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Advanced Seminar modules

These are one-term seminar modules for second and final-year students, covering a diverse range of periods, regions and historical approaches.

The vast majority of such courses are assessed by two 2,500 word coursework essays (rarely by one essay and a 1.5-hour examination).

The modules below are due to run in the 2020/21 academic year:

Please note: This module description is accurate at the time of publication. Amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.

Slavery in the Classical World

DR JULIETTA STEINHAUER

This course seeks to study slavery in the context of the societies of Greece and Rome, while remaining aware also of the influence of developing modern debates and concerns on the subject. The topic is approached principally through the study of the ancient sources, in order to find out both how slavery functioned in practice, but also how the people of antiquity thought about it. It tackles the difficulties of uneven and incomplete ancient evidence, both textual (we have plentiful writings from slave-owners, but little from slaves) and physical, and considers the merits of other approaches less dependent on ancient material (e.g. demography, and comparison with better documented ‘slave societies’). Slavery is considered from economic, social and ideological perspectives. The sources of slave-supply, the work slaves did, how they were treated and their legal position are all examined. The process of manumission and the varying statuses of freedmen are also covered, as well as other forms of dependent labour. More general issues are also addressed, such as the definition of what a slave is, the notion of a ‘slave society’, and ultimately how important and integral to ancient societies the institution of slavery was. Each class lasts two hours, and includes prepared presentations by students, group discussions of issues or texts, and consideration of material distributed on hand-outs. Preparation is by the reading of a quantity of ancient source material, in the light of suggested topics for thought and secondary reading.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0221

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Gothic: From High Culture to Subculture

DR MARIE-PIERRE GELIN

“Gothic” is one of the most pervasive concepts in Western culture. First coined during the Renaissance as a pejorative label for the idiomatic style of Medieval European architecture c. 1140-1450, Gothic became an elastic and occasionally elusive term to characterize a variety of responses to the medieval past from the fifteenth-century to the present. In considering the history of Gothic as an ideal and anti-ideal in art, architecture, literature and film from the Middle Ages to the present, this course will offer a cultural history of medievalism in European, and particularly English, culture.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0808

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment method: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Learning Early Medicine by the Book

DR ELAINE LEONG

This course investigates the world of bodily health, sickness and medical care in early modern Europe through the study of medical books. Topics covered include contemporary theories of the body, health and sickness; disease and ill health (incl. the plague); medical economies; cures, drugs and pharmacy; surgery and anatomy; reproduction and childbirth; and gender and medicine. Along the way, we will also briefly explore the world of the early modern book production and use. A number of ‘hands-on’ sessions will be held at the Wellcome Library.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0793

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Intelligent Design? Science, Religion and Material Culture, 1500-1830

DR ALESSANDRO DE ARCANGELIS

Today the claim that God designed everything in the universe has given way to the theory of evolution – the scientific demonstration that biological organisms gradually change over millions of years through natural selection. The usual story of how this change came about is one of conflict between science and religion. Before the middle of the 18th century, however, claims about God’s role as an intelligent designer were in fact part of the scientific mainstream. Examining the role of design in science during the period before Darwin began work on the theory of evolution thus gives us the opportunity to question today’s narratives that assume a history of continual conflict between science and religion.

To that end, this course examines the crucial role of ideas and practices relating to design in the emergence of ‘modern science’ during the three centuries from 1500 to 1800. Additionally, it investigates the reasons for the declining importance of design to science during the 18th century, long before Darwin began to promote the theory of evolution.

As well as giving you an introduction to key themes in the history of early modern science, this course is an opportunity to consider the interrelationships between science and a wide range of contemporary cultural practices – from intellectual disciplines like philosophy and theology, to practices including chemistry, design, and the arts.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0284

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

The Political City: London in the Seventeenth Century

PROFESSOR JASON PEACEY

The early modern period was one of immense importance for the development of London, in terms of upheavals in church, state, politics and society, and in terms of its emergence as one of the world’s greatest cities. This course employs an interdisciplinary approach to the study of London’s history during the seventeenth century, in order to appreciate the many facets of the city’s political life. It explores the forces of order and disorder, and the avenues and arenas for both formal and informal political action, as well as the interactions between different groups within the capital, including parishioners, apprentices, and merchants. It analyses the impact of dramatic events from the Civil War to the Plague and Great Fire, and of long term trends, such as the print revolution, and explores a range of sources as divers as government records, newspapers, and early modern plays.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0257

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

State, Sovereignty and Liberty: The History of European Political Thought in the Eighteenth Century

PROFESSOR PETER SCHRÖDER

This course will focus on the most important political discourses of the eighteenth century. Students will engage in close interpretation of key texts by Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, as well as examining the relationship of these authors.

NB: Students are not permitted to take this module if they have already taken HIST2310.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0256

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

The Balkans from Empires to Nation-States

DR DIANA GEORGESCU

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were a time of economic change, intellectual development and political conflict in the Balkans, in which the Ottoman Empire experienced pressure from internal and external threats, and the Balkan peoples responded to the changing local, regional and international environment. This course combines a chronological and thematic approach, exploring the social, cultural, economic and political transformations of the period. While the break-up of empires and the establishment of national states claiming to represent the Balkan nations is an important aspect of this story, the course also seeks to challenge a teleological narrative that assumes that nations and nationalism were always the most important categories of social and political life in the region.
There are three mutually interrelated aims of the course: 1. to acquire a body of knowledge relating to the history of the Balkans in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including an understanding of key historiographical debates; 2. to develop a nuanced understanding of broader concepts and methodologies relevant to the study of history; 3. To develop a variety of analytic and research skills, including the structuring of complex arguments, the assessment of secondary literature and historiographical debates, primary source criticism, and map skills. While the aim is to give the student a framework for understanding the totality of modern South-East European history and culture, students with an interest in a specific country will be able to set that subject against a broader Balkan (and European) background and submit coursework on their country of choice.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0497

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Queer Histories in Britain from the 1800s to the 1980s

DR FLORENCE SUTCLIFFE-BRAITHWAITE

How can we, and how should we, write the history of sex and sexuality? How did the experiences of men or women who experienced sexual desire for members of the same sex change over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries? When did the idea of a homosexual, gay, lesbian, or queer identity appear in Britain? What was the role of legal changes (all homosexual acts between men in public or private were criminalised between 1885 and 1967) and of scientific knowledge in shaping identities and practices? These are the questions this module sets out to answer. It looks at legal changes relating to homosexuality and the development of scientific thinking on the subject. It also looks at changing queer subcultures, sexual practices, and sexual identities in Britain from the 1880s to the 1980s, asking how sexual practices related to sexual identities, and charting the development of self-conscious and proud LGBTQ+ identities.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0281

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

 

Society and Politics in Late Imperial Russia

DR PHILIPPA HETHERINGTON

The period between the reform era of the 1860s and the overthrow of the monarchy in 1917 marks one of the most vibrant and exciting periods in Russian history. This advanced seminar course combines a chronological and thematic survey of these decades, exploring social, cultural, and political transformations across key spheres, including the autocracy, the peasantry, the family, the church, the borderlands, and the intelligentsia.  While it considers how this period ultimately set the stage for the revolutions of 1917, it also seeks to challenge a linear narrative that subsumes imperial Russia into its revolutionary finale. Further, the module places emphasis on understanding the Russian empire in all its heterogeneity; thus we explore themes such as class, gender and industrialisation as much from the imperial 'periphery' (from Tbilisi to Tashkent) as from the metropolitan centres (like St. Petersburg or Moscow). In terms of sources, this module places a particular emphasis on understanding late imperial Russia through the literature, art and music of the period, and the recommended reading includes a number of novels from Dostoevsky's The Devils to Andrey Bely's Petersburg.  In addition, a portion of class time is dedicated to practicing advanced historical research methods, improving essay writing skills, and exploring how to upgrade your historical analysis. These are skills that will help you to improve your assessment outcomes across your degree.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0500

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Between Politics and Culture: German Ideas, 1890-1970

DR EGBERT KLAUTKE

The module will examine some of the major intellectual debates in Germany in the twentieth century. The module will make students familiar with important philosophers of the respective period and how they made sense of the society they lived in. It will introduce a variety of texts by German intellectuals including Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin and Jürgen Habermas. In doing so it will offer an introduction to the field of intellectual history, and a means of understanding how basic concepts and ideas have been shaped by the course of recent German history. The seminar will focus on different reactions to and interpretations of ‘modernity’ in its varied meanings and understandings, and follow the development of these from the late nineteenth to the twentieth century.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0004

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

London in the 20th Century: From Imperial to Global City

DR MICHAEL COLLINS

This course offers students an overview of selective aspects of the history of twentieth-century London, set within the wider context of twentieth-century British history and politics, imperial history and decolonization. This is not a comprehensive and detailed history of the city itself; rather, London as a ‘imperial metropole’ is used as a lens through which to explore broader questions about changing collective identities such as Englishness, Britishness, and the imperial. Case studies may include efforts to create ‘imperial architecture’ in London c. 1900; intellectuals and imperialism in late Edwardian Bloomsbury; Americanisation in the 1920s ‘jazz age’; Cable Street and the anti-fascist struggle; the Blitz and its trans-Atlantic dimensions; and post-war ‘New Commonwealth’ immigration in places such as Brixton and Notting Hill.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0262

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Europe's First World War, 1911-1923

PROFESSOR HEATHER JONES

This module explores the European experience of the First World War. Drawing upon the historiographical idea of a ‘Great War Era’ that lasted from the 1911 Italian invasion of Libya, until the Treaty of Lausanne, and Ruhr occupation, in 1923, it examines the war experience in Western, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and relationships between the First World War and European colonialism, interrogating:

- Why the First World War is described as a ‘total war’
- How the war impacted upon civilians, with particular focus upon gender, genocide, humanitarianism and refugee themes
- How Empire framed European attitudes to the conflict 


Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Timetable: Term 2

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0778

Fascism and Authoritarianism in Eastern Europe, 1918-1945

DR REBECCA HAYNES

This course will introduce students to the ideologies and histories of the fascist movements of the region between 1918 and 1945. It will also cover the authoritarian regimes which frequently appropriated the symbols and rhetoric of fascism while remaining essentially conservative (e.g. King Carol II’s dictatorship in Romania). The course will open with an exploration of the origins and ideology of nationalism and fascism and then proceed to look at the fascist ‘debate’ i.e. the various definitions of fascism and causal theories regarding the rise of fascism which have been put forward by historians and political scientists over the decades since the Second World War. The course will then proceed with a country-by-country study of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. During the course, students will consider the extent to which fascist and authoritarian movements in Eastern Europe were influenced by the Italian Fascism and German National Socialism or whether they were home-grown and ‘native’.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0494

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment method: 2 X 2,500-word essays

The Age of Extremes in the Balkans

DR BOJAN ALEKSOV

In his famous book The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991, Eric Hobsbawm describes the disastrous failures of state communism, capitalism, and nationalism. Nowhere was the tragedy of the twentieth century more apparent than in the Balkans. What initiated as the dawn of an age of liberation from old Empires and catching up with the rest of the continent turned into a century of wars and violence between new nation states or within them coupled with their perpetual if not increased lagging behind the rest of Europe. This course will combine a chronological and thematic approach in order to explore the political, social, cultural and economic factors affecting such an outcome. It will look at foreign influence as well as domestic agency with the aim to unravel the great changes and lost opportunities of the recent dramatic history of the Balkans. Dominated as it was by conflict and oppression the twentieth century in the Balkans was also the time of great transformations and brilliant achievements of many Balkanites, whose trajectories will be illuminated both in lectures and reading.

There are three mutually interrelated aims of the course: 1. To acquire a body of knowledge relating to the history of the Balkans in the twentieth century, including an understanding of key historiographical debates; 2. To develop a nuanced understanding of broader concepts and methodologies relevant to the study of history; 3. To develop a variety of analytic and research skills, including the structuring of complex arguments, the assessment of secondary literature and historiographical debates, primary source criticism, and map skills. While our aim is to give the student a framework for understanding the totality of modern South-East European history and culture, students with an interest in a specific country will be able to set that subject against a broader Balkan (and European) background and submit coursework on their country of choice.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0498

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

 

Peasant Wars and Revolution in Modern East Central Europe

DR JAKUB BENEŠ

Peasants are rarely thought to have played much of a role in the making of the contemporary Europe. They figure more commonly in our historical imagination as resisting modernity, perhaps even actively sabotaging it with their rootedness, their traditional mindsets, and their primitive economic activities. In this module we will consider the alternative: that peasants—the majority of Europe’s population until 1950—had an important and formative role to play in the cataclysmic wars, revolutions, and politics of the twentieth century, particularly in central and east Europe, but elsewhere as well. The module is both comparative and transnational, seeking similarities and differences between various national contexts as well as identifying phenomena that transcend national borders. By engaging with different scholarly approaches to the study of peasants, we will also be able to place East Central Europe in global comparative perspective and shed light on cultural-political divides between town and country today.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0813

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Czechoslovakia in the Age of Extremes, 1918-1993

DR THOMAS LORMAN

An introduction to the history of Czechoslovakia, from the creation of an independent state in 1918 to the peaceful separation of the Czech and Slovak states in 1993. It concentrates on the main political developments and the various regime changes that defined the history of the region, with a focus more on Czech than on Slovak perspectives. The course makes use of the impressive range of general and specialist studies on Czechoslovak history available in English.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0020

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Ancient Near Eastern Religion

Dr Yağmur Heffron

This module explores religion as a practice, an idea, and a material presence in the ancient Middle East. Through seminars on a variety of topics, we will consider different manifestations of ‘religion’ in architecture, material culture, literary texts, administrative documents, and burial sites. Over the course of the term, these diverse sources will build a holistic picture of the religious life of the Middle East, considered from prehistoric mortuary and temple sites up through ongoing manifestations of ancient Near Eastern religious practices and ideas in the modern-day. The course will be structured thematically, with a different major topic, question, or source-type addressed each week. Each session will look at primary sources from several different times or places, so that it will be possible to see connections across time and space, while also understanding significant differences between cultures, and developments through time. This engagement with primary sources will be supported by weekly readings in secondary literature, to orient students around an otherwise unfamiliar history. Although we will centre Mesopotamian sources, there will also be discussion throughout the course of material culture and literary texts from the Levant, Anatolia, and Iran. By the end of the course students should understand what a history of religion for the Middle East might look like, while also appreciating how complex and multivalent this history must be.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0660

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Broadcasting Modernity: A Global History of Radio and Television in the Twentieth Century  

DR KRISTIN ROTH-EY

This module explores broadcasting as a revolutionary social, political, and cultural institution of twentieth-century modernity. Broadcasting histories typically present national narratives, while media theory often substitutes a narrow range of experience (principally, the Anglo-American experience) for the whole.  In this module, we will uncover the history of radio and television in its great diversity, from the dominant US and UK narratives to Nazi Germany, the USSR and postwar East-Central Europe, China and the Global South, while also investigating its impact as a transnational phenomenon. The approach is at once broadly chronological (tracking major developments from the 1920s through the 1980s) and thematic. Major themes include:  national broadcasting systems and national identity formation; radio and communities of listening (ethnicity, class, gender); radio, propaganda, and dictatorship; transnational broadcasting and Cold War competition; television and the family ideal: mediating lifestyle in the Cold War; radio, mass culture, and the youth revolution of the 1960s; television, values, and the socialist welfare state; broadcasting and the politics of modernization in the Global South; television, political mobilization, and dissent.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0024

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

History of Asian Medicine

DR VIVIENNE LO

History of Asian Medicine aims to provide knowledge of the background and development of key concepts and practices in the history of Chinese medicine, with a secondary focus on the history of Tibetan and/or Indian medicine. It will describe the transmission of these Asian medical systems and traditions to Europe and the reception of traditional medicines in the modern world. The course will give a broad historical perspective, while at the same time focusing on the social, cultural and political determinants for medical innovation.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0218

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Law's Empire: Legal Cultures in the British Colonial World

PROFESSOR MARGOT FINN

This module explores the ways in which law and legal regimes worked to create, regulate, challenge and change British colonial societies. Adopting a thematic and comparative approach, it extends chronologically from the eighteenth through the twentieth century. Each seminar is designed to introduce a specific aspect of legal regulation and to examine within a comparative framework the ways in which that phenomenon shaped life across a range of British colonies, using both primary and secondary readings. The first five weeks of the module focus on aspects of law that relate to crimes against property and the person and to regimes of coerced labour; the second half focuses on social and cultural aspects of colonial law, particularly the perceived violation of British behavioural norms. Geographically, the course explores legal developments in colonial contexts that stretched from Canada and the Caribbean to sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and the Indian Ocean world.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0272

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Penal Era or Golden Age?: Ireland 1689-1801

DR JON CHANDLER

This course seeks to introduce students to eighteenth century Ireland, an age perhaps of particular paradoxes. This was the age of Jonathan Swift, Henry Grattan and George Berkeley, of Georgian Dublin, and the golden age of the Irish parliament. It was also the era of the Penal Laws, of the poets of the dispossessed, of exiled Jacobites, and of Theobald Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and the United Irishmen. This was the century that saw the emergence of Irish Protestant patriot politicians who were zealous in their defence of their liberties, but it was also the period, which saw the first birth pangs of Irish republicanism. This was also a period of peace, albeit one book-ended by brutal violent conflicts at either end. This ‘long peace’ and what it means in terms of our understanding of the Protestant Ascendancy and of Catholic Ireland is one of the foci of this course. Other key topics include questions about Irish exceptionalism, colonial status versus dependence, and debates about the inevitability of rebellion. The course will, as well as introducing students to the eighteenth century Ireland, examine the legacy of the eighteenth century past in the present, looking especially at the role of commemoration and the creation/acknowledgement of multiple identities.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0269

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Race, Identity and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic World

DR CHLOE IRETON

In empires where the privileged few – those with white skin color, appropriate ancestry (often linked to birth in Castile), and purity of blood – filled positions of power, how did Iberian monarchs in the metropole exert colonial control over diverse and distant regions and people for over three hundred years? For example, during the early era of conquest and colonization in the Spanish American empire, New World-born Spanish creoles, noble indigenous natives, indigenous communities, free and enslaved black individuals, and other colonial subjects far outnumbered native-born Spaniards. The answer lies in a complex brokerage of power and a system of petitions to the monarch, which arguably was more democratic than the often-widely held image of Iberian empires as monolithic, uncompromising, centrally dictating powers. 
 
Exploring the workings and logic of imperial institutions of power, local alliances, collaboration between different imperial subjects, and the role of distant monarchs, this advanced module explores how these conditions served as fundamental nodes in maintaining and shaping colonial power. Through the lens of social and intellectual histories of empire in the Iberian world, the seminars consider the historiographical debates surrounding how colonial subjects in the Iberian empires – including free black and indigenous American populations – shaped empire, religion, and science through daily practices and litigation. 
 
In weekly seminars, we explore a diverse historiographical landscape that grapples with how indigenous Americans and African Diaspora – both as individuals and communities – responded to the intellectual milieus of empire. For example, seminars consider the historiographical stakes of exploring how colonial subjects – including free black populations and indigenous Americans – shaped laws through daily practices and by petitioning for rights to royal vassalage in royal courts, while also exploring how they contributed to knowledge formation and ideas about religion, science, and, empire that are often regarded as having emerged from a Western Tradition in Europe. In doing so, we consider key theoretical and historiographical debates concerning knowledge and power, in particular regarding whose thoughts, ideas, and histories become etched into historical memory, while others are marginalized and silenced, and or appropriated. To that end, part of seminar 9 ‘Scientific Knowledge’ will take place in the British Museum.
 
SEMINAR TOPICS
1. Old Worlds / New Worlds. The Iberian World.
2. An Indigenous History Of Conquest. Focus On New Spain
3. Race, Slavery, Religion, Global Monarchy I  | Key Concepts
4. Race, Slavery, Religion, Global Monarchy Ii  | Sixteenth-Century Abolitionism, Africans And Indios.
5. Power Vassalage, Law - An Empire Of Petitions?
6. Defining, Writing, And Contesting Empire From The Margins: Juan Latino, Guaman Poma, & Diego De Torres
7. Expanding Notions Of Colonial Settlers. Urban Life, Race, Religion, Commerce, And Gender 
8. Inquisitions, A Modern Institution? 
9. De-Centering Europe: Scientific Knowledge And Trade (Seminar to take place at British Museum)    
10. Cross-Currents Of The Atlantic And Pacific Worlds – Africa, Europe, Asia And The Americas  

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0770

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

 

Thinking with the Caribbean, 1492-1700: Entangled Empires, and Interconnected Atlantic and Global Histories

DR CHLOE IRETON

In this Advanced Seminar, we will ‘think with the Caribbean Sea’ as an opportunity to draw connections with the histories of the African Diaspora, Anglo, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese Americas, Africa, Europe, multiple Atlantics, and the globe. Our seminar readings invite us to explore a wide range of inter-connected regions within (and beyond) the Caribbean, and consider how the region influenced and shaped other parts of the Americas and the world. With a focus on particular sites in the Caribbean, such as Havana, Jamaica, Cartagena, Veracruz, and Panama, and their hinterlands, and key themes in Caribbean history, we will think conceptually about global history from localized sites. Our discussions will respond to conceptual challenges posed by historians who explore the notion of Entangled Atlantic empires / Entangled Caribbean. We will cross imperial and regional boundaries of historiography in order to consider the intersection, allegiances, identities, itineraries, and diaspora of peoples living across varied geographies of the Caribbean region, and beyond. We will focus on the lived geography of the Caribbean and interrogate the significance of thinking about different geographic and temporal frameworks to approach the region’s history. Our discussions will grapple with key questions that have emerged in recent scholarship, such as whether the Caribbean was an African site, whether black maroon communities played decisive roles in determining the relative success of Anglo or Dutch incursions into the Caribbean, whether imperial boundaries were porous, whether imperial and political divisions made any sense to the inhabitants and passers-by of the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries, and if so, how, and whether the types of knowledge that emerged in these sites went on to shape what we might think of as a Western tradition or served as the sites of the birthplace of modernity. ‘Thinking with the Caribbean’ through entangled and global approaches to the region will help us to develop new understandings of slavery, the dynamics of empire, intellectual thought, multiple processes of subject-making, and complicated questions of sovereignty.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0209

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

The Remaking of the English Ruling Class, 1660-1785

PROFESSOR JULIAN HOPPIT

This course explores a seeming paradox. Between 1660 and 1760 England’s social elite failed to reproduce itself demographically. In many families deaths outnumbered births, throwing sacred lines of succession into confusion. Yet at just the same time those families dramatically reproduced themselves in other ways: houses were built; landscapes sculpted; paintings commissioned; libraries filled; fields enclosed; villages moved; towns built; political power accumulated. Consequently, eighteenth-century England was lorded over not by a stable, ancient elite, but by one constantly remaking itself. This course explores how and why this took place.
 

Level: 5

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0242

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Ancient Anatolia Through Material Culture 

DR YAGMUR HEFFRON

This module will explore the nexus of text-based history and material culture studies of Anatolia in the 2nd millennium B.C. Anatolia itself is a nexus of cultural and political contact, with a long history of diversity within and around it. As such, its role as a conduit, particularly along an east-west axis, for cultural transmission is a well-established, and not unjustified metaphor. Recent scholarship, however, is shifting the emphasis from a predominantly passive view of Anatolia as a ‘bridge’ across which surrounding influences travel to meet one another, to study the region in terms of its own agency. The module will likewise focus on Anatolia as a point of historical interest in its own right, through a selection of themes to highlight crucial episodes of social, political, religious, and economic change during the 2nd millennium.

The temporal scope for the module covers the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, which roughly correspond to the period of Assyrian trade ‘colonies’ in the central plateau (20th-17th c. B.C.), and state and empire formation under centralised Hittite control (16th-13th c. B.C.).

Designed to explore the advantages, as well as the challenges of incorporating primary archaeological sources into text-based historical research, the module is structured around issues such as proto-historical and ahistorical periods, varying degrees of visibility in different sources, and historical vs. archaeological perceptions of chronology. It will also highlight points of convergence and contrast in the secondary literature, for a critical awareness of the traditions of historical and archaeological scholarship in making inferences, exploring plausibility, formulating interpretations and communicating findings.

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0229

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

Cops, Cartels and Cash Crops: The Drug Trade in the Americas, 1900 to the Present 

DR NATHANIEL MORRIS 

Images of ‘Drug Wars’ today dominate popular perceptions of Latin America. The news is full of stories about cartel shoot-outs in Mexico, while television series like Narcos have made Pablo Escobar a figure familiar to millions. This course will examine the development of drug production and trafficking in the Americas. It will assess the role of the region’s governments – including the US – in the development of the contemporary drug trade; its impact on local societies, political systems, economies and cultures; and pay special attention to both academic and popular/media portrayals and understandings of the drug war, and the effects of drug use, production and drug-related violence on marginalised groups like indigenous peasants, disenfranchised youth, and women.

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0790

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

Crime, Policing and Punishment in London, c.1750-1868 

DR JOE COZENS

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries London became one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the world. However, rapid demographic and economic growth had profound consequences for life in the metropolis, disrupting traditional social relations, and increasing the potential for crime and disorder on its streets. On this course, students will learn how to critically analyse sources from the criminal archive and they will investigate the changing nature of policing, prosecution, and punishment from the Murder Act of 1750 to the abolition of public execution in 1868.

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0810

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

Culture and Revolutions in Twentieth-Century Latin America 

DR BILL BOOTH

In all of the social revolutions in twentieth-century Latin America, cultural change was conceived as an intrinsic part of creating a new society, not merely a desirable side-effect of political and economic restructuring. “A revolution is always religious”, wrote José Carlos Mariátegui, one of Latin America’s leading Marxist thinkers of the 1920s, by which he meant that a genuine revolution could only happen through a process of spiritual transformation. Even in Mexico, where the revolution of 1910-20 was primarily bourgeois in outcome, cultural policy was vigorously debated and arguably led to a radicalisation of social policy. After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, a pioneering literacy campaign transformed the educational prospects of rural Cubans and was promoted by UNICEF as a model throughout the developing world. Moreover, the support of a transnational network of intellectuals advocating cultural freedom was crucial to sustaining the credibility of the revolutionary government as it established an alliance with the repressive Soviet Union.

Over the next five decades, the successful opening up of access to culture for a wide range of Cubans was one of the factors contributing to the enduringly high levels of support for the Revolution. In Nicaragua, during the 1970s, cultural practice was seen in itself as a revolutionary tactic in the struggle to overthrow the existing dictatorship. Experiments in collective learning were rolled out across the country after the Sandinistas came to power in 1979.

This module will explore the relationship between culture and revolution, focussing on the revolutions in Mexico, Cuba and Nicaragua, but students will be encouraged to explore experiences in other countries of the region (e.g. Guatemala or Bolivia) if they wish.

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0773

Timetable: Running in both Term 1 and Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

Gender and History in Latin America Since Independence 

DR BILL BOOTH

Gender – the socially constructed and historically contingent representation of perceived biological differences – has become a key concept in historical analysis, which has reshaped historical understandings of the Latin American past and present. By highlighting the social origins of naturalised concepts, such as sexuality, reproduction and the family, and examining the historical ways in which they have been defined and regulated, gender analysis provides a powerful tool with which to interpret power, ideas, and material relationships more broadly.
This course aims both to examine the history of gender and sexuality in Latin America since independence and to analyse Latin American history through the lens of gender. It seeks to highlight the connection - empirically, theoretically and epistemologically - between gender, masculinity, femininity, sexuality and the family, and the political, economic, social and cultural processes that have characterized Latin America since independence. These include war, nation-building, state formation, export development, liberal modernization, industrialization, the growth of the national developmentalist state, revolution, authoritarianism and democratization, among others.

Module Type: Advanced Seminar 

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0296

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 x 2,500 word essay (50% each)

The Contested Country: A History of Hungary, 1790-1990 

DR THOMAS LORMAN

This module begins with the birth of modern Hungarian nationalism at the end of the eighteenth century when a rift first emerged between the Hungarian political elite and their Habsburg ruler. It then proceeds to examine how these tensions played out through the long nineteenth century, explores the contested efforts to modernize Hungary in the twentieth century and concludes with the fall of communism in 1989/1990, when new rifts emerged between competing visions for a post-communist future. The course is structured
chronologically, thus each weekly topic will examine a particular period in Hungary’s history, beginning with the status of Hungary within the Habsburg Empire at the end of the eighteenth century and concluding with the fall of communism in Hungary in 1989 and the first free elections in 1990.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0667

Timetable: Term 1

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early Modern Europe
PROFESSOR BEN KAPLAN

The subject of this course is the relations between Europe’s different religious groups – the various Christian denominations chiefly, but also Christians and Jews – in the centuries between the Reformation and the French Revolution. With the Reformation, a once-united western Christendom split into hostile, warring camps. Despite the ideals of toleration and religious freedom championed by some thinkers, actual social relations between the groups remained intensely problematic to the very end of the early modern period. Those relations will be the focus of our study.

How did ordinary people experience the religious divisions? How did they interact with one another? What were the obstacles to peaceful coexistence? Why did toleration prevail in some local communities while others descended into sectarian violence? What kinds of arrangements and accommodations did toleration entail, where it existed? To address these questions we will take a comparative approach, examining different parts of Europe, principally France, the Holy Roman Empire (roughly equivalent to Germany), and the Netherlands.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HIST0244

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays

New Histories of Liberalism

DR IAIN STEWART

Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in the history of liberalism. This historiographical revival has emerged at the same time that liberalism in all its forms has increasingly seemed to be in severe crisis. Islamist extremism and the War on Terror, the financial crisis of 2008, Brexit and the global rise of populist authoritarianism: all these developments and more have contributed to the sense of liberalism’s impending demise. Few would now defend the once fashionable idea that the collapse of European communism in 1989 announced an ‘end of history’ in which liberal democracy and the free market economy would be the only viable political and economic models left. But the end of the end of history has seen the beginning of a new historiography of liberalism. In this module we will ask how and why this has happened by engaging with recent scholarship on liberalism’s history from the early modern period up to the present. Topics covered from year to year will vary but include subjects such as the histories of human rights and liberal internationalism, the history of liberalism’s relationship with religion, slavery, colonialism, imperialism and feminism, the history of liberalism’s reinvention during the Cold War, and the rise of neoliberal economics.

Module type: Advanced Seminar

Level: 6

Credits: 15

Module code: HISTxxx (TBC)

Timetable: Term 2

Assessment methods: 2 X 2,500-word essays