Download the course booklet to find out more about Lancaster University, how we teach Politics and what you'll study as a Politics student.
Top reasons to study with us
7th for Politics
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2022)
7th for Graduate Prospects on Track (Politics)
The Complete University Guide (2022)
Study abroad and placement opportunities
Lancaster’s History and Politics degree is taught collaboratively between our Department of History and our Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion. It gives you the opportunity to develop knowledge, political insight and specialist skills alongside students and scholars who share your passion and interests.
You’ll be able to select complementary modules from each department. So, for example, in History you may choose to study the political and cultural history of the United States while exploring Government and Politics of the United States in your Politics courses.
You’ll begin your degree with core modules including ‘From the Ancient to the Modern: History and Historians’, and ‘Politics in the Modern World’. In the second and final year students will be able to choose from a broad range of options, such as Politics and History of the Middle East; International Relations, Security and Sustainability; Politics of Development and Global Changes; Understanding Key Economic Concepts; Issues in Contemporary Politics and Philosophy. For more details and options, please see the PPR department website.
To prepare students for their work placement year, our Careers and Placements Team will provide advice and guidance on: the skills required to create effective CVs, cover letters and applications; tips and techniques on how to make an impact at interviews and assessment centres; how to create a relevant digital profile; and how to research employers and career sectors of interest. In addition, there is great emphasis placed upon developing self-awareness and on how to present yourself in a professional manner to employers. This optional provision will be delivered via a blend of traditional and digital methods including face-to-face workshops, online webinars, e-courses and 1:1 appointments.
The University will use all reasonable effort to support you to find a suitable placement for your studies. While a placement role may not be available in a field or organisation that is directly related to your academic studies or career aspirations, all placement roles offer valuable experience of working at a graduate level and gaining a range of professional skills. If you are unsuccessful in securing a suitable placement for your third year, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent non-placement degree scheme and continue with your studies at Lancaster, finishing your degree after your third year.
A degree in History and Politics provides you with the opportunity to develop interdisciplinary research methodologies, critical analysis, organisational and writing skills relevant to a range of different future careers. As a graduate of History and Politics you may be interested in career areas such as business, marketing, the media, publishing, the civil service and the public sector. You may also choose to continue into postgraduate study with us, progressing into research and teaching.
We will help you determine your direction and aim to support you in getting there. We do this by offering subject-specific support from academic tutors and careers advisers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 to complement your main specialism. 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 please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
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.
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.
Politics in the Modern World
You’ll be introduced to some of the key themes in the study of modern politics, and will have the chance to gain critical insight into the nature and use of political power in the contemporary world. You will learn about: the foundations of the modern nation-state, and the ways in which our institutions can reflect or fail to meet the ideals of liberal democracy; the behaviour of individuals and groups in political contexts; the workings of national constitutions and international organisations; the interaction of global events and domestic agendas.
Areas of study typically include:
+ Political Theory: the study of the scope, nature, and justification of state authority, and the history of political thought.
+ British Politics: the study of the theory, and political reality, of British governance in the twenty-first century.
+ Comparative Politics: the study of the various institutions of the nation-state, in a comparative context.
+ Ideologies: the study of political ideologies such as (neo-)liberalism, (neo-)conservatism, socialism, and fascism, their cohesiveness and social/political function.
+ Political Behaviour: the study of the ways in which agents and groups engage with politics in the age of mass and social-media.
+ Politics and Religion: the study of the relevance of religion to politics in contemporary society.
+ Politics in a Global World: the influence of global movements and events on domestic and international politics.
Because of the increasing interdependence of the national and global, domestic politics and international relations can no longer be properly understood in isolation from one another. To ensure the best possible foundation for a degree in Politics, in first year, we strongly recommend you also take International Relations: Theory and Practice.
'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.
International Relations: Theory and Practice
We will introduce you to some of the central aspects of the discipline of International Relations, providing a firm grounding in the major concepts and debates necessary to understand the modern world of international politics. You will have the opportunity to learn about: the dominant features and power relations of the contemporary global system; the nature of sovereignty and security, their expression and limitations; the real-world problems confronting the international community today.
Areas of study typically include:
+ International Relations Theory: the study of how relations between states can and should be viewed and theorised, Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism and Feminism.
+ Regional Studies: the study of some of the key regions of the world, and the politics of their interactions.
+ International Institutions and Law: the international organisations, customs, and rules that govern inter-state relationships.
+ Global Politics and Belief: the study of how religious and ideological belief can shape international politics and the relation of states.
+ International Crises: the study of pressing issues confronting the international community, such as environmental collapse, technological advance, the rise of non-state actors, and terrorism.
+ International Relations and the Domestic: the study of how the domestic agendas can shape and influence international politics.
Because of the increasing interdependence of the national and global, domestic politics and international relations can no longer be properly understood in isolation from one another. To ensure the best possible foundation for a degree in International Relations, in first year, we strongly recommend you also take Politics in the Modern World.
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.
'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, 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.
Byzantine and Muslim Sicily (535-1072)
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.
Contested Grounds: Colonialism, Heritage and the History of Protected Landscapes
Are you interested in environmental history? Are you curious about the forces that have shaped and continue to shape the perception and management of protected landscapes around the world? Then this 15-credit module is for you. Over the 10 weeks of this module, we’ll explore the long history of human interactions with the natural world, from the Agricultural Revolution to the Industrial Revolution to the Environmental Revolution. For the most part, though, we’ll focus on examining the forces that have influenced human perceptions of the environment from later seventeenth century onwards. In this context, we’ll trace the histories of iconic protected landscapes in different parts of the world, including national parks and world heritage sites, such as Yosemite, the English Lake District and Ulu?u-Kata Tju?a. In tracing the histories of these and other landscapes, we’ll delve into a range of important questions. Addressing these questions may involve: examining the role of colonialism and conquest in shaping such landscapes; interrogating the relation of protected landscapes to the emergence of ideas about national memory and identity; considering issues of access, responsibility and ownership, as well as the threats climate change poses for protected landscapes that are at risk. No prior knowledge of environmental history is assumed or required. Specific case studies may change from year to year. The module may involve field trips.
Culture and Society in England, 1500-1750
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.
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.”
From Truman to Reagan: US Foreign Policy and the Presidency, 1945-1989
This module explores US foreign policy from the end of the Second World War through to the end of the Cold War, focusing particularly on role played by the presidents who held office during this period. The decades following the Second World War saw the United States emerge as the single most powerful and influential state in modern history. The core aim of the module is to understand how the individuals who held the office of president in this era sought to project US economic, military and ideational power. This will entail considering how the personal backgrounds, political beliefs, and other personal characteristics of the presidents in power during this period affected the application of US foreign policy, allowing students to engage with innovative approaches to the study of history that take into account factors such as emotions, friendship and health on broader historical processes. In order to analyse US foreign policy from the perspective of individual presidents we will use a variety of academic sources by historians and political scientists, as well as primary sources.
Gandhi and the End of Empire in India, 1885-1948
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.
Inventing Human Rights, 1776-2001
Of all intellectual and ideological concepts in the modern world, few are as contested and powerful as human rights. At their most influential, concerns for the protection of human rights have been used to justify international conflict and widespread military intervention in order to save the lives of thousands of people. Yet human rights critics argue that they are a form of cultural imperialism that limits the sovereignty of local populations. How has an ethical and moral concern for individual lives come to be so divisive? Why after years of supporting the establishment of international human rights law do many governments now pledge to scrap their own human rights acts?
This module will examine the history of human rights, putting their development into a broad historical context. It will chart the development of rights discourses from the pre-modern era through to the present, assessing the influence that the enlightenment, imperialism and war have had on their construction. It will offer students the opportunity to explore differing aspects of the history of human rights. Indicative topics include:
- Codifying and Quantifying Rights: 1776, 1789, 1948
- The Universality of Human Rights
- Human Rights and Humanitarianism, 1807-2001
- Decolonisation and Self-Determination, 1945-1991
- Gendered rights
- Capital punishment in the nineteenth and twentieth century
- Responding to Genocide: The Holocaust, Bangladesh, Srebrenica
- Amnesty International, 1961-2001
- Helsinki Watch/Human Rights Watch, 1975-2001
Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy
This module will consider some of the major issues currently being debated by political philosophers and political theorists. Specific topics may change from year to year, but issues usually covered include some of the following:
- - State power and citizens’ obligations
- - Equality between social groups
- - Material equality
- - Environmental politics
- - Public goods and state action
- - Politics and regulation of business activity
- - Global justice
Moral philosophy is the systematic theoretical study of morality or ethical life: what we ought to do, what we ought to be, what has value or is good. This module engages in this practice by critical investigation of some of the following topics, debates, and figures: value and valuing; personhood/selfhood; practical reason; moral psychology; freedom, agency, and responsibility; utilitarianism and its critics; virtue ethics and its critics; deontology and its critics; contractarianism and its critics; the nature of the good life; the source and nature of rights; the nature of justice; major recent and contemporary figures, such as Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Railton, Christine Korsgaard, Philippa Foot, Allan Gibbard, Simon Blackburn; major historical figures such as Aristotle, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, G. E. Moore.
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
Our aim in this module is to consider some of the big philosophical questions underlying social sciences. Economics and politics raise both deep philosophical questions about society and subjectivity; for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Who, or what, decides? In this module we will investigate a variety of methods that attempt to address these questions, and what answers might be possible. In sum, the aim is to examine methods and assumptions across central movements in the social sciences, politics and economics, from a philosophical perspective to see the troubles and possibilities in each.
Power in British Politics: The Role of the Prime Minister
This module explores British politics by focusing on the role of its central figure – the Prime Minister. Judging by media coverage, it would seem that the Prime Minister dominates the decision-making process, dwarfing other institutions such as the Cabinet, Parliament and the judiciary. But does this impression reflect reality? Does Britain really have a system of ‘Prime Ministerial’ – or, as some commentators have claimed – even ‘Presidential’ government? The module attempts to answer these crucial questions through case-studies of recent Prime Ministers and an examination of the sources of Prime Ministerial power, such as the ability to appoint ministers, to influence public opinion and to shape Britain’s foreign policy.
The goal of this module is to introduce you to some of the key concepts of public policy both in theory and practice. The module is designed to give you a rich understanding of the actors, mechanisms and processes that underpin public policymaking, as well as a comprehensive overview of different public policies. The module aims to enable you to identify how and why public policy is made, the actors and factors that explain policy outputs and policy failures, and to be able to assess the explanatory power of different theories that seek to explain differences in policy outputs. In addition, you will also assess policy outcomes associated with different policies and policymaking regimes. In this module, you will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of a range of public policies as well a comprehensive understanding of a specific public policy arena, including the debates surrounding such policy, through their policy briefing assessment. In this module we will touch on a number of questions and themes related to public policy, including why does policy change? Who makes public policy? How can we explain differences in policy outputs? What explains the gap between policy outputs and outcomes (or policy failure)? How do ideas shape policy? Are differences in public policies a consequence of different cultures, economic conditions, political institutions or interest group pressures? How are policy problems defined?
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 & 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 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.
The English Civil War (1640-1660)
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 Government of the United States
The aim of this module is to familiarise you with some of the key institutions of American governance. The module begins with an analysis of the US Constitution and the developmental history of American state-building. We then examine some of the major institutions of the federal government: Congress, the presidency, the federal bureaucracy, and the federal courts. Subsequently, the module turns to organised actors who operate within these institutions: political parties and interest groups. It will be in these weeks that we will explore the increasingly important economic and other social factors shaping policy influence. Finally, the module moves out of Washington to consider how governance operates in the American states and localities.
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 Origins and Rise of Islam (600-1250 AD)
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.
The Politics of Race
Race has played a central role in shaping the political agendas of many nations around the world – and has acted both as a mechanism of political exclusion and as a form of politicised identity. In this module we critically examine the notion of race, and its connection to the politics of ethnicity, religious identity, and class. We examine the role race has played, and continues to play, in the determination of domestic and international politics. We look at the way in which race is politicised and de-politicised, and consider the nature of various forms of racism that exist in politics.
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.
The Victorians and Before: Britain, 1783-1901
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.
The Wartime Gender Contract & the Combat Taboo in 20th century Britain.
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.
Understanding Liberty: Theory and Practice
This module explores a range of ideas which are central to any understanding of politics. In this module we will focus on the relationship between negative and positive accounts of liberty. We will examine and discuss the distinction between the two accounts, and apply those accounts to the analysis of the work of Hayek and Mill, as well as advancing the capacity for essay writing skills. This module aims to develop an understanding of some of the key ideas of the thinkers under review, and the ability to assess the contribution that these thinkers have made to our wider understanding of politics. We also aim to enable you to recognise the relevance of these thinkers to our current political debates and the ability to employ their ideas within them. You will also have the opportunity to build on your ability to evaluate the key features of an argument, the confidence to express your own views and evaluate the response of others.
Work Based Learning Reflection
In your final year you’ll return to Lancaster to complete your degree. Feedback from previous students is that their final year studies were enhanced by the real-world experience they were able to draw on.
Whatever your career path, having the skills to critically evaluate your own learning and development will considerably enhance your effectiveness in the workplace. During your final year, you will be asked to reflect on your experience of work based learning. Did you take part in any formal training during your placement? How did this benefit your work? What kinds of informal learning opportunities arose? What did you learn about your own preferences for professional development? How do your experiences compare to those of other placement students?
You will be asked to consider your future career aims and identify areas for further development.
This is an assessed module that provides 10 credits towards the 30 credits which successful completion of your placement year provides. These 30 credits are on top of the 360 credits of a standard degree, meaning that you will graduate with 390 credits; 30 more than if you took the same degree without a placement year. The additional credits recognise and reward the additional skills and experience that you have developed during your placement year.
'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.
Advertising and Consumerism in Britain, 1853-1960
This module explores the origins of modern ‘consumer society’ in Britain, introducing you to an exciting and innovative 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 and cartoons, to business archives, social surveys, and, of course, the advertisements themselves.
You will explore the changing relationship between people and their possessions, the impact of new retail environments like the department store and the supermarket, how advertising shaped modern gender identities, and how the Co-operative movement pioneered ethical consumerism. 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.
Africa and Global Politics
This module provides a historical and thematic introduction to the issues facing Africa in the international system today. The module is divided into two sections. The first section explores the historical incorporation of the continent into the emerging international system centred on Europe from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. We focus on the impact of colonialism and independence in terms of the economy, the state and the politics of race and the implications these have for the region’s prospects for democracy and development today. The second section looks at key contemporary issues and agents shaping the continent. The latter includes ‘top-down’ actors such as the Chinese state, as well as grassroots actors such as unionised South African workers.
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, c.1620-c.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.
Battles of World War II: Resistance and the Holocaust
This module investigates the development of World War II into a ‘civil conflict’ during Europe’s occupation by Axis forces. We will engage with a broad range of primary sources to investigate individual and collective attitudes, taking into consideration political and religious beliefs, as well as Europe’s fraught relationship with the plight of its Jews. The module will elucidate the motifs for the conflicting memorialization of resistance and collaboration especially in France, Poland and the USSR.
The module starts with an investigation into the relationship between history and photojournalism, followed by film and propaganda in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany and its subsequent deployment in the UK and the USA. We then explore the trajectories of these sources, as well as letters written by civilians about to be executed, in constructing the ‘foundational narrative’ of Gaullist France as a ‘nation of resisters’, eventually leading to its counter-image as a ‘nation of collaborators’, or what Rousso calls ‘Vichy Syndrome’. Next, we research Soviet sources made available after Khrushchev’s Thaw or during Glasnost, including Baltermants’ photographs and the testimonies of Soviet Jews collected by Grossman and Ehrenburg. The last segment of the module charts the Holocaust ‘boom’, and the subsequent focus on Jewish victimization, Gentile rescuers, survival and resistance. This segment uses Levi’s ‘grey zone’ to read testimonies, such as those in Lanzmann’s Shoah, which follows Hilberg’s division into ‘perpetrators, victims and bystanders’. The module deploys theoretical tools from collective memory, post-memory, bio-politics and cultural history.
Body in Text: Politics of Gender in Islam
Religions may take on partly distinctive forms due to the history and traditions of particular regions or modern nation states. Islam is no exception. This module will examine varieties of Islam in a range of modern areas and countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Britain. It illustrates the socio-political contexts which have contributed to these variations both historically and in today’s world.
Britain in the World
This module presents a detailed analysis of the major developments in British foreign policy since 1945. It explains these developments within a global context, offering rival interpretations of Britain’s changing role and status – issues whose importance has been underlined by the debates surrounding the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum. The major themes include: the consequences of Britain’s participation in the Second World War; the retreat from Empire after 1945; the ‘special relationship’ with the United States; and the prolonged attempt to redefine Britain’s global role in the context of perceived economic and geopolitical decline.
Contemporary Issues in the Middle East
As the Middle East has long been [and still is] one of the most unstable regions in the world, and it is further bedevilled by strong authoritarian states and pervasive ethnic and sectarian violence, what explains this instability and ongoing tensions? By examining some of the key questions surrounding the study of Middle Eastern politics, this module aims to provide you with a critical perspective of the region’s politics. This module introduces you to an analysis of the history, politics, society, culture and religions of the Middle East with attention to major events in the region.
'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
This module provides you with an opportunity to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests you, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. We encourage you to develop your research skills, and your ability to work at length under your own direction. You submit a 9,000 - 10,000 word dissertation by the end of the Lent term in your third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one's own research and planning and writing a dissertation
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.
Dissertation with external collaboration
The aim of this module is to allow you to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of your choice, within the scope of your scheme of study. The topic will be formulated in dialogue with one or more external collaborator(s) and may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. You will have the opportunity to develop your employability and research skills, and your ability to work independently at length under your own direction with input from external and an academic supervisor. The external collaboration will give you the chance to enhance your ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate work done through the Richardson Institute Internship Programme, but you may also discuss other forms of collaboration with their supervisor. The completed dissertation is usually submitted at the start of Summer Term in the third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one’s own research and planning and writing a dissertation.
Dissertation with field studies
The aim of this module is to allow you to pursue independent in-depth studies of a topic of your choice, within the scope of your scheme of study. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. You will have the opportunity to develop your employability and research skills, and your ability to work independently at length under your own direction with input from an academic supervisor. The fieldwork element will give you the chance to enhance your ability to reflect on the impact of academic work. One option is to incorporate a study trip typically organised by the University, via the Global Experience office, but you may also discuss other forms of field studies with your supervisor. The completed dissertation is usually submitted at the start of Summer Term in the third year. To help you prepare for work on the dissertation, typically there is an introductory talk in second year on topics relating to doing one’s own research and planning and writing a dissertation.
Fascism, revolution, and war in Spain: the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39
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 SecciónFemenina 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
From Balfour to Brexit: Britain as a Great Power since 1914
This module explores British foreign policy and the country's broader engagement with the wider world throughout the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Framed against broad debates concerning the decline of British power during this period, the module will explore the central themes that defined Britain's overseas policy in this era, including the impact of the World Wars, the loss of Empire, the 'special relationship' with the United States, and European integration. In exploring these themes, the module will consider how people from a variety of different perspectives (British and foreign, politicians, journalists, novelists, activists) conceived of Britain's world-role since the First World War. In order to incorporate this variety of perspectives, students will draw on a large range of sources, including newspaper articles, novels, poetry and films, as well as traditional archival sources like official government documents, diaries and memoirs.
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?
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 Politics, Society and Religion
This module aims to introduce and familiarise you with the interplay between politics, society and religion in the world’s largest democracy, India. At a time when India is emerging as a global power and economic powerhouse despite persistent poverty and various socio-political fissures, a critical balance must be struck in our understanding between its potential and its problems. India offers powerful lessons on the challenges and achievements of democracy in a deeply pluralistic and unequal society. An examination of these issues opens up our conceptual preconceptions about democracy, competing political philosophies, religion, secularism, discrimination, globalization and political mobilization, which tend to be structured by knowledge of Western polities. The particular issues concerning large populations of many different religions and huge social differences offer pathways of understanding to many pressing global issues.
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.
This module 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; focusing 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 module 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 module will include among other topics: questions about justice: analytic philosophy and liberalism; visions of the state: liberalism, republicanism, socialism; liberty and individuality; liberalism and democracy; negative and positive liberty; equality; utility and rights; and toleration and multiculturalism: responses to diversity.
Politics Employability and Engagement through Outreach
This skills-based, employability-enhancing module enables Politics students to use their existing comprehension of politics to engage effectively with different lay audiences including, in particular, prospective employers and Sixth Form pupils participating in Lancaster University’s Politics/IR outreach, widening participation and recruitment programme. The practical nature of the sessions and the divergent nature of the assignments gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability and your CV by providing valuable experiences throughout the term. The work of some of our students may also be included in online resources for schools, this may include the use and implementation of role-play scenario outlines and presentations created in this module.
Politics of Cultural Diversity
Culture is, perhaps, the most contentious and prominent feature of contemporary political debate. Whether it be religious schism and ethnic conflict, migration, controversy regarding bodily integrity, justifications for development policy and overseas aid or debate over the nature of wellbeing, the issue of cultural diversity looms large. The aim of this module is to provide you with the conceptual, analytical and normative resources to understand and assess the politics of cultural diversity. In essence, the module grapples with the question of whether, and in which ways, we can make judgements about culture.
Politics of Global Danger
This module examines the changing character of war and security in a time of rapid and disruptive technological and geopolitical change. The module combines analysis of contemporary policy documents with the interdisciplinary insights of intellectuals that have examined how war has changed in the modern age. In this module you are introduced to a range of concepts that are currently significant in the policy debates about the future of war – concepts such as ambiguous war, the gray zone, the third offset strategy and the three block war. While the module is grounded in broader debates from social and political thought about war and modernity, it explores a range of evolving and inter-related case studies that are central to understanding how war is changing: cybersecurity/artificial intelligence; cities and urban war; drones and the future of robotics; climate change and ecological insecurity. Each year we try to bring a guest lecturer from the Ministry of Defence or the FCO to discuss questions relevant to the course – and to discuss how the course can be relevant to a broad range of careers.
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 Normans in Italy (1050-1194)
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 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.
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 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2022/23 were:
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
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.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 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.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. For international applicants starting in 2022, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year's fee.
- Chinese Studies and History BA Hons : T1V1
- English Literature and History BA Hons : QV31
- English Literature and History (Placement Year) BA Hons : QV32
- 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 BA Hons : VVC5
- 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 (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
Politics and International Relations
- Chinese Studies and Politics BA Hons : T1L2
- Economics, Politics and International Relations BA Hons : LL22
- French Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL12
- German Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL22
- 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 Politics BA Hons : LV21
- 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
- International Relations BA Hons : 6T99
- International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : 6T91
- International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : 6T92
- Law with Politics LLB Hons : M1L2
- Management, Politics and International Relations (Industry) BSc Hons : N230
- Peace Studies and International Relations BA Hons : LL92
- Peace Studies and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL93
- Peace Studies and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LL94
- 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
- Politics BA Hons : L200
- Politics (Placement Year) BA Hons : L202
- Politics (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L203
- Politics and International Relations BA Hons : L250
- Politics and International Relations (Placement Year) BA Hons : L251
- Politics and International Relations (Study Abroad) BA Hons : L252
- Politics and Sociology BA Hons : LL23
- Politics and Sociology (Placement Year) BA Hons : LL24
- Politics and Sociology (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LL25
- Politics, International Relations and Management BSc Hons : LN30
- Politics, Religion and Values BA Hons : LV28
- Politics, Religion and Values (Placement Year) BA Hons : LV29
- Politics, Religion and Values (Study Abroad) BA Hons : LV30
- Spanish Studies and Politics BA Hons : RL42
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 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.