UCL Centre for languages & international education (CLIE)


Transnational History

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session 1
Module leader
Professor Axel Körner
GPA of 3.3/4.0 (US) or equivalent
Assessment method
3,000-word essay (100%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

This module will examine the ways in which ideas, people or goods travel across (national) borders; analysing in particular, processes of adaptation, translation and assimilation.

During the 20th century, with the advance of communication technology, the impact of transnationality on our social, cultural and economic lives increased dramatically. Debates about national identity, ethnic and religious conflict, or fights for resources, present an important framework for the re-orientation of historical research and historians need to take account of these developments. The module will encourage students to think beyond the narrow framework of the nation state and will introduce basic debates in transnational history and will exemplify these approaches with the help of specific historical examples, covering the period 1750 - 2000.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be able to think historically beyond the nation state
  • Have a better understanding of the historical foundations of globalisation
  • Be able to apply their acquired knowledge to particular historical case studies
  • Be able to connect historiographical debates to current affairs
  • Have an increased inter-cultural awareness.

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required for this module, but students are expected to have a keen interest in the area. It is recommended students read either, Christopher A. Bayly's, The Birth of the Modern World (London, 2004), or Jürgen Osterhammel's, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 2014), prior to the start of the module.

Module hours

Classes take place on the Bloomsbury campus, Monday through to Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. While there are no classes on the first two Fridays of the module, assessment and a plenary event will take place on the last Friday. The module offers 45 contact hours, but students are expected to spend an additional 100 hours on assignments and self-study.


  • 3,000-word essay (100%)

Module leader

Professor Axel Körner is Director of UCL’s Centre for Transnational History and has been teaching at UCL since 1996. He has held visiting positions at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, and at New York University.

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