History and Philosophy BA

History

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
VV15
Start date:
September 2018

With our History and Philosophy BA, you explore alternative approaches to both fields, as well as the expected ones.

Philosophy encourages you to consider universal questions about human behaviour. And in History, you look at how these have affected society at key moments in time.

At Sussex, you join a politically and philosophically engaged community. Plus you benefit from resources such as The Keep – a state-of-the-art archive centre that’s close to campus.

Sussex is known for its interdisciplinary focus, and I was attracted by the opportunity to complement my studies with modules from different disciplines.”Oliver Hill-Andrews
History BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Ranked 8th in the UK for History and 5th in the UK for Philosophy (The Guardian University Guide 2018). 
  • 91% for overall satisfaction for Philosophy and 93% for overall satisfaction for History (National Student Survey 2016).
  • History at Sussex is ranked 1st for the quality of its research outputs (2014 Research Excellence Framework).

Course information

How will I study?

You learn through lectures, seminars and digital skills workshops. – helping you to become a critical historian. You study:

  • world history from 1500 to 1900
  • areas of continuity and change
  • the effects of digital media on our world.

You also develop digital history skills and learn how historians use evidence.

In Philosophy, you explore key arguments and ideas from major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. You also learn how to think logically and critically, and how to assess and form philosophical arguments.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You study global history, and:

  • focus on the ways historians have approached the past
  • discover how global connections shape the histories of human rights, democracy and migration
  • choose a specialism by region, such as modern Britain, Europe or China.

To develop your research skills, you carry out a project to tackle historical debates on topics including Thatcher’s Britain or the coming of the American Civil War.

You explore the history of philosophy in greater detail and develop your debating skills. You study Immanuel Kant and the central parts of his theoretical and practical philosophy. Options can also include aesthetics, feminist philosophy and Plato.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

“I have benefited from meeting students from all over the world, and being able to find out their view of history and society.” Hannah DavenportHistory BA
Studied abroad in Tokyo

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

“I’ve grown in confidence, learnt new skills, and have a better understanding of what’s out there at the end of my university experience.” Joanna ClarkHistory and Sociology BA
Press Office Assistant, Sainsbury's

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period or optional placement. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

In History, you choose your special subject and work with an expert, handling primary sources and relevant materials. You also work on your dissertation (an original archive-based project on a topic you choose) with a tutor.

As you work on this, you study how past and present perspectives interact in areas of controversy and debate, and develop your comparative historical understanding.

You study philosophy in-depth, tailoring your study to your interests with options ranging from:

  • ethics to metaphysics
  • the philosophy of language to literary philosophy
  • modern European philosophy to Islamic philosophy.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

Find out more about studying History at the University of Sussex

“My work on love led to me helping Masterchef host Gregg Wallace trace his family history on Who Do You Think You Are?” Professor Claire LanghamerProfessor of Modern British History

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Details of our scholarships are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates are highly employable – 98% of­ Department of History students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have gone on to a range of jobs, including:

  • engagement officer, the Challenge
  • research and social policy internship, Brighton and Hove Community Works
  • production and support administrator, JobsGoPublic.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

With a History and Philosophy degree, you gain analytical, communication, writing and research skills. This means you could go on to further study or sectors such as:

  • production companies and broadcasters
  • the Civil Service, the Government and health service
  • heritage and museums.

You can also attend career events where you can meet graduate employers. Outside the classroom, you can join our Philosophy Society where you:

  • get involved in philosophical debates
  • attend talks by visiting speakers
  • network with other philosophy students.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Paradox and Argument

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to help you to become reflective about the way arguments work by looking at a number of paradoxes.  

Paradoxes puzzle and perplex us. If you're going to sort them out, you have to clearly lay out the arguments and assumptions that lie behind the puzzlement and perplexity. And doing that helps you to see how to analyse arguments more generally.

You'll see that most paradoxes have several solutions. Understanding the reasons in favour of different solutions will help you to see how arguments work, and how assumptions are often in play – ones that you may not have thought about before.

The Early Modern World

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to what may be an unfamiliar period of history by exploring some of the central themes of early modern history, and the various ways in which they have been debated by historians. It also equips you with the writing and research skills essential for a successful university career.

Focusing on the period between 1500 and 1700, debates over social polarisation, cultural differentiation, cultures of Protestantism, the context of the English civil war, issues of gender, and the meanings of monarchy and republicanism will be examined.

Early Modern Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to assumptions, arguments and ideas from major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries that ground the empiricist and rationalist traditions. These philosophers include Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Spinoza.

You examine these assumptions, arguments and ideas in the context of contemporary discussions of the issues, in order to promote understanding both of the concerns which lie at the heart of much contemporary philosophy and of the history of those concerns.

The Making of the Modern World

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce a period of momentous social, political and cultural change in British and European history by focusing on some of the key debates that have preoccupied its historians.

Historical controversies over events such as the British Union, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution will be examined and used to introduce various historiographical approaches.

You will consider central themes such as gender, popular culture, conceptions of the state (from absolutism to democracy), sociostructural and demographic change, and empire and nationalism, which will give you a range of perspectives on the past and issues of continuity and change.

Existentialism

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The module critically engages with thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sarte, de Beauvoir, Camus, Arendt and Murdoch.

You examine themes such as human freedom, the relation between faith and reason and the absurd. You trace the development of existential ideas in philosophical, religious, poetic and fictional works, asking why this movement in particular seems to have led to such a rich intermingling of philosophy and literature.

You conclude your studies by considering some of the political and ethical consequences of existentialism.

Science and Reason

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Science has a special status in our understanding of the world. Several of the earlier philosophers of the modern era were active and innovative scientists in their own right, and the model of scientific understanding has shaped the way philosophy has been done right up to the present day.

Some have tried to develop a specifically scientific kind of philosophy; others have tried to separate the task of philosophy from that of science.

In this module, you pursue questions about the relation between science and philosophy, looking in detail at particular texts (which may be drawn from any period) for which these issues are important.

Truth and Morality: The Meaning of Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you study the central issues of morality – examining both the kinds of considerations that might be appealed to in moral arguments, and the status of moral arguments themselves.

What should we bear in mind when deciding whether to eat meat, or whether to help someone, or whether to fight a war?

In what sense are the decisions we make right? How can a moral argument be a good argument? Are some people wiser than others? Is there any truth in moral relativism? You will tackle these and related issues from a range of theoretical positions.

Logic and Meaning

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module you will be introduced to the basic ideas and methods of (modern) elementary formal logic. The emphasis will be on using logic as a tool to evaluate arguments. You will be introduced to logical concepts such as truth-functionality, logical form, subject/predicate, validity, and derivability. We will also consider related issues concerning meaning, such as the meaning of ordinary-language conditionals; the distinction between literal meaning and conversational implicatures, and the distinction between referring expressions and quantifiers.

Reading Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to spend time reading a small number of philosophical texts very closely. Different tutors may choose different texts.

You are taught to develop the kind of attentiveness to detail which is important philosophically.

Society, State and Humanity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you look at the fundamental answers given by Western thinkers to the question 'what is society', exploring them in conjunction with answers to the questions 'what is the state?' and 'what is a human being?'.

There is a particular focus on the question of whether humans can be said to exist prior to society or only as constituted by it.

Conceptions of society, state and humanity studied may include those of Plato, Aristotle, St. Paul, Hobbes, Smith, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and feminist and postmodern critiques of these.

Please note: this module has some overlap in content with the second year module 'Modern Political Thought,' which is a core module for students studying joint honours Politics and Philosophy.

Ideas of History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you learn about the revival of classical ideas and politics during the Renaissance and Reformation, the debate between ancients and moderns in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the nature of modern political thought as it developed from the middle of the 19th century to the present day.

The aim is to give you an ability to place modern ideas about politics in their historical context, through the study of central figures and themes whose writings continue to be cited in political argument.

The authors considered include: Machiavelli, Milton, Hobbes, Locke, Harrington, Mandeville, Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau, Smith, Bentham, Hegel, Constant, Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, Lenin, Gramsci, Schmitt, Arendt, Chomsky, and Rawls.

You look at:

  • virtue and security
  • the origins of democracy
  • absolutism and empire
  • perpetual peace
  • reason of state and amoral politics
  • the debate about commerce, luxury and markets
  • the size of the state and its form of government
  • the nature of liberty and the means of maintaining it
  • totalitarianism and slavery in politics
  • modern democracy, philosophy and the modern state
  • civil liberty, war and empire.

Kant

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

You are introduced to some of the central issues in Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy.

Topics covered include:

  • Kant's doctrine of the subjective nature of space and time; causation
  • the self and selfidentity; freedom and moral agency
  • duty and the moral law
  • the question as to the meaning and coherence of Kant's 'idealism.'

Global History 1500-2000: Trade, Science, Environment and Empire

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you look at how global history has helped us understand the past, the present and the future.

You'll study how societies and communities have interacted with each other through history, and explore the emergence of an integrated global society.

You look at:

  • communication and war
  • race, slavery and anti-slavery
  • colonial encounters and environments
  • civil and human rights
  • global order and disorder
  • empire, science, trade and environment.

You also study the emergence of the 'great divergence,' the widening gap in the 19th century between living standards in the Atlantic basin and those in the rest of the world, and the global expansion of European empires.

Ancient Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module we will look at some central themes in the works of Plato, concentrating especially on ethics and metaphysics. We will examine the attempts to define virtues in some supposedly early dialogues, and the central Socratic ethical claim that it is impossible to do wrong knowingly. These issues will be pursued into the central moral argument of the Republic. We will also look at the so-called 'theory of forms' as it appears in various dialogues, including (especially) the Republic and the criticisms of it which are made in the Parmenides. We will consider Plato's philosophy of art in connection with the theory of forms.

Feminist Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Feminist philosophy covers a range of issues.

At the applied end, it is concerned with issues of particular political relevance to women, such as discrimination and equality, and ethical issues surrounding reproduction.

At the more abstract end, it is concerned with whether Western philosophical approaches and conclusions are themselves a product of patriarchy. 

In this module, you explore such themes.

History Short Period: America in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module probes the social, political and economic development of the United States since the end of the Reconstruction era. It is organised on a broadly chronological basis with primary stress on key topics such as:

  • the emergence of racial segregation in the south
  • the construction of a modern, industrial society
  • the emergence of the United States as a 'great power'
  • progressive reform
  • the economic crisis of the 1930s
  • the American experience in World War II and the ensuing Cold War
  • the civil rights and 'New Left' movements of the 1960s, and the concomitant rise of conservativism.

Notable themes include the growth of federal power, the steady erosion of localism, the development of a corporate-dominated consumer society, the limitations of modern liberalism and the political influence of American religion.

The module will apprise you with landmark political change, such as the failure of populism and the changing Republican party constituency in the South, as well as important legal rulings such as Brown v Board of Education, and Roe v Wade. A close analysis of the New Deal, a transformational moment in 20th-century US history, frames an extended assessment of the rise and fall of the so-called 'New Deal order'.

In addition, you will become familiarised with critical historiographical debates over the role of American labour, the impact of war on American society and culture, and the growth of the imperial presidency.

Although the focus is primarily on domestic events and structural trends, the United States' growing engagement with the wider world receives full attention.

History Short Period: Britain in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module concentrates on British history since 1914. You will be introduced to some of the major themes in the social, cultural and to a lesser extent, economic and political, history of 20th-century Britain, and will critically examine the most important contributions and debates within the historiography of each topic.

You will also be introduced to some of the sources available to the historian of this period. We will cover a number of topics including war, work, leisure, youth culture, and immigration, in a broadly chronological fashion.

Fundamentally, the module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to a historical understanding of Britain across the 20th century.

History Short Period: Europe in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module addresses the long sweep of European history from the First World War to the present.

While essentially chronological in structure, it hinges around the apparent contrast between the two halves of the century. On the one hand, the history of 20th-century Europe in particular has been overshadowed by the disastrous events of the first half of the century. On the other, and from a bird's eye point of view, the second half of the century seemingly forms the prosperous 'happy ending' to what has sometimes been called the 'Age of Extremes'. The extent to which Europe has escaped the influence of the first part of the century will therefore be one of the key questions of the module.

Alongside this consideration of the overall narrative structure of 20th-century European history, you are invited to take a broad comparative approach. The module identifies specific themes of overall importance and explores how they emerge within particular national trajectories. The module therefore ranges across Europe as a whole, cutting across distinctions of east and west, north and south, and encompasses a way of approaching certain events that is designed to draw out common features across the continent over the last century.

History Short Period: South Asia Since 1880

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This second-year module examines the history of South Asia since 1880. It concentrates on the impact of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent and on the formation of the modern South Asian states of India and Pakistan.

The culture of colonialism, the nature of the colonial state and the emergence of nationalism are themes which are explored. Gandhi and his nonviolent struggle for Indian independence emerges as one of the defining moments of Indian nationalism.

The key themes of the module are colonialism, nationalism and the emergence of the postcolonial nation states of India and Pakistan. The module is taught by lectures and seminars.

History Short Period: The Middle East and North Africa since 1908

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the key political, social, cultural and economic themes in Middle Eastern and North African history since 1908.

You look at the:

  • politics of reformism
  • impact of World War One
  • rise of pan-Arab nationalism
  • impact of World War Two
  • foundation of Israel
  • end of British and French Empires
  • Suez and the politics of pan-Arabism
  • rise of political Islam.

Philosophy of Mind

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will examine the nature of the mind, employing the procedures of analytic philosophy. We will be concerned with the nature of thought and of mental representation, addressing such questions as the following. How are mental properties and physical properties related? Are beliefs and desires the causes of actions? Could we have thoughts even if there were no world? What grounds the authority we appear to have over claims about the contents of our own minds? How are we to understand the nature of consciousness ?

1953: Monarchs and Murders

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In 1953 the British press and public were fixated on two events unfolding in the nation's capital. The first was the coronation of the new monarch, Elizabeth II. The second was the discovery of serial killer, John Christie's, murder victims at a house in North Kensington.

In this module, you explore what these two parallel events tell us about society and culture in Britain in the 'New Elizabethan Age.' 

You look at: 

  • the tension between tradition and modernity in Britain
  • concerns about sexuality, race and national decline
  • the resilience of the British monarchy
  • the status of empire in Britain during the mid-century
  • the press coverage of the Christie murders
  • the impact of Commonwealth immigration on British society in this period.

Aesthetics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Aesthetics is concerned with two sorts of philosophical questions: questions about aesthetic experience and judgment, and questions about art.

They are connected, insofar as art is thought to be one of the primary sources of aesthetic experience.

However, not every question in aesthetics is about art; and not all questions about art are about aesthetic experience.

In this module you tackle questions raised by aesthetics in this wide sense, and will approach them from an "analytic" perspective.

Epistemology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Epistemology is a central philosophical area and pertains to issues concerned with knowledge and how we acquire it.

In this module, you concentrate on current issues in contemporary epistemology, though your studies are also informed by certain important historical debates and figures.

You address questions that may include:

  • what is knowledge?
  • is certain knowledge a genuine possibility?
  • what makes a belief justified?
  • is there such a thing as epistemic virtue?
  • what are the special problems surrounding inductive knowledge?
  • does one have special privileged access to knowledge about one's own mind?
  • how might perception best be characterised?

Phenomenology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Over 50 years ago, Merleau-Ponty began his great work The Phenomenology of Perception with the words: "what is phenomenology?" It may seem strange that this question has still to be asked half a century after the first works of Husserl appeared. The aim of this module is to continue to ask that question about the nature of what has become one of the most important philosophical movements in the last hundred years, and it does so by examining some of the key texts of the philosophers most influenced by, and most critical of, the founder of that movement, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). These philosophers include Heidegger (1889-1976), Sartre (1905-1980), Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), Levinas (1906-1995), and Derrida (1930-2004), and they cannot be properly understood unless their relationship to Husserl's philosophy is examined.

Overall, phenomenology attempts to focus on "how" things appear to us rather than simply asking "what" these things are. Themes to be discussed include the nature of perception, the role of the sciences, the impact of emotions, the body and intersubjectivity.

A reader with photocopies of the most important texts for this module can be purchased in the first session.

Philosophy of Religion

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to encourage you to engage with different perspectives on the philosophy of religion, drawing on analytic and continental sources.

You start with a methodological discussion and an examination of different approaches to the question of how philosophy can contribute to religious knowledge and understanding.

You cover topics including the existence of God, providence and free will, and the morality of afterlife.

One question that arises out of this discussion concerns the appropriateness of treating 'God' as a peculiar kind of object. You consider this question in relation to phenomenological and existentialist approaches that focus on religious experience and also approaches that focus on the meaning of religious terms and the nature of belief.

You conclude by considering current debates about religion and science and the role of religion in everyday life.

 

Philosophy of Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The philosophy of science explores, among other things: the nature of laws and scientific explanation; the distinctive character of science and of how science progresses; realism/anti-realism about the theoretical entities posited by scientific theories. This module will introduce you to these issues and the central arguments involved. You will also explore notions integral to science, such as time, natural kinds, counterfactual support and causation.

Time and Place 1851: Science, Empire and Exhibitionism

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In 1851, the census results revealed that Britain's population stood at about 20 million, having more than doubled in the first half of the century. But what was more astonishing was that the majority of the British people now lived in towns and cities. At mid-century, Britons were living in what one contemporary observer called 'the age of great cities'.

This course will examine life in Victorian town and cities by using contemporary poetry, novels and journalism to analyse people's experiences of modernity. The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace was, in many ways, an exhibition of the things the Victorians perceived as having changed their world, from cheap, manufactured consumer goods, to the latest scientific discoveries and devices, and above all the wealth of the expanding empire.

The sciences and technologies that were exhibited in 1851, and which made the exhibition itself possible, are central topics for this course. However, the Exhibition put the Victorians themselves on display, allowing large crowds from diverse classes to meet in public and celebrate their sense of themselves as a unified, modern nation. This course will subject the Victorians' self-congratulatory sense of themselves to close critical scrutiny.

Time and Place 1937: Mass Observation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the diverse ways in which the everyday lives of so-called ‘ordinary people’ were documented and analysed across the middle years of the twentieth century. The module spins around a case study of the British group, Mass Observation, an organisation established in 1937 with the aim of creating ‘anthropology of ourselves’. Its approach was eclectic but included social investigation, often based in particular localities, the accumulation of diaries, and the collection of responses to a monthly questionnaire called a ‘directive’.

Following the establishment of the Mass-Observation Archive at Sussex University in the 1970s, a new Mass-Observation Project emerged which continues to generate life histories up to the present. Taken as a whole this material offers mediated access to the ways in which individual men and women experienced, perceived and remember the profound social cultural, political and economic shifts of the twentieth century. It also demonstrates clear shifts in the value attached to lived experience and allows us to explore the interrelatedness of social research practices and historical context.

Throughout the module the research practices and findings of Mass Observation are set alongside the work of documentary filmmakers and photographers, journalists, state-sponsored organisations and social scientists. What does their work tell us about the changing nature of mid-twentieth century Britain and who, ultimately, has the authority to represent the lives of ordinary people?

Time and Place 1957: Ghana's Independence and Africa's Postcolonial Dream

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You explore African economic, political and intellectual history and examine influential writings by economists, anthropologists and political scientists. You also look at key texts in postcolonial thought and literature. 

In this module you study topics, including: 

  • paths to decolonisation and the heritage of colonialism
  • African capitalism and socialism
  • military governments and dictatorships in the 1970s
  • capitalism and apartheid in South Africa
  • the uneven trajectory of Pan-Africanism
  • agriculture, industry and economic growth
  • the World Bank, neoliberalism and structural adjustment policies in the 1980s
  • the political economy of war and state failure
  • the challenges of HIV and Ebola.

Time and Place 1992: Fortress Europe

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you analyse how national policies in the 20th century have contributed to shaping refugee policies in the European Union. 

You examine how Europe has dealt with large numbers of people seeking help, and why there has been some resistance with the creation of restrictive legislation.  

You explore:

  • the reasons for this ever more stringent approach
  • its implementation from drafting restrictive legislation to setting up especially trained police forces guarding the borders
  • how refugees are housed and treated once they have crossed the border, legally or illegally
  • (political) self-organisation by refugees to safeguard their interest
  • the chances of being granted asylum or even integrated into the host society.

Time and Place 2008: The Spectacle of the Beijing Olympics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you explore the socio-spatial transformation of Chinese cities, with particular emphasis on Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

You analyse each city's history, its multi-layered society, its distinctive culture, its politics and economics, and its evolving position in national, regional and global frameworks. 

You look at major Chinese events including the Beijing Olympics.

You also examine how Beijing's political power has been constructed, how it is expressed, maintained and reproduced, and will also analyse how citizenship is defined, investigating the relationship between Beijing citizens, migrants and foreign settlers.

Time and Place: 1796: Lithography and the Mass Produced Image

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Time and Place: 1831: Slave Revolts

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In August 1831, Nat Turner launched the most significant slave revolt in American history. Murdering 60 whites in a bloody spree, Turner's revolt convulsed the region. Seventy two hours later, militia units crushed the revolt. The backlash was frenzied with at least one hundred enslaved people executed by local militiamen. Yet despite Turner's subsequent execution, neither the rebel slave nor the insurrection he initiated could be entirely exorcized from the minds of contemporary southerners.

In December 1831, 60,000 enslaved people in western Jamaica rebelled against the island's slaveholding elite. It was the final, and one of the largest, revolts in the history of Caribbean slavery.

These revolts laid bare the revolutionary capability of enslaved people, they exposed the enmity that most slaves bore toward their masters, and they visibly revealed that enslaved people would adopt desperate means to secure their freedom. They also demonstrated how enslaved peoples utilized evangelical and small-scale trading networks to mobilize communities. And the revolts exposed how rebel leaders exploited national and transatlantic tensions over the future of slavery and harnessed direct action to the political tide of anti-slavery in Britain and America. But the frenzied backlash also revealed white anxieties over slavery, the nature of race, and the longeveity of slavery. As enslaved rebels demonstrated their rage against slaveholders and their aspirations for freedom, whites responded with fear, resentment, and paranoia to the rebel threat. Some condemned outside agitators, notably vocal abolitionists and evangelical liberals, while others redoubled their commitment to racialized slavery.

This module will address:

  1. the role of enslaved peoples (and the concept of 'agency') in shaping liberation movements in a comparative context
  2. the factors underpinning the disintegration of Jamaican slavery and its defense in America
  3. the growth of anti-slavery in the Anglophone Atlantic and the expansion of abolitionist sentiment in Britain and the USA
  4. white slaveholding identities and meanings attached to slave ownership, including anxieties surrounding the loss of white racial authority during and after the revolts
  5. the value of comparative methodologies for understanding historical change.

In short, the module examines the material, political, psychological, and gendered parameters to racial slavery and emancipation within the early nineteenth-century Atlantic world and considers the rise and fall of slavery in two key settings.

Time and Place: 1861: The Coming of the American Civil War

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module you explore the causes of the American Civil War.

You study:

  • President Polk's decision to go to war against Mexico in 1846
  • the Compromise of 1850
  • the demise of a national party system that had held the Union together since the 1830s
  • the rise of North-South tensions in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • the sources of southern proslavery nationalism in the 1850s
  • the rise of the antislavery Republican Party
  • the South's response to Lincoln's election.

Time and Place: 1938: Kristallnacht

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

During the night of 9 November 1938, SS and SA forces launched an assault on German Jews, their property, their synagogues, and their businesses. This so-called ‘Kristallnacht’ can be understood as a violent rehearsal for the Holocaust, which Nazi Germany implemented three years later. It also marks the end of over a century of a prolific and (mostly) peaceful co-existence between Jews and Christian non-Jews.

In this module, you learn about the relationship between Jews and Christian non-Jews since the early 19th century. You look at the complex processes of political emancipation, of social integration, and of cultural adaptation through which Jews became an integral part of the German political, social and cultural life. At the same time, these processes changed Jewish religious, economic, social and cultural life.

You'll focus on the period from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the Holocaust, emphasising Jewish life in Imperial and Weimar Germany, as well as under Nazism. You'll discuss issues of Jewish identity along with aspects of modern anti-Semitism.

Time and Place: 1942: Holocaust

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module offers an opportunity to study the attempt by the Nazis to create a new world order by annihilating the Jews of Europe and targeting other groups – including gay people, gypsies and people with disabilities – for discrimination and death. It provides a multilayered examination of the transition from prejudice to exclusion, to extermination, placing the Holocaust within the broader conceptual framework of genocide in the 20th century. 

The module will consider issues such as: how was the so-called 'Final Solution to the Jewish problem' put into effect? Why is 1942 a key year in the development of the Final Solution? What part was played by the perpetrators across occupied Europe? It will deal with the reaction of the victim, and explore possibilities of resistance. It will ask whether is it accurate to characterise most people as bystanders, and will discuss the rescue options. The module will also deal with question of justice and memory.

Studying what happened will inevitably raise many questions about why it happened. The module will pay close attention to how it was possible for such a plan of mass murder to be carried out so effectively in such a short time at the hub of western civilisation; a plan which relied on the active involvement of many people and the acquiescence of even more.

Time and Place: 1984: Thatcher's Britain (Observing the 1980s)

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984 describes a totalitarian government bent on total manipulation. For many on the left, Margaret Thatcher's government represented elements of an 'Orwellian' state, in which the social democratic consensus established after the end of the Second World War was replaced by a free-enterprise economy and a centralised state. For those on the political right, the 1980s Thatcher governments championed the reassertion of individualism, British nationalism and a retreat from the so-called 'nanny state' in which the fight against the 'enemy within' was as important as the fight against the enemy without. In cultural terms, most writers point to the 1980s as being marked by creative pessimism, with 'anti-Thatcherism' the dominant cultural theme.

This course will examine key events of the 1980s and reflect upon whether Margaret Thatcher's most famous quote, 'There is no such thing as society', is a suitable epitaph for the 1980s. Topic studied include: the 1982 Falklands War; the 1984 miners' strike; the reemergence of mass unemployment, peaking in 1986 at over 3.5 million; privatisation of industry and challenge to trade union power; and the violent mass protest against the Community Charge in 1990.

Rather than producing a top-down political history of the period, this course is interested in exploring the wide variety of evidence available to the contemporary historian. It is built around the 'Observing the Eighties' project which includes oral histories from the British Library and holdings of the Mass Observation Archive and ephemera from the University of Sussex.

Time and Place:1780 The Gordon Riots: Blood Community and Retribution - London 1780

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

History Special Dissertation

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This is a final-year module, which will require you to address an historical problem in depth. You will set your own research project and its questions, resolve those questions by means of a module involving the design of a research outline and the carrying out of your own research on primary historical sources. You will also develop the skills necessary to write an extended piece of written work based on this (usually archival) research.

Ethics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You look at the central questions in normative ethics and meta-ethics.

These include:

  • what makes an action right
  • whether there are moral rules
  • whether there are moral facts, and if so, how they can be known
  • whether there are external moral reasons; and of the relation between moral truths and non-moral truths.

Positions to be examined include non-cognitivism, naturalism, non-naturalism, internalism and externalism.

Metaphysics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of reality.

In this module, you focus in particular on questions to do with realism and anti-realism.
(Realism here is understood to be the view that the nature of the world as it is in itself is altogether independent of anything to do with thought about it or representation of it - anti-realism is some form of reluctance to embrace realism.)

You trace the issue as it arises within empiricism, moving on to a modern approach to these concerns that arises out of ways of addressing the relation between language and the world.

Modern European Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Inthis module, you investigate the work of some of the key European philosophers of the past two hundred years.

You study: Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Levinas, Lukacs. Adorno, Arendt, Foucault, Derrida and Habermas.

You examine some of the most signifcant work done in two or more of the following traditions:

  • phenomenology
  • hermeneutics
  • deconstruction
  • critical theory
  • dismodule ethics
  • feminism.

Because of the wealth of thinkers and ideas in the area, the module can vary substantially from year to year; in each year, there will be one or more unifying themes, such as critique, art, truth, faith, law, or ethics.

Philosophy of Language

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you focus on the nature of language in general and the meaning of particular kinds of expression.

You look at influential works of the analytic tradition by Frege, Russell, Quine, Grice, Kripke, Putnam and Davidson.

You consider the meaning of words, for example:  

  • whether we should distinguish between sense or cognitive significance and reference
  • how we manage to refer to things
  • how to make sense of claims about necessity and about what people think
  • how names and natural­kind terms work
  • how we might respond to scepticism about meaning.

Special Subject: Britain and the Second World War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module concentrates on the impact of the Second World War on social, cultural, economic and political relations in Britain 1938-45. The extent to which the war had a profound impact on British society is the subject of vigorous debate among historians in secondary literature. A complicated historiography exists for many of the topics included in this module, and the reasons for this changing interpretation of the past will be explored.

The topics covered by this module include:

  • 1930s appeasement
  • civil defence and preparation for war
  • civilian evacuation
  • the Blitz
  • the fall of Chamberlain and the Churchill coalition government
  • Dunkirk evacuation
  • war economy
  • rationing
  • agriculture
  • women in factories and auxiliary services
  • combatants' experience
  • D-Day landings
  • American service personnel in Britain
  • Beveridge report and the post-war welfare state
  • the General Election of 1945.

The emphasis of 'Special Subjects' is to examine a particular period in detail using primary sources and subsequent monographs and articles.

Primary sources include: Parliamentary Papers, government publications, contemporary social investigation and comment, contemporaneous essays and monographs, oral historical accounts, memoirs and diaries, films, paintings, poems, photographs, etc. Subsequent analysis focuses on secondary sources, in the form of books and articles.

Special Subject: Domesticity and its Discontents: Women in Post-War Britain

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the history of women in Britain from the end of the Second World War to the rise of Second Wave Feminism, with a particular focus on the 1950s. The fifties have been associated with the 'new look' in fashion, a movement back into the home and the efflorescence of women's and girls' magazines. Recent historiography, however, points to more complex social and economic experiences: the period is increasingly seen as one of contradiction and instability. Historians are beginning to ask new questions about femininity, desire and representation in the period, and there is a wealth of comparatively unexplored source material available allowing ample opportunities for original essay and dissertation research.

This module will cover a number of topics including girlhood, sexuality, prostitution, crime, migration, motherhood, employment, domesticity, politics and pleasure, locating these within the wider context of post-war British history.

You will be introduced to a range of source material including social surveys, film, parliamentary papers, magazines, oral history, autobiographies and the Mass Observation Archive, and will be instructed in the use of these sources.

The module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to a historical understanding of the complex social position of women in the period, the broader context of postwar Britain and the nature of historical representation and change. Our key focus is upon the ways in which historians set about interpreting and understanding the past. What kinds of 'evidence' do they use, and what are the problems involved in using these various kinds of evidence?

Special Subject: End of Empire: Nationalism, Decolonisation and the British Raj in India 1937-1950

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

You will examine the national movement in late colonial India in the context of decolonisation. Concentrating on the last phase of colonial rule you will examine the changing relationship between the Indian National Congress and the Raj and discuss the different imaginings of the Indian nation both by political parties such as the Congress and the Muslim league and also peasants, workers and women. Gandhi and his non-violence movement emerges as a key feature of the period. His ultimate failure and the resulting partition of India is an important focus of the module. Partition violence and the upheaval of the years leading up to the creation of the democratic Republic of India in 1950 will also form part of the study.

In seeking to redress the elitist bias in Indian history the module draws upon subaltern historiography in order to understand popular consciousness at the time of decolonisation. The perspectives of colonial policy makers such as Lord Mountbatten, Viceroy at the time of independence and other important government functionaries will also be considered. Decolonisation was presaged on may things, but most importantly on Britain's role in the changing world. The creation of the Republic of India was to make India into the largest democracy in the world. The first term will concentrate on general issues related to the subject while in the second term emphasis will be placed on the use of primary sources that throw light on the issues raised in the first term.

Special Subject: Genocide

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

Genocide, the term and the concept, was invented by Raphael Lemkin at the end of the Second World War in an attempt to intellectually grasp the horrors of what Churchill called a 'crime without a name': the Shoah. And it was Raphael Lemkin who in 1948 succeeded to get the UN General Assembly to ratify the Genocide Convention to prevent similar crimes in the future. Since then the term has become widely used in public and in academic scholarship describing mass murders as far back as the Assyrian Empire, but the practice did not come to an end with the Shoah turning the concept of genocide into a pivotal analytical tool in understanding the violent history of the 20th century.

Throughout the module you will combine an in-depth analysis of various genocides with an investigation of genocide as a generic concept. In the first part, you will examine the international discussion leading up to the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the Shoah as the event which not only shaped the specific content of the convention but also guaranteed the necessary support at the General Assembly. In the second part you will analyse case studies ranging from the killing of the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa to Darfur focussing mainly but not only on the social dynamics that lead to mass killings, the motivation of the perpetrators and the construction of the victim groups. In the last part, you will examine and contrasts various recent definitions of what constitutes genocide, exploring their merits and limitations and discussing alternative concepts.

Special Subject: Gone with the Wind? The Civil War in American Memory

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

The ongoing sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War in the United States highlights the continuing capacity of that sanguinary conflict to generate controversy in the present.

This module provides you with a detailed examination of the war's impact on generations of Americans since 1865. It focuses specifically on the construction of southern white, African American and official unionist memories of the Civil War. These three key strains of historical memory evolved in the late nineteenth century under the press of postbellum reconciliation between North and South and the concomitant growth of a segregated society. They took a variety of forms, notably the potent and profoundly racist 'Lost Cause' memory of the Confederate cause which underpinned the Jim Crow South for more than half a century, a marginalised African-American 'counter-memory' which sought to keep alive remembrance of emancipation and black military service in the armed forces of the United States, and an official national memory which depicted the Civil War as a tragic brothers' war which nevertheless had the effect of unifying and strengthening the United States in preparation for its emergence on the world stage as a Great Power.

The module will focus on the impersonal social and economic forces at work in the construction of these distinctive and frequently intertwined memories as well as the inherently political activities of different groups involved in the memory-making process. These groups include southern white women who founded the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the veterans themselves who contributed significantly to sectional reconciliation, novelists, poets and historians of all kinds, filmmakers and dramatists, and politicians with a wide range of vested interests. The module will introduce students to a broad range of illustrative 'texts' in order to familiarise them with the diverse manifestations of Civil War memory – not only writings by Ulysses S. Grant, Carl Sandburg, and Douglas Southall Freeman but also monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC; movies like Gone With the Wind and Glory; and commemorative events including the ill-fated centennial of the 1960s which was moulded by both the Cold War and the modern civil rights movement.

In many respects the module functions as a detailed case study in historical memory, a concept of growing interest to historians and one that has already generated a rich secondary literature. You will be encouraged to engage closely with this broader literature in order to make cross-national comparisons and to apply at least a modicum of theory to the primary and secondary texts at their disposal.

Special Subject: Modernism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module looks at the history of political and aesthetic modernism. Particular attention is paid to the relation between demands for political revolution on the one hand, and demands for cultural innovation and artistic experimentation on the other.

Authors and artists include Baudelaire, Marx, Rimbaud, Kafka, Cezanne, Adorno and Beckett. Movements include impressionism, postimpressionism, anarchism, communism, surrealism and situationism.

No detailed prior knowledge of art or literature is required; slides, AV material, and films will be used where appropriate.

Special Subject: Palestine in Transition, 1900-1948: Everyday Life in Times of Change

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

Special Subject: Reforming Islam in the 20th Century: Modernism, Revivalism, Extremism, Terrorism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

The place of Islam in Muslim society and culture has been a site of contestation since the colonial and imperial challenges of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This module investigates how Islam fits into modernising Muslim communities throughout the 20th century, paying particular attention to global flows of people, ideas and technologies. 

The module focuses on how different Muslim communities have answered a key question: what role should Islam play in politics, society, and culture? It traces the development of three major trends, modernism, revivalism, and extremism. Over half of the module focuses on introducing students to Egyptian social, cultural, political, and religious history between 1900–1950, with the assumption that they will not have studied Middle Eastern or Islamic history previously. Occasionally, we will compare Egyptian events to related religious developments in South Asia. 

The module is grounded in a focus on Islam in three related places – Egypt, India and Indonesia. This develops your understanding of the social, cultural, and political histories of these places as well as the position of Islam within them. In the second term, you use your understanding of Islamic reform in the first half of the century to the study developments between 1950 and 2001, including political Islam, terrorism, and the fight of more liberal groups against both Islamism and extremism. The focus on three specific places facilitates understanding of developments in Islamic thought and enables you to draw on a wider range of source material. This includes English-language primary and secondary sources such as intellectual treatises, publications and documents from specific associations and states, media coverage, autobiographical writing and oral history, and government documents.

Below are sample topics for the module.

Egypt (1900-1950):

  • reform, modernisation, and change: nationalism, Islam and the growth of the middle class in Egypt 
  • colonialism, nationalism, and reading of sources
  • Islamic modernism in the Middle East
  • reform of religious education in Cairo
  • the abolition of the caliphate and its aftermath
  • the Muslim Brotherhood: Islam as an ideology
  • the Muslim Brotherhood and new religious leaders.

(1950-2001):

  • Sayyid Qutb and the emergence of extremist thought
  • religiously-motivated violence in Egypt: The assassins of President Anwar Sadat (1981).

India (1900-1950):

  • Syed Khan and Islamic modernism in South Asia
  • new styles of religious education in South Asia
  • the caliphate debate in South Asia: The Khilafat movement and beyond.

(1950-2001):

  • Mawlana Mawdudi and extremist thought in South Asia.

Political Islam (1950-2001):

  • political Islam in Saudi Arabia: Wahhabis, Salafis, and the Saudi royal family
  • political Islam in Iran: New ideas about religious leadership
  • Arab Spring and political Islam: Islamists, Salafis, and democratic elections
  • 'liberal' Islam: combating Islamism and the 'Islamic State'.

Global Islam: Modernism, Extremism, Revivalism (1950-2001):

  • Islam in the West: Islam in Britain as a case study
  • female religious leadership and struggles against extremism
  • militant Islam in Pakistan and Afghanistan
  • Osama Bin Laden's declaration of war.

Special Subject: Religion and the Emergence of Modern Science, 1620-1880

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you analyse religion and examine how the emergence of modern science effected faith between 1620 and 1880. 

You question whether religion and science are incompatible, and gain an insight into the history of science, the history of religious thought and the connection between historical events and key debates in modern times.

Special Subject: The Century of the Gene

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

At the beginning of the 20th century no-one knew anything about genetics (the word itself had yet to be coined), yet by the century's end you could buy cheap, do-it-yourself genetic tests on the internet. You will investigate the ways in which advances in scientific knowledge have affected our sense of ourselves, so that the very phrase 'human nature' has increasingly come to mean something fixed by our genes.

The language of genetics has had a powerful effect on political dismodule; the eugenic ideal of creating a superior type of human was supposed to have died with Hitler, yet seems to live on in routine genetic testing and screening, and in the fantasy of 'designer babies'. The idea of a genetic blueprint, and of being able to read, and perhaps edit and re-write, the DNA 'code', has shaped popular culture from television and cinema to novels and computer games.

You will examine a broad and diverse range of primary sources, from accessible scientific texts to science fiction (novels, TV and movies), to examples of how the mass media report science, in order to track the often imaginative uses of ideas like cloning, mutation and genetic engineering.

No knowledge of biology is needed for this module.

The goal is for you to understand the ways in which non-expert publics have understood genetics. Biology's grip on the public imagination helped it become the defining science of the 20th century. Genetics redefined the public sphere in 20th century because of the promise, or threat, that it would reshape humans and the world we live in.

Special Subject: The Civil Rights Movement

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

The civil rights movement was one of the most remarkable and important developments in twentieth century American history.

Focusing primarily on the period from the Second World War up until the end of the 1970s, you chart the course of African Americans’ fight against racial discrimination and segregation across the nation as a whole, and its impact upon American society and politics.

From the beaches of northern France to the Supreme Court, from the National Mall to the wooden shacks of the black rural South and urban ghetto streets, African Americans’ fight for racial equality and economic justice transformed many of the nation’s key institutions.

You also explore the various developments that shaped the course of black protest, including:

  • migration and urbanization
  • domestic anticommunism and anticolonial struggles worldwide
  • suburbanization and the white conservative resurgence
  • divisive struggles over foreign policy at home
  • the fight over affirmative action and busing in the 1970s.

Throughout the module, you learn about the key organisations, debates, events, and leaders of the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement that followed it. You also engage with the major historiographical debates concerning the period.

The course concludes by considering the relationship between the historical reputation of Martin Luther King and ‘master’ narrative of the period, and conservatives’ efforts to roll back the gains made by African Americans in the decades since.

Special Subject: The European Experience of the First World War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

The First World War was a pivotal event in 20th century history, which, on the eve of its centenary, provokes intense public interest and academic inquiry. This 'Special Subject' module is inspired by the vibrant cultural history in the field of First World War studies and takes a thematic approach in order to examine the European experience of the conflict in a comparative and transnational manner. Within the context of the larger political and military framework the module will explore the physical and emotional dimension of the war experience of both soldiers and civilians across Europe.

Weekly themes will include:

  • the myth and reality of war enthusiasm
  • combat and killing in industrial war
  • fear and trauma in the trenches
  • religious faith and rituals in war
  • mass death and bereavement
  • artistic responses to the conflict
  • motherhood and marriage in war
  • notions of courage and heroism
  • labour and forced labour
  • the dynamics of violence
  • atrocities, rape and genocide
  • and also the controversial issue of the memory of the war across Europe.

This module offers a fresh and challenging analysis of the conflict with a particluar emphasis on the human experience of war between 1914 and 1918.

Special Subject: War, Atrocities and the Making of International Humanitarian Law

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

Figures in Analytic Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will look in detail at the position and arguments of one or more major figures in analytic philosophy, such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Kripke or Lewis.

Figures in Post-Kantian Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in post-Kantian philosophy, such as Hegel or Heidegger.

Figures in Social and Political Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in social political philosophy, such as Rawls, Marx or Habermas.

Language, Truth and Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Drawing on resources from analytical philosophy, continental philosophy and literary theory as well as engaging with particular fictional and poetic works, this module offers a critical investigation into some of the most important issues in the philosophical treatment of literature, narrative and fiction. You consider topics such as: metaphor and metaphorical meaning; the relation between fiction and truth; the logical status of fiction; and intentionality and interpretation. You explore questions such as: what does it tell us about language that something like literature is possible? Is there a type of understanding proper to the understanding of a poem? Why is philosophy troubled by fiction and fictionality?

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