Course Aims and Objectives
This option is available to History students in their first and second years. It complements the first year core course by providing the opportunity for study in greater depth of a region, period and theme.
The course introduces students to the problems of constructing a national history and serves as introduction to the department’s range of advanced options and special subjects in twentieth-century British history.
The course introduces students to the rapidly expanding body of historical work on twentieth-century Britain. Its focus is primarily cultural and social rather than political, and it considers the following themes:
• the position of Empire in national life
• the impact of the First World War
• the role of mass forms of popular culture in a democratic age
• changing gender roles
• the impact of the Second World War
• the extent to which the Welfare State changed the relationship between the people and the state
• the changing shape and fortunes of the working class
• the degree to which traditional values declined in the 1960s
• immigration and race in post-war Britain
• nationalism, Europe and the ‘break-up’ of Britain
• the role of the heritage culture
Teaching and Learning
The module is taught through weekly lectures and one-hour seminars. It also offers individual tutorials to discuss essays.
Students are assessed on the basis of the best two of two short (2000 word) essays (formative assessment only) and one long (4500) word essay class a two-hour exam (summative assessment).
Expected Learning Outcomes
• The further development of study, writing and communication skills.
• The opportunity, through writing a 4,500 word essay, to develop capacities needed to advance a well-informed and independent historiographical argument. This will involve: Locating and analysing relevant material - mainly secondary literature, but also an awareness of the potential for supplementing this with primary material if appropriate; understanding, summarising and intelligently responding to the historiography on the subject in question; and writing up research findings in a form similar to that employed by articles for academic journals.
• The ability to think critically about nation, gender, race and class as organising categories in the writing of modern history.
• A critical appreciation of the idea that the nation is in part an ‘imagined community’, an awareness of the multiple factors, contestation, ideology and power which may lie behind this process, and an appreciation of the divisions of class, gender and race.
• The development of an historical and reflexive perspective to situate contemporary debates about national identity and sovereignty in Britain.