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Undergraduate History 2022-2023

HI1022: EUROPE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

A comprehensive treatment of this enormous subject is obviously impracticable in an introductory course within the space of one semester, so we aim to highlight a selection of six key political, economic, social and other themes. The selection varies from year to year, but is likely to include the rise of Bolshevism, reconstruction and European integration after WW2, and the Cold War. The twice-weekly lectures introduce the topics, while the eight tutorial meetings emphasise the development of practical transferable research and presentation skills as well as the building of historical knowledge.

HI1027: MAKING HISTORY

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course will introduce students to the subject of university level history. Team taught lectures will introduce students to approaches, sources, and the dilemmas facing academic historians.

HI1523: RENAISSANCES AND REFORMATIONS

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The course provides a broad overview of changes which the Renaissance and Reformations introduced to European culture, politics, religion, society and people’s understanding of their role in the world. It traces these developments in a comparative way, from Europe’s Atlantic cost to East Central Europe and Russia, throughout a changing image of the world and its relationship to the spiritual, brought on by Renaissance, a time of unrest triggered by European Reformations, radical and magisterial reformations, European expansion, growth of monarchies and republics, and the wars of religion of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  

HI1527: AMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The course examines the origins, growth, and development of the several civilisations of the Americas from the European invasion through to the present. The course is organized around the themes of ‘Inclusion and Exclusion’ which will pair a narrative history of the development of the United States of America with contrasting or countervailing narratives and topics that reflect other, alternative, or contrasting histories. Topics will thus include, among others, the American and Haitian Revolutions, the growth of the American Frontier and the Comanche Empire, the Cold War and the campaign for Civil Rights. The course will conclude with lectures on contemporary America as seen through an historical lens.

HI2020: BIRTH OF MODERNITY: POLITICS, CULTURE AND SCIENCE IN EUROPE 1700-1870

30 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Course introduces students to the crucible of the modern age. Hinging on the American, French and 1848 Revolutions, it explores how men and women in elite and popular communities generated new modes of living, experience and expression and how they understood and manipulated the natural world. Attention will be given to the Enlightenment, Revolution, Empire, Romanticism and Ideology with interrelated developments in politics, culture and science also being explored. Students will be introduced to the works of figures such as Newton, Voltaire, Paine, Goethe, Marx, Darwin and Nietzsche. Topics will include Salons, the Terror, nationalism and secularisation. Download course guide

HI2021: POWER AND PIETY

30 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Between 1100 and 1500 western Europe underwent fundamental transformations: new technical, economic and political challenges, fresh developments in religious and intellectual life and catastrophes like wars, diseases and climate change fundamentally shaped European societies for centuries to come. This course offers a thematic survey of medieval western societies, focusing on religion, kingship and warfare, economy and environment, cultural renaissances and intellectual novelties, the emergence of national states and identities and the discovery of new worlds. Download course guide.

HI2027: "THE OTHER": HISTORIES OF MINORITIES AND THE MARGINALISED

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course will introduce recent approaches to studying the history of the “others” with a focus on their indigenous account of their histories, memoirs that forged their inter-communal relations, tensions and survival. It will consider a variety of groups and individuals who have been treated as ‘the other’ from the Reformation to the present-day. This may include: Kurds, Yezidis, Jews, heretics, women, Roma, and others failing to conform to socio-cultural norms (e.g., ‘homosexuals’). The course will examine how ‘the other(s)’ resisted marginalisation and subverted attempts to enforce conformity and/or segregation.

HI2520: GLOBAL EMPIRE IN THE LONG NINETEENTH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

The  long nineteenth century (c.1760-1914) saw dramatic rises and falls in political units and power systems (empires) bringing together a range of peoples and territories.  Generally, but not exclusively, they were dominated by Europeans (or those who at least claimed European descent). These global empires are now recognised by historians as a key feature of modern history, and have generated an increasingly rich and varied literature. This course offers you the chance to examine this crucial and controversial phenomenon which, for better or worse, made the modern world. Download Course Guide

HI2524: KINGSHIP, CLEARENCES AND CONFLICT: DEBATES IN SCOTTISH HISTORY

30 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course looks at the main debates in the history of Scotland from c.1000-2000AD. It focuses on themes and moments in Scotland's history, such as  interaction of 'feudal' and 'Gaelic' influences in the making of the Kingdom from c.1100-1300; the Wars of Independence in the fourteenth century, the Protestant Reformation of the 1560s, the Union of the Crowns and Parliaments in 1603 and 1707; the Highland Clearances; and the effects of global war, empire and democracy in the twentieth century. It shows how historians use sources to advance different interpretations and create a new understanding.  Download Course Guide

HI2526: VIKINGS: AN INTRODUCTION

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

The year 793: a surprise viking attack on the peaceful monastic island of Lindisfarne. This raid is often considered to mark the beginning of the so-called Viking Age, a time of turbulence and transformation with repercussions throughout Europe and beyond. This period saw violence and warfare, cultural contact and religious conversion, political overhaul, and literary and artistic creativity. As well as critically interrogating the concepts of the ‘viking’ and the ‘Viking Age’, this course provides an introduction to key themes and topics in the study of early Scandinavia, c. 800-1200.

HI301W: CULTURES OF RESISTANCE: WOMEN'S ACTIVISM IN THE USA SINCE 1900

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course examines over a century of women’s activism in the United States. It will disrupt top-down histories that centre a singular narrative of women’s history in the US to instead consider the diverse and multifaceted forms of activism and coalition-building enacted by women of colour, poor, working class and queer women. By examining a range of sources and media including zines, poetry and podcasts, and key topics such as birth control, incarceration and #MeToo, we will examine how far the United States has come, and how far it still has to go.

HI302X: SCOTLAND, EMPIRE AND GENDER, C.1700-1840

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course surveys Scottish involvement in the British Empire in the period c.1700-1840. It explores the relationship between gender and the British imperial project focusing on Scottish sources. Key topics include Scottish sojourning in Atlantic and Asian worlds; gender through the lens of the imperial project; reading for and working with the dignity of enslaved and subject people; sex and family in imperial spaces; reflections on present day legacies of empire; Whiteness and race.

HI303Q: DECOLONIZATION - THE BRITISH EXPERIENCE

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Few changes in the twentieth century were more dramatic than the collapse of European colonial empires and of a world system centred on Europe. Drawing widely on a vibrant literature, this course will examine the decline of British imperialism. It will consider causes and consequences of that decline. It focuses on key areas including India, Africa, and the former settler colonies, Britain itself, and global developments such as the cold war and the rise of global humanitarianism. In so doing it sheds new light on a modern world still haunted by the ghosts of empire. 

HI303W: STEWART SCOTLAND 1406-1603

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course examines Scotland in the last two centuries of its dynastic independence. Organised chronologically, it will address the rule of the realm under the Stewart dynasty. Kingship, nobility and the exercise of power on the national, regional and local levels will form major themes of this course. It will also examine regicide, regency, and resistance to authority, the relationship between crown, church and nobility, and the development of governmental institutions and offices. Attention will also be given to exploring social and political change, especially with regard to landowners and other power-holders. 

HI304A: CULTURAL HISTORY OF SPORT

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course uses sport as a way of trying to understand the historical past as well as viewing it as an active agent in producing historical change. The main chronological focus is on the development of modern sports from the nineteenth century onwards. Geographically, the focus is on western Europe, but there is also detailed consideration of the British Empire, the United States and other areas. Issues addressed include social class, 'race', gender, violence, senses of identity and governmental policies. A comparative and interdisciplinary approach is encouraged.

HI304J: HISTORICAL RESEARCH FOR VISITING STUDENTS

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is open to visiting students who have to finish their end-of-studies thesis at their home universities, and wish to develop this within the framework of this course. There is no formal scheduled teaching, but after an initial meeting to discuss individual topics, students will get some support and supervision in the area of their chosen research topic.

HI304T: WORLD WAR ONE: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course examines the history of the First World War in an international comparative perspective through detailed study of contemporary as ell as secondary sources. Following a series of introductory lectures on various aspects of the war, the students taking this course will be divided into sub-groups with normally a maximum of 20 students per group. Each group will focus on either the war experience of a particular country such as Russia or France or undertake comparative study of selected themes such as political, social and cultural transformations and the peacemaking process.

HI305T: THE LONG BLACK FREEDOM STRUGGLE IN AMERICA, 1865-2020

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The #BlackLivesMatter protests have reinforced the continued struggle for racial equality. This module illustrates this longer history of efforts to establish rights and equality for African Americans since emancipation. We will explore a diverse range of activists and efforts to create change, to question the usual assumptions we make about ‘Civil Rights’ in America.

HI305V: KINGDOMS, CALIPHATES, AND EMPIRES: WEST AFRICA C.1312-1897

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course explores the history of West Africa from the reign of Mansa Musa in the Mali Empire (c.1312-c.1337) to the British annexation of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897. Its key topics include the rise and fall of African states, cross-cultural exchange between Africans and Europeans, religion and Islamic revolutions, the trans-Atlantic and trans-Saharan slave trades (and their profound impact on African societies), and the steady encroachment of European colonialists upon West African societies.

HI306S: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The period from the sixth century to the sixteenth century saw fundamental changes in European Society, including the emergence of the outlines of states and kingdoms that are recognisable today. But the period also saw fundamental changes in conflict resolution. Using a mixture of chronicle, legal, and literary evidence this course provides a comprehensive overview of a millenium of conflicts and conflict resoution in a period which saw the development of fundamental concepts and methods which still shape legal practice. 

HI307B: THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course explores some of the major developments in the history of the modern Middle East, from the late 19th century, through the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to the formation of modern nation states. The course will then focus on the latest phase of the history of the Middle Eastern Empires, the subsequent changes in the political systems over the course of the 20th century, colonialism, the struggle for independence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course follows a chronological structure and aims at strengthening critical thinking skills and interrogating contextual understanding of the role of culture as well as modernisation in the region.

 

HI307D: RACE IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course aims to introduce students to Atlantic history by using one of its key themes: race. It seeks to provide an introduction not merely to broader frameworks of Atlantic world history, but also to a range of methodological approaches in the study of social, cultural, political and intellectual history. The course begins by looking at methodological approaches to Atlantic world history before charting ancient and medieval ideas on race, racialism and xenophobia. The first half of the course focuses on the ways in which exotic peoples and lands were represented in European texts, and the social history of early settlement and colonial exploitation. Five sessions then follow on the history of racial ideas as they related to religion, science, society, human ‘progress’ and the management of globalising empires. The course then turns to examine the twin crises of revolution and abolitionism and their role in the development of racial ideas and practices in Europe and the Americas. The final session explores the reinvention of race in the diffusion of Darwinian evolution throughout the Atlantic world. A research-based approach to teaching and learning will be taken throughout, partly by drawing directly on the course organiser’s own research, and through a focus on the analysis of seminal texts in each seminar.

HI30BD: GERMANY 1517-1806: REFORMATION, EMPIRE AND ENLIGHTENMENT

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Composed of hundreds of territories, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation seemed an incoherent patchwork. Yet it functioned as a political entity for centuries. This course studies the profound transformation of Germany from the onset of the Reformation to the destruction of the Empire by Napoleon. We will look at religious conflict, the impact of war, the early Enlightenment and the development of early national identity. The question we have to ask is not why did the Holy Roman Empire fail, but why and how did it survive for such a long period? 

HI354J: HISTORICAL RESEARCH FOR VISITING STUDENTS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is open to visiting students who have to finish their end-of-studies thesis at their home universities, and wish to develop this within the framework of this course. There is no formal scheduled teaching, but after an initial meeting to discuss individual topics, students will get some support and supervision in the area of their chosen research topic.

HI355M: AZTECS, MAYAS & INCAS: EMPIRES ON THE EVE OF APOCALYPSE

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course will examine the economies, cultures, religions, and socio-political structures of the three ‘great’ civilizations of Meso- and South America: Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas. Their concepts of wealth, civilization, history, and overall worldviews will be examined in detail. The course will close by considering the status of these empires on the eve of contact with Europeans and the extent to which inherent factors within the empires may have contributed to their collapse and subsequent conquest by the Spanish. 

HI355P: THE HISTORY OF EMOTIONS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

How did it feel to live through events of the past? How is the way we experience and express emotion shaped by our particular circumstances, and how do our emotions shape historical events? This course introduces students to the rapidly growing field of History of Emotions, considering how emotions have been understood and theorised by scholars and exploring how we might be able to access and study something seemingly intangible as a way of understanding the past.

HI355W: WAR AND PEACE: ANGLO-SCOTTISH RELATIONS, 1286-1603

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

The course investigates Anglo-Scottish relations from the death of Alexander III (1286) to the union of the crowns (1603). Political, diplomatic and military relations are examined as well as a wide range of social and cultural issues. An introductory section covers important events in chronological order before weekly themes are examined in detail. The lecturer provides a general framework of essential knowledge while students give seminar presentations on particular illustrative examples of the weekly themes. The mentalities and attitudes underpinning Anglo-Scottish relations are carefully explored and key themes include warfare, diplomacy, identity, religion and culture.

HI356J: THINKING HISTORY

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history.

ME33HM: HISTORY OF MEDICINE

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The course will involve each student working individually on a historical project of his or her own choice, under the supervision of the course co-ordinator.


Students will be required to produce a research proposal and progress reports, to prepare an essay and make a presentation of their findings to the class.
 
The aim of the option is to give students the opportunity to research and present, individually, in spoken and written forms, a history of medicine topic of their own choice, using both primary and secondary sources.

HI4003: SPECIAL SUB: ENLIGHTENMENT COMPARED: IRELAND, SCOTLAND, CENTRAL EUROPE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course examines the emergence and the variations of Enlightenment thinking in Scotland and Central Europe (with particular emphasis on the German and East Central European Enlightenment, to which the Scottish Enlightenment had strong historical links). It emphasises the varieties of the European Enlightenment, against the traditional assumption that the Enlightenment was exclusively 'located' in France.

HI4009: SPECIAL SUB.: THE SCOTTISH WARS OF INDEPENDENCE, 1286-1328

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

In 1286 Alexander III of Scotland was found dead at the foot of a cliff and Scotland was engulfed in a period of political instability and eventually war that was to have a profound impact on the future development of the British Isles. The course considers key stages of the ‘wars of independence’ period in chronological sequence until the final triumph of Robert I in 1328. Due consideration will be given to international perspectives in trying to understand the Anglo-Scottish struggle, notably in relation to Ireland, France, Flanders and the Papacy.

HI4012: SPECIAL SUB.: BRITAIN AND REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA 1917-1924

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course explores British relations with Russia during the early years of the Soviet regime. It highlights a series of key developments in the relationship, especially major changes in British government policy that charted a course from military intervention to diplomatic recognition. Most of the seminars trace an aspect of the relationship within a fairly short time-frame, but some seminars investigate a particular issue through the whole period 1917–24. Several sessions will be used specifically for analysing gobbets. Knowledge of the Russian language is not required.

HI401A: SPECIAL SUBJECT: PEACEMAKING AND BLOODFEUD IN SCOTLAND

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The role of violent feuding among the nobility has been fundamental to scholarship on medieval and early modern Scotland. Focusing on 15th-century evidence, this course explores the exercise of lordship, changes in law and justice, and tools of conflict management – including the making of peace – which shaped the governance of the realm and structured society. Students will assess the strengths and limits of the existing framework of historical analysis of feuding in Scotland.

HI401B: SPECIAL SUBJECT: EUROPEAN JEWISH HISTORY AT THE TURN OF THE C20TH

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jewish emancipation was tied to broader movements for social and civil liberties, enabling Jews to participate in wider society – in some places, for the first time. This module asks students to think critically about this period and its impact on modern understandings of Jewishness, antisemitism, colonialism, and Jewish/non-Jewish relations. Exploring Jewish history at the turn of the century can offer a greater understanding not just of modern Europe, but of the social and political world today. 

HI4025: SPECIAL SUBJECT: HISTORY OF THE ISRAELI PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The course examines the origins of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its developments from multiple angles in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamic that constitutes ‘the conflict’. The course will investigate the causes of the Palestinian refugee crisis and of the Arab-Israeli wars. It will introduce students to the Arab-Israeli peace process and familiarise students with the polarised historiography surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

HI405W: SPECIAL SUBJECT: ATLANTIC ENCOUNTERS: WESTERN AFRICA AND PORTUGAL

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course explores the relations between Portugal and Western Africa in the early modern period. It focuses on the period from 1415 to 1670 in which Portugal became the first European maritime power to establish contacts with societies in West and West Central Africa. Key themes include maritime navigation, Afro-European trade, and cultural contact. Particular focus will be placed on African responses and indigenous perspectives on European cultural contact.

HI406C: SPECIAL SUBJECT: THE BLACK RADICAL TRADITION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

'The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.’ So declared African American intellectual WEB Du Bois at the dawn of that era.

In the period since this prophetic claim was made – and indeed in our own time – Black-led movements have challenged multiple structures of domination (racism, colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism) in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. This module focuses on the history of these transformative movements through an exploration of political thought in the Black Radical Tradition.

Concentrating on the US and the Anglophone world, but encompassing contributions from the Francophone Caribbean and Lusophone Africa, the module will encourage students to critically engage with the global history of Black thought and protest.

HI4516: UNDERGRADUATE DISSERTATION IN HISTORY

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout. 

HI4518: HISTORY IN PRACTICE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past.

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