Please read our student and staff community guidance on COVID-19
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Assessed Essay Questions

Unless specified you should use examples from more than one country in your answers.


§ To what extent were the Atlantic revolutions inspired by Enlightenment political ideas?

§ Which Enlightenment ideas flourished or floundered in the modern era?

§ ‘The French Revolution was unique’. ‘The French Revolution was only part of a generalised period of upheaval and transformation across the Atlantic world.’ Can these views be reconciled?

§ Did the state hinder or contribute to the process of industrialization in Britain and Europe?

§ To what extent is the expansion of capitalism responsible for Third World poverty?

§ Why do so many people in the world today go hungry?

§ Is national self-determination a liberal principle?

§ ‘Liberal-democratic states are liberal first and democratic only second.’ Discuss.

§ Did Nazism have more in common with Italian Fascism or Soviet Stalinism?

§ Compare and contrast the extent to which imperialism and globalisation have Westernised the world since circa 1860.

§ Is globalisation a source of prosperity or the main cause of poverty?

§ Does modern war strengthen or weaken the power of the State?

§ How has modernity changed the nature of violence?

§ ‘The word genocide has been so overused it no longer has any useful meaning.’ Discuss.

§ Is it plausible to view the modern world as an era of religious revival(s) as much as one of secularisation or ‘dechristianisation’?

§ The history of sexuality can be ‘deployed as 'a prism through which to explore wider social and cultural issues'. Discuss.

§ Gender, class, or race: which is the most meaningful category to analyse identity in the modern world?

§ Why did the idea of ‘class’ emerge when it did in the modern world?

§ How are ideas of race and nation connected in the modern world?

§ Does postmodernism threaten the end of history?

§ To what degree were the global strategies of Western governments in the late twentieth century informed by a colonialist understanding?

§ How does the history of the modern world help us understand our present?


§ Demonstrate how quantitative approaches are useful for understanding any ONE historical problem.

§ How do the propaganda sources help you understand the appeal of extremist ideologies?

§ ‘Photography is no mere handmaid of empire, but a shaping dimension of it.’ Discuss

§ How reliable is oral history and/or memory as a historical source for war?

§ How and why should we remember the Holocaust?

§ ‘War memorials and associated ceremonies are often intended to warn against war but end up glorifying it.’ Discuss.

§ How far are religious buildings a barometer of spiritual values?

§ Is it possible to describe the ‘experience’ of modernity, or ‘being modern’?

§ What are the benefits and limitations of using letters to write the history of domestic or intimate life?

§ Can we ever ‘know’ the experiences of people in the past? Answer with reference to one or more autobiographies.

§ To what extent are slave memoirs more 'fictional' than other sources like legislative acts, newspaper articles, contemporary books, or diplomatic treaties?

§ How are historical maps important for our understanding of history?

§ Why does historical periodization matter?

§ Analyse one or more historical feature films in relation to the social and political circumstances in which they were made.

§ How has Cold War history been rewritten with the emergence of new diplomatic and foreign policy sources?

§ What role did race play in popular music in the mid-twentieth century?

§ Review the strengths and weaknesses of the internet as a source for twenty-first-century historians.