Each module is devised by a leading academic and based on their latest research. You will study up-to-date thinking in that area and engage in current historical debates.
Medieval Apocalyptic Thought
The module examines medieval concerns about the day of judgement, the Antichrist and the end of time. These all had a significant impact upon many different individuals and societies, finding expression in literature, architecture and a wide variety of artistic media. In some cases, the need to infuse the present moment with apocalyptic meaning directly influenced the actions of kings, emperors, ecclesiastical leaders and religious communities. Students will uncover the systems of belief about the Apocalypse and trace the impact of such traditions upon society in the medieval world.
Module convener: Dr Peter Darby
Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-Medieval England
This module covers a period between the mid-13th century until the late fifteenth century in which a series of political crises rocked the English monarchy. The module investigates the nature of kingship, placing particular emphasis on the occasions when the king's authority was either challenged or, ultimately, overthrown by his subjects. The module considers the limitations and weaknesses of the English monarchy in the period, but also the extent to which the monarchical system involved the participation of the broader political community.
Module convener: Dr Gwilym Dodd
Plague, Famine and Flood: crisis and change in English society, 1250-1540
This module examines how medieval English society weathered significant challenges - such as dynamic commercialisation in the 13th century, climate change, famine and plague and new economic opportunities for women in the fourteenth century and economic collapse and the decline of serfdom in the 15th century – and the ways historians have sought to explain these changes. Translated medieval documents are a central element of the module.
Module convener: Dr Richard Goddard
Communities, Crime and Punishment in England c.1500-1800
This module analyses how perceptions of law and order, and attitudes to crime and punishment changed in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, ostensibly in response to dramatic increase in criminal activity at that time. Topics to be explored include, the policing early modern communities, rioting, disorder and the negotiation of authority, the myths and realities of Early Modern organised crime, criminality and religion, women, crime and the courts and changing attitudes to punishment in England between 1500 and 1800.
Module convener: Dr David Appleby
A Protestant Nation?: Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640
This module explores the causes of political and religious instability in England in the century before the Civil War, with a particular focus on the problematic creation of a national identity. Areas considered in the module include, the formation of English national identity, perceptions of, and challenges to, royal authority, popular beliefs and the spread of print culture, anti-Catholicism and the Gunpowder Plot and religion and the road to Civil War.
Module convener: Dr Julia Merritt
Rethinking the Industrial Revolution: The Transformation of Britain, 1750-1914
Over the period 1750-1914, it has been argued that England passed through an ‘industrial revolution’. This module charts developments in England over this period through investigating changes in social and economic life at the time. Key themes include the move of people and industry to towns, changes in the countryside, changes in living conditions, changing patterns of consumption, and the changing structures of society. The module evaluates whether these changes in fact represented a revolution, an evolution or a transformation.
Module convener: Prof John Beckett
Cultural Histories of Urban Modernity, 1840-1900
The module introduces students to how urban modernity transformed everyday life in British and European cities in the period 1840-1900. In particular, it focuses on a range of new spaces, objects, images and discursive representations through which people tried to come to terms with rapid processes of social change. These included, the experience of railway travel and new notions of space and time, the bourgeois home as a site of identity, the meanings of interior design, the department store as sites of consumer culture, photography as a means of both identity-creation and detection, museum culture, exhibitions and the ordering of imperial knowledge.
Module convener: Dr Richard Hornsey
British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939
This module provides a study of British foreign policy, from the last years of the Victorian Era to the German invasion of Poland in 1939. It focuses in particular on the policy of British governments, giving an historical analysis of the main developments in their relationship with the wider world, such as the making of the ententes, entry into the two world wars, appeasement and relations with other great powers. It also discusses the wider background factors which influenced British policy and touches on such diverse factors as Imperial defence, financial limitations and the influence of public opinion.
Module convener: Prof John Young
The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?
This module surveys and analyses social change in Britain during and after the Second World War. It discusses changing gender roles and expectations, propaganda, the management of information, the experience and impact of rationing, bombing and conscription, reactions to the Holocaust, atomic weaponry and returning Prisoners of War, planning for a post-war world, including the creation of the National Health Service and the reform of the education system and post-war reconstruction.
Module convener: Dr Nick Thomas
Socialism in an Age of Affluence: The Labour Party, 1945-83
This course examines the history of the post-war Labour Party. It will devote particular attention to the party's political thought and its relationship with, and perceptions of, social change. Key issues discussed include: the nature of the Labour's party's political thought, the British left's response to post-war affluence and the relationship between cultural and political change and the relationship between social change and Britain's electoral politics.
Module convener: Dr Dean Blackburn
This module seeks to understand how crusaders between the late 11th century to the mid-13th century 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. Studies will include examinations of the crusades to the 'Holy Land' and Egypt and crusades Spain, Greece, the Baltic and Southern France as well as a detailed thematic examination of the motives, involvement, interests and experience of women, the lay elite, the ordinary laity and the clergy involved in the crusades.
Module convener: Dr Claire Taylor
The Venetian Republic, c. 1450-1575
This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It examines the constitution, and administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will examine 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.
Module convener: Dr David Laven
Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914
This module focuses on the evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy from the 1848 revolutions to the beginning of World War I. It examines the unpredictable evolution of politics and surveys key themes of state-building, the growth of nationalism, tensions between local, regional and imperial institutions and the varied effects of modernization in the period. The experience of the Hapsburg Monarchy is compared and contrasted with other continental European countries, in particular its neighbour, Germany.
Module convener: Dr Jonathan Kwan
Germany in the Age of Extremes 1890s – 1990
The module analyses the formation of the modern German state during a period characterised by multiple tensions: nation building, industrialisation, class conflict, ethnic tensions and problems of the constitution. The module examines how the First World War and the German revolution intensified these tensions and considers the crisis of the democratic state, the rise of National Socialism and its unleashing of war and genocide. It examines denazification and division of the country after the Second World War, the politics of memory in the 1950s and 60s and the reconciliation between West Germany and Eastern Europe in the early 1970s.
Module convener: Dr Christian Haase
From the Tsar to the Emperor: Russia in the Early Modern Period 1547–1725
This module studies the emergence of Muscovite Russia as a major player on the European arena by the early 18th century. It examines the rapid territorial and racial expansion from the 16th century and its consequences, Muscovy’s first civil war, the struggle of the Russian crown to curtail the power of its aristocracy, the ground-breaking reforms of Peter I and the beginnings of Russia’s slow progress towards Westernisation.
Module convener: Dr Liudmyla Sharipova
Soviet State and Society, 1917-1991
This module examines political, social, cultural and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the state in 1991. It pays particular attention to moments and sites of interaction between state and society, such as, the development and role of the communist party and the nature and scope of its power; the evolving structure of the state and of centre-regional relations, the nature of state repression and the existence and extent of societal resistance; official perceptions and realities of the ‘problems of everyday life’ and the official construction of norms of behaviour and identification.
Module convener: Dr Nick Baron
From East India Company to West India Failure: The First British Empire
This module highlights key debates and themes in the history of the ‘first’ British Empire 1600-1807. Topics include trade to the East and colonisation to the West; how the British government protected their empire and enforced a trading monopoly within it; the loss of the American colonies; and the impact of abolition upon the valuable slave trade. The module explores the key themes of ideology and identity; the concept of formal and informal empires and the causes and consequences of historical change.
Module convener: Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty
The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War
This module examines the history of the British Empire from the end of the slave trade in 1833-4 to the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902. It discusses the British Caribbean, with a particular focus on the transition from slavery and the period of instability in the decades that followed, as well as studying India and the changeover from East India Company rule to the direct administration by the British government in the wake of the Indian Mutiny and Britain’s participation in the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and Second Anglo-Boer War. It will also discuss the metropolitan aspects of empire, examining London’s status as ‘the Imperial Metropolis.’
Module convener: Dr Sascha Auerbach
Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War 1919-1994
The purpose of this module is to examine current debates concerning the end of the European empires in Africa, such as Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the emergence of a new political system of these independent states.The module will discuss the emergence of African nationalism; the uneven economic development in the last years of empire and the first years of independence; colonial wars, race and the question of European settlements and the impact of the Cold War on the politics of decolonisation.
Module convener: Dr Spencer Mawby