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Survey modules

These generally provide an overview of a large geographical region and/or a long time span and are taught over two terms, normally by weekly 1-hour lectures and discussion classes (of c. 15 students).

Assessment is usually by one coursework essay of 2,500 words (25%) and one 3-hour examination (75%). In addition, tutors will require students to make other contributions, including informally-assessed written work.

Please note that one-term only affiliate students take the 15-credit versions of Survey modules. The assessment pattern for these half-year versions are detailed within each module box below.

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.

Babylon from Hammurabi to Alexander

TBC

This module traces the rise and fall of one of the most important cities of the ancient world. Located 75 km south of modern-day Baghdad in central Iraq, Babylon exerted political, social and intellectual influence across the wider Middle East, from its first emergence as a regional power under king Hammurabi in the 18th century BC to its conquest by Alexander of Macedon in the late 4th century BC.

The lectures will lay out the main outlines of Babylon’s history over the this long span of time, as a city, as the centre of a state, and as a regional power. We will explore Babylon’s changing social, economic and religious institutions, its political structures, territorial ambitions and diplomatic efforts. The seminars will focus on the textual, visual and material evidence from which historians construct these narratives. How are objects found on Middle Eastern archaeological sites deciphered and made meaningful? How should we weigh them against sources from other cultures? How should we deal with gaps in the evidential record? How are historical ‘facts’ negotiated, agreed, and renegotiated?

 

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

  • HIST0650: 30 credits
  • HIST0651: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

  • HIST0650: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
  • HIST0651: (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students
  • HIST0651: (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essays (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students
The Greek World from the end of the Persian wars to the Battle of Chaeronea (479-338 BC)

DR PAOLA CECCARELLI

The module explores the period from the end of the Persian Wars in 479 to the rise of the kingdom of Macedon and the defeat of the Athenians and Thebans at Chaeronea in 338 BC. Within this chronological frame, it aims to go beyond the usual focus on Athens and Sparta and encompass also Achaemenid Asia Minor in the East, and Sicily/Magna Graecia in the West, as well as the numerous 'other' Greek poleis. While for the fifth century the clash between Athens and Sparta, and more generally issues to do with the power of Athens, remain central, we will also look at Peloponnesian cities and the organisation of the Peloponnesian league, and contrastively at the cities forming part of the Delio-Attic league; at Macedon, Thessaly and Boiotia; at Sicilian governments, tyrannies and democracies; and at Persia (with a visit to the British Museum). After the Athenian defeat at the end of the fifth century, we shall trace the short-lived Spartan and Theban hegemonies, and the rise of Macedon; but we will also continue to follow events East (as Persia continues to be more and more involved in Greek affairs) and West. The module thus explores, not least, the remarkable political diversity of the ancient Greek world; yet common cultural traits will be highlighted, such as the diffusion of tragedy throughout the Greek world or the adoption of shared political forms and diplomatic languages.
 

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

  • HIST0787: 30 credits
  • HIST0788: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

  • HIST0787: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
  • HIST0788: (term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
  • HIST0788: (term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essays (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only
The History of Political Thought in the West

DR WILL SELINGER

This course traces the development of western political thought from its classical origins to its most important modern formulations, exploring the main lines of inquiry concerning the nature and status of political society, the state, law, citizenship, freedom, and relations of power. It extends from Greek antiquity to the 20th century, and emphasis is placed on the writings of major thinkers and their contemporary historical contexts, including Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Mary Wollstonecraft, Immanuel Kant, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and John Rawls.  The course will be assessed by a 3-hour exam (75%) and one essay (25%); one informally assessed primary source analysis, and one informally assessed essay, are also required.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0140: 30 credits
HIST0558: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0140: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0558 (term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0558 (term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

Divided Societies: The Mediterranean World in the Age of the Crusades

DR PATRICK LANTSCHNER

This module introduces students to the Mediterranean world in the Age of the Crusades (c.1100-c.1500) and to the diverse Muslim, Christian and Jewish societies that populated this region. This period is commonly associated with the fierce clashes between Christian and Islamic states in the wake of the crusades, but in this module we also explore how Mediterranean societies were themselves divided into multiple social, political and religious communities whose relationships stretched from co-existence to conflict.

In Term 1 we travel across the Mediterranean world. We encounter different societies from Jerusalem and Cairo across the Sahara desert to the Atlas Mountains, and from Andalusia across the Italian peninsula to Istanbul. A wealth of surviving evidence – from chronicles and literature to material sources and buildings – will allow us to look inside these divided and potentially fractious societies.

In Term 2 we look thematically across these various societies and examine the roots of their divisions. We study their ways of governing themselves and disagreeing with each other, their complex social structures and their multiple religious and legal systems. We look for similarities as well as differences and ask whether there was a Mediterranean civilisation beyond the clash of Islam and Christendom that the Age of the Crusades is so well-known for. 

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0802 - 30 credits
HIST0803 - 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0802: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0803 (term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0803 (term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

Tudor and Stuart Britain: 1500-1700

PROFESSOR JASON PEACEY

Early modern Britain is generally considered to be a period of revolutionary change, involving constitutional innovation, religious reformation, and social and economic upheaval, and the transformation from feudalism to parliamentary monarchy and nascent empire. Nevertheless, its history is marked by profound controversy, over the speed, direction, and purpose of change, all of which are analysed in this course through a survey of the period’s major events, personalities and themes, and the debates surrounding them. It will examine Scotland and Ireland as well as England, and emphasise the interdependence of social, religious, economic and political history, as well as of popular and elite culture, during this dynamic stage in British ‘state formation’.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0189 - 30 credits
HIST0590 - 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0189: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0590 (term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0590 (term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

History of Russia, 1598-1856

PROFESSOR SIMON DIXON

When the Riurikid dynasty unexpectedly came to an end in 1598, Muscovy was plunged into civil war. Beginning with that chaotic ‘Time of Troubles’, this course analyses the ways in which the Romanov dynasty installed in 1613 restored stability and secured their territories against enemy incursion. To some extent, they drew on Western models, but it was only when Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725) built a new capital at St Petersburg that Russia fully confronted European civilization. Over the course of the following century, Westernization transformed the Russian elite, bringing noble culture into contact with the European Enlightenment under Catherine the Great (1762-96), the most celebrate ruler of her age. However, as the state counted the cost of its new army, its extensive multi-national territories and its glittering cosmopolitan capital, the people paid the price. Risk-averse serfs relapsed into traditional collective responsibility as the only way to meet their rulers’ fiscal demands. The more the tsars tried to modernise their state, the more backward their empire became. Alexander I’s defeat of Napoleon in 1812-14 made Russia the greatest continental power in Europe. But as the Crimean War was to show, the colossus had feet of clay. The course covers a wide range of social, political, cultural and diplomatic topics, and you can choose from these in writing your essays.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0488: 30 credits
HIST0489: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment method:

HIST0488: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0489 (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0489 (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

History of the Habsburg Monarchy 1700-1918

DR REBECCA HAYNES

This course concentrates on the high politics of the Habsburg Monarchy in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the origins of nationalism in Central Europe, baroque art and architecture, and fin-de-siecle Vienna. The current schedule includes lectures on: the Baroque; Maria Theresa; Enlightened Despotism; Joseph II and Leopold II; Metternich and Conservatism; Czech and Slovak nationalism; Hungarian and Romanian nationalism; the Pre-March 1848; the 1848 Revolutions; October Diploma and February Patent; the 1867 settlement; Czech politics in the later nineteenth-century; Hungarian Liberalism; Culture and Politics c. 1900; Socialism and mass politics; the South Slav question; the Great War and the dissolution of the Monarchy. Weekly lectures are supported by tutorials. A principal aim of the course is to introduce students to the outstanding secondary literature on the history of the Monarchy.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0483: 30 credits
HIST0484: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0483: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0484 (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0484 (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

History of Modern Germany 1815-1990

SSEES DAAD lecturer

Most students who choose this course are interested in the Nazi period, and in particular in the Holocaust: How could it happen? Of course, we will look at the reasons for the destruction of democracy and at the appeal of Nazism. We will examine how a dictatorial regime could hold Germany, and later most of Europe, in check. However, Germany in the 20th century was far more than the Nazi Dictatorship. What is more, German History has more to offer than only issues of contemporary history. This course will to a large extent deal with Germany during the so-called long nineteenth century. In fact, this is a course about a couple of different German societies and political systems: German Confederation, German Empire, Weimar democracy, the Nazi regime, the immediate Post-War Period, East and West Germany from 1949 onwards and the unified German state after 1990. The course is split in two terms. The first term covers the period from the Congress of Vienna (1815) until the ‘Great War’ (1914-18); the second term focuses on the period from the aftermath of war until the reunification of Germany (1990). We discuss questions such as: Why did so many ruptures and changes in Modern German history occur? Can we identify long-term developments, for instance, from Bismarck to Hitler? Was there a special path of modernisation in Germany? How did the First World War impact on Germany? Why did the Weimar Republic fail? What made a stable democracy in West Germany possible, immediately after the demise of the Nazi regime? And why, on the other hand, did the socialist East German state survive for 40 years? 

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0490: 30 credits
HIST0491: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0490: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0491 (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0491 (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essays (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

British History c.1850-1997

DR FLORENCE SUTCLIFFE-BRAITHWAITE; PROFESSOR MARGOT FINN; DR MICHAEL COLLINS

This module provides an introduction to the political, economic, social and cultural history of Britain between 1850 and 1990. Britain’s position in the world is a key theme of the module, but we will also trace longer-term developments that cut across the period.  In 1850, the British empire was expanding; from the mid-twentieth, decolonisation and its aftermath fundamentally shaped British society, culture and politics. The two world wars—both closely entwined with the history of the British empire—form key turning points in modern British history and significantly impacted Britain’s place in the world as well as domestic politics and society. In domestic politics, we examine the birth of mass democracy, the rise of working-class politics and the growth of women’s suffrage campaigns, as well as the development of the welfare state and ‘warfare state’. In economics, we explore both industrial revolution and recurrent ideas about British economic ‘decline’. Britain has always been a ‘four nations’ country; the ethnic make-up of society also changed substantially across the period, with Irish, Jewish and new commonwealth migration. Ideas about race and its relationship to national identity changed significantly between 1850 and 1990, and are key topics for this module. Changes in race, class and gender are, thus, key themes in the module, alongside broader cultural trends such as demographic change, secularisation, the development of mass consumerism, and the decline of deference.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0178: 30 credits
HIST0583: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0178: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%), oral presentation (10%) and a 3-hour examination (65%)
HIST0583 (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0583 (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

NB: Students are not permitted to take this module if they have already taken HIST6406: Britain and the Wider World. 

History of the Soviet Union

DR SERGEI BOGATYREV

This course examines the history of the Soviet Union from the 1917 Revolution to the collapse of the USSR in 1991. It both explores the central lines of social, cultural, political and economical development over this period and places them within the context of broader questions about the Bolshevik revolution, Stalinism and its aftermath, late socialism, the Cold War and modern world history more globally. We will look at how the question of the Soviet Union’s diverse nationalities was addressed in different periods by different Soviet rulers. We will also explore the ways in which the Soviet leaders and the population attempted to build a society of new Soviet people and how this society functioned on a daily basis.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

SEHI0031: 30 credits
SEHI0011: One-term only Affiliate students

Assessment methods:

SEHI0031: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
SEHI0011 (Term 1 only): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students
SEHI0011 (Term 2 only): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students

The Making of Modern America: The United States since 1920
DR NICK WITHAM
 

The Making of Modern America is an introduction to the key themes and events in twentieth-century American history. Topics covered will include the New Deal, the impact of World War Two, US foreign policy during the Cold War and afterwards, the Civil Rights movements, the domestic impact of the war in Vietnam, the “right turn” of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Clinton, Bush II and Obama administrations. The lectures will focus on the competing visions of America that have shaped culture, society and politics since the 1920s and suggest some frameworks within which this history can be understood, while the seminars will explore a range of primary and secondary source material to help illuminate these themes.

NOTE: This module is now administered by the Institute of the Americas department. There are a limited number of spaces for UCL History students.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

AMER0050: 30 credits
AMER0051: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

AMER0050: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
AMER0051 (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
AMER0051 (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essays (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

History of Latin America c.1830-c.1930

DR THOM RATH

This module looks at Latin America in the first century after independence. Its main stress is on Spanish America, but considers Brazil for comparative purposes. The continent will be studied as a whole, and specific countries will be examined too. No language requirement is set, and no prior knowledge of the subject is assumed. Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests. Topics include: liberalism and authoritarianism in Mexico; the character of the Mexican revolution; race and nation-building; environmental history; urbanisation; Argentine development in comparative perspective; slavery and abolition; the survival and demise of the Spanish colony in Cuba and Cuban radical traditions; US imperialism.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0205: 30 credits
HIST0598: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0205: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0598: (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0598: (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essays (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

Colonial and Revolutionary North America

PROFESSOR STEPHEN CONWAY

This course aims to provide an understanding of the history of Colonial and Revolutionary North America from the first English settlement in Virginia to the aftermath of the War of Independence that created the United States. Attention is concentrated on the mainland English (later British) colonies, though consideration is given to French, Dutch, and Spanish North America and to the relationship between English/British North America and the rest of the Atlantic world. Topics considered include patterns of migration from the Old World to the New, the introduction of chattel slavery, relations between European incomers and the native inhabitants, religious diversity, and the increasing integration of eighteenth-century Britain and its North American colonies.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0185: 30 credits
HIST0588: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0185: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0588: (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0588: (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

History of the Modern Middle East

DR SETH ANZISKA

This survey course provides an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East, the region of North Africa and West Asia between the Atlantic Ocean and Central Asia, inclusive of Turkey and Iran. In the midst of geopolitical reorientations across the globe, how can we understand the historical roots of contemporary developments in countries like Syria and Tunisia, or relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran? How has the legacy of colonialism in North Africa and the Levant shaped Algeria and Lebanon today? Why have citizens across the region led protest movements against their political rulers? The module covers the period from the late 18th century until the present day, with a focus on political and social history. Topics include late Ottoman reform efforts and the impact of European intervention, state formation, intellectual and religious change, constitutional revolutions and the rise of nationalism, the role of natural resources and the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict and political Islam, the “Arab Spring,” and social and cultural changes into the 21st century.

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0128: 30 credits
HIST0163: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0128: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0163: (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0163: (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

The First European Union? Christendom 1187-1321

DR JOHN SABAPATHY

Thirteenth-century Europe was an age of attempted collaboration and union, multi-national institutions, charismatic leadership, transnational law, bureaucratic expansion, religious war, ethnic minority conflict, economic acceleration and collapse, and serious climate change. Déjà vu?

This survey examines how competition to define Europe’s identity both generated and undermined continental connections between the fall of crusader Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187 and the death of the great poet Dante Alighieri in 1321. In between, many institutions which we think of as fundamentally ‘modern’ crystallized: ‘the state’, universities, scientific reasoning, accounting, legal systems. Simultaneously so did many we think of as inherently ‘medieval’: gothic art, friars, inquisitions. The period is one of other opposites. Christendom both expands (southern Spain, north-eastern Europe, Byzantium) and collapses (Byzantium, the Middle East). The era of the most concerted crusading is the period of the movement’s exhaustion. Enormous economic, demographic and exploratory growth ends with terrible famines. A hundred years of papal triumph closes with a pope accused of sodomy and demon worship.

Between these ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ what did it mean to live in this religiously defined Europe – Christendom? How similar were social, political and religious patterns from Ireland to Acre? How did Europeans cultivate ideas of any union in practice, and with what effects? We will think about European identities, not only on Christendom’s terms, but also through the many cultures which interacted and sometimes conflicted with it: Byzantine, Mongol, Islamic, Jewish. You will use a wide range of political, religious, visual and literary sources to re-think the period. After R. W. Southern’s ‘Making of the Middle Ages’ but before Johan Huizinga’s ‘Waning of the Middle Ages’ what was Medieval Europe?

Module type: Survey

Level: 5

Module code:

HIST0033: 30 credits
HIST0575: 15 credits - One-term Affiliate students only

Assessment methods:

HIST0033: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)
HIST0575: (Term 1): 1 X 4,000-word essay (100%) - Term 1 Affiliate students only
HIST0575: (Term 2): 2 X 2,500-word essay (40/60%) - Term 2 Affiliate students only

The Roman Republic

DR AMBER GARTRELL 

This year long course, covering a chronological range of approximately three centuries, aims to study Rome from its emergence as a leading city-state in Italy to the eventual decline of its Republican political system. 

Module type: Survey 

Level: 5

Module code: 

HIST0156: 30 credits 

Assessment methods: 

HIST0156: 1 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)

Ancient and Medieval China 

DR VIVIENNE LO 

This survey course will provide an overview of the political, social and cultural history of the territories that we now know as China. From the ancient world of the Shang people through the foundations of empire, its north south fracture under nomadic rule to the cosmopolitan culture of medieval times, the centralising narrative of an unbroken Chinese civilisation will be questioned. Lectures will focus on the diversity revealed by archaeological evidence, the impact of the Han history makers and their myths of the culture bringers, the coming of Indian Buddhism, trade, travel and religion along the Silk Routes. In this way we will learn about the changing lives of those inhabitants of the Yellow and Yangzi River areas and the North China plain and how they were affected by surrounding cultural areas.

Module type: Survey 

Level: 5

Module code: 

HIST0162: 30 credits 

Assessment methods: 

HIST0162: 2 X 2,500-word essay (25%) and a 3-hour examination (75%)