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Assessed Essay Questions

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

General Questions

  • 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?
  • To what extent do romantic or modern environmental movements make an appeal to the emotions?
  • 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’?
  • How do you explain the growth of cultural pessimism in fin-de-siècle Europe?
  • 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?
  • What were the key factors that shaped mass culture in the modern world?
  • 'The Cold War was an ideological struggle for world domination.' Discuss.
  • To what extent did political protest manifest itself in ‘popular’ culture in the 1960s?
  • 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?

Skills/Sources Questions

  • Demonstrate how quantitative approaches are useful for understanding any ONE historical problem.
  • How do artistic descriptions and depictions of the landscape reflect contemporary attitudes towards nature and the environment?
  • 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?
  • 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.