This module supports students to highlight and focus on an area of specific interest in their academic studies. Students will work with a supervisor to develop, agree and carry out a detailed exploration and discussion of an area of interest within the broad humanities umbrella.
This module provides an exploration of common theory and approaches used in research in the humanities and social sciences. Students will gain a broad understanding of research and actively engage with some of these research approaches to support them in identifying and carrying out their dissertation in their final year of study. Students will work together and support each other in a community of practice developing their knowledge, understandings and skills in research.
Students produce a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a historical topic, chosen in conjunction with their supervisor. This represents the culmination of the History MAs, and constitutes Part Two of the programme.
The Early Modern World, 1500-1800
In 1500, European exploration and colonisation of the rest of the world was only in its infancy. America, two continents North and South, had been unknown to Europeans until just eight years previously. Most of it was still unmapped by Europeans, as were large parts of the rest of the world. By 1800, on the other hand, it was possible to construct a recognisable modern version of a world map. Europeans had explored, colonised, and resettled huge swathes of America in the first instances. They had killed or displaced millions of Native Americans in the process, wiping out whole civilisations, and they had enslaved 12 million or more Africans in that same process, inflicting immense damage on African societies. Europeans were in the early stages of colonising large parts of Africa and Asia too by 1800.
And yet, advances in science had transformed human understanding of the universe, of the world, and indeed of ourselves. This was connected through the Renaissance in art, culture, and politics as well as science, to enormous changes in the structure of polities and societies. The early modern era perhaps saw the invention not only of modern empires, but of large, centralised modern states. Also, the Renaissance and then Enlightenment changed the way people and states interacted. Arguably, the early modern period represents the transition period between an era of medieval hierarchy and the origins of modern social and political democracy.
Essentially, the aim of the module, through your lectures, seminars, and independent reading and thinking, is to give you a sense of the connections between these places and their histories, highlighting that the increasing inter-connection between them is itself a feature of the early modern period. You¿ll also get a broad sense of how the world as a whole changed between 1500 and 1800.
History is an imprecise art and what historians say and write about the past is not the same as what actually happened in the past. Most people's knowledge about the past doesn't come from professional historians at all but rather from 'public history'. Public history is the collective understandings of the past that exist outside academic discipline of history. It is derived from a diverse range of sources including oral traditions, legends, literature, art, films and television.
This module will introduce you to the study and presentation of the past. It will consider how the content, aims and methods of academic and public history compare and contrast and you will engage in your own small research project to investigate this. The module will also teach you about the fundamentals of studying and writing history at university. You will learn about essay writing, group work and critical analysis and employ these skills to understand and assess history today, both as an academic activity and as public knowledge.
Revolutionary America, 1760–1791
This module explores the American Revolution, the formation of the United States, and imperial and colonial politics and society between 1760 and 1791. The first section of the module explores events from the end of the French and Indian War in 1760, taxes and other measures leading to Independence in 1776, the war of 1775-83, through to the founding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in 1787-91. The second section examines imperial politics and colonial societies in greater depth, exploring the evolution of Anglo-American constitutionalism and political thought throughout the period, and examining social structure in America, slavery, Native Americans, women, and whether 1760-1791 saw a 'social revolution'. The third part of the module will explore particular people, places, events, and themes in greater detail still (e.g. the Founding Fathers, urban artisans, the rural South, the Boston Tea Party, revolutionary concepts and ideas, etc.). Students may request topics for lectures for the third section of the module. Seminars will analyse various primary documents including the Declaration of Independence (1776) and Constitution (1787) and Bill of Rights (1791), but students may request that other documents also be included in tutorial readings.
History Work Placement
This module enables students to gain professional work experience in a setting that is typical of the types of graduate careers that History students pursue. Placements are expected to offer graduate level work with the possibility (where relevant) of students being allocated to a specific project within the workplace. Prior to beginning their placement, students will complete a series of workshops that will introduce various professional skills, explore the range of History graduate careers and the skills and attributes they are developing as part of their degree, and offer opportunities to reflect on their own personal development, self-awareness and mindset in relation to future career goals. This will be supplemented by practical workshops during the placement period to develop skills in writing CVs, applications and personal statements, interviews, and reflective practice. Teaching will be tied in to the SEA award allowing students to complete appropriate levels of the award (bronze and silver).
The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.
Histories of Empire
Throughout most of history up until the middle of the twentieth century, the majority of the world¿s population were subjects of an empire. From the empires of the Ancient World through to the European colonial networks of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these empires have straddled continents and brought people from different ethnicities and cultures under the rule of Caesars, kings and emperors. Despite the clear distinctions between empires in different time-periods and continents, these organisations share a range of similarities in their operation and guiding principles. Some phenomena such as the `civilising mission¿ and `imperial over-reach¿ can be seen in a variety of circumstances down the centuries. Many empires can be said to have followed the same trajectory, rising from the ashes of previous empires, conquering territories and defending them jealously from rivals, and ending in a hubris-driven collapse.
This module will look at the growth, management and decline of a range of empires, with a particular focus upon the modern period. It will compare the operation of empires, both across time and synchronically. A range of themes will be covered, including the machinery of rulership over different parts of an empire; the treatment of subjected peoples; issues of race and racial hierarchies; the role of technology; profit and empire; the philosophical underpinnings of empire; popular ideas about imperialism and the aftermath of empire.