History syllabus University of London

Group 1 courses

The list of Group 1 courses includes broad period and area papers and a range of papers offered by institutions for their degree programmes which are also available to students from other institutions. Students' selection of papers from Group 1 must be in accordance with the requirements of their School.

Arrangements for application and allocation of places for these courses vary. Where no details are given, enquiries and applications should be directed to the secretary of the host department in the first instance.

School of Oriental and African Studies

A fee may be payable for students from other institutions. Requests for students from other colleges to attend courses should be sent to the Faculty Officer Cyp Stephenson, cs8@soas.ac.uk. For some courses additional tutorial classes will be arranged.

School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London

Enquiries should be made in the first instance to the Programmes  Administrator (SSEES History – UCL): michael.kelly@ucl.ac.uk.

Note: The times given below are for the compulsory lecture courses; times of associated classes will normally be arranged at the first lecture. Students should note that 100% attendance is expected and that various colleges will de-register students whose attendance falls below their required minimum.

British and European History

History of Russia to 1598

  • Sergei Bogatyrev
  • Available in 2015-16
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI6008

A survey of Russian history from the ninth to the end of the sixteenth century. En route we shall encounter the controversy of the origins of the Kievan State, the mysteries surrounding the conversion to Christianity in 968, the problems of the decline and disintegration of Kievan Russia, the impact of the Mongol invasion and occupation, the unification of Russia under the rulers of Moscow in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the shaping of Muscovite ideology, culture and institutions in the sixteenth century, including the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

Examination is by one three-hour written paper (75%) and 2 assessed essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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History of Russia, 1598-1856

  • Simon Dixon
  • Not available in 2015-16
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI6009

Beginning with the ‘Time of Troubles’ – a period of civil war and economic chaos that followed the collapse of the Riurikid dynasty  in 1598 – this course examines the establishment of the Romanov dynasty in 1613, the development of the Muscovite state in the seventeenth century, and the emergence of Imperial Russia as a European Great Power under two reforming tsars, Peter the Great (1682-1725) and Catherine the Great (1762-96). Having seen why Alexander I triumphed over Napoleon in 1812-14 we end by showing why Russia performed so  badly in the Crimean War.  Within this overall chronological structure, the approach is thematic, giving equal attention to political history, social and economic history, cultural history, and international relations.  Lectures and seminars address such themes as serfdom; the role of the Orthodox Church; the Enlightenment in Russia; legal and constitutional reform; the origins of the Russian intelligentsia; and developments in art, architecture and literature..

Examination is by one three-hour written paper (75%) and 2 assessed essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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History of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1700-1918

  • Rebecca Haynes
  • Not available in 2015-16
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI6006

In the eighteenth century, the empire of the Habsburg dynasty was an expanding and thriving European power. Vienna was a great Imperial city, embellished with sumptuous palaces and public buildings: a cultural as well as a political centre. The Empire had an experienced standing army, an educated civil service and it comprised a large territory with German, Slav, Italian, Hungarian and Romanian inhabitants. In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Austria fell behind its rivals and was compelled to emulate them; social and political modernisation became the order of the day so that the Empire could retain Great Power status. Yet change did not check the process of decline and the Habsburg Monarchy finally collapsed in 1918. It is generally held today that this was unavoidable. But why did the decline and collapse come about? Was it largely due to the strength of traditional forces that obstructed social and political transformation, or, conversely, did the social transformation, such as took place, itself speed up the process of disintegration?

Examination is by one three-hour written paper (75%) and 2 assessed essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Enlightenment, Catholicism and the State

  • Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski
  • Not available in 2015-16
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI6013

This module will examine the interactions between Catholicism and the Enlightenment the long eighteenth century, and the roles in those interactions played by different kinds of state. Catholic hierarchs often sought to use the coercive power of the state against confessional and intellectual heterodoxy, for which they have been condemned by the most prominent French philosophes of the eighteenth century and generations of rationalist and secularist historians and ideologues. However, many self-consciously ‘enlightened’ writers and activists across Europe sought to use the state to direct the activities of the Catholic Church to pursue an ‘enlightened’ agenda. Rulers usually found it to their advantage to robe themselves in Catholicism, but sometimes to use ‘enlightened’ critiques to rein in the Church. The course will explore the extent of continuity between ‘Catholic Reform’/’Counter-Reformation’ begun in the sixteenth century and ‘Catholic Enlightenment’/‘enlightened Catholicism’, as well as the nuances conveyed by these labels. It will also analyse the polarization that ensued as the French Revolution spawned Counter-Revolution. Geographically it will cover the whole of Catholic Europe and also extend to Spanish, Portuguese and French/British colonies in the Americas. In the latter case, the British authorities sought to respond in an ‘enlightened’ manner to the religious needs of the conquered Quebecois, while the newly formed United States faced their own challenge when the Catholic Church sought to organize itself on their territory. The various kinds of state under consideration range from more or less absolute monarchies such as Spain to minor principalities of the Holy Roman Empire constrained by imperial law, to republican forms such as Venice and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as the papal theocracy. Particular attention will be given to the phenomenon of Josephism in the Habsburg Monarchy.

Assessment is by two-hour written examination (50%) and two essays of up to 2500 words each (each 25%).

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Modern Germany, 1815-1990

  • Lecturer to be announced 
  • Available in 2015-16
  • Time to be announced
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI6011

This course will provide a survey of modern German history from 1815 to the unification of the two German states in 1990. It will focus on the main developments in political and social history during this period in Germany. The course will make students familiar both with the different political regimes that were established in the German lands and provide a critical introduction to historiographical debates. A main aim of the course is to make students aware of the continuities and turning points in German history since the early nineteenth century. It is not the least aim of the course to encourage students to read independently, to think critically, and to develop their own points of view.

Examination is by one three-hour written paper (75%) and 2 assessed essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Africa, the Americas and Asia

History and Culture of Korea to the Late Nineteenth Century

  • Anders Karlsson
  • [No information received for 2015-16]
  • SOAS: 15/590/1263

This course is designed to provide wide-ranging coverage of Korea's political, economic, social, and intellectual history. It is conducted through informal lectures and discussion classes. The first half of the course briefly reviews Korea's political history and establishes the chronological framework. In the second half, the discussion turns to a topical approach and investigates the development of uniquely Korean socio-political and intellectual institutions. As Korea cannot be studied in isolation, due consideration is given to its adaptation of Chinese values and its role in transmitting cultural impulses to Japan.

Assessment is by coursework (25%) and a three-hour written examination (75%).

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Modern History of East Asia

  • Naoko Shimazu
  • [No information received for 2015-16]
  • BkC: 08/HICL098U

This course is a broad introductory survey of the political and international history of East Asia from the Opium War (1839-42) to the 1970s, covering three main countries - China, Japan, and Korea. The approach taken is primarily comparative, by focusing on the major events and important themes which draw out similarities and differences in the internal political development of the three countries. The course should enable students to understand the historical development of East Asia as a region within the global context.

Assessment is by a three-hour written examination.

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Modern Japan

  • Angus Lockyer
  • [No information received for 2015-16]
  • SOAS: 15/480/0233

This course traces the history of Japan from the Tokugawa to the Heisei periods, or from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries – a period which includes Japan’s emergence from a hundred years of civil war into a two-century long ‘Great Peace’, its rapid modernization and imperial expansion from the end of the nineteenth century, war in Asia and the Pacific in the mid-twentieth, and the postwar economic miracle and its aftermath. In the words of our main text, we will emphasize not ‘a peculiarly “Japanese” story that happened to unfold in an era we call “modern,”’ but rather ‘a peculiarly “modern” story as it unfolded in a place we call Japan’. We will begin by examining structural transformations in political economy, but will also look closely at changes in society and culture.

Assessment is by coursework (25%) and a three-hour written examination (75%).

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The Making of the Modern Middle East

  • Nelida Fuccaro
  • [No information received for 2015-16]
  • SOAS: 15/480/0227

This course examines processes of modernisation in the Arab world, Turkey and Iran by analysing the transition from empires to nation states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The first part of the course deals with reform movements in the Ottoman and Qajar Empires, and with indigenous responses to European penetration in the nineteenth century including the outbreak of revolutions and the emergence of new movements such as nationalism and Islamic modernism. The second part examines the emergence of a state system after the First World War, the creation of colonial societies, and the consolidation of Arab, Turkish and Iranian nationalism. The later development of state formation is considered in the context of revolutionary movements in the Arab world and Iran, in the 1950s and in 1979 respectively.

Assessment is by coursework (25%) and a three-hour written examination (75%).

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Society and Culture in Twentieth-Century Africa

  • John Parker
  • [No information received for 2015-16]
  • SOAS: 15/480/0244

This course is about Africa in the twentieth century. It covers the entire continent, north and south of the Sahara: Egypt to South Africa, Dakar to Djibouti. Its focus is social and cultural history - although some attention is given to political and economic change too. The aim is to explore patterns of continuity and change in African societies and cultures over the last one hundred years, in a format that bridges the established divide between the colonial and postcolonial periods. Classes proceed by way of five themes: colonial societies; religion and belief; social change; culture; and postcolonial societies. Within these themes, topics range from violence, work and witchcraft, through gender, identity and urban life, and on to art, music and fashion. A central concern is to think about the intertwined historical processes that have shaped society and culture in Africa today.

Assessment is by three 2,000-word essays (50%) and a three-hour written examination (50%).

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Index of Intercollegiate courses

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