BA History with Human Rights options
Year 1, Component 03
Hidden Histories: Class, Race and Gender in Britain, c. 1640s-Present
Why do we grow up knowing some histories, and not others? The histories taught in schools and discussed in the public realm often tell us about the past experiences of dominant groups – and the fact that these histories are so prominent also tells us that those groups still hold power. Approaching the past from the perspective of those ‘hidden from history’, this module uncovers ideas and experiences often overlooked in traditional accounts of modern Britain.
Hidden Histories begins in the revolutionary years of the mid-seventeenth century to examine how radicals questioned dominant ideas about democratic rights and property ownership. It traces the influence of these radicals through to Chartism and Owenism, movements forged in the crucible of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century. These revolutionaries and radical movements highlighted power imbalances between men and women, in the family and the private sphere as well as in the public. As Britain reached the height of its imperial power, hierarchies of “race”, class, and gender increasingly structured elite discourse. In exploring how the working class, women, and migrants created their own vibrant cultures, the module emphasises histories of protest, resistance, and liberation – and shows that these hidden histories are essential to understanding modern Britain.
The rise and fall of the various historical empires--the Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, British and others--is a familiar story, but that is not the focus of this module.
Instead, we will examine the many ways in which people across the globe opposed imperial domination (broadly construed), with special attention to the campaigns, both violent and non-violent, that contested and ultimately helped to alter the old world order. We will see that although many of these movements were crushed, empires were far from invincible and always faced opposition.
At the heart of the module will be a set of case studies ranging from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, with examples from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989
Democracy cannot be taken for granted. There was a long road to modern democracy and universal suffrage. Evolution of existing systems, revolutions, and wars created what is generally called Western Democracy. This module will explore the development of democracy in Europe and the United States over the last 200 years. It will examine how democratic states were established, challenged and reborn from the late eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. Europe experienced dictatorships, two World Wars and the fall of the Iron curtain in this time period, but it also saw the expansion of citizenship and civil liberties, the establishment of
parliamentary democracies on a global scale and the emergence of the welfare states with greater social provisions for its populations. In the year that followed its creation, the United States rapidly expanded its franchise, but it also continued to exclude many people from the democratic process well into the twentieth century. The module will also investigate the crisis of the welfare state, the rise of Neo-Liberalism, and the rise of populism--all challenges to democratic systems in the past and today.
Early Modern Europe in Global Context: Encounters, Exchanges, and Exploitation
The early modern period (c.1450-c.1750) saw a profound increase in the number and type of interactions which European peoples had with the other peoples of the globe, resulting in a significant change in transnational movements of people, ideas, diseases, and things. These processes of interaction constituted a decisive turning-point in global and European history and continue to shape the world we live in today. This module focuses on some of the most important of these interactions, exploring when, why and how they happened, and with what consequences (cultural, environmental, material, political, and economic) for the people and places involved.
War and the Twentieth-Century World: Experiences, Representations, and Legacies
The seismic upheaval of two world wars shaped twentieth-century society, culture, and politics across much of the globe. While the world wars raged, states directed the resources of all their citizens towards achieving victory, meaning that a range of actors beyond combatants were directly touched by conflict. In turn, those affected by war sought new relationships with nation-state, empire, and each other as they tried to come to terms with its legacies. The world wars therefore also inspired new visions of political and social life, generated subsequent conflicts and battles for independence, and caused the redrawing of borders in Europe and beyond.
This module explores experiences, representations, and legacies of the two world wars and the cold war in multiple contexts. Lectures examine themes such as citizenship, trauma, and memory across these conflicts, while seminars focus on specific case studies from across the globe. Our aim is to understand not only how these wars affected different groups and individuals, but to trace the legacies of these conflicts in multiple arenas, and shed new light on how they continue to affect the world today. In emphasising society and culture, and the relationship between the local and the global, War and the Twentieth-Century World challenges conventional views of twentieth-century warfare and introduces students to diverse voices and perspectives.
Revolutions in History, 1776-1919: How to Change the World
Revolutions are cornerstones of history. Radical political change often required the violent overthrow of existing systems of politics and government. This modules studies major revolutions to ask: What counts as a revolution? Who makes revolutions happen? Why do revolutions succeed or fail? How has the world been changed by revolutions? We will study key revolutions from across global history, from the American and French revolutions of the late eighteenth century, to the revolutions in Haiti, Japan, and China, and finishing with the Russian Revolution and the failed German revolution of 1918. The module will allow students to study some of the biggest turning points in world history, and to understand how and why the world changed at these moments.
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