International relations

The Rise of the Modern International Order

Module code: L2007
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

Today we take it for granted that the peoples and governments of the world are linked in a single international system. Yet it was only during 'the long 19th century' that, for the first time in history, a truly 'world' politics began to emerge. This module examines how this came about by reviewing some major events and process of international history in the period from 1789 to 1914.

It begins with the international impact of the French revolution and the industrial revolution, and moves on to the formation of nation-states in Europe and outside. It analyses the role played by Great Britain in organising the Victorian international system, as well as the occupation of the non-European world by European imperialism. Finally, the module reflects upon the combination of factors that caused this 'long 19th century' to end in the carnage of the Great War. At the same time, by looking at some of the major controversies that historians have had about how to understand these events, the module also raises key questions about the nature of historical knowledge itself.

Module learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of the key themes and problems involved in the study of international history.
  • Familiarity with key events in the rise of a worldwide international order from the late fifteenth century onwards
  • Awareness of the central controversies which historians have had over how to interpret these events.
  • Development of basic transferable skills including: note-taking, summarising texts, and communicating through written means.