English and History BA Jt Hons (2024)

Indicative modules

Year one

Year two

Year three

Mandatory

Year 1

Learning History

Optional

Year 1

Studying Language

Optional

Year 1

Studying Literature

Optional

Year 1

Beginnings of English

Optional

Year 1

Drama, Theatre, Performance

Optional

Year 1

Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500

Optional

Year 1

Themes in Early Modern History

Optional

Year 1

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

Optional

Year 1

The Contemporary World since 1945

Optional

Year 2

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910

Optional

Year 2

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

Optional

Year 2

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page

Optional

Year 2

Literature and Popular Culture

Optional

Year 2

Modern and Contemporary Literature

Optional

Year 2

Language in Society

Optional

Year 2

The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning

Optional

Year 2

Language Development

Optional

Year 2

Literary Linguistics

Optional

Year 2

Chaucer and his Contemporaries

Optional

Year 2

Old English: Reflection and Lament

Optional

Year 2

Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

Optional

Year 2

Names and Identities

Optional

Year 2

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage

Optional

Year 2

From Stanislavski to Contemporary Performance

Optional

Year 2

Twentieth-Century Plays

Optional

Year 2

The Rise of Modern China

Optional

Year 2

The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?

Optional

Year 2

"Slaves of the Devil" and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Optional

Year 2

Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

Optional

Year 2

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

Optional

Year 2

Soviet State and Society

Optional

Year 2

Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

Optional

Year 2

The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

Optional

Year 2

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

Optional

Year 2

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

Optional

Year 2

Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930

Optional

Year 2

Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857

Optional

Year 2

Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World

Optional

Year 2

The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture

Optional

Year 2

European Fascisms, 1900-1945

Optional

Year 2

Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe

Optional

Year 2

Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England

Optional

Year 2

Imagining 'Britain': Decolonising Tolkien et al

Optional

Year 2

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

Optional

Year 2

A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

Optional

Year 2

Sex, Lies and Gossip? Women of Medieval England

Optional

Year 2

The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War

Optional

Year 2

The Tokugawa World: 1600-1868

Optional

Year 2

British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939

Optional

Year 2

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

Optional

Year 2

A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640

Optional

Year 2

The Early Modern Global Spanish Empire (1450-1850)

Optional

Year 2

Gender, Empire, Selfhood: Transgender History in Global Context

Optional

Year 2

Commodities, Consumption and Connections the Global World of Things 1500-1800

Optional

Year 2

In the Heart of Europe: Histories of Modern Poland

Optional

Year 2

Villains or Victims: White Women and the British Empire c.1840-1980

Optional

Year 2

France and its Empire(s) 1815-1914

Optional

Year 2

The politics of memory in postwar Western Europe

Optional

Year 2

Exile and Homeland: Jewish Culture, Thought and Politics in Modern Europe and Mandatory Palestine between 1890 and 1950

Optional

Year 2

Conquerors, Caliphs, and Converts: The Making of the Islamic World, c.600-800

Optional

Year 3

English Dissertation: Full Year

Optional

Year 3

The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century

Optional

Year 3

Contemporary British Fiction

Optional

Year 3

Making Something Happen: Poetry and Politics

Optional

Year 3

Single-Author Study

Optional

Year 3

The Gothic Tradition

Optional

Year 3

Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688

Optional

Year 3

One and Unequal: World Literatures in English

Optional

Year 3

Modern Irish Literature and Drama

Optional

Year 3

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne

Optional

Year 3

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Optional

Year 3

Language and the Mind

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Stylistics

Optional

Year 3

Language and Feminism

Optional

Year 3

Discourse and Power: Health and Business Communication

Optional

Year 3

English Place-Names

Optional

Year 3

Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England

Optional

Year 3

The Viking Mind

Optional

Year 3

Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art

Optional

Year 3

Theatre Making

Optional

Year 3

Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

Optional

Year 3

Global Histories of Labour and Capital: Perspectives from India

Optional

Year 3

The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

Optional

Year 3

Sexuality and Society in Britain Since 1900

Optional

Year 3

Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815

Optional

Year 3

Windrush and the (Re)Making of a Nation: Myth and Memory

Optional

Year 3

British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1950

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in History

Optional

Year 3

'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Optional

Year 3

European colonialism and the boundary of the human in the long eighteenth century

Optional

Year 3

The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974

Optional

Year 3

Russia in Revolution 1905-21

Optional

Year 3

The Reign of Richard II

Optional

Year 3

'World wasting itself in blood': Europe and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

Optional

Year 3

Rebels Against Empire: Anticolonialism and British Imperialism in the mid 20th Century

Optional

Year 3

The three faces of Eve: Jewish Christian and Muslim women in Medieval Iberia

Optional

Year 3

The Hundred Years War

Optional

Year 3

Cultures of Power and the Power of Culture in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Optional

Year 3

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Drugs for Pleasure and Pain in the History of Medicine

Optional

Year 3

Italy and the Second World War

Optional

Year 3

Zero Hour: Germany, Poland, and post-war reconstruction in Europe, 1945-1955

Optional

Year 3

Britain in the Age of the French Revolution: 1789-1803

Optional

Year 3

Victorians in Italy: Travelling South in the Nineteenth Century

Optional

Year 3

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78

Optional

Year 3

Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

Optional

Year 3

The Black Death

Optional

Year 3

The Chimera: British Imperialism and Its Discontents, 1834-1919

Optional

Year 3

Disease and Domination: The History of Medicine and the Colonial Encounter

Optional

Year 3

The past that won’t go away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Optional

Year 3

Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London

Optional

Year 3

Slavery, Caste and Capitalism: Labouring Lives in Global History, 1750-2000

Optional

Year 3

Napoleonic Europe and its Aftermath, 1799-1848

Optional

Year 3

Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

Optional

Year 3

From Serfdom to Stalin: Rural Life in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, 1853-1932

Optional

Year 3

Crisis, What Crisis? The West, c. 1970 to 2000

Optional

Year 3

A historical journey through Italy's links with the wider world

Optional

Year 3

Politics, culture, and sexuality in Renaissance and baroque Rome

English and History BA Jt Hons (1)

About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Thursday 14 March 2024.

English and History BA Module information

English mandatory modules

You will choose three modules from:

  • Studying Language
  • Studying Literature
  • Beginnings of English
  • Drama, Theatre, Performance

Learning History Studying Language Studying Literature Beginnings of English Drama, Theatre, Performance Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500 Themes in Early Modern History Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945 The Contemporary World since 1945

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

On this module you will learn about the nature of language, and how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes. It aims to prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree.

The accompanying weekly workshops will explore levels of language analysis and description – from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for your future modules.

In your lectures, you will see how our staff put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. Your seminars then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module introduces the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. Topics covered include:

  • close reading
  • constructing an argument
  • handling critical material
  • introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception

You will put these new skills into practice through reading specific literary texts. These are focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

Across the year, you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.

This module is worth 20 credits.

What was the earliest literature in English like? Where does English come from? What does ‘English’ really mean, anyway?

On this module, we’ll explore a range of English and Scandinavian literature from the medieval period. You'll also meet themes and characters who are at once familiar and strange: heroes and heroines, monster-slayers, saints, exiles, tricksters, lovers, a bear, and more.

From Tolkien to Marvel, the medieval past has been an inspiration for fantasy fiction and modern myth. As well as introducing you to stories and poetry which is exciting, inspiring and sometimes plain weird, we’ll also be looking at some of the challenges of the modern world.

Thinking about the past, means thinking about how it is used in the present day. The idea of a 'beginning' of English language and literature often gets incorporated into modern beliefs about national, ethnic and racial identity. On this module, we’ll begin the necessary work of challenging these ideas and building a better understanding of the medieval past and why it still matters.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Who makes theatre? Where does performance happen, and who is in the audience? How is society represented on stage?

These questions are at the heart of this module, and we will explore the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, spanning:

  • ancient Greek tragedy
  • medieval English drama
  • Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • the Restoration stage
  • 19th century naturalism
  • political theatre of Brecht
  • drama and performance, for example the West End hitEmiliaby Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (2018), a celebration of women’s voices and history, inspired by the life of the trailblazing 17th century poet and feministEmiliaBassano

Alongside texts, you'll also consider the extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences.

You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, where we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources. You can also take part in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910 From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830 Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page Literature and Popular Culture Modern and Contemporary Literature Language in Society The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning Language Development Literary Linguistics Chaucer and his Contemporaries Old English: Reflection and Lament Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North Names and Identities Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage From Stanislavski to Contemporary Performance Twentieth-Century Plays The Rise of Modern China The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well? "Slaves of the Devil" and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000 Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914 Soviet State and Society Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575 Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War, 1919-1994 De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c.1970-1990 Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930 Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857 Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture European Fascisms, 1900-1945 Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England Imagining 'Britain': Decolonising Tolkien et al International History of the Middle East and North Africa 1918-1995 A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great Sex, Lies and Gossip? Women of Medieval England The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War The Tokugawa World: 1600-1868 British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939 Consumers & Citizens: Society & Culture in 18th Century England A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640 The Early Modern Global Spanish Empire (1450-1850) Rethinking the Tudors: Monarchy, Society and Religion in England, 1485-1603 Gender, Empire, Selfhood: Transgender History in Global Context Commodities, Consumption and Connections the Global World of Things 1500-1800 In the Heart of Europe: Histories of Modern Poland Villains or Victims: White Women and the British Empire c.1840-1980 France and its Empire(s) 1815-1914 The politics of memory in postwar Western Europe Exile and Homeland: Jewish Culture, Thought and Politics in Modern Europe and Mandatory Palestine between 1890 and 1950 Conquerors, Caliphs, and Converts: The Making of the Islamic World, c.600-800

Explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples taken from fiction, critical writing and poetry.

You will examine works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, HG Wells and Joseph Conrad.

We will focus on understanding changes in literary forms and genres over this period, and how these relate to broader developments in Victorian social, economic and political culture.

The module is organised around the following interrelated themes:

  • Empire and race
  • Class and crime
  • Identity and social mobility
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Literature and consumerism

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module introduces different kinds of literature, written between 1700-1830.This was a dramatic time in literary history, resulting in the Romantic period. It involved many areas of great contemporary relevance, such as class, poverty, sexuality, and slavery.

We will examine:

  • utopian literature (through Gulliver’s Travels)
  • the developing novel (such as Moll Flanders and Pride and Prejudice)
  • how irony works
  • what is self-expression
  • how the emergent genre of autobiography can be either manipulated, or used as part of a larger cause

As part of this module, you will explore novels, poems, and prose works that bring to life the intellectual, social and cultural contexts of the period.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. You’ll have one hour of lectures and two hours of seminars each week.

This module investigates the relationship between literature and popular culture. You will explore works from across a range of genres and mediums, including:

  • prose fiction
  • poetry
  • comics
  • graphic novels
  • music
  • television
  • film

As well as exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module charts the dramatic transformations and innovations of literature in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Moving between genres, the module unfolds chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into postmodernism and the contemporary scene.

We explore some of the huge artistic shifts of this long and turbulent period. You will examine how modern and contemporary literature connects to the cultural revolutions, intellectual debates, political and social upheavals, and ethical complexities of its times.

This module is worth 20 credits.

When we study language, we learn about how society works. Why do some people have more noticeable accents than others? Why are some people taken seriously when they talk, while others aren’t? How do those with power use language to manipulate us into thinking a certain way?

On this module, these are the sorts of questions you’ll be thinking about. We focus on how people use language, how language varies between different speakers, and how language is used to represent different social groups. We consider:

  • The way that language is used by people online to create communities
  • How the mainstream media uses language to represent particular groups, such as immigrants or gay people
  • The ways that language is used in particular contexts, such as the workplace
  • How advertisers use language to persuade us that we need their products
  • The relationship between language, gender and sexuality
  • How language can be used to signal a person’s race or ethnicity

You’ll learn how to conduct a sociolinguistic study which explores topics such as these. You will also spend time each week analysing original language data.

The module is worth 20 credits.

Are you interested in languages and the multilingual world? Have you ever wondered how our brains process learning a second language? Would you like to teach English overseas one day? If so, this module could be for you.

Drawing on current theories of second language acquisition, we will consider:

  • How globalisation has increased bilingualism in the world
  • How languages are learnt
  • How students differ from each other in their mastery of languages
  • How the psychology of the classroom environment impacts the effectiveness of learning
  • How to motivate students and create good learner groups

You will spend three hours per week on this module, split equally between a lecture and follow-up seminar.

This module is worth 20 credits.

You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

All literature is written in language, so understanding how language and the mind work will make us better readers and critics of literary works.

This module brings together the literary and linguistic parts of your degree. It gives you the power to explore any text from any period by any author.

You will study how:

  • Literature can feel rich, or pacy, or suspenseful, or beautiful
  • Texts can make you laugh, cry, feel afraid, excited, or nostalgic
  • Fictional people like characters can be imagined
  • We can get inside the thoughts, feelings, and hear the speech of characters, narrators and authors
  • Imagined worlds are built, and how their atmosphere is brought to life
  • You as a reader are manipulated or connect actively with literary worlds and people

This module is worth 20 credits.

Chaucer dominates our conception of late Middle English literature, but he was one among several exceptional writers of his time.

This module focuses on 40 years of writing, to consider whether Chaucer’s concerns with identity and authority, comedy and tragedy, and wit and wisdom are uniquely his, or shared with other writers.

We will cover a wide range, including:

  • romance
  • dream vision (both mystic and secular)
  • love poetry
  • lyric

You will read works by the so-called Ricardians: Chaucer, Gower, the Gawain-poet, and Langland, but also the mystic writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe and some poetry by Thomas Hoccleve.

By the end of the module, you will have gained confidence in reading and discussing Middle English texts, and be aware of key issues around form, language, and authority and influence.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre. You'll have a two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar each week for this module.

Odin, Thor and Loki: almost everyone has heard about them, but where do their stories come from?

In this module, we will learn about the origins of their myths from various sources: images on stone and wood in the Viking Age, as well as the written texts of the Middle Ages.

We will learn about giants, dwarves, valkyries and rumour-spreading squirrels, as well as the cosmology and religion which are embedded in Old Norse mythology. We will talk about heroes and villains, from dragon-slayers to queens who kill to avenge their brothers.

The stories of Old Norse mythology have influenced writers throughout history. from Tolkien to the Marvel Universe, they are still part of our culture. This module will take you back to the beginnings and show that there are so many more marvellous myths to explore.

The module is with 20 credits.

What can given names, surnames and nicknames tell us about people in the past? What determines the choice of a name for a child? Where does our hereditary surname system come from? How have place, class and gender impacted upon naming through time? This module will help you answer all these questions and more. Interactive lectures and seminars, and a project based on primary material tailored to each participant, will introduce you to the many and varied, fascinating and extraordinary types of personal name and their origins.

This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). Students will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning. You’ll have one hour-long lecture and one two-hour long seminar each week, with occasional screenings.

Develop your understanding of some of the most influential performance theories and practice, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Building on the ‘Drama, Theatre, Performance’ module, you will deepen your understanding of Stanislavski and Brecht in practice, as well as exploring the work of other influential theorists and practitioners.

Possible material includes:

  • Konstantin Stanislavski
  • Vsevolod Meyerhold
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Antonin Artaud
  • Jacques Lecoq
  • Ensemble physical theatre makers such as DV8, Gecko & Frantic Assembly

For this module, you’ll have a mix of lectures and practical workshops, totalling three hours a week.

Workshops offer the opportunity for practical drama. You will explore theory in practice, through work with excerpts from canonical theatrical scripts and other performance scripts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Theatre makers in the long 20th century have been dealing with a series of pressing artistic and social issues, many of which still concern us today.

These issues include:

  • What makes a play worth watching?
  • Why do audiences enjoy watching bad things happening?
  • How are minority groups represented on the stage?
  • How might the stage advance the cause of gender or sexual equality?
  • What role does social class or nationality play in the workings of theatrical culture?
  • How can we talk accurately about an art form like performed theatre, that is so fleeting and transitory?

In order to answer such questions, this module gives an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present. You will study these key texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts. You will also:

  • consider their reception and afterlife
  • focus on the textual and performance effects created
  • place the texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

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 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 Orthodox 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.

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

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.

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 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 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, whor*s and nuns
  • Urban fabric
  • Patronage and the arts
  • Artisans and printers
  • Religion and the republic
  • Jews and foreigners

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.

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.

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

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)

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.

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

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.

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

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-13thto late-15thcentury, 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.

This module examines the myths and legends of the ‘British’ Isles as written about by twentieth-century authors such as JRR Tolkien in Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion, and by CS Lewis in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Series.

You will explore the historiography of British myth-making and whether Tolkien and Lewis were retelling, reinventing or fabricating British mythology. Students will also be invited to explore the foundation of British myths known colloquially within the term ‘The Matter of Britain.’

The module will begin with defining the difference between myths, legends and history and explore issues of chivalry, nobility and ethnicity in Arthurian legends. Students will be encouraged to decolonise these myths, re-interpreting whether they are fantasies, or an exoticisation of something else, such as ethnic groups and gendered politics.

Later parts of this module will explore the myth-making and rituals detailed in the extensive works of antiquarian writers.

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.

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'.

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.

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.

This module covers two-and-a-half centuries in Japan during the early modern era when the land was governed by a dynasty of Tokugawa shogun rulers. Often characterized as a period of relative stability, it was also a time of profound social, cultural and intellectual change. Lectures and seminars address some of the historical forces that would combine to transform society and lay the foundations for Japan’s subsequent encounters with modernity. Key themes include: the premises of Tokugawa rule, control mechanisms and relations with daimyo lords; the self-imposed policy of seclusion, trade and external relations; transport networks, class mobility and urbanization; the emergence of ‘the Floating World’ and the growth of popular culture; natural disasters, famine and economic crises; the responses of competing schools of thought drawing on Japanese, Chinese and European texts to address problems within Japanese society; the ‘Opening of Japan’ and the collapse of the Tokugawa World.

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
  • Appeasem*nt 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.

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

This module explores the causes of political and religious instability in England in the century before the Civil War, with a particular focus on the problematic creation of a national identity. We begin by looking at the troubled political and religious legacy inherited by Queen Elizabeth. We then examine some of the forces that united and divided English men and women during the period:

  • How did monarchs and local elites seek to justify their authority in this period?
  • To what extent were ideas of hierarchy and obedience queried or accepted?
  • What impact did such ideas have on daily life?

Areas for consideration include:

  • government ideology
  • popular beliefs and literacy
  • the persecution and toleration of religious minorities
  • the politics of the parish
  • attitudes towards birth, marriage and death.

This module provides an account of the main events and characteristics that defined the Spanish Empire from 1450 to 1850, when it was arguably the world’s leading political and economic power. Particularly, we will consider the different ways in which this far-flung polity was ruled and kept united for over three centuries and how myriad peoples were included and excluded from the imperial project. Thus, we will examine the nature and limits of imperial power to see how it was built, defended, expanded, and challenged.

Moreover, this module highlights the global connections and imaginings triggered by the establishment of Iberians in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Therefore, students will learn of the many linkages that took place in different places across the world—from Manila, to Naples, Mexico City, Goa, or Madrid. This perspective challenges the “center-periphery” paradigm and previous assumptions of one-way-only imperial dynamics. This early modern global empire was built upon the extensive movement of people, goods, and ideas worldwide.

The Tudor period was one of the most transformative in English history. It began on the battlefield, as Henry VII wrestled the crown from the hands of the much-maligned Richard III, and ended with the death of Elizabeth I, the first queen to successfully rule England without a male counterpart. The intervening period witnessed a break with the papacy that fundamentally altered the religious and political make-up of the realm, and saw royal authority become increasingly absolute under a monarchy who were now also the heads of the church. All this left England a fundamentally different place in 1603 than it had been in 1485. Given the attention the Tudors have received in popular culture, and in the school curriculum, there are few students of English history who know nothing of the period. Thus, this module aims to expand on and challenge this knowledge to bring to life a clearer picture of how monarchy, power and religion operated in sixteenth-century England. Topics include:

1. Introduction to the module and its themes.

2. Henry VII: Forging a Dynasty, 1485-1509.

3. Henry VIII (1): War and Peace, 1509-25.

4. Henry VIII (2): The ‘Great Cause’ and the Break from Rome, 1525-35.

5. Henry VIII (3): The Later years, 1535-47.

6. Edward VI: A Boy for a King, 1547-53.

7. Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen, 1553-58.

8. Elizabeth I (1): The Establishment of a (female) Regime.

9. Elizabeth I (2): A Warrior Queen.

10. Elizabeth I (3): The ‘Second Reign’.

11. Conclusions: Remembering the Tudors.

Discover the history of people whose lives, bodies and identities cannot be neatly fitted into the categories of ‘male’ or ‘female’ that are predominant in the world today.

The module explores how European imperial expansion impacted societies that were not structured around a binary model of gender. Examples of these societies include the ‘hijra’ in India, ‘fa'afāfine’ in Samoa, and ‘niizh manidoowag’, ‘winkt’ and ‘nàdleehé’ (often referred to collectively as ‘two spirit’) in North America, as well as European people who lived lives outside of the gender binary.

We will focus on the period between 1750 and 1870, offering a contextual overview of the regions under study, their interconnections, and the theoretical and methodological problems of thinking about gender history in global and imperial contexts and in relationship to ideas of sex, sexuality and gender.

The early modern period witnessed the birth of commodity culture and the transformation of the relationship between people and their material world.

Expanding global trade networks and early colonial encounters brought a range of exotic products into early modern homes, including spices, sugar, tea, tobacco, cotton, porcelain and mahogany, while the rise of capitalism and industrialisation revolutionised the manufacture and availability of necessities and luxuries across the social spectrum.

The richness of this ‘new world of goods’ had profound consequences, transforming patterns of consumption, introducing new understandings of scientific knowledge and cultural production, and reshaping social identities and relationships based on class, gender and race.

This module takes advantage of a sweep of new interdisciplinary perspectives across a range of subject areas, including social, economic and cultural history, archaeology, anthropology and art history, which have focused on the role and significance of early modern ‘things’.

You will gain a grounding of central themes in early modern history, as well as a deeper understanding of the importance of looking at early modern Europe as part of a globalising world. You will explore a range of textual sources including wills and inventories, account books, letters and diaries which tell us about expanding global connections, what people consumed and how they thought about their objects.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Across the twentieth century, Poland’s rulers, borders, and inhabitants have undergone significant changes. Poland was colonised by Empires, divided and occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, reconfigured by democracies, and fundamentally shaped by life behind the Iron Curtain under communist rule. Today, as right-wing populism surges, Poland is undergoing another dramatic change. Close to one million Polish-born citizens live in the UK today, the largest overseas-born group, yet few in Britain know anything about Poland and its rich, vibrant, and tumultuous history.

A history of Poland, and the people(s) inhabiting Polish lands, will help students to understand this rising economic power in the heart of Europe. Placing it in relation to its neighbours to the east and west will emphasise how Poland, in its current form, is a product of both sides and the long shadows of partition, independence, war, occupation, and communism.

White women cut an ambivalent figure in the history of the British Empire. They tend to be remembered as malicious harridans personifying the worst excesses of colonialism, as vacuous fusspots, whose lives were punctuated by frivolous pastimes, or as casualties of patriarchy, constrained by male actions and gendered ideologies. As this course shows, however, the reality of the situation was much more intricate and complex. Taking inspiration from academic literature that has proliferated in the last thirty years or so, Villains or Victims? draws upon case studies from Britain, Canada, India, Australia and southern Africa to examine the lived reality of being a white woman in a colonial setting. Utilising the histories of white women as a prism through which to understood broader issues relating to religion, gender, race, class, domesticity, sexuality and suffrage, this course will also expose students to a range of primary source materials, including diaries, letters, novels and memoirs.

This module covers France and the French colonial Empire from the end of the Napoleonic era in 1814-15 through to the outbreak of the First World War: a century in which French society underwent a series of major upheavals, and during which French imperial control was dramatically and violently expanded to multiple parts of the globe.

It covers France’s struggle to find a form of government that could square the competing demands of radical democrats and conservative traditionalists, as monarchies, Republics and a further Napoleonic Empire came and went.

It looks at how industrialisation and cultural developments changed the face of France and enabled further phases of imperial expansion: from Algeria in 1830, to Mexico in the 1860s, and then Indochina and sub-Saharan Africa from the 1880s onwards.

Amongst all of this, France suffered a devastating defeat to Prussia/Germany in 1870-71, with profound social and political effects that shaped the period leading up to World War I.

Why has Germany undergone a process of Denazification while General Franco is still revered by large segments of Spanish society? Why do Portugal’s political elite refuse to engage with the country’s colonial past? Did General Franco single out Catalans for repression after winning the Spanish Civil War? And are Brexiteers (dis)honouring the recent past by establishing parallelisms between resistance to Nazism and Brexit?

This module aims to answer these questions by examining the politicisation of memory and the rise of far-right movements in Europe from a transnational perspective. Students will explore how the past has been manipulated to serve present political purposes by focusing on a number of case studies: the UK, Germany, Spain (including Catalonia), and Portugal. The first three lectures/seminars will familiarise students with relevant theoretical frameworks. Building on this body of knowledge, students will then explore how collective memories of the Second World War have been manipulated to influence the Brexit debate, how a recent narrative of victimhood has emerged in Germany, the reappraisal of General Franco’s regime by Catalan independence movements, the toxic political legacy of Portugal’s difficulty in dealing with its colonial heritage, and Spain’s painful coming to terms with its recent dictatorial past.

Module description to be confirmed.

Module description to be confirmed.

English Dissertation: Full Year The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century Contemporary British Fiction Making Something Happen: Poetry and Politics Single-Author Study The Gothic Tradition Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688 One and Unequal: World Literatures in English Modern Irish Literature and Drama Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne Teaching English as a Foreign Language Language and the Mind Advanced Stylistics Language and Feminism Discourse and Power: Health and Business Communication English Place-Names Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England The Viking Mind Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art Theatre Making Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England Global Histories of Labour and Capital: Perspectives from India The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652 Sexuality and Society in Britain Since 1900 Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815 Windrush and the (Re)Making of a Nation: Myth and Memory British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1950 Dissertation in History 'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe European colonialism and the boundary of the human in the long eighteenth century The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974 Russia in Revolution 1905-21 The Reign of Richard II 'World wasting itself in blood': Europe and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) Rebels Against Empire: Anticolonialism and British Imperialism in the mid 20th Century The three faces of Eve: Jewish Christian and Muslim women in Medieval Iberia The Hundred Years War Cultures of Power and the Power of Culture in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany The Agony and the Ecstasy: Drugs for Pleasure and Pain in the History of Medicine Italy and the Second World War Zero Hour: Germany, Poland, and post-war reconstruction in Europe, 1945-1955 Britain in the Age of the French Revolution: 1789-1803 Victorians in Italy: Travelling South in the Nineteenth Century Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78 Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England The Black Death The Chimera: British Imperialism and Its Discontents, 1834-1919 Disease and Domination: The History of Medicine and the Colonial Encounter The past that won’t go away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London Slavery, Caste and Capitalism: Labouring Lives in Global History, 1750-2000 Napoleonic Europe and its Aftermath, 1799-1848 Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England From Serfdom to Stalin: Rural Life in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, 1853-1932 Crisis, What Crisis? The West, c. 1970 to 2000 A historical journey through Italy's links with the wider world Politics, culture, and sexuality in Renaissance and baroque Rome

You have the option of writing an individual research project in your final year. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance.

You will work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor, producing a detailed and sustained piece of writing.

There is also the option of completinga project-based dissertation. This is useful if you are interested in applied or practical aspects of English.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • 'From Diamonds to Dust: An Ecocritical Comparison Between Modernist Literature and Contemporary Environmental Fiction'
  • 'The Representation of Racial Injustices in Claudia Rankine'sCitizen: An American Lyric'
  • 'Seamus Heaney and Samuel Beckett in Relation to British Imperialism'
  • 'Ethical Criticism and Zadie Smith'

This module is worth 20 credits.

The years from 1660 to 1830 are enormously important, especially in terms of the representation of the self in literature: Milton promoted the idea of the poet inspired by God; Pope and Swift mocked the possibility of anyone truly knowing their self; Wordsworth used poetry to explore his own life; and Byron and Austen provided ironic commentaries on the self-obsessions of their peers. This period also saw the rise of the novel (a form that relies upon telling the story of lives), a flourishing trade in biography, and the emergence of new genre, autobiography. This module will look at some of the most significant works of the period with particular reference to the relationship between writers and their worlds. Topics might include: the emergence, importance and limitations of life-writing; self- fashioning; the construction – and deconstruction - of the ‘Romantic’ author’; transmission and revision; translation and imitation; ideas of the self and gender; intertextuality, adaptation, and rewriting; creating and destroying the past; and writing revolution. Texts studied will range across poems, novels and prose.

Explore the novel from the late twentieth century onwards, in Britain and beyond.

We will concentrate on the formal operations and innovations of selected novelists, considering how the contemporary socio-historical context influences these questions of form. Topics considered include:

  • an interrogation of the ‘post-consensus novel’
  • an exploration of postcolonial texts which represent the transatlantic slave trade
  • the cultural politics of late twentieth-century and twenty-first century Scottish literature

Contemporary fiction is focused on writing emerging from Britain and closely-related contexts in the post-war period. This module offers strands structured around a number of political, social and cultural frameworks in Britain. These include:

  • formal analysis and literary innovations in Britain
  • temporalities and the representation of time
  • issues of gender, race and class
  • histories of colonialism and slavery
  • national traditions and politics of state
  • the country and the city
  • postmodernism

This module particularly explores the network of relationships between context, content and form, supported by related literary and cultural theory and philosophy.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module introduces key modern and contemporary poets.

You will build a detailed understanding of how various poetic forms manifest themselves in particular historical moments. Unifying the module is an attention to poets’ responses to the political and ideological upheavals of the 20th century.

The module will include such (primarily) British and Irish poets as:

  • W.B. Yeats
  • T.S. Eliot
  • W. H. Auden
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Ted Hughes
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Wislawa Szymborska
  • Tony Harrison
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Derek Mahon
  • Adrienne Rich
  • Geoffrey Hill
  • Jo Shapcott
  • Patience Agbabi
  • Alice Oswald

Some of the forms examined will include: the elegy, the pastoral (and anti-pastoral), the ode, the sonnet (and sonnet sequence), the ekphrastic poem, the version or retelling, the villanelle, the parable and the sestina.

To develop a more complete perspective on each poet’s engagement with 20-century formal and political problems, we also examine these figures’ writings in other modes. This includes critical essays, manifestos, speeches, and primary archival materials such as letters and manuscript drafts.

Grounding each week will be readings on poetry and the category of the ‘political’ from an international group of critics, including such thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Charles Bernstein, Claudia Rankine, Peter McDonald, Angela Leighton, Christopher Ricks and Marjorie Perloff.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This stranded module provides students with a detailed introduction to the major works of a single author (e.g. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence). Students will select one author to study from a range on offer. They will then have the opportunity to consider in detail important thematic and stylistic aspects of their chosen author’s work, taking account of the chronological development of his/her writing practice (if relevant), and his/her relationship to key historical and literary contexts.

This module focuses on the connections between literary texts, politics, and relevant historical/cultural contexts in gothic texts. You may cover:

  • poetry
  • novels
  • graphic novels
  • films

Examples includeThe Haunting of Hill House(both Shirley Jackson’s novel and the Netflix adaptation),The Gilda Storiesby Jewelle Gomez, andSaga of the Swamp Thingby Moore, Bissette and Totleben, andThe Visions of the Daughters of Albionby William Blake.

You will explore various critical and theoretical approaches to literature, film, comics, adaptation, and popular culture. The module also seeks to decolonise Gothic Studies, including work by creators from a wide range of backgrounds who identify with a diverse range of subject positions.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature and Drama across the early modern period contributed to, and was often caught up in, dramatic changes in social, political, and religious culture which changed the way that people experienced their lives and the world around them. This module gives students the opportunity to read a wide range of texts in a multitude of genres (from drama, to prose fiction, pamphlets and poetry) in their immediate contexts, both cultural and intellectual. This module will situate the poetry, prose and drama between 1580 and 1700 against the backdrops of civil war and political revolution, scientific experimentation, and colonial expansion; in doing so, it will ask how the seventeenth century forms our current understandings of the world. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to develop a specific and sophisticated understanding of historical period, and to see connections and changes in literary and dramatic culture in a period which stretches from the Spanish Armada of 1588 to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

This module examines the late twentieth and early twenty-first century globe through its correlates in fiction. The primary materials for the module will be post-war Anglophone works drawn from a wide geographical range across the world. After introducing the history of the idea of world literature, these works will be situated within a series of theoretical ‘worlds’: world literary systems; post-colonial criticism; cosmopolitanism; world ecologies; resource culture; literary translation theory. The module will also attend to critiques of 'world literature’ as a concept.

Examine 20th century Irish literature and drama.

Taking the Irish Literary Revival as a starting-point, you will consider authors in their Irish and European context. Such authors include:

  • W.B. Yeats
  • J.M. Synge
  • Lady Gregory
  • James Joyce
  • Seán O'Casey
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Brian Friel
  • Marina Carr

We focus on reading texts in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts.

This includes tracking significant literary and cultural responses to Irish experiences of colonial occupation, nationalist uprising and civil war, partition and independence, socio-economic modernisation, and the protracted period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Through the exploration of lyric poetry, this module examines cultural and literary change from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It will consider the rise of ‘named poet’, the interaction of print and manuscript culture, the representation of love, and the use of the female voice. It will develop further students’ confidence in handling formal poetic terminology and reading poetry from this period. It will also enable students to think pragmatically about the transmission of lyric in modern editions, and about how best to represent the form.

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the process of English Language Teaching (ELT) and of the theoretical underpinnings of this practice. In this module students will learn the principles behind the learning and teaching of key aspects and skills of English, including:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • reading
  • writing
  • speaking
  • listening
  • intercultural communicative skills

Students will also learn how to apply these theoretical principles to the development of teaching materials. This module will therefore be of interest to students who want to pursue a teaching career, and in particular to those interested in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Speaking, listening, reading, and writing are a complex set of behaviours that are a fundamental part of our daily lives. And yet they remain difficult to fully explain.

When you hear ‘FIRE’, you immediately look for an exit and start moving. Yet all that a speaker has done is produce a string of sounds. Your mind distinguishes these from the murmuring of other voices, feet clomping on the floor, and any background music. Your mind matches the sounds f-i-r-e with a word, retrieves the meaning, and relates them to the current circ*mstances and responds accordingly.

How does the mind do this? And what makes our minds so special that wecando this? On this module, we begin to address these questions.

You will consider:

  • Is there a language gene?
  • What makes human language different from animal communication?
  • What is the relationship between thought and language?
  • Does everyone talk to themselves? What purpose does our inner voice serve?
  • How do we learn language? And does cognition underpin our ability to learn language?
  • What do language deficits tell us about language and the brain?
  • How do we understand and produce speech, words, and sentences?
  • What is the best way to teach children to read?
  • How is sign language similar to/different from spoken language?

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module offers an advanced study of the language of literary texts and how it impacts reading and interpretation.It bridges the gap between the literary and linguistics aspects of our BA degrees. It also equips you with skills that will be useful in the teaching of English, or for a career in publishing.

You will study:

  • literary style and technique
  • the style of poetry and narrative
  • the representation of characters' voices and consciousness
  • the style of difficult texts, such as surrealism
  • the history of literary style

You will learn to explain how style contributes to meaning and interpretation, and why texts affect you in different ways.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module provides comprehensive knowledge of feminist theory, as applied to a series of language and linguistic contexts.

You will explore a range of analytical approaches to language, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics. You will also respond to, and critically engage with, contemporary real-world problems associated with gender and sexuality, through the consideration of discourse-based texts.

Topics covered include:

  • gender and sexual identity construction in a range of interactive contexts
  • sexist, misogynistic, hom*ophobic and heteronormative representations in texts
  • feminist theory from the 1970s to the present, with particular focus on contemporary approaches to gender theory

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module explores the vital role that discourse plays in various communicative domains in healthcare and workplace settings. Students will explore these domains through a variety of contemporary frameworks for examining discourse and communication, including critical discourse analysis, multi-modal discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics.The module offers the opportunity to analyse and reflect on the discourses of healthcare and the workplace, as two crucially important domains of social and professional life. To this end, professional and healthcare discourses will be investigated through a range of genres and communicative modes, including face-to face communication advertising, media discourse and digital interactions. The module offers a rich resource for discourse-based studies of language in professional and social life and enables students to examine the strategic uses of communicative strategies in specific social settings.

The module uses the study of place-names to show the various languages – British, Latin, French, Norse and English – that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years.

You will learn how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English, including:

  • its interaction with the other languages
  • its regional and dialectal patterns
  • its changing vocabulary

We also consider the interdisciplinary contribution that place-names offer to historians and geographers.

For this module's assessment, you can choose a geographical area of particular interest.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The genre of dream-vision inspired work by all the major poets of the Middle Ages, including William Langland, the Pearl-Poet, and Geoffrey Chaucer. The course will aim to give you a detailed knowledge of a number of canonical texts in this genre, as well as ranging widely into the alliterative revival, and chronologically into the work of John Skelton in the early sixteenth century. The course will depend upon close, detailed reading of medieval literary texts, as well as focusing on the variety and urgency of issues with which dream poetry is concerned: literary, intellectual, social, religious and political.

Our images of Vikings come largely from the Icelandic sagas. These present a Viking Age of daring exploits, global exploration and bloody feuds, as carried out by valiant warriors and feisty women. But how accurate are the sagas when it comes to understanding what really happened in the Viking Age? Can they provide an insight into the Viking mind?

This module explores Norse and Viking cultural history, using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in the study of texts.

Topics covered include:

  • The Viking Age and Viking society
  • Exploration and diaspora
  • Gender, marriage and family
  • Religion and belief
  • Outlaws
  • Poetry
  • The supernatural

Your one-hour lectures will provide the evidence base for discussion in the two-hour, student-led seminars. The seminars also include some language work.

Assessment for this module is by a one-hour exam of comment and analysis, and a 3000-word project on a topic of your choice in consultation with a tutor.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Peter Pan, Les Misérables, Hamilton...just a few of the iconic productions that started life in London’s West End, or on Broadway in New York. But why and how did they become so successful?

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen major changes in the way theatre is financed, produced and presented, both on stage and on screen. This module explores the fascinating world of theatre production, covering:

  • the development of long-running, commercial productions
  • the role of the theatre producer in making theatre
  • subsidised theatre
  • touring and national theatre companies
  • reviewing cultures
  • relationship between the theatre and film industries
  • the advent of the mega-musical

Examining the mainstream and the fringes, we apply case studies including Shakespeare in production, new plays, revivals, and international hits like the ones listed above, illustrating how theatre responds to changing contexts and audiences.

This module is worth 20 credits.

This module focuses on the creative process of making theatre as an ensemble. The first half of the module introduces a range of practical and theoretical approaches, including Stanislavski, Lecoq, Laban, Meyerhold, along with approaches to devised and physical theatre influenced by companies such as Frantic Assembly and Gecko. This work builds on the understanding of performance conventions developed through practical workshops begun in the first year Drama, Theatre, Performance module, and the performance theory through practice approach of the second year Stanislavski to Stelarc module. For the second half of the module, students assess which of these practical and theoretical models they wish to draw on through rehearsal practice and discussion as they develop a short , assessed, ensemble piece(s) for public performance.

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

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

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

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

  • Theorising Sexuality in History
  • Free Love and Eugenics
  • Sexology
  • Psychoanalysis and the Therapeutic Revolution
  • Sapphic Modernity
  • Birth Control and Sexual Knowledge
  • Marriage and Society
  • Queer London: Male hom*osexuality 1918-1957
  • Wolfenden
  • Transsexuality and Gender
  • Permissive Society and Counter Culture
  • The AIDs Crisis

To provide students with an understanding of the principal trends in sexuality and gender in Britain since 1900. To introduce students to competing interpretations of British history through understanding changes in sexuality and gender and to encourage awareness of the relevant historiographical debates in the field in order to assist in the development of the key skills listed below.

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.

In a series of weekly seminars this module takes a critical look at the historical construction and ascendance of the Empire Windrush, and the Windrush Generation, to national prominence in the UK, deconstructing the largely mythological narrative that currently persists around this symbolic historical epoch of Black arrival in Britain in 1948. Focused largely on four significant moments of invention from 1948 to the present, the aim of the module is to equip students with a much broader view of the British Empire that brings into focus a complex and long historical picture of encounter, inbound and outbound migration preceding and in this postwar moment, as well as the conflict and civil disobedience that is obscured by the somewhat quaint story of arrival captured in the Windrush narrative.

Students will interrogate and evaluate a range of primary historical sources from the archive, including a range of oral histories, as well as the historiographical debates surrounding the Windrush in order to understand how national histories are constructed and the purposes they serve. A range of digital assets and digital history skills and methodologies will be embedded across the module – giving students the opportunity to develop their own digital archive related to the historical themes of the module.

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;

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.

Recent dissertation topics have included:

  • Richard II, William Shakespeare and the Revolution of 1399
  • The Image of the Male Witch in Early Modern Iceland
  • Lord Salisbury and the Mediterranean Agreements: Revisiting Anglo-German Relations, 1886-1896
  • A Re-evaluation of Prince Lichnowsky's Role as the German Ambassador in London in the July 1914 Crisis
  • Interwar British Fascist Movements and Race, 1922-1940
  • 'No Country, No Home': The Abandonment of the South Vietnamese by the United States after the Vietnam War
  • Visions of Loathing and Desire: Representations of Masculinity in Late Soviet Posters

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 Orthodox 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.

What is a human? What characteristics and qualities divide human and non-human animal? What accounts for human variation? Is the orang-utan a human or an animal? Do mermaids exist? Can humans possess both sexes in one body? To what extent do parrots possess intelligence?

During the eighteenth century, these kinds of questions were at the forefront of the minds of Enlightenment philosophers, natural historians, and physicians across Europe. They also played a role in popular interest in ‘curiosities’ and ‘wonders’ that were served by freak shows and reports of the monstrous and aberrant. Although societies across the world have posed similar questions for centuries, in eighteenth-century Europe the answers were directly informed by colonial conquest. European imperial encounter with non-European peoples, animals and environments opened-up new questions and ideas about what it meant to be human and where the boundary between human and non-human lay.

This special subject explores European-imperial debates over the meaning of ‘the human’ and the relationship between humans and their environments in the period of the Enlightenment. The focus is largely on Britain but integrates study of networks of ideas that spanned European and imperial geographies. The module is based on a series of case studies including (but not limited to): mermaids, rhinos, troglodytes, ‘wild’ children, orangutans, intersex people who were displayed as ‘hermaphrodites’, dwarves, and parrots. In many instances, these and other human and non-human spectacles of difference were enslaved, transported, exhibited in freak shows, examined by physicians, and dissected after death. As a history of the entanglement between colonialism and science, this module is as much about violence and power as it is about ideas. By exploring how ideas of the ‘human’ were constituted through colonial encounter, this module draws on studies of race and racism, gender, sexuality and disability. The aim is to consider how the reframing of the boundaries of human during this period of European imperial expansion has impacted our modern relationships to each other, as humans, to non-human animals, and to the environment.

Typically this special subject module surveys and analyses social and cultural change in the West during the `long Sixties' from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s.

Key issues include:

  • The origins and nature of changes in norms of behaviour in the 1960s such as the sexual revolution, attitudes to authority, and the role of youth in society.
  • The impact of wider historical developments such as post-war economic prosperity and the Cold War (the Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis took place in 1962, for instance).
  • An emphasis on looking at the experiences of ordinary people while acknowledging the role of major leaders.
  • The origins of a counterculture in the United States and Britain.
  • The Vietnam War.
  • The development of protest movements such as the civil rights campaign in the United States; the anti-nuclear movement (CND was founded in 1958); student protest movements; the anti-Vietnam War campaign.
  • The movement of protest campaigns toward the use of violence, and ultimately the development of terrorist campaigns in the 1970s (Baader- Meinhof, the Weathermen, the Red Brigades).
  • The `second wave' of feminism from the late 1960s.
  • The representation of the decade in popular culture, both in the 1960s and in subsequent decades, and in particular the politicisation of debates about this controversial period.

This module surveys and analyses Russia’s development between the 1905 revolution and the end of the civil war in 1921.

The module focuses on key features of this period, including:

  • the causes for and impact of the 1905 revolution
  • Russia’s economic and industrial development
  • challenges to rural life
  • the development of civil society
  • the impact of World War One on Russian society.

Themes include:

  • the importance of social identity in revolution
  • the importance of symbolism and imagery in understanding revolution
  • the role of violence and the language of hatred
  • the roles of individuals and key political groups within the revolutionary process.

Module convener: Dr Sarah Badco*ck

The first half of the module is an in-depth chronological survey of the domestic history of England from the Good Parliament of 1376 to the deposition of Richard II in 1399. We will investigate how the royal family and their friends - a colourful and sometimes scandalous group - struggled to rule the country with the aid of such government instruments as show trials, intimidation, legal advice, murder and poll-taxes. The remaining part of the module considers England's relations with its neighbours and the impact of Lollardy on society and the Church in this period.

The purpose of this module is to encourage students to develop a detailed knowledge of primary evidence and recent historical debates in the Thirty- Years’War addressed at three levels: as a war of religion, as a clash of interests between the imperial crown and German territorial princes, and as a human catastrophe of monumental proportions. Although its drama unfolded primarily in the territory of the Holy Roman Empire, the war drew in such diverse participants as Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. In pursuit of self-seeking political goals, they formed unlikely alliances and created obstacles to the conflict’s resolution. However, the outcome of the war was to ensure the survival of Protestantism in Central Europe as well as to provide a stable political and religious status quo that lasted into the modern age. The module discusses the Thirty Years’War by drawing on various historiographical traditions that represent the views of major international players.

This module will investigate the lives and ideas of early to mid-20th century critics of British imperialism. The emphasis will be on critiques that emerged from outside the British isles, with a focus on four regions in particular: the Caribbean, East Africa, the Middle East and India. However, there will also be some investigation of the connections between anti-colonial activism in the British Isles and beyond.

More specific topics include:

  • The influence of Marxist ideas on colonial critique, with a particular focus on the Caribbean, including the roles of Eric Williams in Trinidad and Cheddi and Janet Jagan in Guiana.
  • The contrast between collaborative reformers, such as Eridadi Mulira, and radical revolutionaries, such as Dedan Kimathi, in Anglophone East Africa.
  • Metropolitan critiques of empire with a particular emphasis on the role of activist women such as Barbara Castle and Doris Lessing.
  • The significance of culture and cultural critique as an aspect of anti-colonial thinking, as explored in the writings of Mohandas Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu.
  • The power politics of nationalism after independence, focusing especially on the relationship between Nasser and his critics in the Middle East.

With regard to methodology, particular priority will be accorded to primary source material, including philosophical writings, articles, campaigning pamphlets, letters, diaries and memoirs of anticolonial activists.

The module examines the roles and perceptions of women of medieval Christian, Jewish, Islamic identities in Medieval Iberia in the period 1000-1500. It considers different types of evidence, including literary, art and archaeology. It transcends the traditional Christian-western European focus on Medieval Studies and makes a stand against hegemonic narratives.

We will study how medieval women expressed themselves and how they understood their role in diverse societies and at the same time how their respective societies viewed them. We will evaluate how beliefs and patriarchal traditions shaped gender roles and how women expressed themselves under constrictive situations and how they demonstrated agency, conforming to or protesting against these restrictions. In the case of Medieval Iberia, the topic will consider broad debates about co-existence and discourses of identity and segregation.

We will focus on case studies of women, considering social status, economic occupations and engagement in the religious and intellectual life in their context. We will consider aristocratic women, queens, artisans, peasants, writers, nuns, saints and prostitutes, women going about their everyday business and women that had exceptional lives in an attempt to demonstrate the diversity of voices and expressions of female agency.

The analysis of evidence will pay special attention to the female voices as expressed in primary sources; on court cases, treatises, literature and we will contrast with legislation and misogynistic literature. The module will engage with feminist scholarship and gender studies historiography and consider the development of new theories and methodological approaches to the discipline.

Many see medieval Europe as a violent and dangerous place, one in which there was little by way of law and order. A war that lasted over a hundred years (c. 1337-1453) might well be taken as evidence of this. However, this war, which was at its heart about who should sit on the French throne, was far more complex (and interesting) than this would suggest. Indeed, in studying the Hundred Years War, we are able to learn a great deal about the people who lived and died in late-medieval England, France, Germany and Spain:

  • Why did people fight?
  • How did people fight?
  • Were there laws dictating how war should be conducted?
  • What role did chivalry play in all of this?
  • How did war impact on women and non-combatants?
  • Were there medieval pacificists?
  • Do the sources of this period really allow us to understand war fully?
  • Did this lengthy war lead to a new sense of national identity?

These are some of the core questions that underpin this module. While this is, then, a module about a war, it is also a module about the society who fought in and experienced this prolonged conflict.

In the two decades after the First World War, two modern western European countries, Italy and Germany, were transformed from liberal, parliamentary democracies into fascist dictatorships. Historians have offered detailed accounts of the political machinations that made this transition possible. Yet recent historical research has been led by different questions: what reconciled so many ‘ordinary people’ to the anti-democratic, illiberal and increasingly murderous policies upon which these regimes embarked? This course explores how fascism transformed ordinary life, and how culture was employed to translate fascist ideas into lived experience.

This module introduces students to the social and cultural history of drugs, principally in terms of how they were promoted and received within the West, referring mostly to the period since 1900.

It examines not only certain key developments within the history of mainstream pharmacology, but also at the way (now) illegal narcotics originally entered the market place, often as medicines. It focuses upon the way polarised cultural opinions about drugs evolved, with attention particularly paid to the contingencies of geographical location and historical period.

Seminars introduce drug therapies and the controversies surrounding them, with the aim of highlighting wider social interests— including the power of the state, drug companies, religious organisations and the influence of public opinion

In this module, you’ll explore the basic narrative of Italy’s involvement in international relations and military conflict from 1922, but especially during the Second World War.

Using a range of sources, you will understand, assess and evaluate competing historical interpretations of the experiences of Italians during the Second World War. You will use this critical analysis to form your own independent judgement of this period.

We also look at how popular culture, such as novels and films, has impacted engagement with history and shaped our view of the past.

Module description to be confirmed.

This module is an in-depth study of the impact of the French Revolution on British politics, society and culture between the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803. Through an exploration of primary documents and secondary texts, students will investigate the events of the period and consider the wide range of interpretations that have been applied to these years by contemporaries and historians. Subjects for consideration include:-

  • 'the revolution debate' (e.g. Burke, Paine and Wollstonecraft)
  • the development of popular radical and loyalist political organisations
  • the government's use of legal apparatus against radicals and publishers
  • the impact of scarcity and food crises in a time of war and economic dislocation
  • the emergence of a so-called 'revolutionary underground' after 1795
  • the Irish rebellion of 1798 and its antecedents
  • the ways in which loyalism, patriotism and nationalism were articulated during this period (e.g. Hannah More and James Gillray)

This module examines the history of travel to and within Italy in accounts written by British travellers in the period c.1780-c.1914, especially these key topics:

  • methodologies necessary for analysing travel writing as historical evidence
  • the nature of the 'Grand Tour', including the experiences of women travellers
  • collecting and the development of notions of taste
  • the changing nature of travel writing in the nineteenth century, including the Romanticisation of travel
  • the appearance of middle class travellers as 'tourists'
  • the 'guide book', a new genre of writing

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

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

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?

By the mid-nineteenth century, Britain controlled one of the largest and most populous empires in history. This module examine some of the major events and dynamics that shaped the character of British imperialism, and the historical debates over them.

Particular attention is paid to the relationship between London, the ‘Imperial Metropolis,’ and India, South Africa, and the British colonies in the Caribbean.

The module interrogates the idea of ‘imperialism’ itself and focuses on post-colonial theory and ‘New Imperial History’ in order to critically re-appraise the operation of imperial systems and to apply an interdisciplinary perspective to their study.

Module convener: Dr Sascha Auerbach

This special subject introduces students to key themes within the medical history of colonialism, particularly examining the implications of the inequitable power relations inherent in any colonial project and how these have specifically contributed to the development of health principles and policies. The module looks at the way in which western medical theories of disease and healing shaped ideas about colonial environments, populations, bodies, and racial differences in the imaginations of colonisers. Medicine is revealed not only as a vital tool of colonial domination, but also as fundamentally limited as a successful mechanism for colonial social control. At the same time, the paradox that some western medical interventions did improve the health of many sectors of the population is addressed.

Given the wide chronological and geographical breadth of the topic, a series of 'snapshots'are offered to give a flavour of important aspects of western medical colonialism. The module principally, but not exclusively, uses historical examples within the British experience in the Americas, Africa and India. Approaches to tackling the health of unfamiliar climates, as well as the way colonial medical polices were conceived and implemented are critically discussed via case studies. Finally, the module examines some of the legacies of these attitudes in the post-colonial world.

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 series of 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, Portugal, and the Soviet Union, and the influence of non-interventions by Britain and France.

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 course also examines the changing character of the city across the period including concerns over health, the environment and the use of green space.

We also investigate:

  • Responses to Plague and Fire, e.g. the desire for urban reform versus nostalgia for an older, ideal ‘London’ .
  • How and why the lived experience of Londoners changed over the period, e.g. new spaces for socialinteraction such as coffee houses, private clubs and new forms of public entertainment.
  • London’s emergence as a modern capital and world city—was this a pivotal moment?
  • We also analyse people’s ambiguous attitudes towards London itself, which sometimes characterised it as a centre of disease, disorder and moral bankruptcy, while at other times celebrating its proud mercantile wealth, overseas ambitions and importance as a royal capital.

Primary sources include the lively diaries of Samuel Pepys, letters, England’s first newspapers, pamphlets, sermons, and the capital’s rich visual sources.

The modern world inherited and produced various free and unfree labour regimes—slavery, bonded labour, indentured labour, free-wage labour, child labour, ‘unskilled’ women labour. Race, caste, colonialism, and industrial capitalism shaped and continue to shape working lives, their work culture, and struggles. In this module, we will investigate the conditions of workers by exploring topics such as:

1. Enslaved labourers in the cotton plantations of America,

2. Docks workers at the Mombasa (in Africa) port,

3. Indian indentured labourers in Caribbean colonies,

4. Factory workers (male, female, children) in British and Indian factories,

5. Bonded caste labourers (agrarian slavery) in Indian fields.

The module touches upon key themes, such as free and coerced labour, night-time and sleep of workers, the social reproduction of labour, feminization of the workspace, the emergence of industrial time, etc.

The module aims to provide students with an understanding and critical analysis of how race, caste, colonialism, and capitalism shaped the lives of working people in the last 300 years. Conceptually, it touches on themes such as industrial time, forced and waged labour, child and women labour, sleep and the night-time of workers. In terms of learning resources, the module focusses on archival primary sources, documentaries, and the cutting-edge research on global labour history.

This module looks at the development of Europe from the rise of Napoleon until the 1848 Revolutions. The German historian Thomas Nipperdey once wrote that ‘in the beginning was Napoleon’. 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 general structure will be:

  • legacy of the French Revolution
  • the rise of Napoleon
  • Napoleonic Europe at its Zenith
  • Napoleon’s Fall
  • the Congress of Vienna and the 1815 Settlement of Europe
  • ideological and cultural currents in early 19th century Europe
  • government and politics
  • the situation in 1848.

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

This module explores the lived experience of rural people in the spaces of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, from the outbreak of the Crimean war in 1853 up until the consolidation of the collectivisation process in 1932. This module explores the diversity of the peoples living in this region, the challenges and patterns of their everyday life, and the relationships of rural people with State power. The module is organised thematically, moving week by week through issues including faiths and beliefs, family and community, politics and protest, military service and population movement, Questions around gender and the specific roles and experience of women are raised throughout the course. A diverse array of primary sources are utilised through the course, including memoirs, fictional literature, ethnography, paintings, photographs, posters and official documents.

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English and History BA Jt Hons (2024)
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