Below is a selection of optional modules that ran in 2016-2017. Our modules are continually reviewed and updated to reflect the latest research expertise within the department, but these should give you an indication of the breadth of topics you can study.
Some of our modules
AM101 Latin America: Themes and Problems
AM102 North America: Themes and Problems
HI127 The Medieval World
HI153 Making of the Modern World
HI173 Empire and Aftermath
HI174 The Enlightenment
HI175 Making History
HI176 Kill or Cure: The History of Medicine and Health
HI177 Politics and Society in Africa from 1800
HI178 Farewells to Arms? War in Modern European History, 1815-2015
AM204 Early American Social History 1607-1776
AM211 Reform, Revolt and Reaction in the US
AM213 American Historical Cinema
AM217 Caribbean History: From Colonisation to Independence
AM219 From the Revolution to the Drug War: Mexico’s 20th Century
AM220 “The Country of the Future?” Introduction to the History of Modern Brazil
HI203 The European World, 1500-1750
HI209 Social History of England, 1500-1700
HI253 Gender, History & Politics in Britain, 1790-1939
HI255 Religion and Religious Change in England
HI260 Nation and Memory in Russia, Poland and Ukraine, 1800 to the present.
HI271 Politics, Literature and Ideas in Stuart England: c.1600-c.1715
HI274 Renaissance Research Project
HI275 The British Problem: Empire, Conflict and National Identities 1558-1714
HI276 Radical Politics and the Struggle for Democracy in Europe, 1918-1939
HI277 Africa and the Cold War
HI278 From Cradle to Grave: Health, Medicine and Society in Modern Britain
HI280 The Ottoman Empire and Europe, 1453-1922
HI281 Being Human: Human Nature from the Renaissance to Freud
HI2A7 A Global History of Food
AM407 Slavery and Slave Life in the American South, 1619-1865
HI312 Radicalism in the English Revolution 1640-1660
HI31G The Birth of Modern Society? Britain 1660-1720
HI31J The French Revolution, 1774-1799
HI31R The Elizabethan Reformation
HI31T India after Indira
HI31Z Reinterpreting the Holocaust: Sexualities, Ethnicity, Class
HI32B Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion, 1952-60
HI398 Crime and Punishment in the Long Nineteenth Century
HI3F9 The Forging of the Iberian World, c.1400-c.1600
HI34D The Cultural History of the NHS
A global history of food
Eating is a deeply human activity. Language itself probably developed out of our desire to cook and share food. Yet the way we eat now may be destroying important aspects of human society and the environment itself. How did we get into this mess? This second-year option module explores the long history of the production, marketing and consumption of food, from ancient times to the present, from vegetarianism to the first battery chicken.
Studying food requires looking at new types of historical source, such as cookbooks, or landscapes, and using approaches drawn from other disciplines. We consider food from multiple overlapping perspectives - culture, ethics, labour, environment, hunger, science… - to help contextualise our current attitudes to food, and to introduce important historical concepts (from ‘moral economies’ to ‘biopolitics’) relevant to all areas of historical analysis
Reform, Revolt and Reaction in the US
We explore the turbulent history of the United States from the New Deal through to Watergate. We consider how different movements, some rooted in local activism, others based on established political groupings, responded to a rapidly changing social, economic and cultural landscape. We also consider how liberal reformers, radicals, and conservatives all seized the initiative at different times, but, due in large part to a shared tendency to substitute rhetoric for clear analysis, all eventually failed, leaving the US by the mid-1970s in a state of ‘imagined’, and in some senses real, crisis.
Key themes include: the New Deal and the Great Depression; the impact of the Second World war on racial and gender relations; post-war anticommunism and the contradictions of the ‘Affluent Society’; the liberal agendas of the civil rights movement and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; the military, social and political consequences of Vietnam; the radical vision of the New Left and counterculture; the re-emergence of a grass-roots political right; the ‘rebirth’ of feminism; 1968 and the ‘end’ of the 1960s; and Nixon, Watergate and the 1970s.
Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion, 1952-60
We examine a wide variety of sources related to the origins, conduct and memorialisation of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion of 1952-60. The module has a particular focus on understanding the motives and actions of those Kikuyu who joined the rebellion, and thosewho opposed it. The sources we draw upon include: key documents from Kenya’s colonial history before 1952, the memoirs of those who participated in the rebellion, official records from both Kenya and the UK – including documents released since 2012 as a result of the court case brought by Mau Mau veterans against the British government - and fictional accounts of the war in Britain and Kenya (including films).
We discuss sources produced by all sides of the conflict, examining the many political and cultural uses to which this deeply contested history has been put, including the use of historical evidence in the court case that brought an acknowledgement from the British government that Mau Mau suspects had been tortured.
Being Human: Human Nature from the Renaissance to Freud
At different moments in time, ‘being human’ has been constructed and interpreted differently according to dominant values, norms, and systems of knowledge. We consider the different ways in which humans have thought about themselves from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, both as individuals and as collectives. It forwards the idea that ‘human nature’ is not a universal, trans-historical concept constant over time, but rather, is socioculturally constructed. Our students investigate those differences over time in Western culture and how they link to wider social, cultural and economic contexts. We learn about the moments in the history of conceptualising and defining ‘human nature,’ from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, to Freud and early modernity. We ask how a new age of humanity and new ways of knowing one-self came into being, and discuss what these new ways of understanding the self closed-off or overlaid. Underlying the module is the question of the extent to which we are still within the Enlightenment project, or not.
Religion and Religious Change in England
Explore the social, cultural and political context of religion in England between the late-fifteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries. Our students are introduced to a range of important themes in the field of late medieval and early modern English religion, not so much from a theological, as from a social and cultural perspective. We consider the impact of the early Reformation (under Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I) on religious belief and practice in England, though it approaches this from the long view of the later fifteenth century.This module begins with a detailed examination of strengths and weaknesses in late medieval Catholicism, focusing both on institutions (clergy, monasteries) and on structures of belief (saints, sacraments, purgatory). The significance of unorthodox religion, Lollardy and early Protestantism, is explored and related to the reform policies of the Tudor monarchy. We devote equal attention to those who opposed and to those who supported the religious changes of the sixteenth century, and throughout there is a particular focus on parishes, and parish churches, as centres of religious culture and social organisation.