This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from BC1600–31; the period from the Bronze Age to the point when Greece becomes part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will also consider other major chapters of Greece’s history from the Mycenean Period and the Dark Ages, to the rise of the polis in the Archaic period. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture as well as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine all many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world which complements the Autumn semester module 'Studying the Greek World'. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Interpreting Ancient History
This module takes you through some of the important historical issues from major periods of Greek and Roman history with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised from ancient source materials and modern debates on those issues. On completion of this module you will have a more detailed knowledge of these important historical issues and clearly understand the evidential basis on which ancient historians rely, as well as an appreciation of how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate debate between them. You will have two one-hour lectures each week.
This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Introduction to the Medieval World, 500–1500
This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organisation; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500–1789
This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Roads to Modernity: an introduction to modern history, 1789–1945
In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
In this module you will explore Greek and Roman art in more detail with the aim of gaining a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, whilst concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous and talked about objects and monuments of Greek and Roman Culture. You will be introduced to temple-sculpture, statues, wall-paintings, buildings and coins from the 6th Century BC Greek sculptures to the 4th Century AD arch of Constantine in Rome. Material for this module is organised by theme and media rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Themes will address issues such as the relationship between literature and society, the working of genres, modern and ancient receptions, the analysis of rhetoric and literary style. Recent themes have been ‘Performance and Persuasion’ and 'Love and War'; some issues treated may include: orality and performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, ritual and performance. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
The Contemporary World since 1945
The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; the module also looks at key political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will be expected to write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of worksheet topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. A number of seminars and consultation sessions will help you approach and develop your source study. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Heroes and Villains in The Middle Ages
The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of stereotypical villains such as ‘the Jew’. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late 11th century to the mid-13th century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
The Venetian Republic, 1450–1575
This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later 15th and 16th centuries. It examines the constitution, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, 1970–1990
This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You will look at Russia both from the top down (state-building strategies; leadership and regime change; economic and social policy formulation and implementation) and from the bottom up (societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life). You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Classics and Popular Culture
For this module you will explore the reception of ancient Greek and Roman Culture in modern popular media such as films, novels, museums, architecture, children’s literature and comics with the aim of understanding how these receptions influence the way Greek and Roman culture is approached, used and questioned. Lectures may focus on the following: classical education for the 18th century, the influences of the Classics on the production and content of modern literature, the establishing of museums, and the use and abuse of the Classics in political and philosophical debate. You will usually spend four hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Independent Second-Year Project
In this module you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the ancient world in an area that interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam writing and seminar-presentation. There are various options in this module including undertaking research which leads to the construction of a database, acquiring a communication method which could be of use in a future career or experimenting using a different medium of communication, eg, video, website, creative writing, classroom lesson plan. The topic and form of the project chosen must both be approved by the module convener, and a supporting portfolio documenting your research forms part of the assessment, alongside the project itself. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Sparta dominates much of archaic and classical Greek history, and has figured prominently in the thought and imagination of other Western societies from antiquity to the present. This module will study the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to fourth centuries BC. It will engage with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the problematic nature of our evidence; the Spartan social, political and military system; her subordinate populations; relations between Spartans and others both at home and abroad; and the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
The Roman Empire in the East
The history and culture of the eastern Mediterranean world during the Roman Empire form the subject of this course. You will explore the events of the period, the 'mechanics' of Roman imperialism (conquest, organisation, administration), and the social, economic, religious, and cultural interaction between the Romans and eastern indigenous peoples. You will grapple with the nature and problems of a variety of sources – literary texts, epigraphic material, archaeological data, and visual evidence – and will consider the extent to which the surviving picture of the eastern empire and its neighbours was constructed by Rome or by the eastern peoples themselves. Modern theoretical approaches, such as those on cultural identity and imperialism, will be used and scrutinised. For this semester-long 20 credit module you will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Magic and Divination in the Roman World
This module examines the various ways in which magic featured in Roman life, law and literature. It aims to introduce students to the wide range of literary and material evidence for magic both within the city of Rome itself, and in the provinces. Students will explore the changing attitudes and definitions of magic over time in Rome, and will focus on specific themes and case-studies including cursing and healing, necromancy and the witch in Latin literature. For this semester-long 10 credit module, assessed through a coursework essay, you will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
What can a face tell us? This module explores Greek and Roman portrait sculptures, how and why they were made, where they stood, and what they stood for. Topics to be covered include: the features necessary to call a depiction of a face a portrait; the relationship of face and body in the shaping of a portrait; the emergence of the portrait in Greek art; portraits of Greek generals and statesmen; philosopher portraits; portraits of Hellenistic rulers; Hellenistic female portraiture; the emergence of private portraiture; the portraits of the Roman emperors and empresses; and how to analyse marble portraits by means of 3D technology among others. You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
You will also attend a non-assessed weekly lecture module throughout the year called ‘Doing History’. This builds on the first-year core module Learning History and aims to develop your awareness of the craft of the historian, developing essential skills to get the most out of your second-year options and enabling you to determine what sort of historian you are. It also operates as a bridge to your third and final year, permitting you to make informed decisions about your choice of Special Subject, third-year options, and dissertation.
This module, normally linked to a year-long History Special Subject, involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task.
Dissertation – Ancient History
In this module you’ll have the opportunity to engage in intensive study of a topic in Ancient History which you have chosen for yourself. This module, built on skills acquired and/or developed in your first and second years, notably, in the Extended Source Study and Studying Classical Scholarship, is primarily dependent on your personal research with few sessions of formal teaching. Each student is assigned an individual supervisor to guide them through the process, and comment on plans and two 2000-word drafts of the dissertation. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, tutorials, computing sessions and workshops.
Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks
This year-long Special Subject module involves three hours of seminars per week, and investigates the different ways in which ancient Greek men and women interacted with a wide variety of supernatural entities, including gods, heroes, nymphs and the dead. You’ll start by exploring the range of supernatural entities and ways in which relations with the supernatural structured daily life for ancient Greek men and women. You will then investigate key modes of interaction with the supernatural, as well as thinking about how ideas about and approaches to the supernatural varied over time and place. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.
The year-long Special Subject module involves three hours of seminars per week, and provides an opportunity for intensive study of one of the most influential figures in Roman history. It examines the ways in which, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. Attention is paid to the ancient sources (studied in translation): these include not only historical and literary texts, but inscriptions, coins, art and architecture. This module covers not only political aspects of the theme but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology. It is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.
This module studies the roles of women in Greek society, myth, religion and literature c.750–300 BC, paying special attention to the diversity of laws and customs across the Greek world, to the ideologies that validated women's subordination, and to gender issues in the writings of both male and female authors. For this semester-long 20-credit module you will have two 1-hour lectures every week and one fortnightly 2-hour seminar. The module is assessed by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and the anonymous text known as the Historia Augusta. The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples – ranging from physiognomics and appearance, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on – all in relation to specific emperors such as Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Elagabalus. This semester-long 10 credit module involves one 1-hour lecture each week and a fortnightly 1-hour seminar, and is assessed by an exam.
The emperor Constantine (306–337) had a significant impact on the Roman Empire and on European history in the longer-term, above all through his support for Christianity, but also through his foundation of the city of Constantinople. This module aims to place his reign in its wider context – the turmoil experienced by the Roman Empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups – and to assess Constantine’s policies on a range of fronts: religious, military and social. This semester-long 10 credit module involves one 1-hour lecture each week and a fortnightly 1-hour seminar, and is assessed by an exam.
Spending four hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.
Dark Age Masculinities
This module re-evaluates the history of masculinity in medieval Western culture. Most existing analysis of masculinity in Western culture deals with modern cultures. Yet, many of the key characteristics of this masculinity can plausibly be traced back to the Dark Ages. Students will study such issues as: how to use gender as an analytical tool with which to investigate early medieval evidence; gender ideology; codes of male honour; men's life cycles and fatherhood; relations between the sexes; rituals of violence; military and clerical ideals of masculinity. You will have three hours of seminars and lectures each week for this module.
Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78
This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.
From Racial State to Reconstruction: women and gender relations in Germany, 1939–45
This module adopts a perspective of women's and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilising labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating ‘threats to the race’. You will have three hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.