The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
American History 1: 1607-1900
You will be provided with a broad introduction to the history of the United States of America, from its colonial origins to the end of the nineteenth century. You'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 1: American Literature to 1900
An introductory survey of major American literature, exploring a wide range of nineteenth- century American writers of fiction and poetry. You’ll also address questions raised about the nature of the 'canon' raised by recent critics. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
Canadian Literature, Film and Culture
An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the twentieth century. Topics studied will include Native culture, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the U.S. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars, and 2.5 hours per week in workshops, studying this module.
Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500
This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500-1789
This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
The Contemporary World since 1945
The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; the module also looks at key political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces, with students spending five hours per week in lectures and seminars.
American Thought and Culture 1: Settlement to World War 1
You will analyse key American ideas and movements up to World War I, paying particular attention to those strands of European thought and culture which have had a significant impact in the USA, and to major European thinkers who have considered America as the site of emerging modernity. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Thought and Culture 2: 1917-present
Focus will be on issues in American intellectual and cultural life from World War I to the present. Paying primary attention to developments in cultural, social and political thought, you’ll study a range of topics including the nature of modern mass culture, ideas of totalitarianism, the emergence of race and racism, and the transition from modernist to post-modernist cultural forms. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars for this module.
America in the 1960s
You will be introduced to debates surrounding the thought, culture and politics of America in the 1960s by examining the reflection of key issues in intellectual documents, from political speeches to acid-rock music, film documentaries to manifestoes. If you study this module you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
The CIA and US Foreign Policy, 1945-2008
You will examine the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency in the development and implementation of US foreign policy from 1945 to the present, considering its contribution in terms of both intelligence analysis and covert operations, from the Cold War to the war on terror. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars in this module.
Beyond Chaps and Maps: Themes in American Foreign Policy
In this module, you’ll consider the way that US foreign policy has been influenced by a range of factors, such as conceptions of empire, race, religion, gender, domestic politics, and the agency of nations beyond the US. You’ll consider the influence that these factors have had, through broad and specific case studies in a three hour workshop once per week.
African American Protest Literature
You will examine protest movements from the nineteenth century to the present day, studying, fiction, drama, speeches, pamphlets, autobiographies, photographs and more. From abolitionism to contemporary activism, voices of resistance that pointed the nation towards a better collective future will be considered. You will spend around three hours in seminars and workshops per week, and will also visit exhibitions, protest sites, and guest talks by protest writers and activists.
North American Film Adaptations
You will examine 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 analysing the texts themselves. If you study this module you’ll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and four hours in film workshops, per week.
Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages
The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of villains such as the Jew. You will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid- thirteenth century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will have five hours per week in lectures and seminars.
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, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will spend four hours each week in lectures and seminars for this module.
De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History
This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will spend four hours per week in lecture and seminars.
This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task. You can also write a 12,500 dissertation in American and Canadian Studies which will involve looking into an in-depth subject.
You’ll explore the United States' experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. The rise of organized crime will be considered, along with gangsters and G-men, the expanding crime fighting role of the state, the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Latino Expressive Cultures
Latino cultural expression will be examined, exploring genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture and its positioning within mainstream US society. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
Abraham Lincoln: Then and Now
The ideas, intellectual and cultural legacies of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln will be considered. You’ll explore his significance in American thought and culture, and as a global figure, through examining texts such as his speeches, public and private writings, as well as critically analysing the representation of Lincoln in cartoons, cinema, documentary, music, painting and literature. You'll spend around two hours in seminars alongside a two hour workshop per week.
History of the Civil Right Movement
You will examine a range of documents and scholarly controversies relating to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents considered include public and organizational records, photo- journalism, speeches, memoirs and personal papers. Controversies include those relating to the chronological limits, spatial dynamics, and gender politics of the movement, as well as those relating to the movement’s goals and achievements. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853-78
This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have a three hour seminar each week to study for this module.
Italy at War, 1935-45
Spending three hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.
Kings, Saints and Monsters in England, 450-850
This module examines cultural and political changes in the southern half of the island of Britain between the fifth and ninth centuries, in particular the development of kingship and kingdoms as a form of political organisation, and the effects of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
The Missing Dimension: intelligence and international history in the twentieth century
The history of secret intelligence was once called the ‘missing dimension’ in the study of politics and international relations. Today, it has established itself as a separate field of historical enquiry. This module will examine how the study of secret intelligence has informed and sometimes even altered our understanding of some of the major political and international crises of the twentieth century. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
From Racial State to Reconstruction: women and gender relations in Germany, 1939-45
This module adopts a perspective of women´s and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilizing labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating ‘threats to the race’. You will have a weekly three hour seminar to study for this module.