Triangle

Course overview

If you’re passionate about history but also dream of spending time in France and becoming fluent in the language – how do you choose which degree to study: We say, choose both!

This joint honours course allows you to combine your curiosity for human experience with your love of communicating in another language.

With History modules ranging from ‘Central European History’ to ‘Liberating Africa’ and French modules taking you from 'La République Gaullienne' to 'French Cinema - The New Wave' – you’re able to truly personalise this degree around your personal interests or career aspirations.

Many of our students say the year abroad is their course highlight. Not only do you have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the French language and culture, but spending time abroad can make you more independent and confident. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone won’t only benefit your degree, it’ll shape the person you are to become.

Learn more about the departments you shall be studying in Modern Languages and Cultures, and History

Why choose this course?

Year abroad

Spend a year abroad immersing yourself in the French language and culture

Beginners welcome!

Start learning a language from scratch on our beginners' pathway

Resource access

Learning a language widens your access to original historical sources

Employability

Open up new job opportunities by studying a foreign language alongside history

Best of both worlds!

Get the best of both worlds, divide your time between the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and the Department of History


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBC including B in history (and C in French if the language is to be studied post-A level) in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextal admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

B in history (and C in French if the language is to be studied post-A level) in Clearing for home students. No language qualification is needed for the beginners' pathway.

IB score 28; 5 in history at Higher Level, and 5 at Higher Level or 6 in Standard Level (B programme) in French (if taken) in Clearing for home students

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

The majority of language teaching you will experience on this degree will be led by native speakers.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Teaching Quality

Our staff know that studying complex subjects can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!) and take pride in their teaching. Demonstrating this we're proud to have won many Lord Dearing Awards across the two departments in the last five years. These recognise outstanding student learning and are based on nominations from students and other academics.

You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures as well as a Joint Honours advisor from the Department of History.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Following your year abroad your improved language skills and improved cultural understanding shall be assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments.

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Written exam
  • Commentary

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive independent reading and research. A typical 20 credit module involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Study abroad

Your third academic year is spent in France or a Francophone country doing one of the following:

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement.

We’re dedicated to ensuring that your Year Abroad runs as smoothly as possible and have university staff to provide you with support whilst you are overseas.

For more information, see; Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

You will take 120 credits as follows:

French - 60 credits

  • If you are taking French post-A level you shall take two compulsory 20 credit modules consolidating your knowledge of the French language and French studies. You will also choose one 20 credit module from our wide range of optional modules focusing on literature, French history or contemporary France.
  • If you are starting French at beginners' level, you will take 40 credits of core French language modules to take you from beginners' to advanced level. You will also take 20 credits in core modules that introduce you to key areas of interest in the field of French Studies.

History - 60 credits

Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that we will build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two.

Your core module is Learning History. This module will show you how to reflect on the nature of history as a discipline and develop skills required for the writing and debating of history by practising skills and exploring methodology

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Post-A level French route

Core modules

French 1

Welcome to French at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to fluency will really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level (or equivalent) in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

We'll support you to continue growing your language abilities, improving your speaking, comprehension and grammar usage through a wide range of source materials and lively classroom conversations.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Francophone world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and culture.

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

This is the starting point for your French Studies journey at Nottingham. Having studied French at A level you’ll already have a good command of the language but now it’s time to go deeper. Together we’ll explore a variety of topics to help you develop a fuller understanding of the history and cultures of France and the Francophone world. These topics may include linguistics, politics, history, thought, literature, media, visual culture and cinema.

 

You’ll study a range of different texts, images and film, through which we’ll help you develop the core study skills necessary for studying this subject at degree level, such as close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills, and visual analysis.

Optional modules

You'll choose one from the following group.

France: History and Identity

This module aims to introduce you to the course of French history since the French Revolution through the study of a series of historical figures, including Olympe de Gouges, Toussaint Louverture, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Sand and Charles de Gaulle. You will look at the way in which their 'stories' have been written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation', and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce you to the iconography of the French historical landscape. This module is worth 10 credits.

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800).

You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Contemporary France

On this module, you will focus on a selection of themes that explore the distinctive social and political landscape of contemporary France: French political institutions, with particular emphasis on the presidency; political parties in France; and immigration and questions of identity.

A close analysis of these themes will provide you with a general understanding of contemporary French society and institutions. In more specific terms, you will begin to explore the ways in which France is faced with the challenge of adapting its republican traditions to a changing world.

Introduction to French Literature: Representations of Paris

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800). You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Beginners' French route

Core modules

France: History and Identity

This module aims to introduce you to the course of French history since the French Revolution through the study of a series of historical figures, including Olympe de Gouges, Toussaint Louverture, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Sand and Charles de Gaulle. You will look at the way in which their 'stories' have been written and woven into the fabric of 'le roman de la nation', and how they have been appropriated to serve a range of different ends. It will also introduce you to the iconography of the French historical landscape. This module is worth 10 credits.

French 1: Beginners

Welcome to French at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to fluency shall begin!

Designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of the language, this intensive study module will support you to develop in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammatical competence.

We'll use a set text book, but to keep the classes engaging and interesting, we'll also use a variety of contemporary texts which may include literature, newspapers, websites and audio recordings.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the French-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and culture.

French Texts in Translation

This module is designed as an introduction to some of the main skills required to study literature by looking at landmark French texts (novels and films) in English translation. By choosing texts with varied thematic and formal features the module will give an insight into the range of themes and issues which have preoccupied writers in France, as well as the fictional forms they have used to explore these themes. The module will raise your awareness of a range of literary styles and techniques and the ways in which these may influence the reader. This module is for students taking French 1 Beginners only.

History modules

Core module

Learning History

Learn the skills you need to make the most of studying history.

This module aims to bridge the transition from school to university study, preparing you for more advanced work in your second year.

We will:

  • Focus on your conceptions of history as a subject, as well as your strategies as learners, so you can effectively monitor and develop your skills and understanding
  • Introduce different approaches to studying history, and different understandings of what history is for

This module is worth 20 credits.

"It’s very much a skills-based module. It was so useful. I had a long break from finishing sixth form in May, to starting uni in September – I thought 'how on Earth do I write an essay? What is this thing called referencing?!' The module took those worries away." – Emily Oxbury, History and Politics BA

Optional modules

Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500

Discover medieval European history from 500-1500.

We explore the major forces which were instrumental in shaping the politics, society and culture in Europe, considering the last currents in historical research.

Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole.

We will consider:

  • Political structures and organisation
  • Social and economic life
  • Cultural developments

You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

This module is worth 20 credits.

From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern Europe c.1500-1800

Discover key themes in the history of early modern Europe.

We analyse the religious, political, demographic, social and cultural history of this dynamic period.

Themes include:

  • Religious toleration and persecution
  • International diplomacy
  • Popular culture
  • Popular protest
  • Health, disease and disability
  • Military change
  • Monarchies and courts
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Ethnicity including Africans in Shakespeare's England
  • Urban and rural life
  • Witchcraft

This module is worth 20 credits.

Making of Modern Asia

Journey through 200 years of modern Asian history.

We explore the themes of imperialism, nationalism, political economy and democracy to build a broad understanding of some key elements in the making of modern Asia. We then focus on some local contexts, so for example, after covering imperialism, we take a closer look at Japanese imperialism in Korea, British colonialism in Burma, etc.

When looking at nationalism, we consider the emergence of ‘official nationalism’ in Thailand and Japan, and more popular nationalisms emerging from liberation struggles. On political economy, we compare and contrast Taiwan and China to illustrate the different trajectories of market, plan and command rational economies (relatively speaking).

For democracy, we consider whether Asian culture warrants an authoritarian form of ‘Asian democracy’ and whether or not democracy can be ‘built’ and engineered as though it were simply a bridge over water.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945

Explore a chronology of modern history, from 1750 to 1945.

We concentrate on:

  • key political developments in European and global history (including the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars)
  • Economic, social and cultural issues (such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations)

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Contemporary World since 1945

Analyse the key developments in world affairs after the Second World War.

We will consider:

  • Major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War
  • National and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East
  • Key political and social movements
  • Political, economic and social forces

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 18 August 2022.

You will take 120 credits as follows:

French - 60 credits

  • On the post-A level route your French language studies will be consolidated to prepare you for the year abroad. You will also choose 40 credits from a range of modules in French and Francophone literature, culture and society, history, politics, linguistics and film.
  • On the beginners' route you will continue to work intensively on key skills in the French language in preparation for the year abroad. You will also take a core Introduction to French and Francophone Studies module.

History - 60 credits

You will be able to select from an array of optional modules covering an extremely wide chronological and geographical range.

You must pass year two which is weighted one third of your final degree classification.

Post-A level French route

Core module

French 2

This module will build on the French language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level French. We're going to take your language skills to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.

We'll push you to improve your confidence in reading comprehension, listening comprehension and oral skills. In addition to this you'll get the opportunity to develop your French writing skills through a variety of tasks such as creative writing, summary writing and even resume writing. You'll also practice translation activities.

We'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts including journalistic articles and audio-visual clips.

Beginners' French route

Core modules

French 2 (Beginners)

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes. Over the year we'll take you to the next level so that by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.

We'll further develop your reading, listening, summary, translation and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three.

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

This is the starting point for your French Studies journey at Nottingham. Having studied French at A level you’ll already have a good command of the language but now it’s time to go deeper. Together we’ll explore a variety of topics to help you develop a fuller understanding of the history and cultures of France and the Francophone world. These topics may include linguistics, politics, history, thought, literature, media, visual culture and cinema.

 

You’ll study a range of different texts, images and film, through which we’ll help you develop the core study skills necessary for studying this subject at degree level, such as close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills, and visual analysis.

Introduction to French Literature: Landmarks in Narrative

This module aims to introduce you to the comparative study of literature and culture, focusing in particular on how the city of Paris is represented in a range of texts (poetic, narrative and filmic) in the modern period (post-1800).

You will learn reading techniques adapted to different genres and media, and representations of the city will be considered within their broader social, historical and political context.

Optional French modules

French Cinema: The New Wave

The module is designed to introduce you to this particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.

As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.

Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues

This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.

Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France

This module explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.

Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content.

We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.

On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.

Literature and Politics in Modern France

What better way is there to truly understand a nation than by studying its literature and politics?

 

We’ll examine the various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. By looking at ‘committed’ literature (which is literature that defends an ethical, political, religious or social view) produced by key authors you’ll learn how to unpick the tension between literature and politics that has shaped modern France.

Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.

Sociolinguistics: An Introduction

This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.

Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:

  • intercultural communication
  • politeness and face
  • linguistic determinism
  • power and solidarity
  • language choice
  • speech act theory
  • the ethnography of communication
  • language and gender
  • approaches to the study of discourse/talk
Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction

This module is an introduction to the study of 18th century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:

  • What is like to fall in love?
  • What is happiness and how do we find it?
  • How important is personal freedom?
  • Are people naturally good?
  • How do we live well with others?
  • How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

You may wonder why 19th Century French art is relevant to a student wanting to better understand today’s Francophone communities. To answer this let us take you back to a time pre-internet, pre-television, pre-photography to when historical art was a key communication tool for any society.

Together, we’ll examine eight French paintings from the key historical period of the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). By discovering what French citizens gained from ‘reading’ these images you will better understand their relationship with national identity, religion and political culture. It is these historical ideologies that laid the foundation for contemporary French society and your understanding of this will help you form a more thorough and nuanced appreciation of contemporary France and the Francophone world.

Among the huit tableaux to be discussed are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.

Hear Dr Paul Smith give a brief overview of this module.

Post-War French Theatre

This module focuses on developments in French theatre in the mid-twentieth century. This includes plays that dramatise existentialist issues, as well as examples of what was known as the Theatre of the Absurd: a new, experimental approach to theatre, which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s. Authors studied will include Sartre, Beckett and Ionesco, and the module will analyse dramatic technique and theory, along with performance. The module will explore the various ways in which these plays challenged dramatic conventions and how they engaged with fundamental questions relating to meaning, causality, language and society.

History optional modules

Consumers & Citizens: Society & Culture in 18th Century England

This thematic module examines the social and cultural world of eighteenth century England in the period when it enters the modern world.

Areas for consideration include:

  • the structure of society
  • constructions of gender and culture
  • family life and marriage
  • the urban world
  • consumerism and culture
  • the press and the reading public
  • crime
  • social protest & the rise of radical politics
British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939

Discover British foreign policy, from the last years of the Victorian Era to the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

We focus on the policy of British governments, giving an historical analysis of the main developments in their relationship with the wider world. This includes:

  • The making of the ententes
  • Entry into the two world wars
  • Appeasement and relations with other great powers

We also discuss the wider background factors which influenced British policy, touching on Imperial defence, financial limitations and the influence of public opinion.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Communities, Crime and Punishment in England c.1500-1800

This module will survey and analyse 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 huge increase in criminal activity. The module will discuss the wider background factors behind these changes, as well as relevant historiographical debates about them. The major topics to be explored include:

  • The machinery of justice
  • Policing early modern communities
  • Vagabondage and the problem of the poor
  • Rioting, disorder and the negotiation of authority
  • Organised crime: myths and realities
  • Criminality and religion
  • Women, crime and the courts 
  • Crime and the state 
  • Changing attitudes to punishment 1500-1800
The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture

The module mixes intellectual, cultural and social history to produce an overview of cultural trends in Britain between c. 1830 and 1901. Key themes include:

  • The Victorians, An Overview
  • Religion: Sin and Redemption
  • Poverty
  • Cities
  • Sanitation
  • Sexuality
  • Consumerism and the Mass Market
  • Entertainment
  • Evolution
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, up to the end of the Attlee’s Labour government in 1951. Key issues include:

  • changing gender roles and expectations
  • the experience and impact of rationing, bombing, conscription, voluntary service and direction by central government
  • historiographical debates about whether Britain was united against a common enemy
  • propaganda, mass communication and the management of information
  • planning for a post-war world, including the creation of the National Health Service and the reform of the education system
  • post-war reconstruction of cities
  • reactions to the Holocaust, atomic weaponry, returning service personnel, returning Prisoners of War
  • post-war austerity
  • representations of the period and the construction of memory
The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of 'modernity' in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a 'modern' nation-state and society.

Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War, 1919-1994

The purpose of this module is to examine current debates in the historiography about the end of the European empires in African and the emergence of a new political system of independent states. Topics which will feature particularly strongly are

  • the emergence of a variety of different forms of African nationalism
  • the ongoing debate about the uneven economic development of Africa during the last years of empire and the first years of independence
  • the controversies surrounding the numerous colonial wars which were fought during the liberation struggle
  • the significance of race including the question of European settlements and migration
  • the impact of the Cold War on the politics of decolonisation. Countries which will be examined in particular detail will include Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, the Congo, Kenya, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
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 villains such as the Jew. You will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
The Stranger Next Door: Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages

The module explores the diversity of ways in which Jews and Christians interacted in middle Ages, seeking to offer alternative views to these of Jews as mere victims in a religious struggle or of economic envy. We will study the complex economic interconnections between the two groups, considering the new approaches to the role of Jewish moneylending and international trade and its connections with structures of power in both communities. The module will also investigate crucial ideas on anti- Semitism and anti-Judaism and will look into case studies of intolerance and conflict between Jews and Christians. Themes to study here are the massacres of Jews in the Rhineland during the First Crusade, the persecution of Jews during the Black Death and the construction of Blood libel and ritual murder accusations. The module will also examine the internal life of the Jewish communities of Western Europe looking at communal organisation and leadership. We will consider differences amongst Jewish communities in different locations of the medieval European landscape in their understanding of Jewish Law and tradition, as well as in their own patterns of interaction with the Christian political and religious authorities in different locations. At the same time, we will explore the common cultural and religious characteristics and the creation of extensive national and supranational Jewish networks. Finally, we will evaluate the historiography on the subject and the changing of perspectives on the history of the Jews in Europe, analysing the debates arisen amongst scholars with their own ideologies, methods and approaches.

Sex, Lies and Gossip? Women of Medieval England
Later medieval England was a patriarchal society. Women were considered of great importance because of their roles as mothers. However, medieval women were also considered to be more passionate and sexual than men; they were considered wile and guileful and it was thought that they spent much of their time gossiping. Using a wide range of translated medieval sources this course will pose questions about how English women overcame and operated within these stereotypical preconceptions. It will examine women in terms of progression through their life cycle from daughters under the protection of their fathers, to the work available to single women, to married women and the law – mothers under the ‘protection’ of their husbands – and then to widows and the increased opportunities available to these women. In doing so, it will examine a number of aspects of medieval women’s lives from female piety to women and work, medieval attitudes to women and sex and the gendered medieval understanding of power and authority. The course will allow students to recover much of the essence of medieval life. Were later medieval English women merely disadvantaged or were they actively downtrodden within a patriarchal society? Further, it considers the extent to which the foundations of modern gender inequalities were established in the middle ages.
A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, has forced historians to re-evaluate the Anglo-Saxon period and ask new questions about this crucial formative stage of English history. 

The history of much of this period of conversions, conflicts and cultural renaissances is documented by Bede, a monk from Wearmouth-Jarrow in Northumbria (c. 673–735). In 793, the world described to us by Bede was thrown into chaos by a Viking raid on the island monastery of Lindisfarne, an event that some Anglo-Saxons interpreted in apocalyptic terms. The subsequent settlement of Vikings across Northern and Eastern England profoundly changed the social, cultural and economic structures of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

This course covers the period from the beginning of the seventh century to the end of the ninth, ending with the reign of Alfred, the only English king to ever achieve the moniker 'the Great'. 

International History of the Middle East and North Africa 1918-1995

The module offers a knowledge of key developments in the Middle East and North Africa between the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the emergence of a politicised version of Islam. Students should familiarise themselves with the key historical debates surrounding, for example, the relative impact of regional and international factors and begin to work with some primary documentary material relating to political and diplomatic developments. They will also be encouraged to use primary source material from the region and to consider the role which historical events have played in framing current problems in the Middle East and North Africa.

Germany and Europe in the Short 20th Century, 1918-1990

The aim of the module is to provide knowledge about the history of Germany from the end of World War I to the reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It will provide a perspective based on the role of Germany within the European (and broadly global) context from pariah to relevant actor of the European integration process. It will encompass the process of democratisation in the interwar period, the National Socialist dictatorship and the Holocaust and the post 1945 fragmentation until the reunification. It will also include a reflection on the two German dictatorships and the pre and post-unification politics of memory. 

Imagining 'Britain': Decolonising Tolkien et al
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’. During this period, England certainly experienced enormous changes in both rural and urban areas. This module will investigate some of the economic and social consequences including: 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. This module will evaluate whether these changes in fact represented a revolution, evolution or transformation.
Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England

Have you ever wondered what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ king?

We investigate late medieval kingship, the dynamics of politics and power, and the reasons why royal authority was challenged.

You will examine the history of late-medieval England, from the mid-13th to late-15th century, when a series of political crises rocked the English monarchy.

We focus on the political events of the period, especially the times of crisis when the monarchy faced opposition or even usurpation. This includes:

  • Simon de Montfort and the Crisis of 1258
  • Ruling in the king's name: the Ordinances of 1311
  • The depositions of Edward II (1327) and Richard II (1399)
  • Politics and Bankruptcy: Edward III and Henry IV
  • The Wars of the Roses (1450-61)
  • The tyranny of Richard III

England didn’t exist in isolation, however. You’ll also explore its relations with Scotland and Wales, considering how English power was imposed on subject populations, and how they resisted. Case studies include Robert Bruce and Own Glyn Dwr.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe

This module deals with an important, but long neglected, aspect of life in the early medieval West - sexual behaviour and attitudes to human sexuality. Key issues include:

  • ancient, medieval and modern theories of sexuality
  • Christian beliefs about the family and marriage, and challenges to these
  • the regulation of sexual behaviour as expressed in law codes and books of penance,  including violent sexual activity
  • alternative sexualities
Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

Discover the environmental history of the Western World over the past two centuries. The great nature-people stories that have shaped who we are today.

You will examine the history of environmental ideas and our changing and complex attitudes to animals and nature, alongside the history of human impacts on the environment. We will use the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain as case studies. Ultimately, we ask, can environmental history save the world in the 21st century?

Topics include:

  • species history and the rewilding debate
  • the rise of environmental protection groups
  • the role of the state in environmental protection
  • the history of pollution and pesticide use
  • the National Park movement
  • the Nature Reserve and the rise of outdoor leisure and recreation
  • the emergence of modern environmentalism and campaigning
  • the role of wildlife television and natural history film-making

This module is a must for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the environmental sector.

This module is worth 20 credits

Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914

This module aims to encourage students to develop a detailed understanding of the major political, social and economic developments in Central Europe between 1848 and 1914. They should become aware of the main historiographical debates concerning the region and the Habsburg Monarchy in particular.

As a result of their historical studies and analytical thinking, students should enhance and develop a range of intellectual and transferable skills.

Race, Rights and Propaganda: The Politics of Race and Identity in the Cold War Era, 1945-1990
The Cold War was a conflict defined as much by intellectual and cultural struggle as by conventional military means or diplomatic relations. Cultural concepts such as race and identity were by no means immune from this, but heavily disputed and contested during the Cold War era, playing a decisive role in shaping the foreign relations of the United States, Soviet Union and other powers during this transformative period. This module examines how the United States and Soviet Union dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years, confronting racial questions, challenges and liberation movements from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa - and often viewing them through highly racialised lenses. It also considers how other powers - notably Britain, South Africa and newly-independent African and Asian nations - grappled with issues of race and identity as they sought to understand and work within a new, post-colonial Cold War world. This module aims to provide students with a new and deeper understanding of the relationship between the Cold War world and the politics of race, and an appreciation of the interconnectedness of the domestic and international in Cold War-era foreign relations.
Soviet State and Society

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.

The Soviet Experiment

Understanding the impact of the Soviet era is vital in order to understand 21st century Russia and the other former Soviet states. This short and turbulent period of history brought about profound transformations in culture and society.

In this module you will uncover the politics, society and culture of the Soviet Union from the 1917 October Revolution up to its fall in 1991. In lectures, we look at the political and social changes that led to the development of institutions, environment and culture that even today we recognise as ‘Soviet’. Topic-based seminars will focus on texts, visual culture, films and other sources and give you insights into the experiences and thoughts of those who lived through this time, including revolutionaries and writers, collective farm workers and cosmonauts, Communist Party loyalists and dissidents.

If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this module is available as a year-long option.

The Venetian Republic, 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. 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.

  • Venice and international context
  • The Venetian economy
  • Constitution and administration
  • Venice at war and peace
  • Patricians, citizens and popular classes
  • Women in Venice: wives and workers, whores and nuns
  • Urban fabric
  • Patronage and the arts
  • Artisans and printers
  • Religion and the republic
  • Jews and foreigners
European Fascisms, 1900-1945

Examine the rise of fascist movements in interwar Europe, following the First World War.

We focus in particular on the cases of Italy and Germany and also look at other cases for comparison (i.e. Spain, Britain, France, and Romania). This in order to understand why certain movements were more popular than others and able to seize power.

We will examine:

  • the nature of fascist ideology
  • the use of violence
  • fascism and masculinity and femininity

We will also analyse the practice of the Fascist and National Socialist governments in power, comparing these with particular reference to repression and attempts to build ‘consent’, gendered policies on ‘race’, and expansion through conquest.

The module ends by considering the Axis and genocide during the Second World War.

This module is worth 20 credits.

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c.1970-1990

In the 1970s and 1980s, momentous economic changes swept through traditional industrial regions across the West, turning proud heartlands into rustbelts in less than a generation. As the lights went out in shipyards, steelworks, coal mines and manufacturing plants, a way of life was destroyed for millions of manual workers and their families, with profound repercussions on identities, communities and urban topographies. This module examines the social and cultural impact of de-industrialisation in the north of England, the German Ruhr basin, and the American Midwest, using a wealth of diverse primary sources, from government records to popular music, to tease out what it meant to live through a period of tumultuous socio-economic change. The module takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including:

  • 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.
  • The impact of de-industrialisation on manual workers and their ways of life.
  • Changing ideas of social class.
  • Mass unemployment and its social and cultural consequences.
  • Gender and identity, with a particular emphasis on the crisis of ‘muscular masculinity’.
  • Urban decline and regeneration.
  • Youth and youth subcultures in post-industrial cities.
  • Cultural representations of de-industrialisation, with emphasis on popular music, fiction and feature films.
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. The module is divided into three major geographic and chronological sections. In the first part of the course, we will discuss the British Caribbean, with a particular focus on the transition from slavery and the period of instability in the decades that followed. In the second part, we will focus on India and the changeover from East India Company rule to the direct administration by the British government in the wake of the Indian Mutiny (aka “the Sepoy Rebellion”). In the final section, we will discuss Britain’s participation in the “Scramble for Africa” and the rise of “popular imperialism” with the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. The final, pre-revision class meeting will also discuss the metropolitan aspects of empire, examining London’s status as “the Imperial Metropolis.
'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe
The module offers an overview of the history of witchcraft and covers a wide geographical area spreading from Scotland to the Italian peninsula and from Spain to Russia. Such breadth of reference is of vital importance because, in contrast to the uniform theology-based approach to witch persecution in Western and Central Europe, the world of Eastern Orthdox Christianity represented a very different system of beliefs that challenged western perceptions of witchcraft as a gendered crime and lacked their preoccupation with the diabolical aspect of sorcery. The module’s geographical breadth is complemented by thematic depth across a range of primary sources and case studies exploring the issues of religion, politics, and social structure.
Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857

This module introduces the history of the British imperial expansion in India from the mid eighteenth century, through to the Rebellion in 1857. It covers:

  • the rise of trade relations with India
  • the growth of territorial rule through war and negotiation with Indian rulers
  • resistance to imperial rule through mutiny
  • the debate over sati (widow immolation)

 

Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930

This module explores the role of the poverty, disease and disability in shaping lives between 1795 and 1930, and how these intersected with ideas of and attitudes to health and welfare. It also examines representations of poverty, disease and disability in museums and on TV.

Themes include:

  • understanding poverty, disease, disability in an age of progress and reform
  • the problem of the poor? Poverty, the poor law and workhouses
  • studying poverty, disease and disability: sources and representations
  • town versus country - the healthy countryside?
  • housing conditions: the slum
  • disease
  • working conditions
  • disability and the deaf
  • ‘madness’: mental illness in an age of reason
  • hygiene and health care
  • unrest and dissatisfaction: resistance, rebellion and riot
Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World

The module looks at peoples and places in the period c.1150-c.1250 from the perspective of travel. It shifts the focus of Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Mongol interactions from the more traditional medieval narratives of conflict, crusade and conquest, to those of Trade, Pilgrimage, Exploration and Mission. The introductory classes look at medieval travel and what people in the world with the Mediterranean at its centre knew, and thought they knew, about the rest of the World, including far-flung places that only a few people had ever ‘seen’. The lecture and seminar topics include introduce Travel Writing, Monsters, Maps, Crusades, Merchants, Pilgrims, Explorers, Envoys, Missionaries, and Assassins. Examples are drawn from Jewish, Muslim and Christian experience.

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This module examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We trace the making and remaking of immigrant communities, cultures, and identities from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will analyse models of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation by focusing on the perception and reception of immigrant groups and their adjustment to US society. We will ask questions such as: How have institutions and ideologies shaped the changing place of immigrants within the United States over time? How have immigrants forged new identities within and beyond the framework of the nation state? And how has immigration transformed US society?

America's Borders: Culture at the Limits

This module offers a hemispheric approach to North America by focusing on the history and culture of two significant borderlands regions, the Canada-US border and the Mexico-US border,as well as providing a general introduction to border theory and comparative approaches to the borderlands.

The module adopts a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to the border as a place, culture and concept and moves from the colonial period into the twenty-first century. We will analyse a diverse range of historical, literary and cultural texts (testimony, fiction, poetry,drama, film, television, art, architecture, music and performance) and engage a series of critical debates about the nature of cultural and ethnic encounter, race, nation and empire. 

African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance and thus indicate how African Americans have sustained themselves individually and collectively within a racist, yet liberal society. These will illustrate the resilience of African American culture via music, literature, art and material culture. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. Weekly topics might include material culture in the Gullah region of South Carolina; or the growth of urban black churches in the North during the period of the Great Migration highlighted by the development of Gospel choirs and radio preaching.

Business in American Culture

This module introduces students to the conflicting views about business that can be heard echoing through American literature and culture in the last two centuries. These views are evident when literature and culture directly represent the business culture-its executives, managers and employees, or the physical and mental conditions of employment and entrepreneurship; they are also evident in the narrative unconscious of works appreciated for qualities other than their treatment of business. This module aims to try and understand not only what drives American culture's preoccupation with business, but also to study the various strategies used as literature and culture represents what the module calls the discourses of business: the way that business as a theme is written and talked about in the United States by presidents, by social critics, by journalists, and by writers and other cultural producers; the way that the historical accumulation of this collective input has fashioned a set of rules that govern the way successive generations can think about business; the way that specialised and professionalised languages of business become tropes and metaphors to be used outside of a strictly business environment. The module examines these discourses in a variety of representational forms from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day: shorts stories and novels; newspapers, magazines and illustrations; speeches, autobiographies and memoirs; film and television.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Your third academic year is spent in France or a Francophone country doing one of the following:

  • a programme of studies in a higher education institution
  • working as an assistant in a school
  • a work placement

For more information, see; Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

You will take 120 credits as follows:

French - 60 credits

All students will take the same core language module and choose from a range of optional modules. You will develop your command of French to a high level and use it in increasingly sophisticated contexts. You will also study optional modules drawn from the areas of: literature, culture and society, history, visual culture and linguistics. One of your options in French will be to write a dissertation.

History - 60 credits

You will select a special subject (which involves in-depth study of a particular topic taught in seminars) and one optional module. In addition, you can take specialist modules based on the research we are currently doing both in History and in French.

Although French and History are taught separately you may choose a uniting theme for your final year dissertation.

You must pass year four which is weighted two thirds of your final degree classification.

Core French module (for post A-level and beginners)

French 3

Following your time spent living in a French-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency. We'll help you continue to improve your oral and written skills using a wide variety of texts.

Your grammar expertise and vocabulary shall be deepened through the production of linguistic commentary and summaries. In addition, we'll help you develop translation skills. Your French writing skills will improve immeasurably as we translate into and out of French creative writing in different registers.

Optional French modules

La République Gaullienne: 1958 to 1969

This module explores how the Fifth Republic came into being and examines the problems of bedding in a regime that revolutionised French political culture without jettisoning the key features of the 'modèle républicain'.

We follow a chronological narrative of French politics between 1958 and 1969, and will also examine themes such as the ‘écriture de la constitution’, the clash of political visions and bipolarisation and its tensions. We conclude with de Gaulle's apparent act of 'political suicide' in 1969.

Individual and Society

On this module we will look at the changing relationship between individuals and society in a French context. Key sociological concepts relating to the social construction of the individual are explored in order to analyse fiction and non-fiction texts that deal with work and social organisation in contemporary France.

The theoretical starting point of the module is Michel Foucault’s analysis of the emergence of ‘disciplinary’ societies.

Key fictional works include Laurent Cantet’s film L’emploi du temps and Thierry Beinstingel’s novel Retour aux mots sauvages.

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought

This module looks at the various ways in which the novel has evolved and adapted to “the contemporary” by responding to the “everyday”. Giving an overview of the various approaches to the everyday in the contemporary novel from the 60s to the present, this module will explore how key authors negotiate, through their writing, the everyday’s indeterminacy and the unstable space it occupies between the social and the individual.

People and Propaganda: Representing the French Revolution

This module is designed to introduce you to the study of various forms of artistic work in relation to the political and social background of the French Revolutionary decade (1789 - 1799). A variety of works will be studied (theatre, opera, song, iconography, painting) in order to consider the reflection of contemporary events, the notion of politically engaged arts, and questions of cultural administration (theatrical repertory, representation, censorship and privilege).

Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France

You'll examine the range of social, political and philosophical questions raised by mass immigration to France in the post-war period. These questions will be tackled through historical analysis of patterns of migration and changing immigration policies, as well as through the study of relevant films, novels and theoretical texts which engage with questions of citizenship, identity and ethnicity.

Contemporary Representations of Travel

This module will study the different ways travel has been used and represented in contemporary French and Francophone texts, arts and films. From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. We will study more specifically how contemporary discourses of travel have been, or not, adapting themselves to a post-colonial awareness and how it has enabled travellers to represent travel differently. The importance of this field has been steadily growing in between disciplines that range from literary studies to ethnography. The module will use these cross-cultural influences to create an arena in which to develop connections between key disciplines and different forms of arts (literature, ethnography, films and photography).

French Documentary Cinema

This module aims to introduce you to key aspects of French documentary cinema by considering a range of documentary cinematic techniques, and by looking at the ways in which documentary form has developed over time. The module examines the work of a range of filmmakers and explores the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema.

You will develop analytical tools that can be used to understand the different ways in which documentaries attempt to engage audiences and deal in sophisticated and often challenging ways with a range of issues.

Language Contact and French

This module looks at various issues relating to the field of language contact, including bilingualism, multilingualism and diglossia.

The module also explores the outcomes of such language contact:

  • linguistic borrowing
  • code-switching
  • language maintenance
  • language shift and language death
  • the emergence of pidgins and creoles
  • the development of language policy and planning
  • the shaping of attitudes towards language

These topics will be explored by using examples from several different languages, and by looking at the French language in contact with other languages in France and further afield.

Dissertation in French Studies
This year-long module is based on guided independent study of a chosen topic in the field of French and Francophone Studies for which supervision can be offered by the Department. Topics typically relate to a module taken in the second year, or to a module to be taken in the final year, and it is expected that students have some familiarity with the chosen field.

Dissertation topics in past years have included:
  • The feminist and humanist aspects of Christine de Pizan's work.
  • How Albert Memmi's philosophy of colonised identity is prefigured in his literary work.
  • The representation of women in three novels by Dany Laferrière.
  • The representation of women in the films of Jean-Luc Godard.
  • The definition of malaise in the context of contemporary socio-economic and political issues in France.
  • Presidential Power in the Fifth Republic.
  • The urban landscape in surrealism.
  • Translating humour from English to French.
Teaching takes place in the form of regular individual meetings with the allocated supervisor, and group meetings with the module convenor, centred more generally on research and writing skills.

Semester 1 is devoted to research, reading and planning, leading to the submission of a dissertation abstract, chapter outline and preliminary bibliography, as well as the presentation of posters. In the second semester, students write up and complete the dissertation under the continued guidance of the supervisor.
Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

History Special Subject modules

Choose one from:

The Collapse of the Weimar Republic
The module evaluates the crisis of modern mass industrial society that underpinned the weakness of democracy in Germany in the Weimar years. It examines the impact of World War One on the German welfare state, the rise new forms of paramilitary politics, the Americanization of industry, new gender roles, and the crisis of the nobility and traditional conservatism in the country-side. It looks in detail at the debates on modern cities that were increasingly identified as the hotbeds of the supposed ills of modernity and the way the Nazis were able to exploit these various pressure points of modern mass society for political gains. It makes detailed use of original source materials.
Culture, Society and Politics in 20th Century Russia

In the early 20th century, Russia embarked on one of the most momentous experiments in history – to transform not only global political structures and social relations, but human nature itself.

Fundamental to the revolutionary project was the creation of a new culture, which would construct and promote new visions of the desired present and ideal future. Through culture, individuals would learn to think of themselves, their relations with others, and their relations with the world in new ways.

On this module, you will:

  • Be introduced to Russian revolutionary culture and trace its evolution during the 20th century
  • Engage with Soviet film, literature, graphic arts and architecture, both state-sponsored and ideologically non-conforming
  • Read first-person testimonies written by ordinary Soviet citizens, offering fascinating insights into historical problems of social and self-identity and changing inter-relations between the individual and collective and state and society

Through grappling with these sources, you will discover new ways of understanding how culture and politics interact and shape one another. This is a vital skill for engaging critically with political and media discourses in the current age of ‘fake news’ and ‘virtual reality’.

This module is aimed at anyone interested in modern Russian history, in the significance of culture in political change, and the role of politics in constructing culture.

This module is worth 40 credits.

The History of a Relation: Jews in Modern Europe
This special subject surveys and analyses the place of Jews in modern European history. Throughout the modern period, Jews lived in Europe as part of a minority. The module is concerned to analyse the enduring, productive and resilient relation between Jews and non-Jews. It is the contention of this module that the story of the relationship’s development and evolution can tell us a great deal of the history of Europe as a whole.
The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

This module surveys and analyses political, religious, social, cultural and military changes during the civil wars fought across the British Isles and the British Atlantic between 1639 and 1652. The major topics to be explored include:

  • the causes of the civil wars
  • the mobilisation of civilian communities
  • the course of the civil wars
  • the impact of war on individuals and communities
  • religious and political change
  • the growth of religious and political radicalism
  • print culture and propaganda
  • the changing roles of women
  • the issues surrounding the public trial and execution of the king
  • the abolition of the British monarchy and the House of Lords
  • the ‘Celtic dimension’ of the conflict
  • the Civil Wars in the British Atlantic
Sex and Society in Britain Since 1900

This module is an examination of the links between sexuality, intimate life, identity, politics, society, power and the state in Britain since 1900. It also examines the theoretical approaches to the study of sexuality and analyse sexuality as a category of historical analysis.

Key themes include

  • free love and eugenics
  • sexology, psychoanalysis and the therapeutic revolution
  • birth control and sexual knowledge
  • marriage and society
  • male homosexuality
  • the permissive society and Counter Culture
  • the AIDs crisis.

Module convener: Dr Harry Cocks

Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

This module explores religious ‘faith’ in England from c. 1215 to the beginning of the Reformation in 1534.

The English church made great efforts in this period to consolidate Christianity amongst the masses through wide-reaching programmes of instruction, regulation and devotion. However, historians disagree as to how successful the church was in its efforts.

The module investigates the relationship between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ religion and examines how the church sought to maintain its authority in matters of faith. It asks how people responded and the degree to which they fashioned their own religious practices and beliefs. It also considers the violent repression by church and crown of those deemed ‘heretics’.

It looks at the condemned teachings of the Oxford academic John Wycliffe and the significance of those who followed his ideas, known as Lollards.

Module convener: Dr Rob Lutton

The Black Death

In 1348 the Black Death arrived in England. By 1350 the disease had killed half of the English population. The module concentrates upon the stories of the epidemics' survivors and what they did to adapt to a world turned upside down by plague. It examines the impact of this unprecedented human disaster upon the society and culture of England between 1348 and 1520. It examines four particular groups of survivors:

  • Peasants
  • Merchants
  • Gentry
  • Women

The module explores English society through translated medieval sources. Themes include:

  • Impact of the Black Death
  • Religious and scientific explanations of the plague
  • Changes in peasant society and how peasants lived after the plague  Merchants, their lives, businesses and shifting attitudes towards them
  • Gentry society and culture in the fifteenth century and the development of an entrepreneurial ‘middling sort’
  • Women’s lives and experiences in a post-plague patriarchal society The module poses a simple question: How central is the Black Death in explanations of long-term historical change and the evolution of the modern world?
Life During Wartime: Crisis, Decline and Transformation in 1970s America
Once dismissed as the “Me Decade” (Tom Wolfe), or a time when “it seemed like nothing happened” (Peter Carroll), the 1970s have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent American historical scholarship. This module introduces students to the narratives of crisis and decline that defined the 1970s and which helped make the decade such a transformative period in American life - recasting the United States and its society, politics and culture in significant and far-reaching ways - whilst encouraging students to think critically about those narratives and their utility for subsequent processes of political, socio-economic and cultural change. We will explore developments such as the growth of identity politics and the cult of the individual, debates over American foreign policy abroad and social policy at home, the rise of populist conservatism, the market and neo-liberalism, anxieties over the city, the environment and the political system, and a broader political and cultural power shift from Rustbelt to Sunbelt, as we seek to understand why the 1970s are now regarded as the decade “that brought us modern life - for better or worse” (David Frum).
Imperial Eyes: the Body in Enlightenment Thought, c.1730-1830

This module explores the role of empire and ideas of race, gender and disability in the eighteenth-century enlightenment. The module includes topics such as:

  • What role colonial encounter played in Enlightenment theories of human development
  • How Enlightenment scholars imagined bodily difference
  • The place of the slave trade in Enlightenment thought
  • Enlightenment ideas of the body, sexuality and disability
  • Colonized people's responses to Enlightenment thinking
After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s & 1980s

In the historiography, the 1970s and 1980s are often referred to as a ‘landslide’ (E. Hobsbawm) or a ‘time of troubles’ (A. Marwick) for the West, which, it is argued, followed upon the ‘Golden Age’ of material affluence and cultural liberalisation that characterised the post-war period. At the same time, historical scholarship is only just beginning to make inroads into a field that has been extensively documented by cultural critics, the media and the social sciences. The module will engage critically with the dominant conceptualisation of the 1970s and 1980s as crisis decades and ask about the contribution that Contemporary History can make to our understanding of the period. It focuses on the UK and W-Germany as case studies, but will also look at developments in the West more broadly, exploring economic, social and cultural change as well as continuity. It takes thematic approaches, analysing topics including:

  • Détente and the second Cold War;
  • the crisis of industrialism and structural economic change;
  • social change and continuity, with special emphasis on the class structure;
  • the disintegration of consensus politics and the rise of the New Right;
  • liberalisation, new social movements and cultural politics;
  • domestic terrorism, the public and the state; heritage, memory and nostalgia.
British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1950

The module explores the cultural transformations in Britain brought on by the shift to a Fordist economy (roughly covering the period 1920-50), and the social and cultural contestations that resulted. It takes chronological and thematic approaches, and topics may include:

  • New experiences of factory work and the rationalisation of diverse areas of everyday life;
  • New forms of advertising and commodity culture, and the anxieties and opportunities these produced;
  • New forms of industrial urban leisure (e.g. the cinema and dance hall) and their role in promoting social change;
  • Performances of self-hood and the contested politics of movement and habit;
  • The perceived impact of Americanisation on national traditions, values and ways of life;
  • The rise of the ‘expert’ across a range of fields to manage working-class behaviour;
  • The development of social science and the problems of knowing ‘the masses’; Post-WW2 reconstruction and the early years of the Welfare State;
Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

This module evaluates the ways in which ideas during the Renaissance had an impact on both long-distance exploration and interstate relations. Also, of primary importance will be situating Tudor England in a pan-European context, thereby helping students better understand the rise of this island nation to become a global superpower. Topics covered will include:

  • Renaissance attitudes to human potential
  • Motivations for overseas exploration and travel
  • Beginnings of European imperialism
  • Continuities and changes in diplomacy
  • Religion and foreign policy
  • Travel literature and cultural diplomacy
  • Xenophobia and cosmopolitanism
Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815
International history is dominated by wars; historians and international relations scholars focus with an almost obsessive zeal on the causes and consequences of conflict. The intermittent periods of peace are rarely scrutinised, other than to assess the imperfections of peace treaties and thus extrapolate the seeds of future wars. This module offers a corrective to this tendency, taking as its focus the multifarious efforts that have been made since 1815 to substitute peace for war. These include diplomatic efforts (e.g. post-war conferences, legalistic mechanisms such as the UN, arms control protocols, etc.), and those advanced by non-state actors (e.g. national and transnational peace movements, anti-war protests, etc.). Taking a broad definition of the term peace , and focusing predominantly (though not exclusively) on Britain, this module revisits some of the pivotal episodes of the 19th and 20th centuries, exposing and interrogating the often complex relationship between war and peace that emerged, and thus arriving at an alternative history of the period.
A Green and (un) Pleasant Land? Society, Culture and the Evolution of the British Countryside

This module explores the relationship between society, culture and the British countryside between 1800 and 1918. It examines both perceptions and realities, and reveals a dynamic British countryside which both reflected and shaped society and culture and forged an enigmatic relationship with the urban. Themes include:

  • perceptions and popular representations of the British countryside
  • constructing a rural idyll
  • Englishness and national identity
  • exposing the reality of living and working conditions in the countryside
  • the (un) healthy countryside? - poverty, disease and insanity
  • the agency of the labouring population
  • the radical countryside
  • constructing gender in the British countryside
  • the leisured countryside
  • animal-human relations
  • the preservation and conservation movement 
  • the evolving relationship between town and country
  • public history: representations of the British countryside 
The Past That Won't Go Away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

This module examines the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), its underlying causes and legacy for present-day Spain. Commencing with the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, students will consider the principal historical forces and conditions that gave rise to the outbreak of war in 1936 in Spain. The module is delivered through a combination of lecture and student-led seminars in which students present their understanding of a specific historical event, theme or ideas through their study of primary and secondary sources, and respective historiographical debates. Thus, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the war through propaganda, myth, revolutionary ideology, anti-clerical and gendered violence, as well as, for example, the significance of Badajoz and Guernica. The conflict is also considered in the wider context of the ‘European Civil War’; specifically, the role of military interventions on the part of regimes in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union, and the influence of non-interventions by Britain and France. Using Helen Graham’s notion of the ‘past that won’t go away’, the module concludes with a reflection on the legacy of the Civil War in contemporary Spain.

From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought from the 1st to 21st Century
The need to infuse the present moment with apocalyptic meaning is an important theme in the history of ideas. Concerns about the day of judgement, Antichrist, the millennium and the end of time have a significant impact upon many different individuals and societies throughout history, finding expression in literature, architecture and a wide variety of artistic media. In some cases, apocalyptic anxiety directly influenced the actions of kings, emperors, ecclesiastical leaders and religious communities. Students will uncover systems of belief about the end of history and trace the impact of such traditions upon states, societies and religious institutions.
Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London

In 1665, London suffered the worst plague epidemic since the Black Death, killing over 97,000 people. The following year, the Great Fire destroyed four-fifths of the ancient City of London within three days. This module explores the impact of these events and places them within the context of the 1660s and the city’s past and future history.

We will investigate how Londoners across the social spectrum responded to natural disasters and crises, the challenges that these presented to community values and group identities and how the spread of news reflected fears over religious difference and terrorist plots. The module also examines the changing character of the city across the period including concerns over health, the environment and the use of green space.

Transnationalising Italy: A History of Modern Italy in a Transnational Perspective

The module looks at the history of modern Italy (19th-21 century) from a transnational framework in order to illuminate different facets of the connections between Italy and the wider world. The module makes use of the methodological innovations of a transnational approach to put emphasis on movement, interaction, connections and exchange. It examines key moments and developments in the history of modern Italy by addressing the connections and circulations (of ideas, people, and goods) that cross borders. 

And one from:

Artistic Licence: Social Satire and Political Caricature in Britain, c1780-c1850

Between c.1780 and c.1850, social and political satire adopted new, innovative and slanderous forms of output in Great Britain. This saw the leading practitioners – William Hogarth, James Gillray, William Hone, George Cruikshank and John Doyle – became major ‘celebrities’ in their own right.

We explore the definition, nature and use of social satire and political caricature in this period. Emphasis is on ‘reading’ and ‘de-coding’ them as historical artefacts.

You will consider case studies in their historical context. Specific examples include:

  • The wars with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France (1793-1815)
  • The Queen Caroline Affair (1820)
  • The ‘Constitutional Revolution’ (1828-32)

Throughout this module, the focus is on assessing the historical context which gave rise to satirical material, evaluating the contribution it made in the period. We also question how justified it is to describe this as ‘the golden age of caricature’.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Philosophies of the Revolution: Anti-Imperialism and British Decolonization in the Twentieth Century

This module aims to provide an overview of some of the ideas which emerged in the periphery of the British empire during the 20th century and their influence on decolonization in India, the West Indies, Malaya, the Arab world and Ghana.

Five texts will be examined particularly closely:

  • Gandhi's overview of his life and opinions (The Story of My Experiments with Truth)
  • Eric Williams' memoir of his life and education in Trinidad (Inward Hunger)
  • Chin Peng's account of his war against the British in Malaya (Alias Chin Peng)
  • Nasser's treatise on revolutionary politics in the Arab world (The Philosophy of the Revolution)
  • Nkrumah's analysis of his role in the anti-colonial struggle in Ghana (The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah)
The 1960's: A Decade of Change?

This module surveys and analyses developments across what Arthur Marwick has called the ‘long Sixties’ in Western Europe and North America from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.

Content will include coverage of the following:

•    The Sixties and memory
•    The 1950s and consensus
•    Permissiveness and the sexual revolution
•    Women’s experiences
•    The Civil Rights Movement
•    The Vietnam War
•    Protest Movements and 1968
•    Youth Culture
•    The Watergate Scandal

There will be a particular emphasis on exploring the use of, and critical engagement with, the extensive primary material which is available for the period.

The Celtic Fringe: Scotland and Ireland, c.1066-1603

Both Scotland and Ireland were neighbours to the medieval ‘superpower’ that was England, which throughout this period was not only economically more powerful than either Scotland or Ireland, but which was politically and militarily aggressive towards its neighbours.

This module will address how Scotland and Ireland fared with their troublesome neighbour. How Scotland and Ireland responded to English aggression will offer students the opportunity to explore and engage with the contrasting outcomes for both countries. 

Global Histories of Labour and Capital: Perspectives from India

This module will focus on the histories of labour and capital and will explain how these two histories have shaped the modern world, particularly South Asia. It will approach a given topic from a global angle and then will illustrate it through specific western and non-western examples. It covers the following themes: 

  • Industrialization: Time, Discipline, and Work
  • Capital and Labour Alienation
  • Capitalism & the History of the Night Work and Sleep 
  • Welfare Capitalism
  • Machines, Artisans, and Industrialization
  • Craft Cultures and Skills
  • Child Labour and Working-Class families
  • Working-Class Childhoods and Schooling
  • Domestic Servants and the Colonial Master
'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe
The module offers an overview of the history of witchcraft and covers a wide geographical area spreading from Scotland to the Italian peninsula and from Spain to Russia. Such breadth of reference is of vital importance because, in contrast to the uniform theology-based approach to witch persecution in Western and Central Europe, the world of Eastern Orthdox Christianity represented a very different system of beliefs that challenged western perceptions of witchcraft as a gendered crime and lacked their preoccupation with the diabolical aspect of sorcery. The module’s geographical breadth is complemented by thematic depth across a range of primary sources and case studies exploring the issues of religion, politics, and social structure.
Napoleonic Europe and its Aftermath, 1799-1848

Napoleon broadened and reshaped the dynamics of the French Revolution, war and state reform. He was also a symbol of a new world where an individual from a lower noble family and an obscure island could dominate the continent. The module takes a chronological view of politics, international affairs, war, personalities and ideas.

Coverage will focus on France, the German states, Prussia, Austria, Russia and Northern Italy. 

The Rise and Fall of Thatcherism, 1975-1992

This module explores the political, social and cultural history of late twentieth-century Britain. It does so by engaging critically with the political project that is often referred to as ‘Thatcherism’. Associated with the political leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who was Britain’s Prime Minister from 1979 until 1990, this project is frequently described as a transformative ideological movement that re-shaped British politics from the late-1970s. In this module, students will bring this notion under scrutiny by locating Thatcher’s ideas and beliefs within a broader historiographical context. 

Peoples, Places, Races and Monsters: the Known and the Unknown in High-Medieval Travel

The module looks at peoples and places in the period c.1150-c.1250 from the perspective of travel. It shifts the focus of Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Mongol interactions from the more traditional medieval narratives of conflict, crusade and conquest, to those of Trade, Pilgrimage, Exploration and Mission. The introductory classes look at medieval travel and what people in the world with the Mediterranean at its centre knew, and thought they knew, about the rest of the World, including far-flung places that only a few people had ever ‘seen’.

You may also choose from:

Feminist Thought in the US: 1970-Present

This module will familiarise students with the major “strands” of feminist thought which have emerged in the United States since the 1970s: from liberal feminism through radical and materialist to post-structural and neo-liberal feminism.

Although the module will focus on key texts and thinkers for each “strand,” we will simultaneously challenge any neat categorisation by exploring the central issues and debates, such as the sex-gender distinction, female sexuality, and pornography, which have preoccupied as well as divided feminist thinkers over the past few decades.

Finally, we will contextualise these issues and debates by looking at contemporaneous representations of women in fiction, the mass media, and other cultural sites.

This is an optional module worth 20 credits.

 

North American Film Adaptations
This module examines North American short stories and novels and their film adaptations, paying attention to the contexts in which both the literary and the cinematic texts are produced as well as to the analysis of the texts themselves. In particular, the module takes an interest in literary texts whose film adaptations have been produced in different national contexts to the source material.
Recent Queer Writing

This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include: 

  • LGBTQ sexuality;
  • constructions of masculinity and femininity;
  • the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens;
  • intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites
  • writing for LGBTQ youth
  • literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories

Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.

The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery - Britain and the US 1776-1877

Reassess the Anglo-American relationship, during an era of major upheaval in both nations.

Spanning from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era, you will be challenged to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.

You will engage with concepts that are crucial in the formation of the modern world, including:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • liberty
  • republicanism
  • class
  • gender
  • manners
  • reform

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£20,000*
Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Year Abroad - Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a year abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries. More information on your third year abroad.

Volunteering and placements:

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips:

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

Studying languages can open up a world of opportunities. From banking to charities and from teaching to MI5, businesses and organisations across the globe seek to employ language specialists.

During this degree you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of modules, allowing you to tailor your studies around personal interests. In doing so you’ll start to identify potential career paths and begin to discover your areas of professional interest.

In addition to language skills, you’ll develop transferable skills highly sought after by employers such as confident communication skills, strict attention to detail and the ability to work within different cultures and organisational styles.

Combining language studies with history will help you develop critical reasoning skills, becoming an innovative problem solver able to communicate effectively. 

“My [language] studies have helped me to develop excellent communication skills, as well as helping me to hone my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for both my target languages.  I have also become a much more resilient learner, being able to persevere when things start to get tough and independently solve issues where possible.” Charlotte Allwood , French and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

Find out more about careers of Modern Language students

Average starting salary and career progression

74.7% of undergraduates from the Department of Classics and Archaeology secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £21,963.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

72.2% of undergraduates from the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £21,539.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I’ve found studying two subjects so rewarding. You get to study things from different perspectives which you probably wouldn't be able to do as much as a single honours student. If you want to study more than one subject, you aren't being indecisive and you won't regret it! "
Ellie Abbey

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.