asking are how the ideas in these texts speak to modern debates about secularism, pluralism, and civil religion. We will then turn our attention to the modern period, reading the political thought of figures such as Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Ashis Nandy. We will look at how these and other modern political thinkers draw from premodern Indian traditions, as well as how they engage with and critique Western political ideas from Indian perspectives.
Intelligent Design? Science, Religion and the Idea of Design in Nature, 1450-1800
Today the claim that God designed everything in the universe has given way to the theory of evolution. The usual story of this change is one of conflict between science and religion. This module, however, will challenge the popular narrative.
Focusing on the period 1450-1800, we will reconsider the rise and fall of the idea that nature was the work of a divine intelligent designer. As well as trying to understand why the design argument became so important in the early modern period, we will seek to understand why it fell out of favour during the 18th century – long before the theory of evolution.
But we will not simply be studying the history of ideas. To understand the role of design in early modern science, we will study a wide range of disciplines and practices – from intellectual disciplines like philosophy, rhetoric and theology, to material practices including chemistry, architectural design, archaeology, and art.
Logic and Language
The module provides an introduction to formal logic together with an examination of various philosophical issues that arise out of it. The syllabus includes a study of the languages of propositional and quantificational logic, how to formalize key logical concepts within them, and how to prove elementary results using formal techniques. Additional topics include identity, definite descriptions, modal logic and its philosophical significance, and some criticisms of classical logic.
Moral, legal and political philosophy
This module will address central issues in contemporary ethical (including meta-ethical), legal and political philosophy, and will allow a systematic critical exploration of the connections between ideas and arguments in each of the three areas of the subject.
Topics covered will include some of the following: modern theory of moral motivation, value theory, contractualism, the 'moral problem'; responsibility and criminal liability, the justification of punishment, the proper scope of the law; democratic theory, egalitarianism, justice, nationalism, multiculturalism, liberty and human rights.
Paradise Lost: Colonization and the Jamaican Environment, 1655-1838
When Europeans first landed in Jamaica, they thought that they had arrived in paradise: a sun-kissed tropical island covered with virgin rainforests, dramatic mountains, and exotic flora and fauna. By the early nineteenth century, colonization had fundamentally transformed this supposedly pristine island. This module explores how this process occurred. You will study the numerous ways that colonists exploited the Jamaican environment: the clear-cutting of forests to make way for monoculture plantations; the importation of plants and animals to replace decimated native species; and the extraction and exhaustion of natural resources. You will simultaneously examine enslaved Africans' and Native Americans' environmental perspectives and see how both groups used Jamaica’s mountains and surviving forests to resist the violent process of colonization. We will conclude by examining the colonists’ growing awareness that they had transformed Jamaica’s climate and natural world, just as the island’s economy was fundamentally changed through emancipation. You will thus emerge from this module with a detailed understanding of the natural history of Jamaica—one of the most fascinating places in the Early Modern Atlantic World—and the exciting field of environmental history more broadly.
Philosophies of War and Conflict (Special Subject)
This course will examine some of the core philosophical questions raised by warfare and conflict. We will look at the ethics of war and killing, but also at more neglected philosophical issues in this area, and non-Western approaches as well as classic texts in the Western tradition.
We will do so by examining some of the central dilemmas faced by soldiers, policy makers and non-combatants, in the form of a weekly question for discussion. These questions include: Can war be beautiful? When, if ever, should we go to war? What counts as legitimate action in war? What, if anything, do we owe to our enemies? Is soldiering a good life? What does technological development mean for warfare? What should a responsible citizen do when their country is, or looks about to be, at war? Who has the epistemic authority to speak about war? Is war always tragic?
Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
This module will introduce students to the thought of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. As well as providing a firm grounding in Freud's own thought, it will also raise questions about the implications of Freud's thought for philosophy. To this end, it will examine Paul Ricoeur's pioneering work on Freud and philosophy and will also look at the work of subsequent thinkers who have explored the ramifications of Freud's work for philosophy, especially Jacques Lacan, Michel de Certeau and Slavoj Žižek. The module will raise questions about the extent to which philosophy should respond to some of the insights of psychoanalysis.
Philosophy of Art
This module introduces central issues, problems and theories in philosophical aesthetics by critically examining a number of central topics including: the nature of aesthetic experience; the objectivity of aesthetic judgement; emotional responses to fiction; the moral and cognitive value of art; the aesthetic value of nature. In addition to central philosophical discussions, various findings from empirical psychology and neuroscience will also be used. Although examples from all of the arts will be employed throughout the course, the emphasis will be on the wider issues just listed, and not exclusively focussed on art. That is, aesthetics will be explored as an important area of the philosophy of value in general.
Philosophy of the Human Sciences
This module considers key philosophical issues in the sciences of human mind, behaviour and social structures, such as psychology, psychiatry, sociology, economics and history. Topics to be considered may include the status of reason-based explanations of human behaviour, the legitimacy of psychoanalytic explanations, the understanding of other societies, individualism versus collectivism in social explanation, and the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice.
This course examines central themes in the liberal branch of contemporary Anglo-American analytic political philosophy. The liberal positions on justice, liberty, equality, the state, power, rights and utility are all explored. The approach is philosophical rather than applied; its focus is on the ideas of liberal politics: how individual liberty can be maximised while not harming others; how an individual philosophical position can guide political determinants of a society and places the developments of liberal ideas in their appropriate historical contexts. The course also examines the connection between the ideas of liberalism and the idea of democracy to explore the philosophical tensions between the two and how these might be resolved. The course is a survey of major topics and concepts in Anglo-American liberal political ideas. The syllabus will include the following topics: questions about justice; visions of the state; negative and positive liberty; equality, utility and rights; toleration and multiculturalism; neutrality and the market.
The East India Company: Merchant State, 1600-1857
The English East India Company (founded 1600) was the most famous corporation in world history: its business connecting the British Isles across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. It was a protagonist of globalisation. Its longevity - from Elizabeth to Victoria - provides a common thread with which to illuminate the broader English/British story and the separate histories of the territories with which the Company engaged. Historians have debated what the Company represented. It did much to stimulate global trade, but was it a private business in the modern sense? It ruled British territory on behalf of the British state, but was it a state in its own right? This course encourages you to engage with these (and other) large and important questions and digest the high-quality literature that the Company has rightly attracted. But the core of this class will be the challenge and joy of digesting the remarkable corpus of documents and writings that the Company issued or provoked from well-known political economists like Karl Marx and Adam Smith, to managers like Elizabeth Dalyson and non-European writers such as Mirza Abu Taleb Khan. You will be introduced to translated Persian documents, the correspondence of Company factors in Japan, charters, board room minutes, pamphlets, and histories and will explore art and architecture in the cities it did so much to develop. You will gain a broad understanding of seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century British, Indian, and global history; and develop expertise in cultural, art, political, parliamentary, global, economic, constitutional, gender, and business history.
The Ethics and Politics of Communication
This module critically explores a range of key topics in the ethics and politics of communication. In the first half of the course, we begin by an introduction to some basic concepts in linguistics and philosophy of language – especially to do with the practical side of communication. We then focus on (a) how certain kinds of communication can bring about ethical change (e.g. making something permissible); (b) upon whether lying and other kinds of deception are permissible, and if so, when. In the second half we turn to some broadly political issues: whether political lying is justified in a way that everyday lying is not. We consider three domains where freedom of communication is both important and contentious: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom on social media, including the challenges posed by “content moderation”.
'The Shock of the New': Modernity and the Modernisms of American Culture, 1877-1919
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.
Transformations and Revolutions in Twentieth Century Philosophy
In the Twentieth Century, Western philosophy underwent a number of fundamental “turns” — the linguistic turn, the phenomenological turn, the postmodern turn. Some of these changes were viewed as “revolutions” in philosophy. At the extreme end, there were even arguments that Western philosophy, as conceived since Plato, was finished. In this module we explore some of these key transformations. We consider the “linguistic” turn, and the formation of “analytic philosophy” at the turn of the C20. One central figure of this linguistic turn is Ludwig Wittgenstein. But Wittgenstein shifts from being at the centre of analytic philosophy to arguing that philosophy is finished. At the same time, philosophy also undergoes a phenomenological turn. We focus on how this leads, via Sartre, to a revival of existentialism. The contrasts between French philosophy and English-speaking philosophy become even more pronounced in the final third of the C20, with post-structuralism and post-modernist philosophy viewed by the “analytic” philosophy community as not even being a kind of philosophy. We assess the roots of, and justification of, this “analytic/continental” divide.
Vikings and Sea-Kings: Power and Plunder in the Irish Sea Region, 794-1079
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 Galloway Hoard continue to refresh our understanding of the period. You will have access to plenty of secondary literature, and 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 may have the chance to participate in a field trip to a site or museum (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.
Fees and funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2025/26 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2024/25 were:
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities. Students on some distance-learning courses are not liable to pay a college fee.
For students starting in 2023 and 2024, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2025 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
What is my fee status?
The fee that you pay will depend on whether you are considered to be a home or international student. Read more about how we assign your fee status.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Fees for study abroad and work placements
We will charge tuition fees to Home undergraduate students on full-year study abroad/work placements in line with the maximum amounts permitted by the Department for Education. The current maximum levels are:
- Students studying abroad for a year: 15% of the standard tuition fee
- Students taking a work placement for a year: 20% of the standard tuition fee
International students on full-year study abroad/work placements will be charged the same percentages as the standard International fee.
Please note that the maximum levels chargeable in future years may be subject to changes in Government policy.
Scholarships and bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for students starting in 2025 are not yet available. You can use our scholarships for 2024-entry applicants as guidance.
- Chinese Studies and History BA Hons : T1V1
- English Literature and History BA Hons : QV31
- English Literature and History (Placement Year) BA Hons : QV32
- English Literature and History (Study Abroad) BA Hons : QV33
- French Studies and History BA Hons : RV11
- German Studies and History BA Hons : RV21
- History BA Hons : V100
- History (Placement Year) BA Hons : V101
- History (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V103
- History and International Relations BA Hons : VL12
- History and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL13
- History and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL14
- History and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : VVC6
- History and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VVC7
- History and Politics BA Hons : LV21
- History and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV22
- History and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV23
- History, Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : V0L0
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : V0L1
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V0L2
- Medieval and Early Modern Studies BA Hons : V125
- Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Placement Year) BA Hons : V126
- Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V127
- English Literature and Philosophy BA Hons : QV35
- English Literature and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : QV34
- Film and Philosophy BA Hons : PV35
- Film and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : PV36
- Film and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PV37
- French Studies and Philosophy BA Hons : RV15
- German Studies and Philosophy BA Hons : RV25
- Global Religions and Philosophy BA Hons : V651
- Global Religions and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : V652
- Global Religions and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V653
- History and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : VVC6
- History and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VVC7
- History, Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : V0L0
- History, Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : V0L1
- Linguistics and Philosophy BA Hons : QV15
- Linguistics and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : QV16
- Linguistics and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : QV17
- Mathematics and Philosophy BA Hons : GV15
- Mathematics and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : GV16
- Philosophy BA Hons : V500
- Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : V501
- Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : V502
- Philosophy and Politics BA Hons : VL52
- Philosophy and Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : VL53
- Philosophy and Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : VL54
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA Hons : L0V0
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L0V1
- Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L0V2
- Spanish Studies and Philosophy BA Hons : RV45
The information on this site relates primarily to 2025/2026 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.
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