History BA

History

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
V100
Start date:
September 2018

At Sussex, history matters. To understand our rapidly changing world, you’ll learn how the past shapes the present.

You study world history from 1500 to today, with unrivalled resources at your fingertips. By working with expert historians you develop strong knowledge in your chosen field and learn how to become a practicing historian.

You'll engage directly with historical evidence of international interest in our special collections including the papers of Virginia Woolf and Rudyard Kipling, and the Mass Observation Archive, housed at The Keep, a state-of-the-art archive conservation building located next to the Sussex campus.

Sussex history degrees give you critical and transferable skills that equip you for today’s workplace.

“The wide array of topics has not only changed my area of interest, but also how I view the subject.” Augusta OliverHistory BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also 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 also 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 also 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 course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, such as a Business related course, 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?

  • Our teaching is informed by the latest research: History at Sussex is ranked 1st for the quality of its research outputs (2014 Research Excellence Framework).
  • 93% for overall satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).
  • Choice is key to our history degrees. Our modules are global – including the Middle East, Europe, Britain, America, Asia – with thematic options on gender, race, war and popular culture.

Course information

How will I study?

You are taught by practicing historians in lectures, seminars and digital skills workshops – helping you to become a critical historian.

You study world history from 1500 to 1900 and important areas of continuity and change. In workshops, you develop digital history skills and learn how digital media is transforming our world.

You also explore how historians use evidence, and take part in group projects where you evaluate historical perspectives to understand the modern world.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

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?

In lectures and group presentations, you focus on the ways historians have approached the past.

You study global history and discover how global connections shape the histories of human rights, democracy and migration. You also 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.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

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’ve benefited from meeting other students from all over the world, and finding 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.

How will I study?

You choose your special subject and work with an expert in your chosen area, 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. 

In your modules, you study how past and present perspectives interact in areas of controversy and debate, and develop your comparative historical understanding.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

School and staff

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 the academic year 2018, you'll remain eligible for financial support. This applies even if your course ends after the UK’s exit from the EU. 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

97% of­ our History BA students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates from the Department of History have gone on to a range of jobs, including:

  • engagement officer, the Challenge
  • production and support administrator, JobsGoPublic
  • account manager, Novo Energy.

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

Your future career

With a History degree from Sussex, you gain analytical, communication, writing and research skills. This, combined with digital media skills you’ll learn in workshops, means you can go into further study or sectors such as:

  • higher education
  • publishing, marketing and the media
  • heritage and museums.

You can also attend career events where you can meet a range of graduate employers and get advice from our advisers.

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

Historical Controversy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to the study of history through the critical reading of a key historical text. In this way you will gain an understanding of the complexity of the historical record and an appreciation of a range of problems associated with the interpretation of evidence.

You will also be made to think about the discipline of history and the nature of historical enquiry. Through a study of how historians have formulated and deployed their arguments, you will begin to learn to deploy ideas and to shape your own historical arguments.

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.

The History of Now

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces first-year students to applied historiography. 

Historical memory is constantly contested, and this is no less true in today's society. Any research and debate on events and movements that attract public attention – from economic cycles to social trends and global conflicts – always relies heavily on a study of past events. In search either of roots and causes, or of continuities and differences, or just of lessons learned but then forgotten, history maintains a central role in the way we understand today's world. 

This module asks what can we learn about the present through our analysis of the past, and vice versa. The module will thus focus on the historical study of themes central to contemporary debates, analysing a range of their connections with the past and the different historiographical interpretations through which they can be explored. 

The module will also act as an introduction to historical methods and approaches. The module is structured around the key elements of historical research: primary research skills and methodology, historiography and analysis. These are applied to a variety of historical events and questions in order to help you come in contact with a variety of periods, sources, and schools of thought.

The focus is less on 'what is history?' and more on 'what is history for?'. By the end of the module you will thus have developed both a firm historical perspective on current affairs, and an awareness of historical methods and your own approach to history.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

History Thematic Course: Fascisms

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Fascism, along with liberalism, communism and socialism, is one of the great political ideologies that shaped the 20th century. While Italy and Germany provided the national contexts for the most prominent, far-reaching and malevolent forms of fascism, fascistic movements were established in virtually every European country during the 1920s and '30s.In the decades following the end of the Second World War, and into the present century, moreover, fascism has continued to appeal to significant numbers of Europeans.

This module will explore the origins of fascism and trace the spread of fascist movements and ideas across a range of different national communities. It will address fascism both as a political course and as a lived social and cultural reality. You will thus be encouraged to attempt to make sense of the appeal of fascism, the crimes committed by fascists, and the contradictions inherent in fascist ideology in a thematic and comparative framework.

History Thematic Course: Gender, War and Empire in the Twentieth Century

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module offers a comparative and trans-national investigation into how armed conflict dramatizes broader changes relating to gender and race. In particular, it addresses how far the two world wars transformed the relationship between men and women, and between Europe and the non-European world.

Using the rubric of ‘empire’, you de-centre and de-familiarize prevailing narratives of 1914–1918 and 1939–1945 – not least those concerned with women’s emancipation. Broad questions are approached through focused case studies, for example:

  • masculinity, ‘whiteness’ and shell shock
  • sexual freedom and objectification in the wartime ‘pin-up’
  • Islam and the British empire 1914–1945
  • Japanese imperialism and Asian nationalism, 1931–1945.

History Thematic Course: The Enlightenment

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Both the friends and the foes of 'modernity' tend to find most of its intellectual, cultural, political, and institutional origins in the Enlightenment. The aim of this module is to provide you with an appreciation of why the period from the late-17th to the end of the 18th century is considered to be of such importance for our self-understanding.

The module is primarily concerned with the Enlightenment's modes of thought:

  • how people struggled to formulate new ideas of the natural world and its exploration
  • of animals and their rights
  • of individuality and conscience
  • of the role of emotion in morals and art
  • of religious versus secular life
  • of privacy versus the public sphere
  • of the role of women
  • of individual rights and the common good
  • of 'society' as an object of science and control
  • of the contrast between European and non-European society
  • of race and racism.

However, such ideas can be understood only in their social, political, and cultural contexts, and the module will pay due attention to the actual function of Enlightenment, both as a pan-European phenomenon and in its national and more local environments.

The module gives you the opportunity for wide and varied reading that will include politics, philosophy, theology, aesthetics, science, arts, and samples of the banned and suppressed literature of the period.

History Thematic Course: The Sixties

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the nature and significance of social, political, economic and cultural change during the 1960s. Marked by changing attitudes to authority, rises in material standards of living, the transformation of personal relationships and the emergence of new political movements and cultural formations, the decade in many ways set the political and cultural agenda for the rest of the century.

In order to assess the significance of the period, the module takes a comparative approach to the analysis of historical change during the 1960s. It uses certain themes and concepts (the body, humour, space and place, religion and belief), applying them in a variety of national and international situations to address areas such as: gender politics, sexuality and sexual identity, youth and countercultures, anti-war and civil rights movements, music and media, protest and politics.

Past and Present: Childhood and History

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

What is childhood? How have the experiences of British children changed over the past two hundred years? What roles have parents, communities, schools and governments played in influencing children's formative years?

This module looks at the experience of childhood in Britain from 1800 onwards. We start by considering the concept of 'childhood' itself, and how definitions and representations of childhood have shifted across time. We explore themes such as:

  • the place of children within the family unit
  • children at school, work and play
  • the role of the state and other organisations in safeguarding children's welfare
  • children as both the victims and perpetrators of violence.

We refer to primary sources throughout, using the voices of children whenever possible. This emphasises children as agents in their own right, rather than passive recipients of a social world created by adults. 

We examine the ways current issues shape our historical interests. For example, we consider how similar the emotional relationships of children today are to those of their 19th- and 20th-century counterparts. Twenty-first century arguments over the nature and content of the school curriculum reprise the same debates that occupied politicians and educationalists when compulsory education was established in the mid-19th century. Contemporary angst over the state's responsibility for children such as Baby P and Victoria Climbie echoes similar outrage over the deprivation suggested by Dickens's workhouse. In 1993, two 10-year-old boys murdered toddler James Bulger, but other children have also gained notoriety in the press, whether as 'juvenile delinquents' or for sexual precocity. In relating contemporary problems to their historical roots, this module will foster a deeper understanding of the relationship between history and the present.

Past and Present: Resistance and History

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

There is a contemporary resurgence of interest in the notion of resistance, whether associated with popular participation in recent movements for revolution and regime change around the world, or in protests sparked by recent financial and economic crises. This module places the idea of resistance in historical perspective, employing it as a historical category to analyse critical moments of change and transformation in the past. It considers resistance as:

  • a mode around which social movements have coalesced
  • a means to understand struggles for power within certain social configurations
  • a pattern that can dramatically shape the texture of interactions in everyday life, or the human relationship to the environment.

We begin by considering certain classic examples of resistance, including organising against the occupier in Europe during the Second World War and the resistance of colonised peoples to imperial power (for example during the decolonisation of Africa and Indochina). We then extends the paradigm to consider:

  • how resistance can shape the experiences of everyday life, including the concept of resistant youth subcultures
  • the mobilising of resistance through cultural forms such as music and art
  • resistance as a mode of survival under totalitarian regimes (for example in Eastern Europe during the Cold War)
  • resistance as a conservative mode of action – examining white resistance to civil rights in the southern USA
  • resistance to new technologies in community and environmental activism.

Finally, the module broadens the theme of resistance as a means to understand the relationship between humans and their environment, looking for examples at how responses to natural disasters have shaped ideas of human resilience and endurance, or at how modern Western ideas of masculine heroism were shaped by ideas of resisting the overwhelming forces of nature (for example in the identities of polar explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries).

Past and Present: The Concentration Camp and History

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The concentration camp embodies the power structures of the modern world to such an extent that several historians have referred to the 20th century as 'the century of the camp'. From the first colonial examples in the late 19th century to the establishment of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in 2002, the camp has played a central role in some of the most defining episodes in modern history. Probably the most notorious and well-documented concentration camp systems were those established by the Nazis and the Soviet Gulag, but forms of internment were also implemented in the Irish and Spanish civil wars, and represented an established practice in East Germany.

This module will follow a largely chronological and transnational layout and examine the inception and function of specific camp systems within their broader historical context. It will compare different cases in order to assess possible similarities, differences and continuities and comprehend the dynamics that make the camp such a powerful instrument of control.

Past and Present: The Social Network and History

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module uses historical work on the idea of civil society and social networks to analyse and contextualise the rise of contemporary digital civil society. It focuses on associational culture as a lens to provide historical examples of social networks and looks at the political, social and cultural functions of these groups (e.g. debating clubs, charity organisations, etc.).

The module works chronologically through the 19th and 20th centuries and considers practical examples of associational culture in Ireland and Britain before looking at early, transnational, digital, social networks or communities from the 1980s and 1990s. It concludes with a consideration of current ideas of the “social network” and the extent to which historical perspectives provide a fuller understanding of its significance.

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: Cinema and Society in Britain, 1935-1955

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This Special Subject is concerned with representations of British society and culture in feature films made between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s. British cinema was once derided for being both artistically limited and commercially unappealing, lacking the intellectual sophistication of continental European film or the popular appeal of Hollywood. However in the last two decades scholars have sought to revaluate British films, especially those produced in the 1940s, when Britain still possessed a relatively buoyant independent cinema industry. This reappraisal has not merely encompassed the 'quality films' of directors such as Powell and Pressburger, Carol Reed or David Lean, but also more middlebrow cinematic genres such as crime dramas, comedy and the women's costume melodrama.

While this course will test this new critical evaluation of British cinema, it is not primarily intended as a study of the history of film. Rather, it uses film as a mirror of British society in the middle decades of the 20th century, especially in regard to configurations of nation, class, gender, race and empire.

Specific topics include:

  • the composition and preferences of British cinema audiences
  • audience responses: what made the British laugh or cry when they went the movies, and what does it tell us about them?
  • how feature films portrayed the British at war between 1939 and 1945
  • how class relations were represented in film, with particular attention to claims that the working class were marginalized or trivialized in British film culture
  • how femininity, masculinity and sexuality were portrayed
  • how far issues in national politics be detected in films
  • how Britain's imperial role was registered on screen, and how far did representations of non-whites change as Britain began to disengaged from empire after 1945.

Special Subject: Digital London, 1690-1800

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

Eighteenth-century London witnessed the emergence of the most complex systems of poor relief and criminal justice Britain had ever seen. Europe's first million-person city, it also provided the backdrop for the evolution of modern manners, social relations, patterns of consumption and political ideologies. In turn, these were institutionalised in workhouses, prisons and a professional police. This module allows you to explore that cockpit of modernity, and to analyse the forces that contributed to the associated development of a new kind of society – urban, bureacratic, 'modern'.  

While building on the complex print historiography associated with 18th-century London, the module will also make use of the 240,000 pages of fully transcribed manuscripts reflecting its social history now available on the London Lives site (www.londonlives.org), and the 40 million words of transcribed trial accounts on the Old Bailey Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org). We give you an opportunity to undertake detailed research on a uniquely comprehensive set of online resources, and to devleop skills in online searching, data manipulation, and statistical and graphical representation.

Focussed on the lives of the poor and the criminal, and emplying a 'micro-history' approach, we also encourage students to explore the relationships between individual experience and agency and the development of social infrastructure.

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: From Zionism to Post Zionism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

From the late 18th century, Jews in Europe suffered from the rise of nationalism, the growth and strengthening of the nation-state, and the rise of Antisemitism. Jews in Europe reacted in various ways to the emergence of these forces. One of them was the emergence of a Jewish national movement – the Zionist movement.

While having a relatively solid institutional core, facilitating the implementation of the ideas of Zionism, the ideas themselves were less coherent and unified. At the time of its emergence and throughout the years of its growth, the meaning of Zionism was a source of debates among intellectual and practitioners, who were mostly Jews. The political success of the Zionist movement and the establishment of the state of Israel was a significant challenge to the idea of Zionism – after all, the mission had been accomplished.

However, Zionism, as an idea – or ideas, and practice, or practices – did not disappear. Instead new ideas and practices were contemplated and created. As the years passed, fundamental questions regarding the meaning of Zionism, both as a historical and contemporary phenomenon emerged. New versions and visions of Zionism were introduced. These new ideas were placed under the general and broad definition of Post Zionism.

As with Zionism, Post Zionism is not one idea, but various ideas. What is common to them all is that they question, add or deny the validity of the idea of Zionism. The course will scrutinize the meaning of the ideas that comprised Zionism and its shift to post Zionism. It will discuss the progress of Zionism as an idea and practice throughout the years of implementation (1922–1948), and the nature and meaning of challenge that the state of Israel introduced to the idea of Zionism. Finally, it will discuss the various options that are placed under the umbrella term Post Zionism.

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: Post-Punk Britain 1975-present

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module covers contemporary British history since the 1970s with a particular emphasis on popular, media and youth cultures. In particular, it uses the emergence of punk both as a specific historic moment in British popular culture (1976-77). But also as a paradigm that contains within it a range of themes, concepts and strategies that account for many of the major developments in Britain's social and cultural evolution since the 1970s.

Consequently, you explores themes such as:

  • the challenge to the post-war consensus in Britain and the disruption of settled political boundaries
  • responses to economic and institutional crisis, especially unemployment and deindustrialisation
  • the development of youth orientated DIY culture, challenging established orders through symbolic clashes and appropriation, fascinated with the tensions around the market and authenticity (the sell out and the prank)
  • new definitions of cultural radicalism and identity politics
  • the cyclical eruption of moral panics and delinquency, particularly around recreational drug use and new media technologies
  • the role of retro and revivalism in contemporary British culture
  • the evolution of the night-time economy and the regeneration of regional centres
  • fame, celebrity and banality in the media
  • obscenity, profanity and censorship.

The module is founded on a range of online archives as well as many locally available resources, and connections with a range of activists, musicians and cultural entrepreneurs. Where appropriate, site-specific seminars will further explore the connection between local and national developments.

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: The French Empire and Its Aftermath

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

The French Empire and its Aftermath is a special subject history module studied over the whole of the third year. You tackle some of the core problems of history and historical research through a detailed examination of the impact and aftermath of French Empire since 1912 in both in France and the former colonies. You work with primary source documents every week, supplemented by readings of specialised and detailed secondary literature. This course explores the complexities of visual source material (paintings, posters, photographs, film) and how these different 'ways of seeing' can be used to understand colonialism and post-colonialism. At this level, you'll be expected to:

  • be proactive in learning situations
  • present your ideas orally and in written form with a high level of skill
  • demonstrate an ability to construct arguments and lead debates.  

We examine the global impact of the French Empire and its many complex aftermaths. The starting point is the annexation of Morocco in 1912 and how it was justified in terms of the French 'civilising mission'. Using a variety of primary sources, the module will analyse the motivations (economic, racial, cultural, nationalist) for empire as well as the impact of this expansion on French society (e.g. how notions of the exotic 'other' were used within modernist painting or to construct ideas around racial hierachies). We assess the impact of colonialism on the colonies themselves, analysing the various ways these societies reacted to the French 'civilising mission'. The module is grounded in theories of empires, addressing questions of how they begin, rule and end as well as their many aftermaths.  

Geographically the focus is on particular case studies (Indochina, Morocco and Senegal) examining how colonial rule played out on the ground. It will situate the French Empire globally, in relation to other empires as well as analysing the impact of World War One, World War Two, decolonisation and post-colonialism. A key feature of the module is a detailed assessment of the high point of the French Colonial Empire: the 1931 Colonial Exhibition in Paris. You will also explore the experience of black American artists and intellectuals – Josephine Baker, Miles Davis, Richard Wright – who were attracted to France because it was perceived as less racist than the USA. It will also analyse the perspectives of anti-colonial intellectuals such as Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, and Sembene Ousmane. The course invites students to consider transnational and comparative perspectives in relation to race, class, gender and empire.

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