Violence in Contemporary History (920V1B)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module analyses the changing nature of violence in the 20th century. It considers ways in which the logic of violent systems such as concentration camps represented a radical new departure, both in terms of the practice and aims of violence.

The module will explicitly challenge essentialist notions that interpret certain regions or certain societies as inherently violent or indeed see history as one undifferentiated story of violence. The module focuses on:

  • the political, social, cultural and technological dynamics that led to new forms of mass killing in the 20th century
  • the spaces where these new forms of killing took place, exploring violence in relation to geographical, physical and bodily space, and using the notion of imagined spaces to explore how violence was legitimised and represented in media spaces, in particular photography, posters and films
  • the consequences of violence in terms of how individuals and societies came to terms with these violent practices.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 278 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.