History syllabus University of London

Group 2 courses

Students should note that 100% attendance is expected and that various colleges will de-register students whose attendance falls below their required minimum.

Subject to the availability of places, students from other colleges may take Group 2 courses at Birkbeck College by arrangement with their own institutions.

 

Understanding the Early Mesopotamian World

  • Eleanor Robson
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 2 – 4pm
  • UCL: HIST2xxx

This course has two intertwined themes: the ways in which people made sense of the world in one of history's first urban societies; and the ways in which that society has been interpreted since its rediscovery some 200 years ago. First we will study how literacy and numeracy developed in the cities of southern Iraq (Mesopotamia), some 5–6000 years ago, as a means of quantifying, classifying and—perhaps most importantly—controlling the world and thereby changing it. Then we will focus on the training of scribes, scholars and intellectuals in the third and early second millennium BC. From a modern perspective, we can say that they learned a variety of literary works—a rather bewildering variety at first sight—as well as mathematics, law, and of course the complexities of cuneiform writing. But how did this cohere into a useful education, and who and what was that education for? Next we turn to understandings of the body. Before the late 18th century (AD!) medicine was largely ineffective, yet doctors and healers were highly valued in most, if not all, ancient and pre-modern societies, not least Mesopotamia. We will take an anthropological view of medicine to try and explain this apparent paradox. Then we will ask how, in a world controlled by unpredictable gods, was the future ever knowable? Various methods of divination are attested in Mesopotamia from at least the third millennium BC, each serving a different set of clientele and social functions. We will investigate how divine will was discovered and interpreted, through observation of the natural world. Running parallel to these explorations of the ancient world, we will consider how big themes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century history, such as exploration and war, empire and race, religion and science, shaped and reshaped popular and learned views of the ancient Middle East, and continue to do so today.
Please note that this course will comprise 20 one-hour lectures and 20 one-hour seminars.
Assessment is by 2 coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and a 2-hour written examination (75%) in the Summer term.

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Religion and Politics in Archaic and Classical Greece

  • Hugh Bowden
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • King's Classics: 5AACHI05

Two of the most significant legacies of the Greek world are its myths and the creation of democracy. This course is intended to reveal some of the close connections between religion (articulated by myths as well as ritual) and politics (exemplified by Athenian democracy) in ancient Greece. The first half of the course will trace the development of religious structures in the emergent city-states of Greece in the archaic period, and consider the rise of international sanctuaries such as Delphi and Olympia. The second half will concentrate on the relationship between religion and politics in one particular state, Athens, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. This is a particularly well documented area. Topics covered will include religious festivals, including the Eleusinian mysteries; women and religion; the political and religious role of Attic drama; the attitude of philosophers, including Socrates and Plato, to religious matters. The course will be particularly relevant to students who wish to deepen their knowledge of Greek history and society, and students of religious history in general. Use will be made of archaeological evidence, as well as literature from the period (in translation).

Assessment will be by one three-hour end-of-year examination.

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An Economic History of Ancient Greece

  • Hans van Wees
  • Available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2xxx

The ancient Greek world is well-known for its remarkable political developments, striking military successes and lasting cultural achievements, yet the economic base which sustained all these things has long been regarded as a simple agricultural subsistence economy, typical of the pre-industrial world. This course asks whether the evidence for economic development across Greece in the archaic period (c. 750-450 BC) and for the economic systems of Athens and Sparta in the classical period (c. 450-300 BC) supports that characterization or suggests a more complex picture.  Was agriculture largely aimed at self-sufficiency or at production for sale in the market? Was trade confined to luxury goods for a small elite or did it provide staple commodities for the masses? Were production and exchange shaped by a pursuit of profit, accumulation, investment  and growth or rather by the goals of generosity, reciprocity and subsistence?  How far developed were public finance and government intervention in economic life? The answers to such questions will help explain what made the cultural and political achievements of the Greek city-states possible.

Assessment is by 2 coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and a 2-hour written examination (75%) in the Summer term.

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Greek Pottery and Painting, 800-300BC

  • Karim Arafat
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • King's Classics: 10/AC/AR03

This course provides wide coverage of many aspects of study of decorated vases from the Greek world, as well as treating the far less well-documented broader canvas. Techniques, type of decoration and shapes are basic topics, as also the development and range of mythological scenes, and the output of individually identifiable painters and workshops. Historians will want to tackle themes such as the status of the painter, the pottery trade and its significance, and scenes of everyday life. There is no linguistic requirement.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper including a compulsory photo-test.

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Greek Sculpture, 750-300BC

  • Karim Arafat
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • King's Classics: 10/AC/AR02

The study of Greek sculpture covers a far broader field than may at first be imagined. Due attention is indeed paid to changes and nuances of style, and the œuvres of individual masters, but we also have to assess the extent and nature of the material that is preserved for us; the ability to describe a piece fully and accurately is important; among other topics to be tackled are the origins of large-scale sculpture in the Greek world, the choice of themes, the location selected, and the technology of the bronzesmith. Knowledge of Greek or Latin is helpful, but not necessary.

Assessment is by one three-hour end-of-year examination, including a compulsory visual question identifying and discussing illustrated sculptures.

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The Seleukid Empire

  • Riet van Bremen
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2106

The Seleukid dynasty inherited the largest share of the Achaemenid Persian empire, which had been conquered by Alexander the Great between 334 and 323 BC. Its territory stretched from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. This vast and diverse area presented major problems of control and organization. It also presents modern scholars with major problems of interpreting institutions and power structures, local and central economies, and a range of cultural and religious systems. The evidence is uneven, and hugely varied, and many specialist skills are required to interpret it. For many years, a western perspective prevailed, with interpretations based mainly on Graeco-Roman literary sources and Greek inscriptions. In the last few decades, that perspective has changed dramatically, because of the increasing accessibility of sources in Akkadian from Babylonia, an area of central importance to the dynasty. The work of Italian, French and Russian archaeologists in Central Asia has shown that the Seleukid impact (military, economic and cultural) on the eastern territories was much more significant than had been assumed. In general, we are now much better able to ask questions about the Macedonian rulers’ interaction with non-Greek peoples and institutions. On the other hand, considerable new finds in the part of the empire west of the Taurus mountains have illuminated aspects of political, economic and religious organization that were previously unknown. Recent studies of Seleukid kingship have emphasized the role of the ‘king on the move’ and the importance of military campaigning. All this has allowed historians to assess the workings of Seleukid rule in both east and west in much greater detail and to ask more focused questions about the nature of empire in the ancient world. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the exciting possibilities offered by a wide and ever increasing range of source material (now reasonably accessible in translation).

Assessment is by two coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and one three-hour written examination (75%). 

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Athenian Law II

  • Chris Carey
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: 17/CLAS2202

The course seeks to offer a general introduction to the law and lawcourts in classical Athens and to explore the way in which speakers manoeuvre in court. We shall: examine the way the legal system operated and the political role it fulfilled under the democracy; study the content of the law in a range of areas, including homicide and other crimes of violence, slander, sexual activity, the family, political offences; explore a number of texts (principally oratory but also comedy and historiographical and philosophical works) both as sources of law and legal practice and as examples of ways in which the system is exploited in practice. The course will be taught on the basis of translated texts. No knowledge of Greek and Latin is required.

Assessment is by two essays (40%) and one three-hour examination (60%).

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Power and Self-Representation in the Greek and Hellenistic Worlds

  • Caspar Meyer
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL207S6

The peoples of the ancient Mediterranean were inclined to define their identities through objects and visual representations. Such ‘political monuments’ survive in a range of contexts and media, offering a powerful but refracted mirror image of how different communities envisioned their foundational order. This course explores how the art and architecture of Classical Greece and the Hellenistic world articulated the changing relationship between person and social power. We try to recover the ritual or civic-ceremonial contexts that gave meaning to ancient buildings and artefacts, and explain how their figured decoration guided the repeated events of public and private life. To this purpose we examine what kinds of subjects were shown in particular types of setting and how the figural and narrative repertoire shifted according to dominant social norms and ideals of statehood. The period saw the emergence of a new visual system to portray individuals as members of a status group of the Greek city-state. It drew on a closely studied and theoretical understanding of the human body performing status-defining activities, such as warfare, athletics, feasting, and love-making. With the expansion of the Greek world in the fourth century BC the system was widely adopted in societies where its underlying code carried very different implications.  This course takes a special interest in what the transformation and local reception of the Greek body image reveal about cultural interaction and mutual perceptions between Greeks and non-Greeks.

Among the themes considered are: Persian contacts and aristocratic self-styling in Archaic Greece; feasting and its significance for elite ideologies; commemoration of the war dead and of athletic victors; sexuality and emotional self-perception in Classical grave reliefs; Greek notions of Oriental monarchy; the role of gift exchange in Greco-Scythian elite collaboration; allegories of Macedonian conquest and rule; replication and dissemination of ruler portraits; women and philosophers in Hellenistic society; ethnic identity and royal self-representation in Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleukid Asia; historical commemoration in Republican Rome; scenarios of power in the Augustan empire.

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Religious and Political Space in the Classical and Hellenistic Greek World: A Historical and Archaeological Perspective

  • Christy Constantakopoulou
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL107U

The purpose of this course is to explore the interplay between the religious and political sphere through an examination of the development of the religious and political spaces in the Greek world in the classical and hellenistic period. Recent research in the topic has shown that a division between the religious and the political in the ancient Greek world is methodologically unsound. The allocation of space, public and private, but fundamentally public, for religious/political purposes provides us interesting hindsights for an examination of religious and political life. During the course, we shall examine the importance of public space allocation for the life of the Greek polis, the development of sanctuaries and their importance for the religious life of the city, as well as festivals, burials, city walls, hellenistic palaces and urban development. In order to best evaluate the importance of religion for political life and vice versa, it is necessary to include methodological disciplines of both history and archaeology. Texts, inscriptions, archaeological remains and material evidence are all integral for a valid overview of the subject.

Students interested in taking this course are strongly advised to take first the general introductory course ‘The Greek World’.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Roman Democracy: Myth or Reality?

  • Valentina Arena & Angus Gowland
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2105

This course examines this controversial question of whether the late Roman Republic was a democracy by investigating Roman politics through the lens of classical political theory, applying ideas about liberty, citizenship, equality, and form of government to the real political practices of the Romans of the first century BC. Beginning with the political thought of influential ancient authors such as Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, the course progresses with an in-depth analysis of republican ideology, and then aims to contextualise these values within the everyday political environment of first-century Rome. The course continues by examining the ways in which the image of the roman republic has been constructed and applied across the centuries, tracing its metamorphosis in the hands of writers like Machiavelli, Gibbon, and the English and American revolutionaries.

There is no language requirement. Assessment will be by a 3-hour examination paper (50%) and three essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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The City in the Roman World from 100 BC-AD 500

  • Benet Salway
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2104

The course is a study of the changing social nature and political function of communities identified as 'cities' (poleis, civitates) throughout the geographical diversity of the empire of Rome from the late republican to the late antique period. At the beginning of this period the city was still unquestionably considered the locus of 'civilisation' and civilised virtues; by the end of this period this assumption was no longer the unchallenged consensus. The course takes as its subject not just the model of the city propagated by imperial Rome in previously unurbanised areas but also the development of the post-classical Greek city-state in that part of the Hellenistic world that came under Roman sway. Amongst questions to be examined will be: What social ideals are embodied in civic structure? How do these vary between 'Greek' East and 'Latin' West? What are the differences between 'organic' and planned/planted cities? What was the relation of the cities to local and longer distance economies? Was the Roman city purely a 'consumer' city? What made Rome a super-city and how did it differ from 'normal' cities? To what extent was the city seen as a religious community? What problems were posed by groups such as Jews and, later, Christians? How did the Christianisation of society affect the topography, function, and social structure of the Roman city? To what extent does the eclipse of the ancient city mark the end of the ancient world?

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and three assessed essays totalling 10,000 words (50%). This course is not available to King's Classics/Ancient History students.

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Culture Contact and Culture Change: The Archaeology of Roman Imperialism, c.30 BC-AD 250

  • Ian Haynes
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL040U

Just how much did the imposition of Roman power really affect the lives of those people who lived within the Roman Empire? Ancient authors often emphasise two extremes of indigenous response to Roman imperialism – enthusiastic acculturation or violent revolt (inevitably crushed). As archaeology demonstrates, however, there was in fact a multiplicity of reactions, all influenced by local factors. Why, for example, did the Imperial Cult achieve such popularity in Africa and Asia Minor and so little in Britain? Why did the imposition of Roman power drive the Batavians and the Iceni to revolt yet leave the kingdoms of Syria impassive? Did the period witness any significant changes in the landscape of the Middle East that compare with the intensive urbanisation of north-west Europe? This course will not only focus on the agents of change – officials, aristocrats, traders and soldiers to name a few – but it will also examine the patterns of continuity and change in indigenous religious practices, social relations, settlement, and economies in the Roman Empire. There is no foreign language requirement.

Examination is by one three-hour paper. Students are also expected to write at least two essays: for Birkbeck and Federal students, the marks for these will count towards a Departmental Assessment mark.

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The Roman Family

  • Tutor to be announced
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2101

This course will analyse the different ways in which, during the first two centuries AD, Romans lived together as families; the strategies they developed to secure the continuation of the family and its property; how families and their constituent members fitted into public life, and how these issues affected individuals of different social backgrounds. It will study what concepts like childhood, adolescence or familial affection meant to Romans; what sentiments were invested in the various family-related roles and how these sentiments differed from our own.

The subject of the Roman Family has enjoyed a great deal of recent attention from ancient historians, whose inspiration has come, to a large extent, from work done by historians of the family in the medieval and early modern periods. It will be an aim of this course to make this dependence more explicit and to analyse the merits as well as the problems of a comparative approach.

The course will be taught in weekly discussion seminars. It is assessed by a three-hour written examination paper (75%) and two essays tof c.2500 words each (25%). There is no language requirement, but a reading knowledge of French would be useful.

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Religion, Magic and Society in Late Antiquity

  • Helen Banner
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL172U

Late antiquity (the late third to early sixth centuries) was a period of rapid religious and social change, involving a re-negotiation of traditional beliefs and practices as well as the development of new ones. The aim of this course is to explore these histories of religious and social change, using interdisciplinary approaches that will lead us away from a historiography of the ‘triumph of Christianity’. Throughout the year, we will be drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, and other social sciences in order to help us confront the issues involved.

Four key areas will be covered, in particular:

1) Defining sacred knowledge (for example, how ‘the divine’ was accessed in late antiquity through oracles, magic, ritual, individuals and texts).
2) Constructing ‘sacred communities’ (for example, the role of ‘holy communion’ in constructing and maintaining communities of ‘believers’; holy men and women as sacred mediators; the possession of sacred books and relics in specific Graeco-Roman religious traditions and late antique Christianity).
3) Disputing the sacred (for example, the creation and application of polemical terms such as ‘paganism’, the naming practices of anti-heresy rhetoric and the clash and/or syncretism of ‘religious traditions’ as seen through the visual arts).
4) Sacred topographies (for example, the emergence of the idea of ‘the Holy Land’ and the consecration and desecration of sacred sites).

We will read a diverse body of late antique source material in translation, including love spells, curse tablets, letters on papyri and pilgrimage accounts, as well as other literary, documentary and archaeological material. Students will gain a broad knowledge of late antique social structures, as well as an understanding of key debates in the ‘religious’ and cultural history of the period.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Pompeii - Beginning to Last Days

  • Serafina Cuomo
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL201S6

Pompeii is possibly the most famous ancient Roman city (after Rome), because of the extraordinary circumstances of its survival. People can walk its streets, enter its houses, laugh at its graffiti, and look at its inhabitants, frozen in the attitude in which they died in AD 79. Along with the neighbouring Herculaneum, Stabiae, and Oplonti, Pompeii has provide historians and archaeologists with a wealth of material: frescoes, mosaics, statuettes, daily implements, remains of foodstuffs, surveying instruments, medical tools, papyri, and wax tablets. The buildings of Pompeii have allowed reflection on Hellenization, Romanization, provincial politics, the artistic taste of freedmen and the integration of different groups within society. In other words, a course on Pompeii (with forays into the neighbourhood) would enable students to explore a number of aspects of the social, political, cultural and economic life of the ancient world, while maintaining a well-defined focus. The abundance of primary and secondary literature would also provide good material for discussions on historiography.

The course will be divided into two halves, which might be taken separately: the first half (corresponding to the first term) will cover the history of the city, from its origins through its Oscan and Greek, and finally Roman ‘phases’. We will look at the city’s destruction, and at how it was re-discovered, down to the present day and the debates as to how the site might best be preserved, who Pompeii belongs to, and what it represents for us today. This diachronic history will be complemented by reflection on the infrastructure of the town: houses, roads, water supply and sewage, relation to countryside, urban planning, temples.

The second half of the course will concentrate on people from Pompeii: each lecture will cover a named individual, or a house or establishment (from the town councillor to the freedman, from the brothel to the gymnasium), and try to reconstruct what we can about him or her, or it. The aim is not only to develop the students’ investigative skills, but also to reflect on the historical significance of micro-histories with relation to ‘bigger’ history. We will often raise the question: to what extent can the circumstances of Pompeii and its people be generalized to the rest of Italy, or the rest of the Roman world?

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The Empire of Letters: Correspondence in the Roman World

  • Catharine Edwards
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL203S6

Correspondence played a crucial role in the functioning of the geographically extended Roman empire, serving as a vital mechanism for the negotiation of power-relations as well as for the communication of information. Emperors kept tabs on distant provincial governors, like Pliny, by letter. Remote communities could, in theory at least, complain to the emperor about the extortions of tax-collectors or landlords by letter; cities could request privileges by letter (if successful the letter and the emperor’s response might be recorded on stone). We shall explore the implications of the postal service as a technology of power. Documents from Egypt (and Roman Britain) illustrate the part sometimes played by letter-writing in the lives of relatively humble individuals, such as soldiers serving far from home. Letters also played a vital role in the articulation of relationships between members of the Roman elite. Political exiles like Cicero, for instance, used letters to maintain contact with the metropolis.

The letter seems to possess an immediacy, an authenticity superior to that of many other kinds of text (hence in part the attraction of ancient letters for later historians). Yet many of the Roman letters which have been preserved are highly self-conscious artefacts, attentive to the conventions of a complex generic tradition. Letters played a key role in elite self-presentation - especially as they were routinely circulated to others beyond their addressees. This aspect of the use of letters will be a particular focus of this unit. While Seneca uses the letter form to articulate a lengthy course in Stoic self-transformation, Pliny’s letters (also written with a eye to publication, it seems) project their author as witty, genial, accomplished in his leisure pursuits, as well as dutiful in his public offices - the carefully crafted image of the perfect Roman senator.

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Rome AD 300-1000. Portraits of a City, Reflections of a Changing World

  • Antonio Sennis
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2202

This course aims to explore the changes that occurred in Rome between AD 300 and 1000. Through a focus on the city of Rome, we will explore a number of themes of key importance in the general history of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. These include: the end of the imperial world; the relationship between pagan and Christian élites; the rise of Papal authority; the effects the structural changes in the Mediterranean trade had on the city’s market system; intellectual and artistic production; the relationship of the Popes with the city’s aristocracy and the main powers of the time (Byzantine emperors, Lombard kings, Frankish kings and emperors); the Carolingian renaissance; the Ottonian empire. During the year we will use a wide range of written sources (available in translation) and archaeological evidence from excavations carried out in Rome in the last fifteen to twenty years, with slides and other visual material. During the year we will see how the structures of the antique Mediterranean world survived for longer than commonly thought and then transformed, declined and eventually collapsed.

Assessment will be by a 3-hour examination paper (50%) and three essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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Roman Britain

  • John Pearce
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • King's Classics: 5AACHI06

This course, which covers the first historical period of British history, is a case-study in Roman imperialism and an introduction to the material culture of the Roman empire. The main topics considered are the nature of the Roman conquest of Britain, the introduction to the conquered area of the Roman provincial system, the later changes in administrative and military arrangements, and the overall impact of incorporation into the Roman empire on the physical environment, economy, society, religion and general culture of Britain. Particular emphasis is put on the rich archaeological evidence, much of which students can see for themselves in and around London.

Assessment is by one three-hour written examination paper.

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Roman Britain

  • Boris Rankov
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/CL2364

This course is a case-study in Roman imperialism and an introduction to the material culture of the Roman empire. It covers the conquest of Britain, its transformation into a Roman province, later changes in its administration and defence, and the impact of incorporation into the Roman empire on the physical environment, religion, economy and society of the island. Particular emphasis is placed on the rich archaeological evidence, some of which can be seen in and around London.

Assessment is by one three-hour written examination paper.

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Egypt in the Roman Empire

  • Richard Alston
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/CL2361

Egypt was a unique province with an ancient and distinctive civilisation. Also environmental changes in antiquity led to the preservation of tens of thousands of documents. These papyri provide us with source material different from that of any other area of the ancient world. We have petitions and tax registers, letters and applications, receipts and accounts which offer us fragmentary insights into the lives of individuals living and working in small cities and villages along the Nile. Egypt is not just well-served by the documentary material, but a large number of literary texts deal with the province. Egypt appears in a variety of guises (poetry, novels, religious tracts, philosophical works), all of which add to our knowledge. The task of the historian is to make sense of this diversity and the opportunity presented is to understand the lives of ordinary individuals in an ancient society.

Assessment is by two take-away essays.

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Gregory of Tours and the Merovingian World

  • Dr Alice Rio
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2024

This course will take the writings of Gregory of Tours as a starting-point to explore the sixth-century Frankish world. There are two main reasons to focus on Gregory. One is that he is virtually the only reason why we know anything at all about this period. Another, much more important reason is that he is possibly the best and most loveable writer the Middle Ages ever produced, and wrote one of the greatest works of literature in the Western canon: full of larger-than-life characters (barbarian kings, fighting bishops, evil queens, rebellious nuns, drunk holy men, sorcerers and charlatans) and extraordinary scenes ranging from epic battles to intimate anecdotes, from court intrigue to miracle stories - and from tragic to comic. Each class will rely on a close reading of some of the most memorable episodes from Gregory’s writings as a starting-point for understanding the society of his time, analysing them both as literature and for their historical value. The readings will focus on social status and interaction, and bring in a wide variety of stories to try to understand why different sorts of protagonists behaved the way they did, and how they tried to come out as well as they could of the different kinds of social challenges in which their mettle was being constantly prodded and tested (and in which failure could often prove fatal). This course is not just for those interested in the Middle Ages: it is for anyone willing to engage and connect with a mind and a world at once utterly alien and deeply relatable.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000-word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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Charlemagne and his Heirs, c.750-900

  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • King's: 5AAH2017

This module will concentrate on Western Europe during the reigns of Charlemagne and his successors. The Carolingian empire was a moment of bold political experimentation and a key formative period in the history of Europe. Its failures have been at least as much emphasised as its successes: all are in any case presented as equally epic and spectacular. At the hinge between the post-Roman world and the high middle ages, it has been described by some as the last of the barbarian successor-states, and was perhaps the most self-conscious heir to the Roman empire; at the same time it gave birth to a distinctly new political culture, and a new style of political discourse, which continued to dictate the rules of the game for centuries. It saw extraordinary Frankish military success and expansion into most of Western Europe, as well as traumatic civil wars. It turned royal power into an ambitious new project, but always remained relatively light-weight in terms of state structures. It made the power of kings authoritarian yet rooted in consensus; God-given, but also more vulnerable to admonishment and criticism. Alongside the activities of kings, the course will also examine the nature of the control over people and property exercised by lay and ecclesiastical lords, the material underpinnings of their power, and social and economic developments. The module will rely on a wide range of sources, from Einhard’s classicising biography of Charlemagne to the dark account of civil wars given by Nithard, from Dhuoda’s book of advice to her young son to dream narratives, annals, poems, letters, laws and capitularies, sermons and liturgy, archives and documents, manuscripts, art and architecture, and archaeology. Each of the broad topics outlined below will be explored through particular case-studies, usually a particular type of source-material: these will provide a methodological focus for each class.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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Byzantium and its Neighbours, 602-1071

  • Jonathan Harris
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2127

By the early years of the seventh century, the Eastern Roman Empire was at the point of collapse. It was no longer able to defend its frontiers against Slav and Persian invaders and even its capital city of Constantinople was under attack. Yet the empire not only weathered this period of crisis but in the process transformed itself into a completely different, more compact and stronger society, the Byzantine empire or Byzantium. This course will trace the reasons why the empire survived and will investigate the profound changes that took place in its military organisation, society, religious life, art and culture. It will also examine the way in which the empire interacted with the world around it, particularly western Europe, the Islamic caliphate and the Slavonic world, as well as the profound impact of Byzantine political thought, art and religion on Eastern Europe and Russia.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination.

This course may not be taken together with KCL Classics: 10/AB/Z301 'History of the Byzantine Empire, AD641-1055'.

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The Crusades and the Eastern Mediterranean, 1095-1291

  • Jonathan Phillips
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2142

The triumph of the First Crusade (1099) resulted in the establishment of a Latin Christian community in the Levant for almost two hundred years. This course is primarily concerned to examine how the settlers maintained their hold on a region which was spiritually, economically and politically important to the Byzantine empire and the Muslim world as well. Their reaction to the advent of the crusades and the development of their relationship with the settlers is an integral part of the subject. The 'jihad' became the channel for Muslim opposition and the Latins discovered that their own resources were insufficient to meet this threat and they appealed for help to Western Europe. The response and the consequences of this reaction for settlers' tenure of the Holy Land will be analysed. The Frankish way of life will be studied; its institutions, economic position of the Christian settlements; the role of women, and whether the Latin states represent an early form of western colonialism will be discussed. The preaching and preparation of crusading expeditions, the evolution of the crusading movement and its impact on the reconquista in Spain, the conversion of the Baltic states and criticism of crusading will also be studied.

The course will utilize a variety of primary material from European, Byzantine, Muslim and Syriac sources in translation. A booklet containing copies of these documents will be provided. The course will be taught in two-hour seminars. Examination is by one three-hour paper.

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The First European Union? Christendom 1100-1350

  • John Sabapathy
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 2-4pm
  • UCL: HIST2xxx

This thematic course examines developments across Christendom between the First Crusaders’ seizure of Jerusalem in 1099 and the demographic shocks of the earlier fourteenth century. From that ‘high-point’ of European ambition to the devastation of the Great Famine and Black Death, what did it mean to be part of Christendom? How similar were European social, political and religious patterns from Ireland to Acre? How did Europeans cultivate ideas of Christendom in practice? We will look at the hazardous struggle for titles which produced an English King of Germany, a Flemish Emperor of Constaninople and a French King of Sicily. Numerous actors made claims to regional, European, or even universal authority, from the Holy Roman Emperor to the Pope. But by the end of the period some of those looked rather worse for wear. Along and beneath such grand claims all sorts of common practices developed which connected countries – in law, learning, government and religion. The period was one of great outwards expansion (eastern Europe, Spain) and wider exploration, actual and imaginative. We will go with Dante to hell and to China with Marco Polo. It was also a period of great inward self-colonization as ideas and ideals of right government and right belief became sharper and stronger. A peasant could be condemned as a heretic – but so too could a pope, an emperor, or an entire military order.

The course will think about the nature of Christendom however not only on ‘European’ terms, but also through the many cultures which interacted and sometimes conflicted with it: Byzantine, Mongol, Mamluk, Kurdish. We will look at and use a wide range of political, religious, visual and literary sources to re-think the period. It is oddly in need of reinterpretation given the number of ‘emblematic’ medieval institutions which developed during it (crusades, inquisitions, gothic art, the rise of universities, the coming of the friars). After The Making of the Middle Ages but before The Waning of the Middle Ages what was Medieval Europe?

Assessment is by 2 coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and a 2-hour written examination (75%) in the Summer term.

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Aristocratic Culture and Society in Medieval Europe

  • Dr Alice Taylor
  • Available in 2014-15
  • KCL: 5AAH2431

This module will consider the nature of aristocratic society and culture in Western Europe between 900 and 1300. During this period, the aristocracy (from Greek, meaning ‘rule of the best’) is thought to have undergone significant change in ideals of behaviour, self-representation, entertainment, and the conduct of high-status warfare. From being a small-scale warrior, the knight and concept of knighthood became the badge of manhood, a prerequisite for anyone seeking elite status. Moreover, it has been argued that this period saw not only the development of chivalry into a coherent and understood code which governed behaviour but also the transformation of the aristocracy into a nobility, defined by legal privileges and social exclusivity. Gender roles arguably became more fixed, particularly within the genre of courtly romance, and the beginning of the crusading movement also affected elite behaviours. The power exercised by the aristocracy also changed: from lords exercising independent and arbitrary powers over their lands and dependents to being incorporated into developing state forms, states that, in places, are believed to be the predecessors of modern European states. None of these are uncontroversial narratives, however, and time will be spent examining them during the seminars. The seminars will also be focussed either on particular historical debates (did a violent aristocracy assume power around the year 1000 after a breakdown in public order?), medieval ‘sociology’ (should we be seeing medieval society as categorised into three orders?), the rituals of fealty and homage (did they bind all social levels together?), and the nature of violence. The course will introduce students to some written primary sources, available in translation, but also look at other types of evidence, particularly material culture, including seals, heraldry, effigies and tombs. The module will also engage with techniques and scholarship of other academic disciplines, most notably anthropology. The emphasis throughout will be comparative, although most attention will be paid to the British Isles, France and the German Empire.

Assessment is by 1 x 3-hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (30%) and 1 x 15 minute presentation (10%).

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Medicine and Society in Medieval Europe

  • Peregrine Horden
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH (Egham): HS2143

This course explores major themes in the social history of medicine in Europe from the collapse of the Roman empire to the eve of the Renaissance: the response to diseases such as leprosy and plague, medical education and the split between the medical profession and 'alternative' practitioners, the problems faced by female healers, the interplay of institutional and community health care and of secular and religious sources of healing. Besides opening up central topics in medieval studies, therefore, the course also deals with subjects of current political debate and students should have no difficulty in finding their feet. Prior knowledge is not expected.

The course will be taught in informal weekly seminars. Students must write four essays and give presentations. Examination is by one three-hour paper (70%) and two coursework essays (30%).

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Medieval Monsters: Foreigners and Other Oddities in the Medieval Imagination

  • Sarah Lambert
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • GC: HT52110B

What did medieval writers think about the existence of Australia? Why did they draw maps populated with monsters? Why was it sometimes acceptable to eat your enemy, and what should the medieval women do if she has a baby that looks like a bear? Did Marco Polo really go to China? And do rhinoceroses lick their prey? How can you define humanity, and how do these questions correspond to political and religious geography? These are some of the problems that this course will wrestle with. We will study the development of a European identity in the middle ages, and the way that identity was constructed in opposition to a variety of 'others', internal and external. We will explore the relations between western Christian Europe and outsiders including Vikings, Magyars, Arabs and Turks, as well as mythical outsiders, using a variety of historical and fictional sources, including visual materials. You will be encouraged to visit Galleries and museums in London as an important contribution to your research.

Online discussions will encourage students to engage throughout the course with a variety of source materials, and will enable them to make contributions based on museum and gallery visits. This aspect of the assessment thus aims to develop independent study and research. Exchange of ideas and questions amongst students will encourage team working. The formal essay will contribute to development of written communication and the formal organisation of academic analysis.

Assessment: online journal addressing specific questions and resources in light of seminar discussions - 2,000 words (30%); exhibition of visual and textual sources addressing themes of humanity and identity (30%); 2,500-word essay (40%).

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The Medieval Universe

  • Sophie Page
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2201

This course will explore how medieval men and women perceived their Universe and situated themselves within it. Covering a chronological span of c.1100-1500, the first part will focus upon how invisible and sacred forces were imagined, represented, and engaged with; how medieval men and women acquired their knowledge of these, and guided their lives by them. We will look at tensions in the relationship between celestial influence, personal spiritual forces, the free will of man and the omnipotence of God, and techniques for asserting control over the sacred through popular ritual practices, magic and astrology. The course will also examine medieval conceptions of the body, death and afterlife, and the relationship of medieval men and women to their physical environment. Issues for discussion will include perceptions, subversions and manipulations of the natural order; physical, legal, religious and emotional concepts of landscape.

The course will be taught in weekly discussion seminars. Assessment is by two coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and one three-hour written examination (75%).

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The Nobility and Gentry of Medieval England, 1150-1500

  • Nigel Saul
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2131

This course considers the transition from the barons and knights of the twelfth century to the nobility and gentry of the later Middle Ages. Amongst its main concerns are the ‘rise’ of the gentry, the development of the parliamentary peerage, the changing relationships involved in the shift from ‘feudalism’ to ‘bastard feudalism’, the evolving pattern of magnate and gentry rule in the shires of England, and the maintenance of law and order. Other themes considered include the economic activities of the nobility and gentry, their domestic architecture, patterns of spending, literacy and education, religious belief, and the significance of social heraldry.

Teaching is by informal weekly seminars. There is no language requirement. Examination is by one three-hour paper. For places on this course, please contact RH.

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Friends. Political Bonds in Italy (1300-1550)

  • Serena Ferente
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2001

Friendship was a crucial political bond in medieval Europe. It lay at the core of social and political groupings that have long interested historians as well as social scientists. This paper will analyse and compare forms of political friendship in late medieval and Renaissance Italy by looking at episodes and practices of political conflict. During the period 1300-1550 Italian women and men confronted unprecedented natural calamities, endemic warfare, and increasing taxation; they also developed doubts about the legitimacy of their rulers and new ideas about the order of the world. We will meet angry wool carders and persecuted monks, implacable mothers and irresolute patricians through stories of feuds, factional strife, and revolts in the cities and in the country. We will examine stable and inclusive party structures and compare them with more fludi, changing political configurations. The observations of contempories such as Dante, Marsilius of Padua, Bartolus of Saxoferrato, Bernardino of Siena, or Machiavelli will illuminate our cases and help us to test the explanatory value of categories such as patronage, class, or identity for the study of late medieval European society.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The Ottoman Empire

  • Fred Anscombe
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL142S6

This course will introduce students to the history of the Ottoman state and society from 1300 to 1922. The Ottoman Empire was the last great Islamic state, and the course of its development and decline shaped basic features of modern successor states in Europe and the Near East. Through analysis of the factors influencing the rise and sustenance of the empire, and of those modern forces which precipitated its dissolution, the course will improve students’ understanding of one of the most important states of the European-Mediterranean region. In addition to covering the essential outline of political development at the imperial centre, the course will stress the economic and social realities of provincial life. This will be done through focus upon such key themes as principles of governance, intercommunal relations, relations with Europe, and problems of modernisation. Students will not be expected to have much prior knowledge of Ottoman history. Every weekly meeting will include both lecture and seminar discussion.

The course will be assessed by a three-hour examination.

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Daily Life in Renaissance and Baroque Italian Cities

  • Sandra Cavallo
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2148

In recent years a wealth of exciting interdisciplinary studies has explored the minutiae of the public, religious and domestic experience of city-dwellers in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, making use of methods and analytical categories drawn from anthropology, art history, archaeology and historical geography. This course will be based on this new stream of research and will analyse in depth a number of key aspects of urban life in this period of Italian history. These include: the use of space and street life; buildings and their symbolic meaning; the rituals of civic pride and religious devotion; the interior of the home and its functions; the ornament of the body; marital choice and disputes; convent life; neighbourly ties; sexual deviance; life in the ‘ghetto’; the use of magic in everyday life. Reflecting the expertise of the tutors, a historical archaeologist specialising in Italy and a social historian of Baroque Italy the emphasis will be placed on socio-cultural issues and on the material and visual aspects of daily life.

The course will be taught in seminars with visits to a museum or gallery in London and to Italy. Students should normally have taken a relevant course in European History. Examination is by one three-hour paper (70%) and two coursework essays (30%).

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Marriage and Monarchy: the Middle Ages from a World Historical Perspective

  • David d'Avray
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST6207.

Later Medieval Europe appears to be unique in the world history of literate civilisations in outlawing both polygamy and divorce at the same time. This is particularly remarkable in that the ban extended to rulers and great men, who have been able to change wives or accumulate secondary wives even in societies where there were more constraints at a lower social level. Furthermore the system was ultimately administered by a religious authority outside the domains of any of these monarchs, and so difficult to control. The very fact of a separation of 'Church and State' and the legal control of the validity of marriages by the former is another feature of medieval culture hard to parallel in other civilisations. The theme of 'marriage and monarchy' makes an excellent case study for comparative history of the Weberian kind, where the field of vision is not restricted to a pair of comparanda.

This course is far more wide ranging than a traditional Group 2, but is still held together by one strong central theme. It is a theme with the widest ramifications, and the course takes advantage of them to ensure that students get a broad outline of medieval history as a background to the investigation of marriage and monarchy.

The course has a strong sociological component, in that the distinctions between values and instrumental rationality, and between formal and substantive legal rationality, play a central role in the empirical analyses. These concepts are used to elucidate a problem addressed by the course as a whole which is the curious 'scissors' pattern in the history of the medieval Church's control of marriage law. On the one hand, there is a hardening of attitude towards royal divorces or annulments, so that by the end of the period an annulment could scarcely be obtained without a powerful legal case or a massive effort to orchestrate collective perjury before a court. On the other hand, it became increasingly easy to obtain a dispensation for marriage within the forbidden degrees of kinship. A broad theme will be the rise of legal formality as a framework which makes coherent sense of the apparent contradiction between these two major trends.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and two essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Gender in the Middle Ages

  • John Arnold
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL057S6

This module will provide an examination of a key theme in medieval history, through which students will be able to investigate broader aspects of social and cultural history in the period (particularly in the later middle ages). This will thus add to the range of medieval options available to the relevant BA courses, and the balance of courses on offer; it will also provide an opportunity for students interested in themes of gender and identity covered in other modules (eg H054) to add to their overall comparative knowledge. By using an interesting central theme, the module should provide a popular and stimulating path into further engagement with medieval history.

The module will provide students with a broad knowledge of medieval social structures, cultural practices and beliefs, and an understanding of key debates in social, economic and cultural history of the period. It will also stimulate an appreciation of the historical specificity of gender, and the ways in which both masculinity and femininity were constructed and negotiated in the medieval period.

The course will be assessed by a three-hour examination.

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Outsiders in the Middle Ages

  • Peter Denley
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • QMUL: 13/HST5109

The medieval Christian west abounded in prejudices, proscriptions, violence and atrocities against those who did not ‘fit the mould’. Groups such as students, mercenaries, Jews, prostitutes, the poor and the sick, and individuals who transgressed ideological, penal or sexual codes were all objects of suspicion and hatred. The course will study the interaction of doctrinal and moralistic attitudes and popular prejudice, the myths that evolved about outsiders, the mechanisms of oppression, the alleged increase in intolerance during the late middle ages, and the relationships between different categories of outsiders.

Examination is by 2 essays of 2,500 words (50%) and one long essay of 5000 words (50%).

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The Black Death

  • Dr Alexandra Sapoznik
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2022

The Black Death was one of the most important, catastrophic, and ultimately transformative events of the Middle Ages. Between 1348 and 1350 nearly half the population of England died. This module will examine the consequences of this demographic devastation, which fundamentally altered relationships between peasants, their lords, and their lands. It focuses on the economic and social implications of the Black Death in England. The first part of the course will introduce the key themes and sources. Subsequent classes concentrate on the immediate impact of the disease, what it was, and how people reacted to the incredible mortality. In later classes the long-term effects of the Black Death on standards of living, freedom and unfreedom, social tension, peasant rebellion, landlords and estate management, marriage and family, religion, art and literature will be considered. Although the course is mostly concerned with the effects of the Black Death in England, two classes will be especially devoted to the European experience of the disease, enabling useful comparisons to be made between England and the Continent. The module covers an exciting and challenging period in the history of England, leading to greater understanding of social change and everyday life in the crisis-ridden fourteenth century.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000-word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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Death, Ancestors and the Afterlife in Medieval Society

  • Dr C. Humfress and Dr J. Baker
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL041S5

Beliefs and practices associated with death, burial, ancestors and the afterlife played a central role in early medieval religion and society. In this course, we will examine three areas in particular: the evolution of rituals of burial and commemoration, and their role in effecting the passage from this world to the next, and in reallocating rights and roles among the living; the development of ideas about the afterlife and apocalyptic time, and their relationship to ideas about social order in this world; and the active and passive roles of the dead within early medieval society, as ancestors, apparitions, ghosts and saints, and the implications of their constant presence. Among the principal themes running through the course will be the often ambivalent relationship between ‘popular’ and ‘official’ beliefs and practices, and between the individual and society. We will cover mainly the early medieval period; as well as written sources, we will also look at the potential of archaeological and, to a lesser extent, art historical, evidence.

The course will be assessed by a three-hour examination.

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London: Urban Society, 1400-1600

  • Clive Burgess
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH (taught in central London.): 47/HS2132

In this period London grew from a town of 50,000 inhabitants to a capital city of some 200,000. The Reformation not only swept away ‘superstitious’ beliefs, but destroyed much of the fabric and topography of the medieval city. This course will consider how Londoners coped with these changes; their relations with the Crown and with the surrounding communities in the suburbs and countryside. How were Londoners fed and watered? How were crafts organised? How was the City governed? How were orphans, the old, the sick and the destitute cared for? How did Londoners amuse themselves and how did they care for their souls? What education was available and what were the opportunities open to women? The course will be taught for two terms in weekly classes which will include a walk around the medieval walls and other visits. It may be necessary to limit numbers.

Examination is by one three-hour paper.

This course may not be taken together with the Group 3 course ‘Later Medieval London, 1450-1560: Community, Politics and Religion' (BkC: HICL086U).

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The English Family, c.1350-1720

  • Vanessa A. Harding
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL133U

Over the past 20 or 30 years historians have argued about the role of the family in shaping English culture, social relations, and national identity. This course examines past and present conceptions of what 'the family' is, and looks at the ways in which the constitution of the family appears to have changed, and relation of the family to society. Its approach is thematic, though a sense of historical change and development is crucial. The course uses writings on the history of the family as a way into the study of English social history over a broad period, one that spans the traditional division between 'medieval' and 'early modern' and perhaps encourages us to reconsider that division. It focuses on England, but will consider studies of other European societies, comparing both the historical experience of other societies and alternative historiographical approaches. Themes include the formation of nuclear families; other kinds of family, other ways of life (for example, widowhood, singlehood, migration/emigration); family and household; families and society.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Witchcraft and Society, 1450-1750

  • Michael Hunter
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL159U

Since the 1960s, witchcraft in early Modern Europe and New England has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly attention. This course draws on the large secondary literature which now exists to examine a range of key questions about the early modern 'witch-craze'. What were witches accused of, and how did this relate to what they actually did? What triggered off the great witch-hunts that occurred in some parts of Europe - both East and West - at this time? Did witch-hunting represent a war of the sexes, or a campaign of social control? Who believed in witchcraft, who was sceptical about it and how did ideas about 'the damned art' change in the course of the period? Material will be drawn from all over Europe and from New England, though there will be a particular emphasis on England and Scotland.

Background knowledge of the period would be useful, so it would be an advantage to have done main courses in either or both European or British history of the early modern period. Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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Religious Reformation and Popular Piety, 1450-1650

  • Benjamin Kaplan
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2312

This course examined the revolutionary changes in religious life in Europe between the late Middle Ages and the seventeenth century. It concentrates on the upheavals associated with the Protestant Reformation, but examines also the Catholic (also known as the Counter-) Reformation nd a variety of related thematic topics. The course does not treat religious issues solely in theological or ecclesiastical terms, but also in terms of piety – the ‘varieties of religious experience’ Europeans had, and community – the social and spiritual bonds formed by religion. It seeks constantly to assess the place of religion in the social, cultural and political world of early modern Europe. It pays attention to the ‘common folk’ as much as to famous leaders, and looks for long-term shifts behind the era’s revolutionary events.

Assessment is by two coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and one three-hour written examination (75%).

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Mediterranean Encounters: Venice and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1797

  • Dr. Anastasia Stouraiti
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Tuesdays, 2-4 (TBC)
  • GC: HT52102A

This course examines the connected history of the two most powerful states in the early modern Eastern Mediterranean, the Venetian and the Ottoman Empires, from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the occupation of Venice by Napoleon in 1797. It focuses on the Republic of Venice and the complex web of its economic, political and cultural relations with the Ottomans, but it also investigates the social and cultural history of the different ethno-linguistic and religious groups living within and between the two empires. Through a range of textual and visual sources, the course explores a variety of topics: the Venetian-Ottoman wars; the circulation of people, goods and ideas; cultural and artistic transaction; religious coexistence and antagonism; the formation of pre-modern identities; the genealogies of orientalism. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to challenge the notions of 'East' and 'West' as distinct entities and develop alternative approaches for understanding interaction and its limits in particular historical and geographical contexts.

Assessment will be by three-hour written examination (75% of the final mark) and one 2,000 word essay (25% of the final mark).

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Tudor England: Politics, Religion and Culture 1485-1603

  • Dr Lucy Kostyanovsky
  • Not available in 2013-14
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2025

This module aims to give students a detailed understanding of the history of England between 1485 and 1603, looking in particular at the interaction between politics, religion and culture, areas which are traditionally studied separately from one another. It will provide students with an appreciation of the ways in which Tudor government, church and society responded to an array of profound challenges as the impact of unprecedented political crises, ideological changes and cultural transformations was felt at every level. By making connections between areas of history which are often viewed separately, students will be empowered to reach new levels of awareness about the interrelationship of different forms of historical causation. The course also aims to give students a close acquaintance with a series of important historiographical developments in this area, from debates about ‘new monarchy’ and the English Reformation to debates about gender, popular culture, literature and materiality. By the end of the course the students will have an in-depth knowledge of the period, a solid grasp of the historical debates, an ability to analyse sources within a detailed historical context, and a new capability for making connections between different areas of the discipline.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000-word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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Heresy, the Occult and the Apocalypse in Early Modern Europe

  • Dr Ariel Hessayon
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • Tuesdays, 10.00-12.00
  • GC: HT52079A

The course examines collective and individual thoughts ordinarily considered to be outside the parameters of the doctrines of the established church from 1500 to 1750.  This crucial period of history from the Reformation to the Enlightenment was a time of political, social, economic and religious upheaval, when men and women looked to the Bible and other ancient texts to make sense of their surroundings and to advance radical programmes for a new and better world.

This course aims to introduce to students through a series of weekly lectures and focussed seminar discussions an important dimension of early modern European thought and belief.  Subjects to be investigated include: the Bible, Apocrypha and extra-canonical texts; the Apocalypse; Prophecy; Heresy and Blasphemy; Judaism and Islam; Witchcraft; miracles and diabolic possession; the theology of the ancients; Magic; Astrology; Alchemy; Angels; Numerology; Gnosticism and Neoplatonism; Kabbalah; Christian mysticism.

When exploring these topics students will be invited to examine the conceptual and ideological relationships between belief and authority, between heterodoxy and orthodoxy, and between social power and cultural change. In addition, students will examine the central issues of how historians have understood and interpreted religion and religious change.

Assessment is by a dissertation of 6,000 words

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World History: Power and Inequality (1500-1900)

  • Professor Francisco Bethencourt
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH1010

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to World History through the comparative analysis of economic creation of inequality, foundations of power and the way legal frameworks and forms of government interfered in social hierarchies. The main areas of observation will be Europe, China, India and Japan, the Iranian and the Ottoman empires, West Africa, Central Africa, Ethiopia, the pre-Colombian, colonial and postcolonial societies in America. The access to property and the rights of succession will be the key to understand different regimes and different social frameworks. Then we will analyse specific political, economic and social functions, occupations or conditions, which will allow us to understand production, reproduction and changes of hierarchies. The goal is to establish a comparative perception of world history that will allow the students to consider future specialisation in that field.

Examination is by 2 x 2,500 word essays (100%).

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Crown, Church and Estates in Central Europe, 1500-1700

  • Martyn Rady
  • Available in 2014-15
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI2002

By the end of the fifteenth century, the estate of nobility had accumulated substantial political power in Central Europe. Through the institutions of the local diets and counties, the nobilities had encroached upon the reserved rights of the crown and reinforced their legal jurisdiction over the peasantry. This course will examine how the newly-installed Habsburg rulers began the slow process of recovering the authority of the crown, which by the seventeenth century had not only obtained a high degree of confessional uniformity within its territories but had also completed the expulsion of the Turks from Central Europe.

Although this paper concentrates on kingship, confession and noble estates in Central Europe (defined as the Austrian hereditary provinces and the lands of the Bohemian and Hungarian crowns, including Transylvania and Croatia), there will be some comparative study of relevant developments in surrounding territories, and attention will also be paid to the 'economic estates' of peasants and townsmen, to the alchemical and mystical concepts of government dominant in Central Europe at this time, to the Turkish wars, and to forms of government within the area of Turkish occupation.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and coursework totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Mayas, Aztecs, Incas, Spaniards: The Native Peoples of the Americas and the Spanish Conquest

  • Dr Adrian Pearce
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2016

Of the many complex civilisations to arise in the ancient Americas, three stand out: the Maya of Mexico and Guatemala, generally regarded as the most brilliant of the native American civilisations, with a sophisticated art style and the only true writing system ever to develop in the Western Hemisphere; the Aztecs, the last ancient Mexican civilisation, known for their huge city-on-a-lake of Tenochtitlan and for the practice of mass human sacrifice; and the Incas of Peru, whose rigid state structure and many golden treasures so amazed the Spanish invaders. The clash between the Spaniards and the Aztecs and Incas in the early sixteenth century constitutes a unique episode in human history, one which Steve Stern has called ‘a historical watershed of global magnitude’ – a genuinely world-changing event. This module studies the states, societies and religions of the great native American cultures, and asks questions such as: why did Classic Maya civilisation collapse hundreds of years before the arrival of Columbus? Why did the Aztecs practise human sacrifice on a scale greater than any other people in history? And why did the Inca empire come to be characterised as ‘socialist’ by scholars writing in the early twentieth century? The module then focuses on the clash of the European and native American worlds after Columbus’ ‘discovery of the New World’ in 1492, looking firstly at Columbus himself and then at early Spanish conquest and settlement in the islands of the Caribbean. It concludes with extended examination of the major conquests of the mainland – of Mexico in 1519-1521, and Peru in 1532-1533 – attempting above all to understand the rapid collapse of the natives empire under European onslaught. Throughout, the module relies on a rich corpus of sources, both primary and secondary. The literature of the native cultures is exceptionally rich, while that of the Spanish Conquest has taken a leading place in the wider historiography of European expansion and empire-building at the global scale.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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The Dutch Golden Age

  • Benjamin Kaplan
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2315

In the seventeenth century, the United Provinces of the Netherlands was among the most important countries in Europe. An economic superpower, it built a far-flung colonial empire and achieved unmatched prosperity. Socially, it saw the rise of what is often called the first 'bourgeois' society. Politically it was an anomaly, a republic, while religiously its inhabitants enjoyed an unprecedented freedom. The home of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, and scores of other celebrated painters, it produced artistic riches still treasured, while in philosophy it provided a congenial environment for the rise of rationalism. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Dutch culture and society in the period c.1550-1715. Heavy use will be made of art as a source for historical understanding. The course will not treat Dutch art as an art history course would; rather, it will focus on Dutch history - social, political, cultural, religious - and will seek to illuminate that history through art and other cultural artefacts. No prior training in the visual arts is required, but students will find it helpful if they have done previous coursework on early modern Europe.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and 3 assessed essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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Popular Politics in Early Modern Britain

  • Jason Peacey
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST6318

This course explores the nature of, and development in, 'popular' political culture in early modern Britain. It will examine what this term means, whether it is possible to explore history 'from below', and how to distil the distinctive qualities and attributes of popular politics. A central goal of this course is to locate popular politics within a culture that allowed 'the people' to exercise political agency in negotiation with those elites who exercised power and authority. Rather than merely examine crowds and riots, therefore, the course explores conventional methods by which the 'lower orders' - female as well as male - wielded influence in national as well as local political affairs. As such, it will be important to assess the impact of changing ideas regarding participation in spiritual affairs and church administration upon secular politics. A second key aim is to trace the impace of social and economic change, as well as religious and political upheaval, not least through the emergence of popular pamphlets and newspapers, the politicisation of armies, and the rise of radical ideas, organisation and agitation.

The course will be assessed by one 3-hour written paper (75%) and two essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Themes in Early Modern Cultural History

  • Anne Goldgar
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2004

This paper will explore, through specific themes and examples, the way people in early modern Europe (including England) conceived of their world, and how these conceptions manifested themselves in practice. It will use both primary and secondary sources, as well as theoretical works, particularly anthropology, to consider the question of what culture was, what forms allowed for the expression of cultural values, what values were being expressed, and how the transmission and control of those values was accomplished. Defining these themes will entail close attention to both social and political structures, as well as to change in these structures over the course of the period. The main themes to be considered in this paper will be: the definition of community, the articulation of conflict, the uses of culture, the transmission of culture, the control of culture, and relations between elite and popular. Some of the specific topics under these headings will be: the culture of work, carnival and popular protest, oral culture, popular self-fashioning, the civilising process, civic culture and the body social, culture and power, material culture and consumption, defining the other, and museums and the transmission of culture.

Students will generally have completed one main paper in early modern European history.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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Modern South Asia: Disease, Medicine, Empire and nation c. 1600-1947

  • Erica Wald
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Fridays, 1-3pm, TBC
  • GC: HT52200A

This course will introduce students to South Asian history, from the height of Mughal power through to Partition and Independence.  It will do this through the lens of medicine, disease and imperial encounters in both the Subcontinent and ‘metropolitan’ Britain. By exploring a number of themes and measuring the impact of specific diseases on South Asian and British society, this course investigates some of the ways in which diseases shaped peoples, the British empire and the Indian nation. Topics will include the decline of the Mughal empire and the rise of the East India Company; imperial structures; ‘tropical’ climates and changing disease theory; race and caste; the encounter between ‘Western’ medicine and Ayurveda and Unani; imperial information networks and the creation of colonial knowledge; gender, sex and disease; epidemics and imperial control; Gandhi’s approaches to the body and mass nationalism; and partition and independence.  An examination of some of the diseases that had a specific impact on imperial rule, including plague, venereal disease and malaria, will be interwoven throughout.  

The course is assessed by 2 hour unseen examination (60%); one essay of 3500 words (30%); one book review (10%).

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The Fall and Rise of the Polish Nation, 1648-1921

  • Richard Butterwick
  • Available in 2014-15
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI2008

This course charts the changing meanings of ‘Poland’ and ‘Polish’, the decline and fall of one ‘Polish’ state and the struggle to resurrect another, as well as the transformations affecting the people at various times considered to constitute the ‘Polish nation’. It does so in the context of changing ‘Lithuanian’ and ‘Ruthenian/Ukrainian’ identities, whose threads intertwined with, and were later painfully disentangled from, those of ‘Poland’.

The course begins with the ‘Commonwealth of the Two Nations, Polish and Lithuanian’, at its zenith. It then analyses the impact of war, especially on confessional and national identities, before moving to the calls for reform that gathered strength from about 1730, including the reconfiguration of the nation, to include, ultimately, all inhabitants of the Commonwealth. Before this vision could be effected, the Commonwealth had been partitioned by its neighbours by 1795.

The implications for ‘Poland’ of the efforts to resurrect the state by force of arms, the debate on the peasantry, as well as the efforts to encourage the spread of Polish culture, and to shape a national memory, will be the focus of the next part of the course. The ideals of a civic, multi-ethnic Commonwealth reached their apogee during the 1863-64 uprising against Russia. Its failure led to further reconfigurations of the nation in an age of rapid population growth and industrialisation, and unfavourable German and Russian nationality policies. The course will look at how and why Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian nationalists increasingly went their separate ways, and how all became more hostile towards Jews. The course concludes with the sudden collapse of all of the partitioning empires, and the partition of the former territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and of Ruthenia between the new states of Poland, Lithuania and the Soviet Union in 1921.

There is sufficient reading available in English, although of course knowledge of Polish, German, French and other languages is an advantage

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and coursework totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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European Jewry and the Transition to Modernity, 1650-1850

  • Adam Sutcliffe
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2002

The upheavals that marked the emergence of the modern era were experienced with particular intensity by the Jews of Europe. In 1650 almost all European Jews lived within insular and religiously traditional communities. By the late nineteenth century Jews were a highly variegated but disproportionably urban, bourgeois, and culturally prominent minority, and the primary polemical scapegoat of discontents of modernity. This module will explore the changes in Jewish identity and experience, and in policies and attitudes toward Jews, over this period of transformation, investigating the different dynamics of change in western, southern and eastern Europe. Key topics and themes will include: Jewish/Christian relations, Jews in the European economy, early modern ‘Court Jews’ and ‘Port Jews’, Enlightenment and Haskalah (‘Jewish Enlightenment’), assimilation and Jewish bourgeois culture, Jewish religious reform and neo-traditionalism. Throughout we will seek to ask how the Jewish case illiminates broader questions of cultural change and intercultural relations in modern European history.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The War of Ideas in Post-Revolutionary England, 1660-1740

  • Michael Hunter
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL150U

In the years from the Stuart Restoration to the mid-eighteenth century, England was a battleground of ideas. This was professedly an age of reason, yet it turned out to be much more difficult than many anticipated to decide just what was reasonable. Much discussion focused on the danger that some contemporaries, in paring away what they saw as the legacy of centuries of priestly obfuscation, were on the highroad to atheism. This course examines some of the passionate debates that took place in this period on religious, political, historical and scientific issues, seeing how far iconoclasm could safely go, and how far traditional arguments survived. Texts considered include treaties by free-thinkers like Charles Blount and John Toland; defences of orthodoxy by such apologists as Robert Boyle and Richard Bentley; and the satirical writings of Jonathan Swift.

Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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Experience, Culture and Identity: Women's Lives in England, 1688-c.1837

  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2135

This course examines the mental and material world of English women in a period of rapid social, economic and cultural transformation. It exploits the wealth of secondary literature which has appeared on the subject in recent years, and evaluates the dominant interpretations of continuity and change in women's history. Attention focuses on the diversity of roles women played, the changing scope of female experience, and the different languages available to articulate that experience. Topics covered include: Love and Marriage, Sexuality, Masculinity, Divorce, Motherhood, Work, Consumerism, Material Culture, Print, Polite Culture, Feminism, Politics and Race. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with the categories, modes of explanation and chronology of recent women's history.

Students will be required to write four essays and present short papers for class discussion. Examination will be by one three-hour paper.

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British Economic History 1700-1939

  • Professor David McLean
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14:00-16:00
  • King's: 5AAH2008

The changing nature of and fluctuations within economies do much to determine the structures of societies and their polities. Because the transformation of Britain’s economy after 1700 had repercussions both nationally and internationally, this course will touch upon global developments as well as the remarkable growth of the world’s first industrial nation. Within the span of a generation, industrial production superseded agriculture as the mainstay of British prosperity and much of the population came to inhabit large towns instead of the traditional rural village. The Industrial revolution, the success and decline of English farming, the altering character of the workplace, the origins of foreign competition, the dominance of London in international finance, the effects of the Great War and the inter-war slump are all studied. How the British economy adapted both to events in the world beyond and to shifts within Britain’s own population forms an essential theme throughout. There are many historical debates regarding Britain’s economic performance, both successes and failures, within the period 1700 to 1939 – an appreciation of all of which will be required.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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Russia and Europe: 1700 to the Present

  • Orlando Figes
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL198S6

In this course we will explore the ambiguous relationship between Russia and Europe, from the eighteenth to the twentieth-first century. Complex feelings of insecurity, of envy and resentment towards Europe define the Russian national consciousness, and the West itself has wavered between Russophilia and Russophobia. Focusing on the key moments of Russian history that have hinged on this relationship - from 1812 to the Crimean War, the Russian Revolution and World War II - we will look at the ideas that shaped Russia's national identity. How was Russia to become a European state whilst retaining its own national character? What did Russia's multinational empire mean for its own nationhood? What was the impact of the Revolution on its relations with the West? And what now defines Russia's role in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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Credit, Money & Crisis in the Global Economy, 1700-1970

  • Coskun Tuncer
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 2-4pm
  • UCL: HIST2xxx

This course explores the major themes in financial and monetary history from the eighteenth century to the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1970s with a global perspective. The course has a two-fold purpose: to offer a long-term picture of international monetary and financial architecture from 1700 to 1970; and to shed light on convergence and divergence of financial and monetary systems across the world by exploring each theme with reference to the changing cores and peripheries in the world economy.

The first part of the course focuses on the pre-1914 period. Starting with a discussion on competing theories and concepts in financial and monetary history, it explores the origins and rise of financial capitalism, the formation of joint stock companies and stock exchanges, early financial crises and speculative manias, and the state finance and credible commitment. The second part, focusing on the post-World War I period, involves the themes of war finance, interwar financial and monetary instability, the Bretton Woods system and its institutions, and the changing nature of international financial architecture.  Overall, the course provides a historical analysis and evaluation of some of the most topical subjects of international political economy and finance.

Assessment is by 2 coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and a 2-hour written examination (75%) in the Summer term.

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Crime and Popular Disorder in Georgian England

  • Simon Renton
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST6320

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of ‘low politics’ in the period 1714-1830, the ideologies and mind sets of the labouring poor and other lower class groups, and how the ruling elite sought to use the criminal law as an engine for the transmission of their power, in an effort to maintain control over their social inferiors. The course will consider the creation of the "bloody code" of capital laws in the English criminal law, in the course of the 18th century, and the dismantling of this terror based system of law enforcement during the 19th century. We will examine and evaluate differing and competing explanations of these legislative and administrative trends. We shall also investigate the relevance of some radical criminology to the understanding of crime and punishment historically and the theoretical and methodological problems presented, to social historians of crime, by the nature of the sources and records available to them. Rather than view the poor as passive victims of the actions of their controllers and the growth of national markets, we will examine the actions and intentions of the poor and how these were manifested in ‘collective bargaining by riot’, the destruction of machinery, anti-enclosure riots, poaching, wrecking, anonymous letter writing, lower class radicalism and political disturbances. Students taking the course will acquire a grasp of how surviving evidence may be used to determine the motivations of the poor, who left few records of their own, and the functions of the crowd as a means of expression for those who lacked an effective voice in the formal political structures of the time. We will also examine the important role of the ‘middling sort’ as employers, dealers, poor law guardians, prosecutors and jurors.

The course will be assessed by one 3-hour written paper (75%) and two essays totalling 5,000 words (25%).

Please note that this course cannot be taken in combination with 'Marriage and Monarchy' or 'American History in Hollywood Film' or any intercollegiate Group 2 course taught in the Thursday 2-4 slot.

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From Crowd to Court: Cultures of Politics in Later Hanoverian Britain

  • Arthur Burns
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14:00-16:00
  • King's: 5AAH2014

This Level 5 module (Group 2) offers students wide-ranging perspectives on one of the liveliest fields in modern British historiography: the culture of politics from the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. The course explores how politics was actually conducted in various cultural and physical settings: in short, it could be seen as addressing the issue of how men (and sometimes with considerable effect and to a surprising extent women) sought to `get things done’ in a rapidly changing environment. It ranges from the politics of the street to the politics of the court: via local institutions and parliament, the coffee house and the country house, elections and patrons, petition and protest. It looks at regional patterns: city and county, metropolis and province, England, Scotland and Ireland. Among the themes discussed will be the role of print culture, personal relations, constitutional and unconstitutional forms, language and symbolism. By ranging so widely, it will bring into conversation several of the most important strands in historical writing on the conduct of politics, from Namier’s landmark discussion of elite politics to recent writing on political symbolism and rhetoric. Students will be exposed to the rich evidential resources (both textual and non-textual) now available to students of this subject, and will benefit from studying the subject in a world city which literally provided the stage on which many of the dramas discussed were enacted.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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From Blood and Guts to the Worried Well: Medicine in Britain, c.1750‐1990

  • Graham Smith
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH: HS2235

This course examines the history of medicine health and illness in Britain from c.1750–c.1990 within broader historical processes and developments. The course introduces students to the ways in which medical and health knowledge and practice has been constructed with particular emphasis on the history of medicine in Britain since the eighteenth century. While significant organisational and structural changes are examined in the ways in which medicine and healthcare are delivered, there is also an emphasis is on the social and cultural understanding of health, illness and the body.

Assessment by the best two 2,500-3,000 word essays out of four submitted (30%) and a three-hour closed book exam (70%)

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Church, State and Nation in mainland Britain, 1750-1839

  • Arthur Burns
  • Available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2006

This Level 5 Group 2 module aims to provide students with an introduction to one of the liveliest areas of current historical research concerning the history of modern Britain: the place of religion. The course focuses on the role of the churches in modern Britain as some of the key institutional presences in a national culture, helping shape understandings of wider society and either contributing to or challenging other conceptions of national identity and purpose. Both the established and non-established churches had a privileged position in a wide range of national conversations and debates concerning the best models to adopt in the provision of welfare, the preferred model of economy, constitution and political life; how the nation should be brought to share a common identity and sense of purpose both in peace and war; how personal life and national life should be understood to be related, the compatibility of different religious (and non-religious expressions) with national identity and cohesion, and the best means for men, women and children to contribute to national life. The module provides an introduction to a range of contrasting historiographical debates and approaches, in many cases still the site of ongoing controversy; students will also have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics, ranging from high political social thought and constitutional argument via millenarian cults and anti-catholic prejudice, to missions to both the unchurched masses and non-Christian minorities, and to compare and contrasts eras as different as those of the French Revolutionary Wars and the First World War. The very specific national religious cultures of Ireland, Scotland and Wales will also receive particular attention.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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Sexuality and Gender in Modern Britain

  • Lucy Delap
  • Available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2026

This module will examine the controversies and changing experiences of gender and sexuality in Britain since 1885. It is positioned at the interface of social and political history, charting protest movements and legislative change alongside broad social trends in British families, labour markets and leisure culture. Preparation for seminars will include historical scholarship set alongside collections of primary sources hosted by institutions such as the British Library and the Victoria and Albert museum. Film screenings will also be incorporated. Students will offer regular short presentations in the seminars, as well as being assessed by the submission of two essays and a written examination. The module aims to provide students with both a knowledge of the historiography and history of gender and sexuality in Britain since 1885, and an introduction to the history of feminism and anti feminism as political movements and social influences in recent British history. Students will acquire the ability to work with different genres of sources (film, literature, memoirs, oral histories) and think critically about what methodologies are best suited to their study, along with the ability to engage critically with theoretical work in the fields of sexuality and gender, and to assess the ways in which theory has influenced historical scholarship.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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Capitalism and Empire: The economics of British Global Expansion

  • Bronwen Everill
  • Available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2032

This module will explore Britain’s imperial expansion during the height of the first and second British Empires through the perspective of the economy. Themes will include the role of slavery and the slave trade in the industrial revolution; the development of the City of London; historiographical debates over the role of manufacturing and ‘gentlemanly capital’; ‘informal’ imperialism. Areas to be covered include the settler colonies, the West Indies, West Africa, Egypt, South Africa, India, Singapore and China. Students will learn to analyse different arguments relating to the commercial expansion of Britain, as well as to think comparatively about different parts of the world in their relationship to each other and to Britain in this period. They will also explore the links between basic economic concepts and the political structures and culture of the British Empire.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The Industrial Revolution

  • Julian Hoppit
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 2-4pm
  • UCL: HIST2302

The 'industrial revolution' was one of the three or four most important transformations in human history, and Britain was the first society to experience it. At heart that transformation was economic, a profound increase in both outputs and productivity. But crucially it had important social, cultural, intellectual and political dimensions: class, gender and generational relations changed considerably; new attitudes towards risk and consumption were forged; radical new ideas proliferated about the economy and the environment, the individual and the collective; and both state and empire played important roles in this 'great transformation'. This course, therefore, locates economic developments within a wider framework and to explore how dramatically yet uncertainly Britain changed in the 130 years or so before 1830.

The course is based on secondary sources, including plenty of tables and graphs. It is taught via weekly seminars. In addition to assessments, compulsory non-assessed coursework, such as book reviews, will also often be set.

Assessment is by 2 coursework essays of 2,500 words each (25%) and a 2-hour written examination (75%) in the Summer term.

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Europe in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon, 1780-1815

  • Michael Rowe
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2009

This course examines one of the most dynamic periods of change and upheaval that Europe has ever experienced. The revolutionary principles of liberty, equality and fraternity that emerged in France in 1789 posed an ideological challenge to the rest of the European Continent. Following the outbreak of the revolutionary wars in 1792, the French exported these new principles by force to Central and Southern Europe. The initial idealism of the Revolution was quickly superseded by French imperialism; by 1810 Napoleon’s Grand Empire stretched from Spain to Poland. The states of this vast European empire adopted French-style reforms, whilst Napoleon’s remaining enemies embarked upon ‘defensive modernisation’ programmes of their own in preparation for the final show-down. This course will examine the unprecedented modernisation that occurred in Europe in this era with reference to continuity and change, resistance and collaboration, religion and identity.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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Modern Revolutions in Comparative Perspective

  • Professor Jan Plamper
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 11.00-13.00
  • GC: TBC

In this course we will explore the history of modern revolutions. Examples will include the American, French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions, but also mid-20th century anti-colonial revolutions and history still in the making—the ‘Arab Spring’. We will scrutinise various definitions of revolutions, compare their course and causes, examine revolutionary symbols and rituals, identify winners and losers, analyse the ideas underpinning revolutions and try to grapple with the disturbing phenomenon of extreme violence in the name of extremely good causes.

Assessment is by dissertation of 6,000 words; outline and bibliography (15%)

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Responses to Rome from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

  • Catharine Edwards
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL108U

This course will examine the ways the Rome of antiquity, its monuments and ruins, its fabric and vistas, has been physically, ideologically and artistically appropriated since the eighteenth century, both by visitors and by those governing the city. In laying claim to the city, different groups and individuals – including British aristocrats, the popes, Napoleon, Mussolini – have privileged different and contradictory aspects of the city’s earlier history. Rome has been made to stand for republicanism, for empire, for decadence and for religious faith. This course will also seek to raise questions about how far study of an ancient city so freighted with symbolic meanings is necessarily implicated in these earlier struggles for cultural – and actual – ownership of Rome.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

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From Rakes to Respectability? Conflict and Consensus in Britain 1815-1851

  • Jane Hamlett
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2246

Were the early Victorians really dull and stuffy? Of course not. Societies are far more variegated than that – and so was the Britain in the years 1815-51, with the distinctive talents and lifestyles of – to name but a few – Lord Byron, Beau Brummel, the Chartist demonstrators, Robert Stephenson the inventor, William Hudson the 'railway king', the Brontë sisters, Charles Lyell the geologist who so influenced the young Darwin, Charles Dickens, Jabez Bunting the hell-fire Methodist preacher and organiser, Elizabeth Sharples the secularist lecturer, William Wilberforce, Harriette Wilson the celebrated courtesan, Angela Burdett-Coutts the wealthy philanthropist, Daniel O'Connell the Irish 'Liberator', Sir Walter Scott, John Stuart Mill, the young Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole the nursing pioneers, Augustus Pugin the inspirer of the 'Gothicising' Houses of Parliament, Turner the artist, the real-life Artful Dodgers who lived by picking-pockets, and Joanna Southcott the prophetess who claimed to be pregnant with the new Messiah and who founded a clandestine religious sect that lasted at least until the 1990s. To interpret their lives, historians cultivate a double vision, one focusing upon how historical eras gain subsequent reputations that develop over time, and the other focusing upon the lived experiences of people in the relevant era, when things seemed highly complex and when the outcome of contemporary disputes was still uncertain. Comparing and contrasting these two visions constitutes the core theme of this course. Come and help to reexamine cultural conflicts and consensus in our seminar discussions.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Modern and Contemporary Italy

  • Andrea Mammone
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH: HS2317

This course offers a chronological history of the main events across Italy from the unification of the country in the 1800s to the present. It focuses on a wide range of topics, including the foreign travellers and writers’ images of the peninsula, the Risorgimento, Liberal Italy, the early role of political ideologies and mass politics, the advent of fascism and the regime, the liberation of the country, the Cold War years, the economic boom and emigration, civic cultures and the images of the south, the political system, politics and elites since the 1990s, media and power, immigration, and public memories.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper (this may be subject to change as we are reviewing our assessment methods later this month).

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Faith, Nation, and Empire in Modern East-Central Europe (1800-present)

  • James Bjork
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14.00-16.00
  • King's: 5AAH2010

This course will be examining three broad ways in which East-Central Europe has been organized and re-organized over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The first and most familiar of these organizing principles is the nation-state. We will be exploring why this model has had such powerful appeal, as well as the problems that have arisen out of attempts to create neatly delineated nation-states out of region’s linguistic ‘crazy quilt’. A second model that we will consider is that of supranational or imperial systems. Included here are not only pre-national dynastic states like the Habsburg Monarchy, but also a wide range of more self-consciously forward-looking attempts to transcend national divisions: the hierarchical racial order of the Nazi era; the one-party states of the Soviet bloc; and, most recently, the market integration of the European Union. Finally, we will be looking at the role that religious communities have played in the life of East-Central Europe, at the level of both subnational regional bonds and transnational 'civilizational' systems.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course ‘Successors to the Habsburgs: East-Central Europe 1914-1945’ (SSEES,UCL: SEHI2006).

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The History of Australia since 1788

  • Carl Bridge
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14:00-16:00
  • King's: 5AAH2013

Who came to Australia in 1788 and why? What impact has more than two centuries of immigration had on Indigenous Australians? How have these movements of people been interpreted and influenced the various meanings attached to being Australian? What role has constitutional change played in these shifting and contested meanings? How has Australia been positioned in international affairs, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region? And to what extent have allegiances to Britain been protected, re-negotiated and critiqued?

This course introduces students to political, social and cultural themes in Australian history. The course investigates topics which include Aboriginal culture and resistance to European invasion; the environment, exploration, gold and land settlement; self government, Federation and the Republican Movement; indentured Chinese and Melanesian labour; colonial women; and the participation in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars; the 1930s Depression; immigration and multi-culturalism; the struggle for Aboriginal land rights; the ‘Vietnam generation’; suburbia; foreign policy; and gender, ethnicity and class in contemporary Australian society.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (60%),  two essays of 2,000 words each (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The Islamic Revival: from 18th-century Reform to 20th-century Political Action

  • Francis Robinson
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH: HS2289

Over the past two centuries Muslim societies have been experiencing a major process of religious revival and reform, of which a dominant feature has been an increased emphasis on action in this life to achieve salvation. This course will examine how Islamic reform was expressed differently in different contexts in the nineteenth century, how it came in many cases in the twentieth century to evolve into Islamism and competition for power in the modern state, and how this came in the last decades of the twentieth century, in the context of globalisation and the breakdown of Cold War international order, to be expressed by some in violent action against Western targets. In following this course students will engage with the main figures in the movement from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab to Usama bin Laden, and some of the main organisations from the Deoband School to al-Qaeda. They should be able to assess for themselves whether or not there really is a ‘clash of civilisations’.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course 'The Modern Middle East since c.1880' (RH: HS2290).

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Gender and Society in the Non-western World since 1800

  • Sarah Ansari
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2263

This course examines concepts of continuity and change in the non-western world by focussing on issues connected with gender, and women in particular. It looks at the evolution of the state and its consequences for the relative position of women and men living in societies in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Students taking this course will develop a critical awareness of what the arrival of so-called modernity has meant in a non-western context, and why debate and discussion of its consequences has very often revolved around women's lives. One important question concerns the impact of interaction with the West and western ideas, both in those regions directly incorporated into European empires and those that were more indirectly and to different degrees touched by western imperialism. This course explores how this interaction took place, and also the kinds of indigenous forces that influenced change. A key issue involves the complex relationship between female emancipation - the Woman Question - and nationalism.

Teaching will be by weekly seminar classes. Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

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The European Revolutions of 1848

  • Axel Körner
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2311

With special focus on France, Italy, Germany and the Habsburg Empire, this course looks at the European revolutions of 1848, exemplifying approaches of social, political and cultural history. The course aims to introduce students to the analysis of a historical situation from the perspective of both its broad socio-economic structures and specific political events, allowing the identification of similarities and differences between the national, regional and local revolutions. Students will work with selected primary sources on the French and Italian revolutions of 1848 (political documents and literary sources in translation) and review recent historiographical developments. To understand the events of 1848 a number of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches will be explored, including the relationship between history and theory, discourse-analysis, gender and the public sphere, the understanding of cultural practices in specific social milieux.

Students for this course should already have completed a survey course in nineteenth-century European history.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and three essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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The Russian Empire in the Age of Reform and Revolution 1856-1917

  • Daniel Beer
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2248

The course will examine the intellectual and cultural history of Russia in the turbulent years from the Great Reforms of the 1850s and 1860s to the 1917 Revolution. During this period, the Russian society experienced industrialisation, urbanisation, secularisation and the erosion of traditional values and social distinctions. The spread of literacy, the rise of popular culture, and mass politics all contrived to change the nature and the values of Russian society. In the absence of any established system of political freedom until the 1905 Revolution, Russian literature was a barometer of popular sentiment and a forum in which the great moral and political issues of the day were debated. The tension between reformism and revolution dominated the period. For many, the obduracy of the autocracy precluded the possibility of seeking a gradual reform of the state. Others struggled to reform the Empire whilst staving off violent revolution. The 1905 Revolution was a seminal moment in Russian history in this period. It heralded the explosion of mass movements onto the political stage confirmed for many observers their worst fears of the anarchy and violence that would accompany social revolution. The emphasis throughout will be on the dynamism of Russia in this period as all sections of society struggled to cope with change on an enormous scale at dizzying speeds.

Assessment is by three-hour exam.

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Ideology, Culture and Society in Latin America from Independence to the Present Day

  • Nicola Miller
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2303

This course offers an intellectual and cultural history of Latin America. In a region which has regarded itself as 'outside history' (the illegitimate product of the European conquest of America) and in which thinkers and writers have traditionally enjoyed a high degree of political influence, such issues are more than usually important for understanding the overall development of these societies. The course explores the relationships between art and politics; myth and history; high and low culture; and nationalism and national identity in Latin America. Many of the items on the reading list are novels and essays. The course will be particularly concerned to challenge the kind of cultural stereotyping which still underlies much of our thinking about Latin America.

Students taking the course should have some background in Latin American history. Students without any prior knowledge of the region should consult Dr Miller before enrolling. A reading knowledge of Spanish is desirable, but not essential.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and three essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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Ireland and the Irish between the Famine and Partition

  • Joanna Bourke
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/H071

This course examines the social and cultural history of Ireland between 1845 and 1921. In particular, we will be looking at the debates apportioning 'blame' for the poverty of Ireland and the rise of political protest. A great deal of emphasis will be placed on the history of the Irish family, the Irish language, policing practices and prostitution, leisure pursuits, religion, education, and emigration. The nature of interactions between social groups and individuals are analysed. Issues of identity, class, and gender are central to this course.

Examination is by one three-hour paper. Students are also expected to write at least two essays.

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Lahore and Istanbul: Modernity in the Muslim Imperial City, 1850-1960

  • Markus Daechsel
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2232

This course compares how city dwellers in two very different regions of the Muslim world – Turkey and South Asia – engaged with the political, cultural, social and economic changes of ‘modernity’. We will focus on two distinct cities with great historical personalities: Lahore, one of the most vibrant and colourful cities of British India; and Istanbul with its cosmopolitan and multi-religious populations and its role as contact point between East and West. We will explore the histories of these places from a whole range of questions and approaches: the changing face of city geography and architecture, the impact of political and economic change; material culture and its impact on social identities: urban housing and domestic life, mass entertainment in print and cinema; literature and art and their impact on political culture; finally, religious practice in urban space, processes of ‘secularisation’ and the question of religious pluralism.

Assessment is by a written examination (70%) and the best of two c.5000 word essays (30%).

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The Crisis of the American Republic, 1857-1877

  • Adam Smith
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2313

The Civil War is the central event in American history. Four million slaves were freed and over 600,000 combatants died in a war that convulsed the nation for four years. For those who lived through it, the Civil War would always remain the defining moment in their lives. Union victory eradicated slavery, bringing the entire nation, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, a 'new birth of freedom'. Yet the war left unresolved the crucial question of exactly what that freedom meant in theory and practice. This was the essential problem of Reconstruction. How would the South be reintegrated into the Union, who would rule the nation, and, especially, what would be the place of emancipated slaves in American life? This course will examine the events leading up to the Civil War, the war itself, and the era of Reconstruction to gain insight into this central turning point in the American experience. The focus of the course is on understanding the impact of the war and the legacy of emancipation on the nation's politics, culture and race relations.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and 3 assessed essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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Politics of Sport: Power, Identity and Race in Britain, 1880s-1990s

  • Humayun Ansari
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2250A

This course examines the role of sport as a major political accompaniment of the modern age. It explores how politics and sports have become increasingly intertwined in Britain, and investigates the role which sport has played in the construction of British national identity. Sporting activity has provided a common reference point for diverse groups in British society, yet sport has persisted in reproducing divisions in class, gender and race relations. 'Politics and Sport', therefore, looks at the changing meaning of sport in people's lives in modern Britain.

Teaching will be in a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

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The Modern Middle East since c. 1880

  • Vanessa Martin
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2290

What lies behind the current crisis in the Middle East? The course looks at the background to the on-going war in Iraq, the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, and the rise of al-Qa’ida. It considers the crucial changes in the Middle East during World War I, and the resultant dominance of the British until 1948, including their role in the shaping of the modern Middle East. Why is the Middle East so significant in international politics? The course examines its strategic importance and the vital nature of its principal resource, oil, and then we trace how the Middle East was structured to serve the commercial and strategic interests of the Great Powers. In the post-World War II period, geopolitical factors made the Middle East particularly vulnerable to suprpower struggles and rivalries. These interacted with internal and regional factors to produce political complexity and instability. The impact of the West was countered by western ideas particularly, nationalismn both secular and religious, demonstrated in the quest for strong state systems that could ensure defence of the country in the Arab lands, Turkey and Iran. All of this was originated in the reform movements in Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century.

Examination is by one three-hour paper.

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course 'The Islamic Revival: from 18th-century Reform to 20th-century Political Action' (RH: HS2289).

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Memory and Modern Europe

  • Zoë Waxman
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2297

This course examines the role of memory in modern European history and culture. There is a difference between how history happens and how the events of history are reconstructed and remembered at different times, in different places, and by different groups of people. Students will explore the relationship between individual and social memory, the ways in which different narratives of the past are constructed, the role of personal testimony in history, how different memorials and museums relate to different understandings of the past, the role of the media in shaping historical consciousness, the limits of representation, the politics and culture of forgetting, and the future of memory (what happens when memories fade).

Examination is by one three-hour written paper.

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Modern Political Ideas

  • Gregory Claeys
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2271

The course examines the main currents of political thought in Modern European and World History from Rousseau to the present, e.g. (a) The Eighteenth Century and the French Revolution: Commercial society and its enemies (Hume, Smith, Rousseau); the French Revolution (Paine, Wollstonecraft); reactions to the Revolution (Hegel); (b) The Nineteenth Century: Early socialism (Owen, Fourier, Saint Simon); Tocqueville and the American model; Marx and Communism; Mill and Liberalism; Nietzsche and Modernity; Bakunin and Anarchism; (c) The Twentieth Century: Anti-imperialist theorists (Fanon, Gandhi); Orwell and Dystopia; Green Political Theory.

Teaching is by weekly lectures and tutorial classes. Examination is by one three-hour paper.

This course is not available to final-year students.

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The Age of Science: The Transformation of European Life, 1850-1939

  • Chandak Sengoopta
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL123S6

The module is intended to provide an overview of the intellectual and social history of science, technology and medicine at the undergraduate level through focused examinations of major events, personalities and processes from the nineteenth century to the outbreak of the Second World War. The module will be organised around six major themes: ‘Deciphering the Universe and the Human Organism’; ‘Communication Revolutions’; ‘Improving the Quality of Life’; ‘Ordering the World’; ‘Imaging, Recording and Representing’; and ‘The Science of War’. Although it will not be restricted to particular regions, most of the material will be drawn from Central Europe (Germany or Austria) and Britain, the scientific traditions of which are rich in instructive contrasts.

The course will be assessed by one three-hour examination.

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Electoral Politics in Britain, 1868-1945

  • Paul Readman
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2007

This paper deals with electoral politics in Britain between the Second Reform Act and the Second World War. It provides a general overview of individual elections in this period, but the bulk of the course takes a thematic approach. Topics covered include: electoral violence and corruption; the role of public opinion and the media; social class and voting behaviour; gender and electoral politics; party organisation; local elections; by-elections; the language and rhetoric of platform appeals. Attention is also paid to electoral politics in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The paper provides opportunities for case study work focusing on individual general elections, particular localities, and types of constituencies.

The course will be taught in weekly two-hour-long seminars. Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The Birth of Modern Germany, 1870-1933

  • Jan Rüger and Nik Wachsmann
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL208S6

The years from 1870 to 1933 – from unification under Bismarck to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor – saw the birth of modern Germany. This was a period of rapid change and sharp contradictions, of utopian dreams and authoritarian initiatives, of humanitarian visions and radical nationalism, of great wealth and deep despair, of radical reform and reactionary opposition. The course introduces students to this crucial era. It explores the emergence of modern Germany from political, economic, social and cultural perspectives. The first term focuses on Imperial Germany, the second term on the Weimar Republic. Teaching will be in seminar groups, and will make use of the extensive secondary-literature, as well as primary documents, photographs, film and literary sources.

Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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Social History of Latin America since c.1890

  • Christopher Abel
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2316

This course will introduce students to the social history of Latin America in the period since c.1890, and place this within its political economy and intellectual settings. The course will have a marked policy stress. Students will be introduced to continent-wide debates, and to issues pertaining to five specific countries: Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Cuba and Argentina. Seminars and class discussions will be based on informal lectures, student presentations and pre-circulated documents (including extracts from NGO and household surveys; policy documents from international agencies and think-tanks; personal testimonies; writings by intellectuals; early nutrition, geographical and anthropological studies).

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and three assessed essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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The Western Powers and East Asia, 1838-1945

  • Chi-kwan Mark
  • [No information received for 2013-14]
  • RH: 47/HS2278

This course deals with the involvement of the two principal Western powers – Britain and the United States – in East Asian affairs during the period 1839-1945. It examines the way Britain and America established their power and influence in the region, and how their predominance was challenged by the local forces of nationalism, communism and militarism. While providing a comparative study of British and American policies, the course will also consider the perspectivesand responses of Asian countries, especially China and Japan, as well as the wider regional and international trends such as opium trade and racism. Topics to be covered include the establishment of formal and informal empires in the Asia Pacific, the Anglo-Japanese alliance and its demise, Asian immigration to North America, the rise of Chinese nationalism, British nationals on treaty-port China, the challenge of Soviet communism, and the rise and fall of the Japanese empire in East and Southeast Asia.

Students are expected to submit four essays, and to make two short formal seminar presentations. Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

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Imperialism in Modern East Asia

  • Naoko Shimazu
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL084S6

This course is primarily aimed at studying the history of Japanese imperialism from the late nineteenth century till the collapse of the Japanese empire in 1945. As Japanese imperialism did not develop in isolation but in conjunction with the growth of western imperialism generally in East Asia, the course will take the comparative approach whenever possible by exploring similarities and differences. To this end, we shall look at British, American, French and German imperial influences in the region. Thematically, the course covers concepts such as nationalism, pan-Asianism, formal and informal empires, cultural imperialism, race, anti-colonial movements, and ‘puppet’ states. Geographically the course covers the areas held by the Japanese empire, which includes parts of China, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the Micronesian islands in the Pacific. Southeast Asia will be covered within the context of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. An emphasis will be given throughout the course to understanding ideas and concepts behind the historical events.

Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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'Dragon Ladies'? Society, Politics and Gender in Modern China

  • Weipin Tsai
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2313

This course will look at Modern Chinese political and social history from the second half of the 19th century to the contemporary period, through the stories of three powerful and well-known public figures: the Empress Dowager Cixi; Soong Mei-ling (the wife of Chiang Kai-shek); and Jiang Qing (Madam Mao). The core object of this course is to explore the connections between events and historical figures through, but it will also introduce a thematic approach to learning modern Chinese history. The first part of the course will focus on these three women in chronological and historical biographical dimensions; the second will look at various important political, social and cultural themes related to these prominent female figures. The course will use English-language sources, including documents, films, newspapers, documentaries, secondary literature, and biographies.

Assessment is by examination (70%), and the best of 2 of 4 essays of 2500-3000 words (30%).

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China from 1900 to the Present Day: Rebellions, Revolutions, Reforms

  • Julia Lovell
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: HICL204S6

This course will range chronologically across 20th-century China’s diverse political, cultural and economic revolutions: the tumult and failed reform of the late Qing; the forces that converged to bring down China’s last dynasty in 1911; the roots of the new republic’s endemic weakness; the cultural iconoclasm of the 1910s; the rise of the Nationalist and Communist Parties and their struggles for power; the interplay with the Soviet model; Mao’s attempts at permanent revolution; the post-Mao economic and cultural revolutions. The course will build very logically on knowledge acquired in a Group 1 survey course, both reinforcing familiarity with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history through its thematically unified structure, and giving students an opportunity to explore in detail the full complexity of key events such as the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, the May Fourth New Culture Movement, the Nationalist and Communist revolutions, the Cultural Revolution, the post-Mao economic reforms, the turmoil of the late 1980s and the present prospects for reform and/or revolution in the People’s Republic. It will also oblige students to engage critically with the significance and validity of the term revolution in the modern Chinese context, thereby offering a stimulating entry-point into the central historiographical debates of 20th-century China. The course will encourage students to consider not only the diversity and complexity of 20th-century China’s revolutions, but also to consider more generally different forms and motors of historical change, and a broad range of social and political responses to them. There will be rich scope for considering alternative, dissenting responses to the dominant models of revolutionary modernity developed by China’s main political parties: in particular, the conflict between intellectuals and revolutionary politics, and the often fraught relationship between modern Chinese nationalism and the concept of the “new woman”. The aim will be to set political and ideological developments in a larger context of social and economic transformation and cultural modernization, in order to explain why reform failed, why one particular (the Communist) version of revolution succeeded; and how the People’s Republic of China has managed to survive longer than any of the revolutionary regimes that preceded it.

Examination by a three-hour unseen written paper.

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The Central Powers in the First World War, 1914-18

  • Alexander Watson
  • Available in 2014-15
  • GC: No code as yet

No single event had a greater impact on the course of the twentieth century than the First World War. The experiences of mass mobilisation and industrialised violence brought by the conflict reshaped European societies, reordered international geopolitics and spawned new extremist ideologies. This course encourages students to engage with a wide range of historiographical methodologies – social, cultural, economic, political and military – in order to comprehend the conflict and its consequences in their totality. The course focuses on the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. It investigates the origins of the war, the causes in which these powers fought and their leaders’ war aims. The military experience, with its atrocities against civilians, campaigns of conquest and nerve-wracking attritional battles, is examined. The course also scrutinises everyday life on the home fronts, exploring popular support for the war and seeking to explain how ‘national communities’ were first built and then broken under unprecedented suffering and deprivation. The impact of all these experiences on mentalities in Europe, their cultural and political legacies and their role in ushering in a new age of totalitarianism, genocide and conflict is considered. Through its broad scope, the course offers the opportunity to understand how Central European governments and their peoples grappled with and were changed by the extraordinary demands and costs of fighting the world’s first ‘total war’.

Assessment is by one essay of six thousand words

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Utopian Visions: The Soviet Experience through the Arts

  • Jan Plamper
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 10-12.00pm (TBC)
  • GC: No code as yet

No single event had a greater impact on the course of the twentieth century than the First World War. The experiences of mass mobilisation and industrialised violence brought by the conflict reshaped European societies, reordered international geopolitics and spawned new extremist ideologies. This course encourages students to engage with a wide range of historiographical methodologies – social, cultural, economic, political and military – in order to comprehend the conflict and its consequences in their totality. The course focuses on the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. It investigates the origins of the war, the causes in which these powers fought and their leaders’ war aims. The military experience, with its atrocities against civilians, campaigns of conquest and nerve-wracking attritional battles, is examined. The course also scrutinises everyday life on the home fronts, exploring popular support for the war and seeking to explain how ‘national communities’ were first built and then broken under unprecedented suffering and deprivation. The impact of all these experiences on mentalities in Europe, their cultural and political legacies and their role in ushering in a new age of totalitarianism, genocide and conflict is considered. Through its broad scope, the course offers the opportunity to understand how Central European governments and their peoples grappled with and were changed by the extraordinary demands and costs of fighting the world’s first ‘total war’.

Assessment is by one essay of six thousand words

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Nationalism, Democracy and Minorities in Central Europe, 1918-1939

  • Rudolf Muhs
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: HS2264

During the two decades after the First World War the newly established or reconstituted countries of Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) were troubled by a multitude of problems. The aim of this course is to highlight the causes and consequences of the failure of parliamentary government and liberal institutions to take a firm hold: the legacy of war with its cult of violence and the militarisation of politics; the dilemma of counterrevolutionary regimes in pre-revolutionary societies; the difficulties of nation-building in multi-ethnic states; the pathology of modern culture and the handicap of backwardness; the flaws of authoritarian rule and the attraction of Italian fascism as a model for the New Right; the perils of mass politics without democracy; the appeal of communism and the reasons for its defeat. Setting the case of Germany in a wider context will help you realise what this country had in common with its smaller neighbours and what made it different, culminating in the triumph of Nazism and the unleashing of the Second World War.

Assessment is by one 3-hour examination.

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American History in Hollywood Film

  • Melvyn Stokes
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • UCL: HIST2314

During the last few years, historians of the United States have come to pay increasing attention to film as a means of commenting on and interpreting the American past. This course will analyse the representation of American historical themes and periods in a selection of Hollywood feature films. It will involve the close analysis of a number of film texts and the study of critical commentary on the films themselves. Emphasis will be placed on answering the following questions: what is the interpretation of history presented in the film? Does that presentation grow out of or differ from prior historical scholarship? How does critical commentary on the film, both at the time of its release and later, illuminate contemporary historical debates? Does the film itself have any historical consequences? What particular factors, both internal and external to Hollywood itself, contributed to the view of history offered in the film? Does the representation of history in the film accord with current historical scholarship? Themes and issues to be dealt with in the course include the American Revolution, slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction, Native Americans, immigration and urbanization, problems of the 1920s and 1930s, HUAC and McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and Watergate.

The class will last for c.four hours. It will begin with the viewing of a film and be followed by a seminar discussion class of 1½-2 hours.

Examination is by one three-hour paper (50%) and 3 assessed essays totalling 10,000 words (50%).

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Spain in Conflict, 1930-1953

  • Helen Graham
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH: 47/HS2257

The course covers the democratic Second Republic (1931-6), the Spanish Civil War (1936-9), and the first and most brutal phase (1939-53) of the Franco dictatorship. In Spain, as in Europe, the 1930s and 1940s saw the explosion of modern mass political mobilisation and anatagonistic visions of national development vied for dominance. The course explores the significance of Francoism in relation to these broader European themes focusing especially on the Franco regime’s murderous attempt to create a Spanish version of the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft even after the collapse of Hitler’s New Order in Europe.

Students must prepare one short seminar paper during the course as well as completing four pieces of written work. Assessment is by one three-hour examination.

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The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia

  • Bojan Aleksov
  • Available in 2014-15
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI2007

This course offers a survey of Yugoslavia's political history, together with relevant diplomatic, economic and social issues. The following main themes will be explored: the development of South Slav national ideologies; the First World War and formation of Yugoslavia in December 1918; democracy and dictatorship in the interwar penod; partition, resistance and collaboration during the Second World War, as well as the Communist revolution and civil wars that accompanied it; Tito's Yugoslavia and its 'road to Socialism' following the split with Moscow in 1948; the revival of the national question, the end of communism and of Yugoslavia in the wars of dissolution. Particular attention will be paid to the national and constitutional questions perennial in Yugoslavia, but also to the persistence of the Yugoslav idea, which enabled the South Slavs to coexist throughout the 'short' twentieth century.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and coursework totalling 5,000 words (25%).

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Successors to the Habsburgs: East-Central Europe, 1914-1945

  • Rebecca Haynes
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 14:00-16:00
  • SSEES, UCL: SEHI2006

This course will investigate the problems caused by the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation of new states in East-Central Europe (Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia). These Habsburg 'successor' states were burdened with nationality problems as complex as those of the former Empire and were constantly under threat of territorial revision. In addition, these states lacked strong traditions of representative government and faced serious social and economic problems which were further aggravated by the onset of the Depression. They thus fell easy prey to authoritarian solutions and looked for support to the Great Powers who in turn sought to influence events within these countries. The history of these states thus tends to follow a similar pattern: a brief experiment with democracy after the First World War followed by the imposition of authoritarian rule; competition between authoritarian rulers and fascist movements in the 1930s; competition with one another in foreign policy; German occupation; war and communist takeover.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and coursework totalling 5,000 words (25%).

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course 'Faith, Nation, and Empire in Modern East-Central Europe (1800-present)' (King's).

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Genocide

  • Dan Stone
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2296

This course examines the occurrence of genocide from the colonial period to the present day. It deals with the development of the concept of genocide, and the debates over definition. Then it examines the following case studies: the colonisation of Australia and North America, the Herero genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Stalin’s Great Terror, post-1945 genocides of indigenous peoples, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Finally, it examines the merits of different explanations for genocide, including issues of nation-building, race-theory, gender, and mass violence, and examines the problems of genocide prevention and humanitarian intervention.

The course will be assessed by one three-hour examination.

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The French Civil War, 1934-1970

  • Richard C. Vinen
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2011

This course deals with the series of violent political conflicts that shook France between the right-wing riots of 1934 and the death of de Gaulle in 1970. Special attention will be given to the strikes of 1936 and 1938; the internal roots of the defeat in 1940; the Vichy government; the conflict within France brought by the Algerian war and the protest movements of 1968.

A good reading knowledge of French is required. Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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The Making of the Modern Racial Order

  • Hilary Sapire
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • BkC: 08/HICL140U

The dominating themes in the historiography of modern South Africa are the origins and character of apartheid. Many theories about its genesis have been advanced, ranging from those which privilege the legacy of slavery and servitude at the Cape from the 17th century to others which locate its origins in the more recent processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and popular struggles. Different aspects of the apartheid system, likewise, are emphasised in different accounts; whereas some writers focus on segregation/apartheid as ‘racial capitalism’, others emphasise its cultural and social effects. These debates and concerns run through this course, which seeks to explore the making of South Africa’s racial order from the late 18th century to the present day. It will be emphasised throughout the course that the creation of this order entailed negotiation and struggle, not only between rulers and the ruled, but within the ruling elites over the precise form racial domination was to take.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Nationalism, Democracy and Dictatorship in 20th-century Eastern Europe

  • Dr Dejan Djokic
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • GC: HT52106A

Although Eastern Europe is an area with no clear geographic boundaries, it has traditionally attracted negative stereotypes as Europe’s backyard, dominated by violence, instability and backwardness and ruled by bloodthirsty dictators, from Vlad Dracul to Slobodan Milošević. The course will challenge these stereotypes and students will be encouraged to rethink notions about ‘east’ and ‘west’ and the meaning of Europe. By studying the region’s turbulent past and national ideologies allegedly engaged in a perennial conflict, students will be presented with an excellent opportunity to engage with different, often competing interpretations of the past and problems of studying societies that have been going through transition throughout the past century. This is essentially a political history course, with elements of cultural and social history, and non-history disciplines such as sociology and politics.

Eastern Europe has been at the centre of some of the main developments in modern history, yet the region is still largely unknown and remains western Europe’s ‘Other’. Students will be introduced to some main debates about the origins of nations and nationalism in the nineteenth century (in respect of Eastern Europe). They will discuss the meanings and definitions of Eastern Europe and other, related, geographic-symbolic concepts, such as Central Europe and the Balkans. They will then study main developments in the twentieth century: the First World War and the post-war settlements; the emergence of ‘New Europe’ in the 1920s; failure of democracy and rise of dictatorships in the interwar period; occupation, resistance and collaboration in the Second World War; the Holocaust; Communist takeovers in the aftermath of the war; the Tito-Soviet split of 1948; the Hungarian revolution of 1956; the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; the rise of Solidarity movement in Poland in the 1970 and 1980s; the Perestroika and Glasnost of the 1980s; revolutions of 1989 and fall of communism; disintegration and war in Yugoslavia; political, economic and social transition of the region; EU enlargement.

The assessment methods are chosen to foster complex learning and the development of a broad range of skills and abilities. In addition to acquiring knowledge and developing powers of critical analysis, students will learn self-management, communication, teamworking, and other interpersonal skills.

The course will be assessed by one 6,000-word dissertation.

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Modern Girls: Women in Britain, c.1914-1984

  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH:

The slender flapper, cigarette holder in hand, off to cocktails or a night at the flicks epitomizes the surface glamour of modernity. But how real were her gains? This course explores the words and experiences of British women in a century of rapid social, economic and cultural transformation. We will determine the constraints on women in war and peace, politics, law and citizenship, education and paid work, marriage, motherhood and family. But we will also explore women’s dreams and disappointments in courtship and romance, sexual relationships and desire, domesticity and home-making, consumerism and fashion. The elaboration of femininity and gender roles in the glossy media of advertising, women’s magazines, paperback books, broadcasting and film is a continuous theme of the course. Together we will look at expectations and outcomes, promise and its containment. Perhaps the Hoover and the hostess trolley were not the answer to a woman’s prayers?

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper.

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Modern France: from 1918 to the Present

  • Pamela Pilbeam
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2294

The course will investigate aspects of modern France in order to understand what makes France tick today. Topics will include: the impact of the First World War; how successfully democracy survived in the inter-war years; the Socialist and Communist Left; the right-wing Leagues; Vichy; de Gaulle and the Liberation; the failure of the fourth Republic; the emergence of a Presidential regime under de Gaulle after 1958; the National Front; the Greens; and the position of France in the EU. We will examine social change in France, including demography, the status of women, immigrants and citizenship, changes in education and religion.

Assessment is by one three-hour paper (70%) and two coursework essays (30%). Finalists may also take the course and if desired may do an attached 4,000-word essay and are credited with 1.5 units.

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The Left in Western Europe since 1945

  • Donald Sassoon
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • QMUL: 13/HST254

This course deals principally with the strategic and ideological dimensions of the socialist, social-democratic and communist parties of Western Europe. Where, according to the parties of the Left, is political power located and how can the Left obtain it? What should it do when it has achieved power? What should be the central features of a socialist society? The course also examines the electoral dimension of the West European Left as well as the successes and failures of Left governments and highlights the similarities and differences of left-wing political parties operating in different countries. The parties of the four 'core' countries (Great Britain, West Germany, France and Italy) will be studied in some detail but attention will also be paid to Sweden and Spain and some reference made to Portugal, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Norway and Denmark.

There is no language requirement, although priority will be given to students who have some knowledge of one or more West European languages other than English. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of fifteen. Examination is by one three-hour paper (75%) and two assessed essays (25%).

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Media, Culture and Society in the Soviet Union from Stalin to 1991

  • Kristin Roth-Ey
  • Available in 2014-15
  • SSEES: SEHI2009

This course explores the history of the Societ Union's experiment in creating a socialist 'culture for the masses' from Stalinism through to 1991. In lectures and discussions, we will analyze the relationship of cultural developments to key issues in the history of the late USSR, such as the nature of power in the Soviet system, Stalinist and post-Stalinist, the question of national and supra-national, or Soviet, identity formations, issues of generational conflict, 'lifestyle' politics, and the cold war, and the impact of technological and sociological modernization. Readings will draw from secondary sources, first-person narratives, and documents in translation (many recently published). The course focuses in-depth on cinema as a key sphere for cultural production and consumption in the USSR.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination (75%) and coursework totalling 5,000 words (25%).

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course 'The Soviet Union and Russia, 1945-2000' (King's).

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The Soviet Union and Russia, 1945-2000

  • Stephen Lovell
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2012

This course covers Soviet/Russian history from the end of World War II to the start of the Putin era. Although the 1920s and 1030s have until now dominated the study of Soviet history, there is much to be gained from taking the war (rather than the Revolution) as a point of departure and investigating the further growth, maturity and eventual obsolescence of Soviet socialism. Starting with the late Stalin era and the recovery from war, the course moves on to the tempestuous years of de-Stalinization and to the unjustly neglected period of ‘stagnation’ under Leonid Brezhnev. It concludes by considering the significance of the transformation that Russia underwent from the late 1980s onwards: was this a revolution or something less than that? Topics will range widely over political, social, economic and cultural history: from Cold War and kremlinology to mass culture and migration.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

This course may not be taken together with the Group 2 course 'Media, Culture and Society in the Soviet Union from Stalin to 1991' (SSEES, UCL).

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Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, 1955-1968

  • John A. Kirk
  • Available in 2014-15
  • RH: HS2219

'Martin didn't make the movement, the movement made Martin' noted veteran civil rights activist Ella Baker. Baker's perceptive comments strike at the very heart of contemporary historiographical debates. On the one hand, scholars have increasingly viewed the mass black movement for civil rights in the United States as a grassroots phenomenon that was rooted in local communities and based upon local leadership and local needs. On the other hand, scholars still emphasise the vital national leadership role played by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights struggle, particularly from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to King's 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. This course looks at both strands of this scholarship and seeks to assess the dynamics of the movement at both local and national levels, and to examine the tensions that often existed between them, as well as addressing the central controversies and debates surrounding King’s movement leadership.

Assessment is by one three-hour paper.

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The Northern Ireland Troubles

  • Ian McBride
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2003

In proportion to its size, Northern Ireland may be the most heavily researched area on earth, but the bloody and protracted conflict fought there since the 1960s remains incomprehensible to most outsiders. This paper examines the political, social and cultural dimensions of the Troubles in an attempt to understand why successive governments failed to find a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland problem. Topics will include partition, the Stormont regime, the Civil Rights Movement, the IRA and 'armed struggle', the fragmentation of Unionism, and the peace process.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and an oral presentation (10%).

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History and Memory in the United States

  • Bruce Baker
  • [No information received for 2014-15]
  • RH: 47/HS2268

This course examines how Americans have thought about their past and how that is significant to our understanding of American history. Beginning soon after independence, Americans worked to shape the historical memory of the nation’s origins in order to help define a distinctively American identity. As divisive issues arose, so to did conflicting ideas about the national past. The course begins with a thorough consideration of the origins of the study of historical memory and the wealth of recent literature that provides a methodological and theoretical framework for these studies. Overviews of historical memory in the United States sets out the major topics and issues and their interrelations. The course then gives special attention to how memory and identity have been mutually constituted by looking at case studies associated with particular regions, social groups, and events.

Assessment is by one three-hour examination paper (70%) and two coursework essays (30%).

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Health, Healing and Illness in Africa

  • To be arranged (Dr R Lee will be on maternity leave)
  • Available in 2014-15
  • Thursdays, 2-4pm
  • GC: HT52076A

Increasingly in the developed world, issues surrounding African health and well-being have become part of a growing public consciousness - in Britain alone, 2005 marked the successes of Bob Geldof’s LiveAid concerts and the Campaign to End Poverty, the inauguration of Tony Blair’s special Commission for Africa, and a host of cultural events which commemorated the declaration of 2005 as the Year of Africa. However, these hopeful initiatives sat uneasily with media images that same year, of the tremendous human fallout from armed conflict, drought, famine, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria which continue to ravage parts of the continent. This course aims to go beyond simplistic formulations of an ‘African crisis’ or an ‘African renaissance’ to look at the historical roots of health, healing and illness in Africa.

The chronological range of this course stretches from pre-colonial Africa through to the present day. We will be learning about the history of various infectious diseases on the continent (such as influenza, syphilis, sleeping sickness, bubonic plague, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS). However, the focus of the course is NOT to compile a simple medical history, but rather to examine how health was understood and managed, and how these reveal the history of a place and a people. An important theme throughout the course is how categories of gender and race shaped, and became shaped by, the experience of healing and illness in Africa.

This course uses case studies from Africa in order to highlight various aspects of the history of health and illness in African society. It is not expected that you have any prior medical knowledge. However, a basic understanding of African geography, history and culture would be very helpful.

The course will be assessed by a 3 hour written examination.

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Themes in the Study of Contemporary Africa

  • Professor Patrick Chabal
  • Not available in 2014-15
  • King's: 5AAH2015

The aim of this module is to try understand what is happening in a continent that seems permanently in crisis and generally unable to develop. Why was there such unspeakable violence in Liberia and Sierra Leone? Why are oil-exporting states like Angola still ranked so poorly in the UN Human Development Index? Are multi-party elections the cause of civil violence? Why is corruption apparently endemic? Is aid the answer? And why is witchcraft thriving today? Or is it simply that the press and media continue to give us a distorted image, still pandering to the late nineteenth-century vision of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness?Starting from an examination of these issues, the course will offer a fresh re-interpretation of contemporary Africa. It will provide the intellectual and conceptual framework best suited to the study the continent since independence. An important aspect of the course is its emphasis on analysing today’s problems in historical and comparative perspective. This means that we will place Africa within the continuum of its own history, going back to the pre-colonial period and that we will examine the impact of colonial rule across the continent by identifying what was common, rather than distinct, in how the Europeans colonised the continent. We will also compare Africa with other formerly colonised parts of the world.Some of the key issues we will study are: the legacy of colonial rule; the nature of the colonial and post-colonial state; the history of violence; the colonial and post-colonial economy in the context of the world market; the exercise of power in independent Africa; the rise and demise of the one-party state; democratisation; famine and hunger; illness (particularly HIV/Aids); what ‘modernisation’ and ‘re-traditionalisation’ mean in the present context; the aid and development conundrum; violence and state failure; the merits of regional integration and the role of the African Union; the possible meanings of an African ‘renaissance’ and the prospects for an end to poverty.The course will be run as a seminar, which means that it will build on class participation. Questions for discussion and set weekly readings will be given at the beginning of each semester. The weekly two-hour session will be organised as follows. The first hour will consist of two separate presentations: one on the question set for the week and another on an agreed text. The rest of the hour will be devoted to a discussion around these two presentations. The second hour will centre on a synthetic lecture drawn from the discussion and a round-up linking the week’s theme and debates to the overall aim of the course. The course will thus require all students to read the set texts.

Assessment will be by one three-hour examination (60%), two 2,000 word essays (30%) and one oral presentation (10%).

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