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History and Music

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  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
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    • History and Music BA - VW13
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History and Music

BA

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: VW13

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

The course

History and Music (BA)

This joint degree allows you to combine a passion for history and music. Through your history studies, you will be able to start satisfying your curiosity about the past, acquire an understanding of specific periods and problems, and make discoveries.  At the same time, you will develop a deeper understanding of music.

Studying History is exciting and rewarding; it encourages you to appreciate the human experience in other places and at other times. Exploring what people have felt, thought and done in the past expands our self-awareness.

Our internationally renowned academics are developing the very latest thinking on historical problems, and this cutting-edge knowledge informs the curriculum and will enhance your learning experience. By studying History at one of the largest and most influential departments in the country you will be able to choose from an exceptionally broad range of subjects, enabling you to spread your studies across the medieval and modern worlds, from Ancient Rome through to modern China, from Saladin through to Margaret Thatcher.

Studying Music at Royal Holloway allows you to tailor your studies to your own interests and passions. We have expertise spanning traditional, modern and world music. Through studying musical texts, practices, cultures and institutions you will explore issues in history, sociology, ethnology, and philosophy covering an exceptional geographical and chronological range. You will also be able to gain practical skills in composition, music technology and performance.

You will join a music department that is among the very best in the country, and the only one to hold a prestigious Regius Professorship. You will have access to well-equipped studios and recording facilities as well as incredible performance spaces including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel. Our department is well-connected with valuable music industry contacts that you can take advantage of, such as Wigmore Hall, the BBC Proms, and the Royal Opera House.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • History in the Making is Royal Holloway’s first year foundation History module. This module covers the broad sweep of human history, but it is not intended to provide a straightforward narrative from the ancient to the modern world. Instead, this module seeks to introduce our first-year students to an array of different topics and themes - from the rise of Christianity to the rise of modern nation states - that they will encounter again in the Gateway, Survey, Further and Special Subjects that they take during their degree. How have historians discussed themes like Revolution or Gender? What kinds of sources have they used to do so? These, and many other thought-provoking questions, are interrogated over the two terms of this module and explored from a global, rather than a simply “Western,” perspective. In moving forwards chronologically, this module also contemplates how our very understanding of what history is and what history is for has evolved. Finally, History in the Making encourages students to think about the practice and use of history beyond the academy, about how the wider public has engaged with, manipulated and consumed the past. This ‘public history’ dimension is present in a number of lectures across both terms and all students have the opportunity to explore these issues themselves in the group poster project and presentation. Although titled “History in the Making”, this module might easily have been called “Historians in the Making”, providing our students with the skills, methods and critical approach to the past that prove essential to successfully completing a university History degree.

Year 2
  • All modules are optional
Year 3
  • This final year module explores the various developments that have emerged within the discipline of History, in particular over the last 50 years, and which today collectively invigorate its study.  It investigates how far and in what ways the practice and making of 'History' has moved from seeking 'explanation' to providing 'meaning', and from identifying 'causes' to deepening 'understanding'. In this way it will seek to provide students with a clear grasp of how History as a discipline is practised in the early twenty-first century, through a wide range of lectures and seminars that reflect the diversity and innovation at the heart of the study of History today.

  • Concepts in History explores ‘big ideas’. Choosing one workshop from a range of options, students focus on a particular theme, developing expertise in this area as they hone their skills of historical analysis and conceptual interpretation. Balancing depth and range, students explore their chosen ‘concept’ in diverse historical settings, taking in chronologies from the ancient to the modern, as well as exploring different ‘spaces’ from across the globe. Taught through seminars, the module emphasises collaborative learning, including through group work. The module has an innovative teaching approach involving two members of academic staff leading each group, their expertise relating to different chronologies and geographies and so aiding a comparative approach. Recent workshop themes have included: Class, Emotions, Empire, Food and Drink, Household and Home, Identity, Memory, Race, Truth and War.

  • NB: Joint Honours students may choose to do a Dissertation in History or in their other academic department. In the final year of your History degree you will be asked to complete a dissertation – an 8000 word piece of independent work based on original and sustained primary source research. This may sound a little daunting, but the dissertation is the culmination of the research skills that you have learned over the course of your degree and is a great opportunity to pursue independent research and write on a subject about which you feel passionate. It is your chance to make a real contribution to history. The dissertation is about independent, selfdirected work. It should be based on a close and in-depth engagement with primary material and formulate a new and convincing argument based on those sources. It is more challenging than other pieces of work, but ideally also more fun and fulfilling. Dissertations are attached to one of your Special Subject Modules and you can choose which one. The knowledge and skills that you acquire from your Special Subject feeds into the dissertation. Your main source of support for the dissertation is your chosen Special Subject tutor who is also your Dissertation supervisor and it is important to work closely with her or him on throughout your research project.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • This course aims: 1. to develop basic music-analytical literacy, 2. to introduce basic concepts concerning counterpoint, harmony, melody and form that underpin the analysis of music, 3. to put these concepts into practice in the analysis of pieces from a variety of repertories. The course addresses the contrapuntal, melodic, harmonic and formal elements of tonal music. Weekly lectures, in which students are introduced to analytical concepts and then practise deploying them, through listening, score study and the completion of practical exercises, are supplemented by private study based on Moodle and recommended readings, to consolidate concepts learnt in the lectures and provide further opportunities to practise new skills.

  • The aim of this course is to develop students' awareness of music theory through practical exercises and musical analysis. Through practical exercises that focus on musical literacy as well as aural awareness, students develop the ability to identify and analyse the musical parameters of metre, rhythm, pitch, harmony, counterpoint and form. In-class exercises may focus on listening, whereas exercises for self-study or small-group work may include written exercises. Tasks set for private study between classes provide a basis for students to continue their own practical training throughout their musical careers.

  • This course introduces students to some fundamental techniques of music composition. The precise topics taught may change depending on the research interests of the staff responsible for teaching the course, but typically include:

    • Soundworlds and scale formations

    • The vertical dimension: chords and simultaneities

    • The horizontal dimension: melody and voice leading

    • Developments in rhythm

    • Developments in harmonic vocabulary and tonalities

    • Form in contemporary composition

    • Acoustic timbre and texture

  • This course gives students the opportunity to practise the art of musical composition and develop skills in independents creative work. The precise topics taught may change depending on the research interests of the staff responsible for teaching the course, but typically include:

    • Writing for solo instrument or voice with accompaniment

    • Writing for small chamber ensemble

    • Introduction to media and film music

    • Studio techniques

  • This course introduces a wide range of repertories within the history of music. It stimulates students to relate features of musical compositions and performances to their wider historical contexts and gives students a fundamental knowledge of specific musical cultures. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. The course will offer students a conceptual map of musical styles, composers and practices by introducing them to a wide chronological range of repertories, from early music to music of the twentieth century. It will emphasise questions of change, interaction and transmission through the study of specific forms and repertories in their historical context. Lectures will be designed around major repertorial moments (e.g. Stravinsky in 1910) or problems (e.g. the post-Beethovenian symphony), to bring together questions of form, style, performing practice and historical context.

  • This course introduces concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It enables students to begin thinking critically about the priorities that underlie historical texts from different intellectual traditions and stimulates them to relate features of musical compositions and performances to wider historical contexts. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. This course introduces students to the different kinds of historical question that we can ask about music, and interrogates some of the terminology and categories frequently used in the secondary literature (e.g. canonisation, reception, tradition, nationalism, exoticism, the work concept). Case-studies are used to illuminate specific topics and problems in the historiography of a wide variety of musics.

  • This course introduces students to the socio-cultural contexts, functions, philosophies, techniques, and organising principles of a variety of musics of the world; musics from at least three continents will be studied. These musical traditions will be approached from both theoretical and practical perspectives, also giving a variety of opportunities for hands-on experience. Course content will vary from year to year according to staff interests, availability of musicians to provide workshops, and to ensure freshness of approach. A typical curriculum might cover the following regions and theoretical themes:

    • World Music - Introduction (culture, contact & concepts)
    • South America: Andes to Amazon (exchange)
    • Africa: Jaliya and Mbira (the musician)
    • Indonesia: Sundanese Gamelan (temporal organisation)
    • North India: The Classical Tradition (improvisation)
    • Papua New Guinea: The Kaluli (music and ecology)
    • Iran: The Persian Classical Tradition (music & religion).
  • This course introduces students to a range of key debates and issues in contemporary musicology and to a range of key issues concerning music in the contemporary world. It encourages students to think about music’s relation to social and cultural contexts and introduces them to unfamiliar musical styles and repertoires as well as broaden understanding of those closer to home. It hones students’ skills in reading a wide variety of critical and theoretical writing about music. This course will survey some of the key contemporary issues in music that have arisen from the changes of the modern world, as well as contemporary debates in musicology. The twentieth century in particular has seen a transformation of musical cultures across the world, and this course looks at a range of the issues and controversies that have emerged as a result. The study of music has broadened to include many more social, cultural and political. This course will introduce students to truly contemporary ways of studying music, combining approaches and issues traditionally associated with musicology, ethnomusicology and popular music studies, divisions which are becoming increasingly blurred. Lecture topics may include:

    • Ideas of ‘authenticity’ in music

    • Value judgements about music

    • Protection and preservation of music

    • Heritage and revivals

    • Music and tourism

    • New forms of fusion and hybridity

    • The idea of ‘world music’.

    • Music and identity

    • Music and gender

    • Music and race

    • Music and nationalism

  • This course aims to further students’ skills as performers through regular (typically weekly) one-to-one vocal/instrument lessons with an approved visiting teacher.  Students will be offered opportunities to perform in practical seminars where matters of interpretation and stage manner will be discussed.  Constructive critical feedback given as well as developing students' skills in delivering feedback. 

    Students’ will develop the capacity to reflect on what constitutes good programming and fine performance.  Participation in College music events is fostered through ensemble and other activities. 

     The course consists of regular individual instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department.  A series of practical seminars is run in which students perform and discuss suitable repertory under the supervision of the course co-ordinator, develop skills in the writing of programme notes to a high standard as well as concert reviews and  engage with  'professional preparation’ consisting of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns.

  • The module aims to develop a broad range of innovative, practical, creative and collaborative musical skills. It promotes student initiative and creativity, while developing focused, critical, technical and context sensitive perspectives on selected musical repertoires/traditions/genres. It seeks to explore, reflect upon, extend and/or challenge specific musical performance conventions. The module will commence with at least two plenary lectures/seminars at the start of term one, when the module aims will be clarified, followed by fortnightly workshops and plenary meetings through terms 1 and 2. A list of student performance interests/skills will be circulated immediately after the first meeting. Students will then be requested to form their own groups. Flexibility in membership will be permitted until the end of term one when students must commit to a group with whom to be examined. Any student not integrated in a group will be allotted to one by the module tutor. All students will be required to regularly document their experience of group participation and creative practice in a performance diary.

  • This sweeping module introduces students to the dramatic story of the ancient world, from the classical Greeks and Romans to the rise of Christianity and Islam. That story begins with Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and Odyssey, and the emergence of the Greek city states led by the military might of Sparta and the democratic genius of Athens. The Greeks drove back the Persian empire to the east, but as the city states declined, they fell under the dominion of Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. We follow Alexander’s conquests to the borders of India and back, yet his empire died with him while further west Rome was rising. The Roman Republic, with its unique constitution and marching legions, dominated the Mediterranean world only to destroy itself through ambition and civil war, until power fell into the hands of one man: Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Over the next 400 years the Roman empire spanned from Hadrian’s Wall in Britain south to the Sahara and east to the Euphrates. Within that empire a new faith emerged, venerating Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and gathered strength until the emperor Constantine converted and Christianity became the favoured imperial religion. By this time, however, the empire was First Year Modules History Department - Royal Holloway, University of London 9 facing ever greater challenges. Goths and Franks swept across western Europe, their conquests immortalised by Edward Gibbon as the “Decline and Fall of Rome”. In the east Roman power survived as the Byzantine empire centred on Constantinople. While in Arabia, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed inspired the forces of Islam, which swept forth to redraw the map of the ancient world. Throughout this wide-ranging module, we explore the values these societies expressed in their own words (read in translation), debate the latest scholarship, and assess the ancient legacies that shaped our modern age.

  • This module investigates the origins of our ideas about human rights and duties, revolution and democracy, consent and liberty. Key original texts are studied, ranging from Plato and Aristotle in the ancient world to Machiavelli, More, Hobbes, Locke and the Enlightenment in the transition from the early modern to the modern world. The module takes a wide view of the boundaries of ‘European Political Thought’, also introducing several political thinkers from the Islamic world like al-Mawardi, Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Taymiyya. Like their Christian counterparts elsewhere, their work marked a close engagement with Greek philosophy, and explored the question of what the presence of an almighty creator God meant for the conduct of human politics. This module always keeps an eye on what the close and careful reading of classical texts has to offer for our understanding of politics in the present. Working with primary sources, rather than the learning of factual details, stands at the centre of both how the module is taught and how it is assessed.

  • The terms ‘Middle Ages’ and ‘Medieval’ are often used to evoke a dark and bigoted world, wracked by war, pestilence and superstition and oppressed by tyrannical kings and scheming priests. The image is not entirely false as all those things certainly did happen in the Middle Ages. But then again, they also occurred in most other periods of human history, including the twentieth century. Those aspects aside, the period from c.400 to c.1500 saw Western Europe transform itself from the poorer part of the retreating Roman empire to a wealthy, sophisticated and dynamic society that was starting to explore the world far beyond its borders. This module explores some of the changes and developments that took place along the way and answers some of the questions that you may always have wanted to ask: What happened after the Roman empire fell? What was ‘feudalism’? How were castles and Gothic cathedrals built? Why did the Pope become so powerful? What were the Crusades? Why did the Hundred Years’ War go on for so long? How did Europe survive after losing as much as half its population in the Black Death? And does this remote era have any relevance whatsoever to the modern world?

  • The early modern period was an age of change. It has been seen by many as the beginning of modernity, for it witnessed the consolidation of both national monarchies and the central state, the split of Christianity with the emergence of the Reformation, the spread of Islam to the Balkans, European expansion into the ‘new world’, the introduction of print, and significant changes in patterns of consumption. This module assesses the impact that these processes had on the lives of ordinary early modern Europeans and on their ways of making sense of the changes in the world around them. For example, we examine how the process of state-building brought about a new culture of discipline and self-restraint in everyday life; how people’s attitudes to the sacred and standards of morality changed with the spread of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. We ask whether the introduction of print revolutionised ordinary people’s access to information and knowledge, and whether the encounter with Native Americans stimulated the development of a separate European identity, perceived as superior. This module also addresses continuities and changes in the domestic and private spheres of individuals’ lives -- gender relations, patterns of family life, ideas about childhood and intimacy, attitudes to health and hygiene, birth and death. Throughout the emphasis is on the experience of ordinary people.

  • From the Enlightenment to the collapse of Communism, Europeans have struggled to make sense of and shape a continent in the grip of profound changes. Revolution, industrialisation and urbanisation transformed the face of politics and societies and spawned a series of new ideologies that continue to shape our world today. This module surveys a range of major events and dynamics from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, including the French Revolution, the emergence of the nation state, the decline of monarchy, the rise of mass politics, the emergence of the working classes and the middle classes, the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the rise of fascism, the Second World War and the Cold War. In studying specific events and developments students are also introduced to more general concepts like revolution, constitutionalism, liberalism, nationalism, industrialisation, urbanisation, socialism, communism, fascism, parliamentary democracy and the welfare state. Exposure to different historical methods and conflicting interpretations helps students to hone their own analytical skills. The emphasis throughout the module is on recovering the experiences of Europeans across more than two turbulent centuries when the very shape of the modern world was fiercely contested.

  • The module introduces students to the history of the non-Western world over the past one hundred years or so, a period that resulted in - as some historians have suggested - the decline of the West and the rise of the Rest in political terms. In regions such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, the twentieth century was hugely significant, witnessing the downfall of empires and long-held ideologies, on the one hand, and, on the other, the advent of revolutionary struggles and movements that created new nation-states. Its legacies continue to affect and shape the world on a regional and global level. The lens through which this exploration takes place is provided by the lives and careers of some of the most influential non-Western political leaders, including advocate of non-violent resistance MK Gandhi, architect of Communist China Mao Zedong, South African anti-apartheid politician Nelson Mandela, Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, and Al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. Whether nationalists, monarchs, communists, dictators, or inspired by religious belief, their individual stories provide students with the starting point for exploring - both thematically and comparatively - key developments that have shaped their respective countries and the world in which we live today.

Year 2
  • ‘We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.’ (Sir John Seeley, The Expansion of England, 1883). Despite Seeley’s assertion of accidental conquest, at its zenith the British empire decidedly controlled over a quarter of the world’s global real estate, and a fifth of the world’s population. The economic, cultural and global impact of British colonialism is still very much apparent today - from contested borders and inter-state disputes, through languages and cultures, to the inequities in wealth and trade that exist between the prosperous ‘North’ and the underdeveloped ‘South’. Why, then, was imperial expansion so vehemently defended by its protagonists in the nineteenth century? And what made colonial conquest, colonisation, and economic exploitation of non-European spaces feasible on such a global scale and for so long? These are the ‘big questions’ that underpin this module. Using documentary sources and specialist texts and articles, we investigate various aspects of British colonial rule from the perspective of its practitioners and from that of their colonial ‘subjects’. The intention is to understand European imperialism on its own terms, to interrogate the cultural and conceptual discourses that underpinned its existence, and to reflect upon the many ways in which the history of European empire has shaped the modern world in which we live today.

  • At the beginning of the twentieth century, the British Empire reached its zenith and yet, by the 1960s, it had all but disappeared. This module covers the history of Britain’s expansion and contraction in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, from the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War to the achievement of African independence during the premiership of Harold Macmillan. Case studies focus on the Empire’s presence in metropolitan life, the emerging Dominion powers; the contribution of the empire to the First World War; the rise of Indian nationalism; the Empire in the Middle East and South-East Asia; and the role of the Cold War in decolonisation. Recurrent themes include economics and empire; the meaning of ‘race’; the nature of colonial rule; global power and international relations; local responses to British colonialism; and the rise of colonial nationalism.

  • The Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilisation. From humble beginnings beside the river Tiber, the Romans expanded to dominate the classical world. Their armies defeated Carthage and the successors of Alexander the Great, and brought all the surrounding peoples under Roman rule. Yet the triumph of the Republic was also its tragedy. Political and socio-economic crisis plunged Rome into a descending spiral of civil war as rival warlords struggled for supremacy, until the Republican constitution collapsed and was replaced by the autocratic Roman empire. In this module, we explore the history of the Republic from the foundation of Rome to the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BC. Students examine the social and political pressures that drove Rome to conquer her Mediterranean empire and the consequences of that expansion for the Romans and for the peoples they conquered. The major literary sources are discussed in translation, together with the evidence of archaeology and material culture which helps us to bring the ancient Romans to life.

  • For almost half a millennium, the Roman empire ruled over the ancient Mediterranean world. This module surveys the golden years of imperial Rome, from the achievement of sole rule by the first emperor Augustus (31 BC - AD 14) to the murder of Commodus (the white-clad emperor from Gladiator) in AD 192. At its peak, Rome’s empire spanned from Hadrian’s Wall in Britain south to North Africa and east to Syria, enclosing the Mediterranean Sea within a single dominion. We analyse the political, social and cultural developments under the emperors of the first and second centuries AD, and reassess their achievements and legacies: Claudius’ invasion of Britain, Nero’s cultured tyranny, the terrible efficiency of Domitian, Trajan the conqueror, and the philosophical Marcus Aurelius. We likewise explore fundamental themes that shaped the wider empire, including imperial frontier policy and administration, the process of Romanisation, and the nature of Roman religion. The evidence of art and architecture is examined, particularly the monuments from Rome herself and the wealth of material preserved in the buried town of Pompeii, alongside the major literary sources all readily available in English translation.

  • Globalising Capital: Britain and the World, 1846 to 1913
  • The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1000-1250
  • The approach of this module is firmly comparative, and the geographical scope is wide: from the British Isles to the Crusader States. The period c.1000–1250 in Europe saw many key developments, including: the establishment of universities and of the Inquisition; the persecution of heretics, religious minorities and of perceived sexual deviants; and the growth of vernacular literature.

  • This module examines a period of momentous change, which witnessed the Great Famine and Black Death kill perhaps half of Europe’s population, the consequences of endemic warfare rampaging across the continent, and outbreaks of popular revolt involving exceptional brutality. Lectures and seminars trace the major developments in the period.

  • Late medieval Christian Europe was a world of contrasts. Plague was endemic, but those lucky enough to survive enjoyed improving standards of living that rested in many parts of Europe on a flourishing economic life. This naturally affected life in cities, opening up opportunities for many.

  • Between 1914 and 1947, Europe was in the grip of continent in what the French leader Charles de Gaulle termed a ‘Second Thirty Years War’. The First World War swept away much of the old order, triggering the collapse of the great continental empires and giving birth to a series of parliamentary regimes unstable new nation states. The October Revolution launched a radical new project that redefined the political landscape of the continent and fuelled the emergence of the radical Right. Beset by economic crises and political radicalisation liberalism and parliamentary democracy were soon in full retreat as a series of brutal regimes took power. These new states used repression but also welfare in order to construct new hierarchies of insiders and outsiders as European populations were drawn into new methods of surveillance and persecution. The module examines Italian fascism; Nazism; Stalinism; the civil war and the origins of the Franco regime in Spain; and the Holocaust in a wider continental framework context that highlights the shared experience of Europeans from Moscow to Madrid and from Brussels to Berlin. In the first half of the twentieth century, Europe was the dark continent.

  • Europe has changed more since 1945 than during any other time in history. From a rubble-strewn, war-torn continent to one of the richest, most privileged parts of the world, the transformation has been remarkable. Yet this process was neither inevitable, nor without risks and tensions. This module explores the major political developments of the second half of the twentieth century, including: the consequences of the end of the Second World War; the occupation of Germany, denazification, and the Nuremberg Trials; the postwar tensions between the superpowers which led to the onset and course of the Cold War in Europe; the communist takeover of Eastern Europe; the ‘thirty glorious years’ of economic growth, social democracy and integration in the EEC in Western Europe; decolonisation and its consequences for the European powers; the collapse of the dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and Greece; the oil crises, the end of the ‘postwar boom’, and the rise of neoliberalism; the fall of communism and the demise of the Soviet Union; and the major postCold War events such as German unification and the wars in Yugoslavia.

  • This module looks at the major political developments that took place in different parts of Asia during the twentieth century.  Topics include:  the downfall of the Qing dynasty in China and the causes of the  political struggle there that resulted in the establishment of the Chinese Communist state in 1949; the modernisation of Japan under the Meiji state, the rise of Japanese imperialism and Japan’s post-Second World War recovery; the emergence of the nationalist movement in India and the processes that led to independence and partition in 1947, together with the post-1947 histories of different parts of South Asia.  

  • The Tudors represent a compelling family drama of powerful men and women, passion and betrayal, jealous rivalries and resentments played out over three generations. The Tudor period is one of the most familiar and popular periods of British history, with the charismatic Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I featuring in countless films, TV programmes, and books. Yet beyond being good ‘box office’, the Tudors matter. This was a hugely formative period, which saw dramatic change, innovation, and exploration. During the sixteenth century, institutions were created, laws passed, and precedents set that remain at the heart of the English polity today. The Tudor period saw the beginnings of the modern state, the development of national bureaucracy and administration, the establishment of the Church of England, and the genesis of a belief in national sovereignty. Drawing on the most recent historiography, this module reconsiders familiar assessments of these most infamous of monarchs. In recent years, Henry VII has emerged less as a dour man than a tenacious and farsighted survivor who laid the foundations for the achievements of his son and grandchildren. Edward VI is now considered less a weak and sickly boy manipulated by powerful men, but a young man on the threshold of power. Mary should be considered a political pioneer, the first woman to wear the crown of England and who showed that women could rule with all the power of kings. Elizabeth was less an unimpeachable ‘Good Queen Bess’ than a reckless monarch whose refusal to marry and name a successor ultimately led to the demise of the Tudor dynasty and the accession of a Scottish king to the English throne.

  • The accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603 saw the union of the crowns and the establishment of the Stuart dynasty in England. During the century that followed, Britain’s political and constitutional foundations were forged. It was an age of intense religious debate and radical politics. The demise of the Stuart dynasty in 1714, left the monarchy changed forever. This module explores a century that would redefine the country and remains critical for understanding the nation today.

  • This module explores one of the most vibrant centuries in British history. Frequently seen as an age of liberty, luxury, elegance and excess it examines the period from the accession of the Hanoverian George I to the death of George IV at the end of the ‘Regency’ period. Yet beneath this commercially successful and fashionably polite society lay fears of riot and disorder, debt, poverty and rising crime rates. Two striking results of this were campaigns for greater public decency and the expansion of laws imposing the death sentence for hundreds of criminal offences. The module asks: to what extent did the Georgian era witness the birth of modernity, consumer society, commercialised leisure and freedom of the press? Were the British a polite and commercial people, or an ungovernable rabble? How ‘bloody’ was the penal code in a period when public sentiment began to turn against hanging? In answering these and other questions, students also make use of digitised primary sources such as Eighteenth Century Collections Online and The Old Bailey Online.

  • The period from the French Revolution to the end of the nineteenth century witnessed extraordinary transformations in just about every area of Europeans’ lives. New ideas of democracy, nationalism, socialism and women’s rights animated successive generations of radicals and produced major revolutions such as those that shook the continent in 1848. The rapid rise of industrialisation and new technologies like the railway changed the face of European cities like Paris and Vienna, forced societies to confront problems like poverty and epidemic disease, and even altered basic conceptions of time and space. Artistic movements like romanticism and realism jostled with an emergent mass culture founded on widespread literacy, cheap books and daily newspapers. This module addresses these and other dimensions of the social and cultural history of Europe in order to ask both what drove the major changes of the nineteenth century and, just as importantly, how people responded to and made sense of them.

  • This module studies the birth of a new European order. It runs from the slow disintegration and eventual collapse of the Roman empire in the West to the beginnings of a new European empire under the Carolingians. The Germanic ‘barbarians’ who took over former Roman provinces and areas under Roman influence in what we now call Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain evolved between them a collection of states and a range of international relations that would shape the whole of European politics and society for centuries to come. We take a mixture of thematic and narrative approaches to this vast topic, using primary sources in translation throughout, and explore the nature of the new states, their ruling elites, their religion and culture, and their relations (friendly and hostile) with the wider world of the old Byzantine empire and the new empire of the Islamic Caliphate.

  • The period 1000-1400 in western Europe witnessed the development of mass heresies, commanding wide and often international followings. This module will follow the responses to these from the preaching and launching of a crusade to the development of the Inquisition.

  • This module looks at the history of the non-western twentieth-century world from the vantage point of developments in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America: from empire-building to de-colonization and revolution in the Middle East, to intersections between politics and race in Southern Africa, to radical movements and US intervention in Latin America.

  • This module will provide an introduction to the main medical schools and writers from the Hippocratic Corpus to Galen, situating medical theory in the wider context of classical philosophy. It will also cover the reception of ancient medicine in Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Arabic world.

  • The Western Powers and East Asia, 1839-1945
  • The Ottoman Empire was the largest and longest-surviving Muslim empire in history. This module explores the empire at its height, when it reached Croatia and Algeria in the west, the Persian Gulf in the east, Ukraine in the north and Yemen in the south, while being centred in the Middle East and Balkans. Covering the period from the conquest of Constantinople to the accession of the modernising Sultan Selim III, the module traces dramatic changes in the both the internal dynamics of the empire and its position in the world, exploring topics including the political structure of the empire, the role of Islam and religious conversion, the place of the large non-Muslim population, Ottoman literature and culture, and the empire’s relations with Christian powers in Europe. Connecting Europe with Asia and Africa, the Ottoman Empire played a critical role in the emergence of the modern world, and the module engages with key questions in early modern global history, including the development of the concept of Europe and the shift of economic and political power from east to west.

  • This module will examine superpower relations during the Cold War, including the collapse of the USSR and the period of uncertainty which followed. It takes a global comparative perspective in telling the history of international relations in the period 1945-91, and the development of a ‘New World Order’ to 1998.  Key themes will include nuclear tensions and the space race, and the proxy-wars waged in China, Korea, Afghanistan, the Middle-East and elsewhere in an era of ‘peace that is no peace’, as George Orwell predicted in August 1945.

  • The traditional historiography of western political thought has a tendency to jump from the Ancient Greeks to Augustine to Machiavelli, ignoring the wealth of ideas and theories to be found in between. This module seeks to supplement, and even challenge, this standard canon by paying attention to the ‘lesser’ thinkers that helped to shape the intellectual dismodule of the medieval and early modern periods. Beginning with Cicero, this module proceeds chronologically to explore the development of central debates about the role and nature of authority in society.

  • This module explores the transformation from empire to nation state in the Near and Middle East, from Greece to Iran, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We study the ambitious attempts at modernisation undertaken by Middle Eastern governments, as the region came under intense pressure from western colonial powers focusing on the Ottoman Empire. We then explore the impact of the First World War, which shattered the region’s political order, and look at the different types of nation-state that emerged in its aftermath: colonial states like French-ruled Syria and Lebanon, independent monarchies such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the aggressively secular Republic of Turkey. The key historical process in this period was the eclipse of old religious and imperial forms of identity by new national identities. The rise of nationalism manifested in dynamic and creative political and cultural reform, but also in horrific acts of violence, including the Armenian genocide. The module also explores the ways in which Middle Easterners reconciled Islam with modernity, and the integration of the region into the global capitalist economy. Overhanging all of the topics we study is the vexed historiographical question of whether the transition to modernity necessarily meant westernisation.

  • The Italian Renaissance is conventionally portrayed as a period of cultural and artistic renewal, economic prosperity and advanced political forms (republican governments). This module will verify the validity of this picture by considering the everyday experience of the men and women who inhabited the cities of Northern and Central Italy between 1350 and 1650 - political participation, class conflict, education, ways of inhabiting, material culture, crime and violence, gender relationships and sexual deviancy, devotion and the use of magic.

  • This module explores American economic hegemony from the Atlantic Charter to the end of the Great Recession. Topics in America’s long run ‘rise and fall’ include the Marshall Plan; the ‘Golden Age’ of western economic growth; the rise of welfare spending and economic planning; the fall of the Keynesian consensus; stagflation and the rise of the New Right; the rise of the less-developed economies; the end of the Soviet system; and the collapse of U.S. and UK banking.

  • Who were the Victorians? What did they believe in? How far were notions of vice and virtue in conflict in the Victorian period? And how are the Victorian years still relevant to us today? This module offers an overview of the dramatic political, gender, cultural and social contours of life in the British Isles during the Victorian period, so often still seen as the height of British progress and self-confidence. The module is framed between the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837 - aged just eighteen – and her death in 1901. Topics studied along the way include the role and image of the monarchy; the decline of the aristocracy; the lives of the urban and industrial working classes; race and Black lives; politics in the age of Gladstone and Disraeli; feminism and the Victorian women’s movement; marriage, morality and Victorian sexuality; democracy, citizenship and the demand for the vote from various voices; religion, science and doubt; Victorian art and visual culture; and famine, loyalism and nationalism in Victorian Ireland. This is a module that is essential for anyone wishing to understand not just the Victorians, but the nature of the world they bequeathed, and leaves students wanting to study modern British history in greater depth during their final year of study.

  • This module seeks to investigate politics, society and culture in modern Britain during the sixty-year period encompassed between the outbreak of World War One in 1914 and Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community in 1973. Topics include the impact of two world wars upon British cultural life and gender roles, the decline of Liberalism and rise of Labour, the growth of leisure and the mass media, post-war immigration, and the end of the British empire.

  • This module surveys the history of the United States of America from its origins as an independent nation to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. During this formative period the United States experienced rapid and dramatic demographic, territorial, and economic changes, developing from a young nation threatened by European and Native American enemies to a continental power. In charting this period of staggering growth, we explore not only the establishment of political institutions and practices, but how the growing sectional crisis over slavery led to a bloody civil war (1861-1865) that threatened to tear asunder the fledgling American republic. In telling this story, the module interrogates five core themes: Revolution, Democracy, Westward Expansion, Sections and Sectionalism, and the Crisis of the Union. These themes incorporate multiple topics, including (but by no means limited to) Native Americans, race and slavery, reform movements (including women’s rights), and the growth of American capitalism.

  • This module offers an overview of US history since 1900. It examines the social, cultural, economic and political contours of that history, incorporating topics such as westward expansion, industrialisation and urbanisation, the progressive era, the First World War, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the Second World War, the Cold War, domestic developments in the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement, developments in the 1970s and the rise of the New Right in the 1980s. The module examines the domestic and foreign policy concerns of the Clinton administration. Particular attention is devoted to Clinton’s efforts to reshape his party and his administration’s efforts to secure peace in Northern Ireland and Israel. The module also assesses the varied ways in which the War on Terror reshaped America’s foreign policy and how foreign policy concerns impacted the subsequent election. It concludes with an examination of President Obama’s successful campaign and evaluates the role that racial and religious prejudice played in his election. Particular attention is given to the shaping experiences of race, ethnicity, gender and class in the American experience.

  • This module examines the difficult years of the early 20th century in Spain, including the civil war. It seeks to explain the causes of Spain's superstructural instability by looking not only 'top-down' at political tensions and economic contradictions, but also 'bottom-up' at the social and cultural fragmentation of Spain during this period.

  • This module adopts a thematic approach within a broadly chronological framework. It explores state and society under the rule of General Franco, and traces the processes of social, economic and cultural change which precipitated the crisis of the dictatorship and Spain's transition to democracy.

  • This module explores how China made its transition from isolated, self-contained ‘Middle Kingdom’ in the middle of the nineteenth century, to its present-day status as global superpower. The module starts with the Opium Wars, which announced the arrival of foreign powers in China, but also marked the beginning of its opening up to a new age. It then follows China’s development, navigating the major themes of Chinese modern history including the social stresses and political movements that led to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in the Revolution of 1911, and the May Fourth Movement of 1919; the origins and effects of the Sino-Japanese War; the rise of Chinese Communism and its impact after Mao came to power, from the Long March to the Cultural Revolution; and China’s progress since 1978 in balancing communist principles with market-driven economic growth. Overall, the module examines how a new nation was built, not just in political and social terms but also through the experiences of the people who lived through it.

  • The module explores perceptions of the holy man in different religions and traditions through the centuries, in the wider historical and cultural context. Through a variety of visual sources such as icons, reliquaries and other forms of sacred art, and textual sources (in translation), including scriptural, theological, philosophical, hagiographical, and hymnographical texts, students familiarise themselves with important aspects of sanctity and spirituality, assessing the place and role of holy men and women in society, both in East and West. Covering Hindu, Buddhist, Greek, Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions, the module examines the ideals, practices and experiences of hermits and coenobetic monks, stylites and holy fools, martyrs and married saints, among other groups, looking at ways in which ‘holiness’ and ‘sacred space’ can be a significant aspect of historical research in our attempt to understand a period, a society and a culture.

  • In antiquity, the history of science was not always a narrative of progress, and common beliefs and scientific theory were generally at odds. This module explores some of the unexpected twists and turns in the history of ancient science, for instance attempts at explaining phenomena such as earthquakes, volcano eruptions or even thunder or rainbows and considers topics including horoscopes, music theory, alchemy and atoms.

  • This module sketches the emergence of modern India (and its neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh) from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. It includes such iconic historical events as the Great Mutiny-Uprising of 1857, the Amritsar massacre, Gandhi’s Salt March, the Partition of India into Pakistan and India, and the recent slide of the region into the grip of competing religious fundamentalisms. Behind these events stand bigger questions that have also affected other parts of the so-called ‘Third World’: how has colonialism changed local social and political structures and to what extent can it be blamed for problems in the present? To what extent have the multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan societies of the South managed to fit in modern identity politics? To what extent is ‘development’ an achievable or even valid political goal in this region? This module seeks to give students a sound factual and conceptual framework that – alongside being better informed about one of the hot topics of today – facilitate subsequent learning in Further and Special Subject modules with a South Asian flavour.

  • Beginning in the years shortly before the Fourth Crusade captured and sacked Constantinople in April 1204, this module traces the slow decline and fall of the Byzantine empire (also known as Byzantium). It will examine how the Byzantines regrouped in the successor state of Nicaea and slowly recovered from the disaster of 1204 and ends with the Ottoman capture of Constantinople in 1453 and the fall of last Byzantine outpost of Mistra seven years later.

  • After the Fall of Byzantium almost all Greeks lived in the Ottoman Empire and the Frankish outposts in the Eastern Mediterranean.  This module will examine the history of the Greeks who remained under Ottoman and Frankish rule, and those who chose to try their luck abroad, laying the foundations of the first of many Greek diaspora communities linking East and West. The main part of the module will be devoted to a detailed overview of the political, social and cultural history of Greece and the leading Greek diaspora communities throughout the world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

  • This module scrutinises the main political, cultural, and social features and the historical “turning points” of this comparatively young nation state of Italy. Students will discover how the past shapes and influences the present in Italian culture and politics and will learn the challenge of the various unresolved issues and how the state reacts to them. It will also explore the forces behind the unification of the country in the 1800s, fascism, the impact of the Cold War, the high levels of politicisation in national life as well as the figure of Silvio Berlusconi who has dominated recent Italian politics.

  • The History of Cyprus from the Ottoman Conquest to the Present Day
  • From Venizelos to Varoufakis: The History of Greece from 1910 to the Present Day
  • The Later Roman Empire module spans the four centuries that marked the end of classical antiquity and the rise of the early medieval world. The module opens with the transformation of the Roman empire under Diocletian (284-305) and Constantine (306-337), and with the conversion of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, in AD 312. Students explore the fundamental political, social and religious developments of the fourth century, which saw the emergence of a Christian Roman empire and the migration of the Goths and Huns towards the imperial frontier. We then compare the contrasting fortunes of the western and eastern regions of the empire in the fifth and sixth centuries. In the west imperial power collapsed under the waves of barbarian invasions, to be succeeded by the Germanic kingdoms of the Goths and Franks and by the rising prestige of the Roman papacy. Yet in the east the empire survived and reached a new peak during the attempted reconquest of the emperor Justinian (527-565), before triumphing in the last great conflict between the Roman and Persian empires with which this module concludes. These were centuries of dramatic change, accessible through an impressive combination of literary sources (read in translation) and material evidence, and the legacy of those changes exerted a profound influence on later history.

  • By the middle of the seventh century, the very existence of the Byzantium (also known as the Byzantine Empire) was in question. It had lost almost half its territory to the Arabs and even its capital city of Constantinople was now under direct threat. Yet the state not only weathered this period of crisis but revived and flourished so that by 1050, it was once more a major power in the region, stretching from southern Italy to Armenia. This module traces the reasons why it survived, how it reversed the long series of defeats and the profound changes that took place in its military organisation, society, religious life, art and culture. It also examines how one key to its success was the way in which it interacted with the world around it, particularly with the Islamic caliphate, western Europe and the Slavonic world. Although the Byzantines frequently fought their neighbours, they preferred where possible to influence them through diplomacy and conversion. Then in the later eleventh century, new enemies appeared on the borders and Byzantium began to contract once more, a series of events that was to provide the background for the later launch of the First Crusade in 1095.

  • In this period London grew from a town of 50,000 inhabitants to a capital city of some 200,000. The Reformation not only swept away ‘superstitious’ beliefs, but destroyed much of the fabric and topography of the medieval City - this module will consider how Londoners coped with these changes. How were Londoners fed and watered? How were crafts organised? How was the City governed?

  • Between 1553 and 1603, England faced the unprecedented situation of being ruled by two successive queens regnant, Mary Tudor and her sister Elizabeth. Drawing on new sources and interpretations, this module challenges commonplace arguments about their relative successes and failures. Should Mary be considered a political pioneer and England’s most overlooked monarch? Should Elizabeth’s reign not be considered more a triumph of political spin and style than significance and substance? This module urges students to reassess the traditional image of the Tudor monarchy.

  • The triumph of the First Crusade (1099) resulted in the establishment of a Latin Christian community in the Levant for almost two hundred years. This module is primarily concerned to examine how the settlers maintained their hold on a region which was spiritually, economically and politically important to the Byzantine empire and the Muslim world as well.

  • Medicine and Society in Medieval Europe
  • ‘Martin didn’t make the movement, the movement made Martin’, noted veteran civil rights activist Ella Baker. Baker’s perceptive comments strike at the very heart of contemporary historiographical debates. On the one hand, scholars have increasingly viewed the mass black movement for civil rights in the United States as a grassroots phenomenon that was rooted in local communities and based upon local leadership and local needs. On the other hand, scholars still emphasise the vital national leadership role played by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights struggle, particularly from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to King’s 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. This module looks at both strands of this scholarship and seeks to assess the dynamics of the movement at both local and national levels, and to examine the tensions that often existed between them, as well as addressing the central controversies and debates surrounding King’s movement leadership. The module covers topics including: desegregation of schools, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Albany and Birmingham campaigns, the March on Washington, the Sit-in Movement and tensions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • From ‘Downton Abbey’ to ‘Call the Midwife’, we might think we know the history of women’s lives in twentiethcentury Britain. Take the 1920s: the slender flapper, cigarette-holder in hand and off to cocktails or a night at the flicks, epitomised the surface glamour of modernity. Possessed of an office job and a vote, she also boasted a swimsuit, sex appeal, and a voguish knowledge of Freud. But was her world really one without limits? This module explores the experiences of British women in a century of rapid social, political, economic and cultural transformation. We determine the constraints on, and advantages gained by, women in relation to education and paid work, citizenship and feminism, war and peace, migration and immigration, and sexuality and family life, among other themes. We look at the places and spaces that shaped women’s experiences, from the home to the workplace and beyond, as well as tracing the ways that family, community and the media all moulded ideas of what it was to be ‘feminine’. Along with gender roles and expectations, we consider how social class, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and location all played their parts in shaping women’s experiences and their hopes for their futures. Drawing on wide-ranging historical scholarship, as well as primary sources including film, autobiography, photography and oral history, we plot the changes in British women’s lives and ask what continuities there are between women’s lives today and the experiences of their mothers and grandmothers.

  • The module examines the intellectual and cultural history of Russia in the turbulent years from the Great Reforms of the 1850s and 1860s to the 1917 Revolution. During this period, Russian society experienced industrialisation, urbanisation, secularisation and the erosion of traditional values and social distinctions. The spread of literacy, the rise of popular culture, and mass politics all contrived to change the nature and the values of Russian society. In the absence of any established system of political freedom until the 1905 Revolution, Russian literature was a barometer of popular sentiment and a forum in which the great moral and political issues of the day were debated. The tension between reformism and revolution dominated the period. For many, the obduracy of the autocracy precluded the possibility of seeking a gradual reform of the state. Others struggled to reform the Empire whilst staving off violent revolution. The 1905 Revolution was a seminal moment in Russian history in this period. It heralded the explosion of mass movements onto the political stage confirmed for many observers their worst fears of the anarchy and violence that would accompany social revolution. The emphasis throughout is on the dynamism of Russia in this period as all sections of society struggled to cope with change on an enormous scale at dizzying speeds.

  • This module covers the democratic Second Republic (1931-6) the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) and the first and most brutal phase (1939-53) of the Franco dictatorship. In Spain, as in Europe, the 1930s and 1940s saw the explosion of modern mass political mobilisation and antagonistic visions of national development vied for dominance.

  • In the first five decades of the twentieth century, the lands of East Central Europe experienced a violent transformation, perhaps unlike any other the world had ever seen. The age-old Habsburg and Ottoman Empires collapsed during the war decade of 1912-1923, giving way to fragile nation-states marred by a multitude of problems throughout the interwar period. This module dissects the causes of imperial collapse and highlights its deep-felt consequences for the successor states of Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. It explains how multi-ethnic coexistence gave way to conflict, how democracy waltzed with authoritarianism and how eventually these former borderlands turned into the bloodlands of the Second World War. Using a wide range of sources, (including texts, images, comics, and music), the module examines in turn: multiethnic coexistence in the imperial lands; the unmixing of people during the First World War; majorities and minorities in the interwar period; the introduction of liberal democracy and the growing appeal of fascism, communism and authoritarianism; and, finally, the mass atrocities committed by erstwhile neighbours during the Second World War. Throughout this tumultuous period, East Central Europe became the testing ground for modern political ideologies from imperialism and democracy to Nazism and Communism, but came to be nostalgically remembered as a mosaic of ethnicities. The premise of this module is therefore simple: we cannot understand the dynamics of the modern world without understanding the story of East Central Europe in the early twentieth century.

  • This module explores the chief themes of modern political thought through its leading figures from Rousseau (c. 1750) to the present. By the mid-18th century the opulence fuelled by economic development had become increasingly central to social and political thought, and ongoing debates over progress and modernity interacted with the democratic ideals inspired by the American revolution. This in turn fuelled 20th-century debates over liberalism and socialism, the emergence of totalitarianism, the implications of imperialism and decolonisation, and the growing spectre of environmental catastrophe.

  • This course will review the modern literature on the causes and consequences of the Great Depression Slump for Britain and America during the 1920s and 1930s. Politicians, government advisors, and academics in the west were unable to explain why capitalist society was plunged so deeply in to depression, and they were also perplexed as to why the usual remedies failed to generate forces of recovery.

  • Over the past two centuries Muslim societies have been experiencing a major process of religious revival and reform, of which a dominant feature has been an increased emphasis on action in this life to achieve salvation. In following this course students will engage with the main figures in the movement from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab to Usama bin Laden, and some of the main organisations from the Deoband School to al-Qaeda.

  • This module examines the occurrence of genocide from the colonial period to the present day. It deals with the development of the concept, with a particular focus on the man who coined the term ‘genocide’, the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin and the debates in the United Nations which led to the formulation and acceptance of the UN Genocide Convention in 1948. We consider too the merits of different approaches to studying genocide, including political science and anthropology as well as history. The module then proceeds by examining the following case studies: the colonisation of Australia and North America, the Herero genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Stalin’s Great Terror, post-1945 genocides of indigenous peoples, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. In each case, we do not simply say whether or not genocide occurred but try to understand genocide in the context of the unfolding of a dynamic of violence, usually in the context of war and massive social crisis. We then analyse different explanations for genocide, including issues of nation-building and the ‘world system’ of competing states, race-theory, gender, and social psychological explanations of aggression. The module concludes by examining the promises and problems of genocide prevention and humanitarian intervention.

  • Terrorism has become one of the most pervasive and defining features of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Indeed, terrorism as a specific form of political violence has been employed across a variety of historic and geographic contexts by a range of actors, from lone individuals to anti-colonial revolutionary organisations, and from fundamentalist religious groups to liberal democratic states. The module aims to examine the underlying reasons for the ascendancy of this form of political violence and the immense challenges it has posed to state and society throughout this period. The module adopts a comparative thematic approach examining various waves and manifestations of terrorism including: anarchist terror in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; anti-colonial ‘terror’ used during the anti-colonial wars of independence in the post-Second World War period; the pervasive left-wing ‘Red Terror’ of the 1970s; terrorism employed by ethno-nationalist and separatist groups; ‘religious’ terrorism in various traditions; the resurgence of far-right terrorism; and finally the oft-overlooked phenomenon of state terrorism. This comparative approach employs various case studies to examine ubiquitous themes including power, identity, politics, society, the state and religion, all vis-à-vis terrorism, and deploys a diverse range of primary source material (both textual and audio-visual) to interrogate these themes.

  • Art and architecture were key weapons in the construction of power in the Roman world and the establishment of the Empire. As Rome’s power expanded and its political system shifted towards Imperial rule, anecdotes abound as to the opulent and impressive building projects of Rome’s imperial family: thus, the emperor Augustus found Rome brick and made it marble, whilst Nero’s private palace (the Domus Aurea) engulfed most of the city of Rome. Whether true or exaggerated, such tales emphasise the importance of architecture in ancient Rome and the impact and reception of building in the negotiation and contestation of power. Using both archaeological and literary evidence, this module looks at how those in power employ art and architecture to express their authority and values. It starts with examining how artistic commissions, prestigious public buildings and art-collecting played an important role in competition between the leading politicians of the late Roman Republic. It then moves on to explore the ways in which the ultimate winner of this rivalry, the emperor Augustus, and then his successors, used art and architecture to establish and legitimise sole power and familial succession. We consider in chronological order how images, individuals and social groups mediate and manipulate power through art and architecture.

  • This module investigates the deep shifts in humanitarian ideas, practices, and organisations over the past century and a half: from imperial ‘civilising missions’, through war and post-1918 efforts to ‘organise the peace’, followed by the reassertion of humanitarian values after 1945 and the challenges of decolonisation, cold war, and then post-1990 ‘complex emergencies’. Students develop a critical understanding of humanitarianism as a changing concept and practice forged through the complex interactions of many actors and institutions in the crucible of national and international politics.

  • Sharīa law (Islamic law) is an important but widely misunderstood phenomenon that is central to several contemporary political controversies, including democratisation in the Muslim world, political Islam and radical Islamism, and the status of the Muslim diaspora in the west. This module helps students understand sharīʿa law as an evolving legal tradition, by introducing them to the intellectual structure of the law and then tracing how sharīʿa has been manifested in a variety of historical contexts from the late Middle Ages until the twenty-first century, including the Ottoman Empire, the modern Middle East and modern Britain. The module explores various areas of law, including criminal law, constitutional law, property and trusts, and slavery, but it has a particular focus on family law – marriage, divorce and child-rearing – and its impact on gender in Muslim societies. The module uses these case studies to address the fundamental question of the relationship between sharīʿa law and political power: is sharīʿa law a constraint on government, or a tool government can use? How can a Muslim government adhering to sharīʿa law legislate? Can sharīʿa law be reconciled with democratic government? The module is accessible to all: previous knowledge of Islamic or Middle Eastern history is not required.

  • This module examines the interconnected world created by the dynamic movements of people, plants, animals, ideas and products across the Atlantic basin during the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Through the assigned readings and discussions, we analyse the social, cultural and religious transformations taking place on both sides of the Atlantic as indigenous peoples, Africans and Europeans interacted with each other. The primary focus is on the lands claimed by the Spanish and Portuguese empires, while also analysing their entangled relationships with the emerging British, French and Dutch empires. Themes covered include imperial competition, migration, changing understandings of community and space because of the new encounters, the collection and circulation of botanical and medicinal knowledge, the impact of long-distance trade on daily lives and material culture, the rise of the transatlantic slave trade and colonial forms of coercion and exploitation, and local struggles for rights.

  • Chinese women found their voice at the dawn of the modern era. Silent no longer, their roles in society changed fundamentally, taking on a complexity never seen before in Chinese history. This module brings these women into life, examining the impact they made not at the margins, but as main actors with their own narratives. Set against the broad sweep of modern Chinese political and social history from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, the module is structured in two parts. In the first term, there is an examination of the lives and impact of three powerful women: Empress Dowager Cixi; Soong Mei-ling (the wife of Chiang Kai-shek); and Jiang Qing (Madam Mao). The actions of these three figures not only shook up the existing political and social order in their country, but also had a huge impact globally. In the second term, the exploration shifts to a more thematic approach, in order to allow us to appreciate these women in historical context. The main concept that is addressed is Confucianism, and from this follows investigation of the impact of a changing China on several important sets of relationships including mother and daughter, and husband and wife. The module also addresses several roles associated with Chinese women, such as writers, revolutionaries, housewives, factory workers, and prostitutes. It uses a wide range of materials, including translated documents, filmed drama, newspapers, documentaries and biographies.

  • This module contrasts and compares the experience of state formation in four distinct countries of the Muslim world: Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan. Although separated by language, history and very different experiences of Imperial domination, each one of these countries struggled with the challenges of modernity, development and democracy for ‘traditional’ Muslim societies. Through these case studies, students are encouraged to consider larger questions. Are Muslims somehow constitutionally incapable of democratic self-government? Is ‘development’ a real possibility or only a dream?

  • The First World War was a transformative event in modern British history, which, as its recent centenary highlighted, continues to provoke intense popular and academic interest. More than 1,000,000 British subjects lost their lives as a result of military service during the conflict, and many more were physically or psychologically traumatised. The destructive force of industrialised warfare led to a very direct civilian encounter with mass death, and families and communities across the United Kingdom suffered unprecedented levels of bereavement. While the rupture between the pre- and post-war worlds should not be overstated, the cultural, social, political and economic landscape of the UK was radically altered by the experience of the conflict. To put it mildly, then, the impact of the First World War on British society was profound and long-lasting, and the conflict retains considerable cultural resonance in twenty-first century Britain. This module explores the British experience of the war and look at the ways in which the conflict has been interpreted and remembered in Britain in the century since it ended.

  • This module examines the origins, escalation and end of ‘hot wars’ and the Cold War in Southeast Asia between 1945 and c.1979. The Vietnam War was one of the most significant and devastating conflicts in the second half of the twentieth century. Indeed, there was not one but two Vietnam Wars – the Vietnamese struggles against the French between 1946 and 1954 and against the Americans from 1955 to 1973. This period, moreover, witnessed nationalist and revolutionary movements in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos, the East Indies (Indonesia), Malaya and Singapore, which resulted in the creation of new nation-states. Above all, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union/China was superimposed on Southeast Asians’ fight for independence. This module explores how nationalism and decolonisation in Vietnam and Southeast Asia interacted with the global Cold War. While focusing on how successive American administrations got involved in the Vietnam War, the module also considers the foreign policies of other great powers, such as France, Britain and China, and the agencies of Southeast Asian states. Rather than a ‘military history’ module, its primary concern is the diplomatic and political aspects of the Vietnam conflict.

  • This module explores how the French sought both to describe and transform their society in the turbulent century following 1789, through the lens of innovative works of literature, political thought, art and the social sciences, all studied in translation. The upheaval of the French Revolution and dreams of radical transformation led in turn to socialist utopias, ‘realist’ novels and modern sociology, and to fears of national decline and fantasies of cleansing violence which haunted French society in the years preceding the Great War.

  • Art and architecture were key weapons in the construction of power in the Roman world and the establishment of the Empire. Using both archaeological and literary evidence, this module looks at how those in power employ art and architecture to express their authority and values.

  • From Constantinople to Alexandria: Eastern Mediterranean Cities, 1798-1956
  • Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, won three successive general elections and occupied 10 Downing Street (between 1979 and 1990) for longer than any other politician in twentieth-century Britain. She divided popular opinion, domestically and internationally, and her historical significance is yet to be determined. What exactly was Thatcherism, and why is Margaret Thatcher's legacy still so controversial and contested? How far did Thatcherism succeed in its objectives, especially considering Margaret Thatcher’s pledge to ‘change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society’?

  • Beginning with the Restoration of Charles II and ending in the ‘Regency’ period during the reign of George IV, this module examines how men and women’s perceptions of themselves were moulded by their families and wider society, and the extent to which their experiences were determined by gendered perceptions of sexual, racial, and class differences. Much of the module focuses on areas where criminal, ecclesiastical or civil laws shaped (or were shaped by) dominant ideas about gender differences. Among the many topics covered, it explores aspects of male and female sexuality, experiences of marriage and separation, of family life and adolescence; gendered concepts of sin, crime, and juvenile delinquency; the pleasures and perils of new forms of shopping, fashion and entertainment, and the working lives of businesswomen, actresses, prostitutes and male-midwives. Students have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of printed and digital primary sources and learn to present their work through a variety of mediums to academic and wider public audiences.

  • This module introduces students to the ways in which the ancients increased knowledge, both through geographical expansion and through technological advance. Students explore the reasons why ancient Greeks and Romans made contact with other peoples and how they described distant lands, both real and fictional. The technological inventions of antiquity are likewise examined, from military equipment such as burning mirrors and catapults to everyday gadgets such as vending machines and robots or the Antikythera mechanism, a complex analogue computer to calculate calendar dates.

  • The rise of a xenophobic, demagogic and nationalist political right is one of the most controversial phenomena in contemporary times. Is it fascist, populist or something else? How can we apply these concepts today? The Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election have also caused many to wonder whether the age of globalization and multiculturalism is now past. This module adds a scholarly dimension to such timely debates by tracing the rise of the “nationalist” far right from its early twentieth-century roots to the present day.

  • The Independent Research Project offers students with a rewarding opportunity to develop their research and analytical skills. They can either write a longer-form 4000-word essay, which is a valuable stepping-stone towards the final year Dissertation, or produce a series of blog posts as a ‘Public History’ project suitable for a general audience. Each student’s Independent Research Project is linked to their chosen Further Subject module [see below], and they are supervised by their Further Subject tutor. In conjunction with their supervisor, students develop a research topic of their choosing. Emphasis is placed on primary source analysis, together with engaged with relevant historiographic debates among historians.

  • The module introduces a range of important concepts for analysing music, and of the published secondary literature in music analysis. It puts these concepts into practice in increasingly sophisticated analysis of score-based and recorded pieces from the Western musical tradition and in the reading of more complex analyses. It lays foundations for further analytical and technical work in options modules and in final-year special studies. The analytical systems and repertories to be studied will vary from year to year, but students may expect to build on theoretical and analytical foundations established in the first year, by broadening their knowledge (through scores and recordings) of a wide range of Western musical repertoire, to learn and then apply standard analytical methods in order to gain a deeper understanding of the music's construction and expressive effect, and to learn the vocabulary and technical proficiency necessary for reading and evaluating analyses of music by scholars from those traditions. The module may address pre-tonal, tonal or post-tonal music.

  • This module will: develop your knowledge of a range of fundamental techniques of musical composition with particular focus on structure, harmonic control and the manipulation of rhythmic and melodic material provide an opportunity to practise the art of musical composition and to develop skills in creative work. Developing on areas covered in first-year Composition modules, this module will provide a framework in which you will be introduced to a number of techniques from diverse schools of composition in order to encourage you to explore and develop your own creativity. Key works from the past few decades will be studied and used as models or springboards for your own musical invention. You will create a portfolio of technical exercises and a short composition written in response to a given brief.

  • This module furthers students’ understanding of music history, by exploring two case-studies defined chronologically or thematically. It develops students’ ability to critically think and write about music in historical contexts that are both familiar and unfamiliar and explores more advanced concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It encourages students to put these concepts into practice in increasingly sophisticated historical and critical writing about music and it lays the foundations for further historical and critical writing in options modules and in particular for final-year special studies. This module will probe moments of music history that expose the complex relationship between musical repertories and historical contexts, or the nuanced processes of historical continuity, change, and cause and effect. The case-studies will vary year by year, but sample topics include: The Rise of Musical Notation in Medieval Europe; Music and the Reformation; Monteverdi: Between Renaissance and Baroque; Nationalism in Late Romantic Music; Popular and Art Music of the 1960s.

  • This module expands students’ knowledge of concepts characteristic of ethnomusicology and equips them with stimulating approaches to understanding, enjoying and studying their own music as well as that of others. It broadens students’ understanding of the possibilities of music as human activity and of the wider contexts in which music exists in the world. It raises issues concerning the political and ethical challenges involved with studying and writing about music across the globe, whether historically or in the contemporary world, and develops students’ ability to critically think and write about music in contexts that are both familiar and unfamiliar.

    This module will involve a combination of the study of musical repertoires from different parts of the globe and introduction to a range of methodologies that might be applied to a broad range of musics and contexts. Particular repertoires and areas will vary, but approaches and issues may include: the idea of music as culture/society; looking at music beyond concepts of ‘art’; understanding the strengths and problems of fieldwork as a methodology; looking at musical change and hybridisation; issues relating to music and gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity or religion; studying musical instruments; mapping music geographically, socially and historically; and the colonial legacy of ethnomusicology and ethical issues of contemporary research.

  • This module explores ways that electronic media and technology have brought about change in and opened up new possibilities for musical production, consumption, sounds, practices, experience, contexts and meanings. It considers the role of electronic media and technology in preserving and documenting musical culture as well as in changing it, and it examines how developments in electronic media and technology have affected and continue to affect dynamics of power in musical production and consumption across the world. The module explores the effects of electronic media and technology on popular, traditional and classical musics and introduces concepts and techniques for the study of the interaction of music, media and technology. It also encourages a deeper and more critical understanding of music, music making and musical culture through study in both familiar and unfamiliar cultures and contexts. The module will introduce students to a range of ways in which electronic media and technology have affected and transformed musical cultures across the world through their fundamental ability to: record and store musical sound; create new sounds, new ways of combining sounds and new ways of synching sound with other media; turn musical sound into a commodity; separate musical sound from live performance context; amplify music; mass produce music; mass disseminate music; and greatly alter dynamics of power in the production and consumption of music. The module will cover a range of key phenomena and issues in contemporary musical culture that are inextricably linked to electronic media and technology. Exact topics will vary, but may include: popular and mass-mediated music; recorded music; electronic music; the impact of technology on compositional practices; music industries; piracy; film music, video and multimedia; music and the Internet; globalisation; debates on the value of mass mediated music; and questions of power and representation.

  • This course will require the student to undertake the study of an instrument or voice, with the aim of developing technical ability and musical interpretation expressed through performance.  The student will consciously and actively address concerns such as the acquisition of technical competence in performance, the development of powers of interpretation, strategies of practice and performance, effective communication and so on.  These skills are further developed through the writing of programme notes, concert reviews and developing critical feedback skills in performance seminars.

    The course consists of the study of appropriate repertory with an individual instrumental or vocal teacher approved by the Department, the writing of programme notes and concert reviews, the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music-administrative skills through membership of college ensembles and/or the in-house concert administration team.

  • Solo Performance
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Practical Ethics
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Intercultural Performance: Theory and Practice
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Music and Gender
  • Hearing the Orient: Critical and Practical Approaches to the Middle East
Year 3
  • The Later Roman Empire module spans the four centuries that marked the end of classical antiquity and the rise of the early medieval world. The module opens with the transformation of the Roman empire under Diocletian (284-305) and Constantine (306-337), and with the conversion of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, in AD 312. Students explore the fundamental political, social and religious developments of the fourth century, which saw the emergence of a Christian Roman empire and the migration of the Goths and Huns towards the imperial frontier. We then compare the contrasting fortunes of the western and eastern regions of the empire in the fifth and sixth centuries. In the west imperial power collapsed under the waves of barbarian invasions, to be succeeded by the Germanic kingdoms of the Goths and Franks and by the rising prestige of the Roman papacy. Yet in the east the empire survived and reached a new peak during the attempted reconquest of the emperor Justinian (527-565), before triumphing in the last great conflict between the Roman and Persian empires with which this module concludes. These were centuries of dramatic change, accessible through an impressive combination of literary sources (read in translation) and material evidence, and the legacy of those changes exerted a profound influence on later history.

  • By the middle of the seventh century, the very existence of the Byzantium (also known as the Byzantine Empire) was in question. It had lost almost half its territory to the Arabs and even its capital city of Constantinople was now under direct threat. Yet the state not only weathered this period of crisis but revived and flourished so that by 1050, it was once more a major power in the region, stretching from southern Italy to Armenia. This module traces the reasons why it survived, how it reversed the long series of defeats and the profound changes that took place in its military organisation, society, religious life, art and culture. It also examines how one key to its success was the way in which it interacted with the world around it, particularly with the Islamic caliphate, western Europe and the Slavonic world. Although the Byzantines frequently fought their neighbours, they preferred where possible to influence them through diplomacy and conversion. Then in the later eleventh century, new enemies appeared on the borders and Byzantium began to contract once more, a series of events that was to provide the background for the later launch of the First Crusade in 1095.

  • In this period London grew from a town of 50,000 inhabitants to a capital city of some 200,000. The Reformation not only swept away ‘superstitious’ beliefs, but destroyed much of the fabric and topography of the medieval City - this module will consider how Londoners coped with these changes. How were Londoners fed and watered? How were crafts organised? How was the City governed?

  • Between 1553 and 1603, England faced the unprecedented situation of being ruled by two successive queens regnant, Mary Tudor and her sister Elizabeth. Drawing on new sources and interpretations, this module challenges commonplace arguments about their relative successes and failures. Should Mary be considered a political pioneer and England’s most overlooked monarch? Should Elizabeth’s reign not be considered more a triumph of political spin and style than significance and substance? This module urges students to reassess the traditional image of the Tudor monarchy.

  • The triumph of the First Crusade (1099) resulted in the establishment of a Latin Christian community in the Levant for almost two hundred years. This module is primarily concerned to examine how the settlers maintained their hold on a region which was spiritually, economically and politically important to the Byzantine empire and the Muslim world as well.

  • Medicine and Society in Medieval Europe
  • ‘Martin didn’t make the movement, the movement made Martin’, noted veteran civil rights activist Ella Baker. Baker’s perceptive comments strike at the very heart of contemporary historiographical debates. On the one hand, scholars have increasingly viewed the mass black movement for civil rights in the United States as a grassroots phenomenon that was rooted in local communities and based upon local leadership and local needs. On the other hand, scholars still emphasise the vital national leadership role played by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights struggle, particularly from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott to King’s 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. This module looks at both strands of this scholarship and seeks to assess the dynamics of the movement at both local and national levels, and to examine the tensions that often existed between them, as well as addressing the central controversies and debates surrounding King’s movement leadership. The module covers topics including: desegregation of schools, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Albany and Birmingham campaigns, the March on Washington, the Sit-in Movement and tensions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

  • From ‘Downton Abbey’ to ‘Call the Midwife’, we might think we know the history of women’s lives in twentiethcentury Britain. Take the 1920s: the slender flapper, cigarette-holder in hand and off to cocktails or a night at the flicks, epitomised the surface glamour of modernity. Possessed of an office job and a vote, she also boasted a swimsuit, sex appeal, and a voguish knowledge of Freud. But was her world really one without limits? This module explores the experiences of British women in a century of rapid social, political, economic and cultural transformation. We determine the constraints on, and advantages gained by, women in relation to education and paid work, citizenship and feminism, war and peace, migration and immigration, and sexuality and family life, among other themes. We look at the places and spaces that shaped women’s experiences, from the home to the workplace and beyond, as well as tracing the ways that family, community and the media all moulded ideas of what it was to be ‘feminine’. Along with gender roles and expectations, we consider how social class, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality and location all played their parts in shaping women’s experiences and their hopes for their futures. Drawing on wide-ranging historical scholarship, as well as primary sources including film, autobiography, photography and oral history, we plot the changes in British women’s lives and ask what continuities there are between women’s lives today and the experiences of their mothers and grandmothers.

  • The module examines the intellectual and cultural history of Russia in the turbulent years from the Great Reforms of the 1850s and 1860s to the 1917 Revolution. During this period, Russian society experienced industrialisation, urbanisation, secularisation and the erosion of traditional values and social distinctions. The spread of literacy, the rise of popular culture, and mass politics all contrived to change the nature and the values of Russian society. In the absence of any established system of political freedom until the 1905 Revolution, Russian literature was a barometer of popular sentiment and a forum in which the great moral and political issues of the day were debated. The tension between reformism and revolution dominated the period. For many, the obduracy of the autocracy precluded the possibility of seeking a gradual reform of the state. Others struggled to reform the Empire whilst staving off violent revolution. The 1905 Revolution was a seminal moment in Russian history in this period. It heralded the explosion of mass movements onto the political stage confirmed for many observers their worst fears of the anarchy and violence that would accompany social revolution. The emphasis throughout is on the dynamism of Russia in this period as all sections of society struggled to cope with change on an enormous scale at dizzying speeds.

  • This module covers the democratic Second Republic (1931-6) the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) and the first and most brutal phase (1939-53) of the Franco dictatorship. In Spain, as in Europe, the 1930s and 1940s saw the explosion of modern mass political mobilisation and antagonistic visions of national development vied for dominance.

  • In the first five decades of the twentieth century, the lands of East Central Europe experienced a violent transformation, perhaps unlike any other the world had ever seen. The age-old Habsburg and Ottoman Empires collapsed during the war decade of 1912-1923, giving way to fragile nation-states marred by a multitude of problems throughout the interwar period. This module dissects the causes of imperial collapse and highlights its deep-felt consequences for the successor states of Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. It explains how multi-ethnic coexistence gave way to conflict, how democracy waltzed with authoritarianism and how eventually these former borderlands turned into the bloodlands of the Second World War. Using a wide range of sources, (including texts, images, comics, and music), the module examines in turn: multiethnic coexistence in the imperial lands; the unmixing of people during the First World War; majorities and minorities in the interwar period; the introduction of liberal democracy and the growing appeal of fascism, communism and authoritarianism; and, finally, the mass atrocities committed by erstwhile neighbours during the Second World War. Throughout this tumultuous period, East Central Europe became the testing ground for modern political ideologies from imperialism and democracy to Nazism and Communism, but came to be nostalgically remembered as a mosaic of ethnicities. The premise of this module is therefore simple: we cannot understand the dynamics of the modern world without understanding the story of East Central Europe in the early twentieth century.

  • This module explores the chief themes of modern political thought through its leading figures from Rousseau (c. 1750) to the present. By the mid-18th century the opulence fuelled by economic development had become increasingly central to social and political thought, and ongoing debates over progress and modernity interacted with the democratic ideals inspired by the American revolution. This in turn fuelled 20th-century debates over liberalism and socialism, the emergence of totalitarianism, the implications of imperialism and decolonisation, and the growing spectre of environmental catastrophe.

  • This course will review the modern literature on the causes and consequences of the Great Depression Slump for Britain and America during the 1920s and 1930s. Politicians, government advisors, and academics in the west were unable to explain why capitalist society was plunged so deeply in to depression, and they were also perplexed as to why the usual remedies failed to generate forces of recovery.

  • Over the past two centuries Muslim societies have been experiencing a major process of religious revival and reform, of which a dominant feature has been an increased emphasis on action in this life to achieve salvation. In following this course students will engage with the main figures in the movement from Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab to Usama bin Laden, and some of the main organisations from the Deoband School to al-Qaeda.

  • This module examines the occurrence of genocide from the colonial period to the present day. It deals with the development of the concept, with a particular focus on the man who coined the term ‘genocide’, the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin and the debates in the United Nations which led to the formulation and acceptance of the UN Genocide Convention in 1948. We consider too the merits of different approaches to studying genocide, including political science and anthropology as well as history. The module then proceeds by examining the following case studies: the colonisation of Australia and North America, the Herero genocide, the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Stalin’s Great Terror, post-1945 genocides of indigenous peoples, Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia. In each case, we do not simply say whether or not genocide occurred but try to understand genocide in the context of the unfolding of a dynamic of violence, usually in the context of war and massive social crisis. We then analyse different explanations for genocide, including issues of nation-building and the ‘world system’ of competing states, race-theory, gender, and social psychological explanations of aggression. The module concludes by examining the promises and problems of genocide prevention and humanitarian intervention.

  • Terrorism has become one of the most pervasive and defining features of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Indeed, terrorism as a specific form of political violence has been employed across a variety of historic and geographic contexts by a range of actors, from lone individuals to anti-colonial revolutionary organisations, and from fundamentalist religious groups to liberal democratic states. The module aims to examine the underlying reasons for the ascendancy of this form of political violence and the immense challenges it has posed to state and society throughout this period. The module adopts a comparative thematic approach examining various waves and manifestations of terrorism including: anarchist terror in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; anti-colonial ‘terror’ used during the anti-colonial wars of independence in the post-Second World War period; the pervasive left-wing ‘Red Terror’ of the 1970s; terrorism employed by ethno-nationalist and separatist groups; ‘religious’ terrorism in various traditions; the resurgence of far-right terrorism; and finally the oft-overlooked phenomenon of state terrorism. This comparative approach employs various case studies to examine ubiquitous themes including power, identity, politics, society, the state and religion, all vis-à-vis terrorism, and deploys a diverse range of primary source material (both textual and audio-visual) to interrogate these themes.

  • Art and architecture were key weapons in the construction of power in the Roman world and the establishment of the Empire. As Rome’s power expanded and its political system shifted towards Imperial rule, anecdotes abound as to the opulent and impressive building projects of Rome’s imperial family: thus, the emperor Augustus found Rome brick and made it marble, whilst Nero’s private palace (the Domus Aurea) engulfed most of the city of Rome. Whether true or exaggerated, such tales emphasise the importance of architecture in ancient Rome and the impact and reception of building in the negotiation and contestation of power. Using both archaeological and literary evidence, this module looks at how those in power employ art and architecture to express their authority and values. It starts with examining how artistic commissions, prestigious public buildings and art-collecting played an important role in competition between the leading politicians of the late Roman Republic. It then moves on to explore the ways in which the ultimate winner of this rivalry, the emperor Augustus, and then his successors, used art and architecture to establish and legitimise sole power and familial succession. We consider in chronological order how images, individuals and social groups mediate and manipulate power through art and architecture.

  • This module investigates the deep shifts in humanitarian ideas, practices, and organisations over the past century and a half: from imperial ‘civilising missions’, through war and post-1918 efforts to ‘organise the peace’, followed by the reassertion of humanitarian values after 1945 and the challenges of decolonisation, cold war, and then post-1990 ‘complex emergencies’. Students develop a critical understanding of humanitarianism as a changing concept and practice forged through the complex interactions of many actors and institutions in the crucible of national and international politics.

  • Sharīa law (Islamic law) is an important but widely misunderstood phenomenon that is central to several contemporary political controversies, including democratisation in the Muslim world, political Islam and radical Islamism, and the status of the Muslim diaspora in the west. This module helps students understand sharīʿa law as an evolving legal tradition, by introducing them to the intellectual structure of the law and then tracing how sharīʿa has been manifested in a variety of historical contexts from the late Middle Ages until the twenty-first century, including the Ottoman Empire, the modern Middle East and modern Britain. The module explores various areas of law, including criminal law, constitutional law, property and trusts, and slavery, but it has a particular focus on family law – marriage, divorce and child-rearing – and its impact on gender in Muslim societies. The module uses these case studies to address the fundamental question of the relationship between sharīʿa law and political power: is sharīʿa law a constraint on government, or a tool government can use? How can a Muslim government adhering to sharīʿa law legislate? Can sharīʿa law be reconciled with democratic government? The module is accessible to all: previous knowledge of Islamic or Middle Eastern history is not required.

  • This module examines the interconnected world created by the dynamic movements of people, plants, animals, ideas and products across the Atlantic basin during the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Through the assigned readings and discussions, we analyse the social, cultural and religious transformations taking place on both sides of the Atlantic as indigenous peoples, Africans and Europeans interacted with each other. The primary focus is on the lands claimed by the Spanish and Portuguese empires, while also analysing their entangled relationships with the emerging British, French and Dutch empires. Themes covered include imperial competition, migration, changing understandings of community and space because of the new encounters, the collection and circulation of botanical and medicinal knowledge, the impact of long-distance trade on daily lives and material culture, the rise of the transatlantic slave trade and colonial forms of coercion and exploitation, and local struggles for rights.

  • Chinese women found their voice at the dawn of the modern era. Silent no longer, their roles in society changed fundamentally, taking on a complexity never seen before in Chinese history. This module brings these women into life, examining the impact they made not at the margins, but as main actors with their own narratives. Set against the broad sweep of modern Chinese political and social history from the nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, the module is structured in two parts. In the first term, there is an examination of the lives and impact of three powerful women: Empress Dowager Cixi; Soong Mei-ling (the wife of Chiang Kai-shek); and Jiang Qing (Madam Mao). The actions of these three figures not only shook up the existing political and social order in their country, but also had a huge impact globally. In the second term, the exploration shifts to a more thematic approach, in order to allow us to appreciate these women in historical context. The main concept that is addressed is Confucianism, and from this follows investigation of the impact of a changing China on several important sets of relationships including mother and daughter, and husband and wife. The module also addresses several roles associated with Chinese women, such as writers, revolutionaries, housewives, factory workers, and prostitutes. It uses a wide range of materials, including translated documents, filmed drama, newspapers, documentaries and biographies.

  • This course contrasts and compares the experience of state formation in four distinct countries of the Muslim world: Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan. Although separated by language, history and very different experiences of Imperial domination over the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century, each one of these countries has struggled with similar problems after achieving some form of independence.

  • The First World War was a transformative event in modern British history, which, as its recent centenary highlighted, continues to provoke intense popular and academic interest. More than 1,000,000 British subjects lost their lives as a result of military service during the conflict, and many more were physically or psychologically traumatised. The destructive force of industrialised warfare led to a very direct civilian encounter with mass death, and families and communities across the United Kingdom suffered unprecedented levels of bereavement. While the rupture between the pre- and post-war worlds should not be overstated, the cultural, social, political and economic landscape of the UK was radically altered by the experience of the conflict. To put it mildly, then, the impact of the First World War on British society was profound and long-lasting, and the conflict retains considerable cultural resonance in twenty-first century Britain. This module explores the British experience of the war and look at the ways in which the conflict has been interpreted and remembered in Britain in the century since it ended.

  • This module examines the origins, escalation and end of ‘hot wars’ and the Cold War in Southeast Asia between 1945 and c.1979. The Vietnam War was one of the most significant and devastating conflicts in the second half of the twentieth century. Indeed, there was not one but two Vietnam Wars – the Vietnamese struggles against the French between 1946 and 1954 and against the Americans from 1955 to 1973. This period, moreover, witnessed nationalist and revolutionary movements in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Laos, the East Indies (Indonesia), Malaya and Singapore, which resulted in the creation of new nation-states. Above all, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union/China was superimposed on Southeast Asians’ fight for independence. This module explores how nationalism and decolonisation in Vietnam and Southeast Asia interacted with the global Cold War. While focusing on how successive American administrations got involved in the Vietnam War, the module also considers the foreign policies of other great powers, such as France, Britain and China, and the agencies of Southeast Asian states. Rather than a ‘military history’ module, its primary concern is the diplomatic and political aspects of the Vietnam conflict.

  • This module explores how the French sought both to describe and transform their society in the turbulent century following 1789, through the lens of innovative works of literature, political thought, art and the social sciences, all studied in translation. The upheaval of the French Revolution and dreams of radical transformation led in turn to socialist utopias, ‘realist’ novels and modern sociology, and to fears of national decline and fantasies of cleansing violence which haunted French society in the years preceding the Great War.

  • Art and architecture were key weapons in the construction of power in the Roman world and the establishment of the Empire. Using both archaeological and literary evidence, this module looks at how those in power employ art and architecture to express their authority and values.

  • From Constantinople to Alexandria: Eastern Mediterranean Cities, 1798-1956
  • Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, won three successive general elections and occupied 10 Downing Street (between 1979 and 1990) for longer than any other politician in twentieth-century Britain. She divided popular opinion, domestically and internationally, and her historical significance is yet to be determined. What exactly was Thatcherism, and why is Margaret Thatcher's legacy still so controversial and contested? How far did Thatcherism succeed in its objectives, especially considering Margaret Thatcher’s pledge to ‘change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society’?

  • Beginning with the Restoration of Charles II and ending in the ‘Regency’ period during the reign of George IV, this module examines how men and women’s perceptions of themselves were moulded by their families and wider society, and the extent to which their experiences were determined by gendered perceptions of sexual, racial, and class differences. Much of the module focuses on areas where criminal, ecclesiastical or civil laws shaped (or were shaped by) dominant ideas about gender differences. Among the many topics covered, it explores aspects of male and female sexuality, experiences of marriage and separation, of family life and adolescence; gendered concepts of sin, crime, and juvenile delinquency; the pleasures and perils of new forms of shopping, fashion and entertainment, and the working lives of businesswomen, actresses, prostitutes and male-midwives. Students have the opportunity to engage with a wide range of printed and digital primary sources and learn to present their work through a variety of mediums to academic and wider public audiences.

  • This module introduces students to the ways in which the ancients increased knowledge, both through geographical expansion and through technological advance. Students explore the reasons why ancient Greeks and Romans made contact with other peoples and how they described distant lands, both real and fictional. The technological inventions of antiquity are likewise examined, from military equipment such as burning mirrors and catapults to everyday gadgets such as vending machines and robots or the Antikythera mechanism, a complex analogue computer to calculate calendar dates.

  • The rise of a xenophobic, demagogic and nationalist political right is one of the most controversial phenomena in contemporary times. Is it fascist, populist or something else? How can we apply these concepts today? The Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election have also caused many to wonder whether the age of globalization and multiculturalism is now past. This module adds a scholarly dimension to such timely debates by tracing the rise of the “nationalist” far right from its early twentieth-century roots to the present day.

  • The last person to be executed for blasphemy in the UK was Scottish student Thomas Aikenhead, who perished at the hands of the public executioner in 1697 for maintaining the belief that Judaism, Christianity and Islam were human impostures, that all scripture was fable, and all priests devious manipulators. He was, in the language of the times, a freethinker. This course, by examining the History of Ideas, explores the conflict between reason and religion during the early English Enlightenment in the years following the English Civil War and on either side of the Glorious Revolution.

  • This course scrutinises an area of English social history that was once universally disparaged. Recent work, however, suggests that the Church in England from c1375-c1525 displayed remarkable resource in adapting to and satisfying the needs of contemporaries. As well as surveying some of the more vibrant areas of the Church’s institutional life, the course will dwell on the laity’s response, particularly as expressed through the parish. This will provide the opportunity to delve into areas such as popular belief and practice, parish government, and more informal activity in the foundation and management of lay confraternities.

  • The Second Crusade was the largest crusading expedition of the twelfth century, encompassing campaigns to Iberia, the Baltic and the Holy Land. It was also the first crusade to see the participation of kings and to have a fully organised preaching network, headed by the charismatic Bernard of Clairvaux. In spite of its unprecedented scale, this massive attempt to ‘extend the frontiers of Christendom’ as Pope Eugenius III described it, was in many respects a failure. This exciting and broad-ranging course illuminates an episode that affected all areas of Christian Europe as well as touching many regions of the world beyond.

  • The capture of the capital of the Byzantine empire (also known as Byzantium) by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481) on 29 May 1453, was one of the pivotal events of the later Middle Ages. The module opens with a survey of the background: the decline of Byzantium, the rise of the Ottoman Turks and importance of the Italian maritime republics of Genoa and Venice. It then turns to the unsuccessful Ottoman attack on Constantinople in 1422, the subsequent Byzantine bid to secure western military aid at the Council of Ferrara/Florence, the disastrous crusade of Varna of 1443-4 and the lead-up to the final Ottoman attack. We make a detailed examination of the many contemporary accounts of the siege and consider their evidence as to why Mehmed II succeeded where so many others had failed in the past. Particular attention is paid to how eyewitnesses explained the disaster, and how they balanced metaphysical reasons such as the judgment of God and the wheel of fortune with practical ones, such as human weakness, the role of heavy cannon and a desire to blame anyone whom they disliked. Finally, the aftermath of the fall of Constantinople is examined: the call for a crusade to retake the city and the efforts of Pope Pius II to orchestrate a united response to the Turkish victory.

  • Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) was obsessed with crusading and he dedicated his pontificate to defeating the enemies of the Church. A profound challenge to his authority came from the Cathars of southern France - men and women following an austere lifestyle and holding a dualist belief in a Good God and an Evil God. Using a series of vivid contemporary narratives, in conjunction with other documents (including inquisitorial records), this course examines the beliefs and organisation of the Cathars and the progress of the Crusade and the Inquisition against them.

  • This course examines the changing place of the Empire in British politics and society in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1830 and 1870 the political relationship between Britain and the colonies was recast, while understandings of 'race' also changed profoundly. Drawing on a wide range of textual and visual sources - including official papers, cartoons, explorers' diaries, newspapers, maps, parliamentary debates, novels and letters - students will examine British responses to imperial events such as the emancipation of slaves, indigenous rebellions in India and Jamaica; David Livingstone's exploration of Africa; and the settlement of New Zealand.

  • This module examines critical engagement with commercial and industrial society in Britain during the long nineteenth century. Waste, competition, selfishness, vice and urban poverty were seen as concomitant to the advance of commercial society, and as the 19th century’s first industrialised nation, Britain offered radical and socialist as well as conservative critiques of these developments. Arguments ranged from alternative visions of modernity to returning to a more idyllic past, and set the background for the modern environmental movement emerging in the later 20th century.

  • This module extends, chronologically, from the making of metropolitan Berlin before 1914 to the ramifications of reunification after 1990. Topics include, among others: Berlin society in its various classes, milieus and communities; women across the decades and regimes; high culture and (ethnic, artistic, sexual and criminal) subcultures; the built environment from Wilhelmine grandeur, Republican sobriety, Nazi and Communist showcase architecture to post-war and post-wall reconstruction; the flowering of Jewish Berlin and its extinction; revolution, counter-revolution and the ‘golden twenties’; political activism in the Weimar, Nazi, and Communist eras; anti-fascist resistance, East Berlin dissent and West Berlin non-conformism; conquest, occupation and division; four-power-status, cold war and détente; the Wall and its fall; in short, everything from high politics to low life.

  • This module provides students with a deep understanding of the genocide of the European Jews during World War II, the events commonly known as 'the Holocaust'. Students will explore the evolution of Nazi ideology, the creation of ghettos and death camps, and how the murder of the Jews was carried out across Europe. The evidence for collaboration and resistance will be examined, as will the liberation of the camps, the early collection of postwar testimonies, and the competing attempts to explain the Holocaust in history.

  • This module examines the ups and downs in American-Chinese relations during the Cold War. It examines how and why the United States and Communist China transformed their relationship, from hostile enemies in the 1950s and much of the 1960s to tacit allies by the 1970s. Events and issues covered include the direct and indirect confrontations between America and China over Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam; the roles of the Soviet Union, Britain and Japan in their changing relationships; and their divergent views on such issues as Third World revolutions, nuclear weapons and international trade. Thematically, the module considers how ideology, personality, domestic considerations, cultural stereotypes and alliance politics influenced the foreign policies of Washington and Beijing and the dynamics of Sino-American interactions. Students are expected to approach the subject not only from the American perspective but also from the Chinese viewpoint, by exploring both Western and (translated) Chinese primary sources, such as diplomatic documents, memoirs, public speeches and political cartoons. By placing Sino-American relations in the wider international and domestic contexts, this module shows how the two great powers were shaped by, and helped shape, the global Cold War. It provides valuable historical lessons for managing Sino-American relations in the twenty-first century

  • Between the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the outbreak of World War Two, the Soviet Union experienced a programme of forced modernisation, unprecedented levels of state repression, and the devastation of WWII. The course will examine how Stalinist policies amounted to an attempt to sculpt a new society through a combination of forging 'Soviet' citizens, and excising undesirable elements from the body social. It will also explore how different constituencies within Soviet society supported, sought accommodation with, or resisted the values and policies of the state.

  • This module covers the crucial transitional period in which Christianity came to dominate the Mediterranean world, from the accession of the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine in 306 to the death of Augustine of Hippo in 430. The fundamental political, social and religious changes that took root during these dramatic years, which also witnessed the early Germanic invasions into the Roman empire, are brought to life by a broad spectrum of translated literary texts and material culture. Students engage with a wide selection of influential writers: Eusebius of Caesarea (Constantine’s biographer), the last pagan emperor Julian ‘the Apostate’, the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, the orator and teacher Libanius, and the Church fathers Jerome (with his ascetic circle of female students) and Augustine (author of the Confessions and City of God). We also examine other forms of evidence: the laws of the Theodosian Code, the inscriptions left by the Roman senatorial aristocracy, and an array of surviving examples of Late Roman art and architecture. The scope and diversity of these sources reflect the transformations of the period itself and offer dissertation opportunities for students with interests ranging from religious and political history to gender studies or the Roman empire’s ‘Decline and Fall’.

  • From Henry VII to Charles II, this module explores how the English monarchy represented its authority and power in the midst of the great political and religious changes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Drawing on a wide range of textual and material sources, students explore how different rulers sought to sustain and enhance their authority through how they represented themselves, and consider how the success or failure of royal image influenced the dramatic events of the English Reformation, Civil War and Restoration.

     

  • Victorians were both fascinated and repelled by their capital city, often at the same time. For the American writer Henry James, London was not only "magnificent", but also a "brutal" city which had "gathered together so many of the darkest sides of life". This course strolls through the sights, smells, and senses of Victorian Babylon, the "dreadfully delightful city" with its extremes of imperial splendour and crushing poverty.

  • Ever since the Islamic Revolution in Iran happened to coincide with the greater prominence of Christian nationalist rhetoric in Ronald Reagan's White House journalists, policy makers and academics have suggested that the end of the 'short' twentieth century brought about a global return of religious radicalism. This course will discuss the utility of 'fundamentalism' as an analytical category as it seeks to explain a wide range of radical political cultures around the globe under one master category: from the new wave of Islamic terrorism to settler intransigence in and religious Zionism in Israel, from communal violence in India committed under the banner of a muscular Hinduism to the neo-Imperialist agenda of the Christian Right in the US.

  • This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the role that migration has played in British life since the nineteenth century, with particular focus on the evolution of identities and notions of citizenship. From immigration legislation, to race riots, from multiculturalism to Islamaphobia, this course engages with key aspects of modern British life and the various factors, historical as well as contemporary, that have shaped them. 

  • Terrorism has become one of the most pervasive and defining features of the modern world since 1945. It has been employed across a range of historic and geographic contexts by a range of actors, from lone individuals to anti-colonial revolutionary organisations, and from fundamentalist religious groups to liberal democratic states. This module examines the underlying reasons for the ascendancy of this form of political violence, and the immense challenges it has posed to state and society down to the present day.

  • In the 1850s photography was established in Britain – and altered how Britons saw themselves forever. This module looks at the relationship between images, society and culture, from the arrival of the camera to cinema and early TV. From the work of art photographers Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron to camerawielding asylum doctors and ‘spirit photographers’ who believed they could portray the dead, photography became a core part of Victorian culture. Photography transformed understandings of place – and changed the way the British saw the Empire. The novelty of the photographic technologies, like the stereograph, often fascinated and delighted. We also look at the role of photography in everyday life – from the staid Victorian family portrait to contemporary scandals over pornography. Term two focuses on watching and reading films – and how this new medium represented twentieth-century Britain. Class, race and gender were reconfigured on the silver screen. We explore the growth of film culture in the 1930s, the impact of the Second World War on film and Postwar British film culture including 1940s costume drama and New Wave Cinema in the 1960s. We finish with the arrival of early TV and a Coronation Street case-study. Students look at a wide range of visual sources including newly digitised collections of photography (e.g. The Wellcome, Imperial War Museum, Frith Collections) and independent research is strongly encouraged. Each term begins with an ‘orientation’ session Introducing methods and techniques for film and image interpretation.

  • This module examines the history of Chinese migration in both an internal and external context, engages with the issue of frontiers, and understands the long-term impact of historic migration on China’s situation that is still resonant today. It explores how Chinese human mobility responded to and reflected changes in politics, economics, and culture during the period, and how the lives of Chinese migrants in foreign countries reflected China’s foreign relationships. The focus on frontiers brings in a geopolitical dimension and provides a broader context in which to examine not only China’s interactions with other nations in the process of globalisation, but also how this in turn impacted the course of Chinese migration. This module provides an in-depth study of the relevant issues by tracing the steps of migrants from 1800 to the 1960s across broad geographical boundaries, from Northern China to Taiwan and Hong Kong, and from China to United States and United Kingdom, impacted by key policies of the administrations from Qing imperial government through to the Communist era. Students who have already completed a previous Chinese history module are particularly encouraged to take this module as it not only provides a new level of challenge, but also goes deeper into topics previously explored. The module provides a wide range of dissertation topics, supported by is a large body of source material in English, accessible both online and within the London area.

  • This module provides a detailed and intensive overview of the history of African American Islam. It focuses primarily on the development of three African American Muslim communities in the twentieth century including the Nation of Islam and the Imam W.D. Mohammed community. The module examines the formative years of the Nation of Islam, the Islamic themes in Elijah Muhammad’s leadership and the efforts that other Muslim communities made to challenge his legitimacy as a Muslim leader. The module focuses largely on Elijah Muhammad’s national minister, Malcolm X. It examines Malcolm’s conversion, ministry, politics and debates surrounding his assassination. The module assesses the NOI’s continued growth after 1965 and the splintering of the community in 1975 into orthodox and unorthodox factions. The module examines the rise of Malcolmology in the 1990s and popular culture. The module also introduces students to recent studies that explore the work of women in the original NOI and the organisation’s relationship with Muslim communities in and beyond the US. The second half of the module focuses on the resurrected NOI. Topics within this half of the module include a detailed examination of the Million Man March in 1995, Louis Farrakhan’s leadership, racial politics, the Justice or Else March and the NOI’s work with Black Lives Matter, and interfaith outreach.

  • This module examines the development of atomic weaponry and its effects on Western society during the 20th century. The A- and H-Bombs are arguably the most influential technological developments of the last century, affecting geopolitics, military strategy, and the shape of post-1945 society, as well as granting to a few the ability to render the Earth uninhabitable. This had a profound effect on politics and society, not only for the leading western states but globally with arms proliferation and the spread of atomic power.

  • In 1914 the French poet Charles Peguy wrote that the world had changed more since he started going to school in the 1880s than during the previous two millennia. Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, the rise of mass politics and the decline of the established religions all ensured Europe was in a state of political and social flux during the fin de siècle. Established hierarchies and authorities - the patriarchal authority of the father, the sovereignty of emperors, kings and parliaments, the self-confident economic rule of the bourgeoisie, the spiritual leadership of the European churches - were being challenged by the rise of new ideologies of liberation: secularism, occultism, nationalism, anarchism, socialism, feminism. The module adopts a thematic approach to explore a range of topics through which Europeans endeavoured to make sense of, and navigate a path through, this changing world. Visions of change were shot through with ambivalence. Optimism about the creative powers of the market and faith in technological, material and political progress were undercut with darker apprehensions of disorder, decline, and decay. Politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and writers fiercely debated ideas of race, class and gender and wove a richly varied imaginative tapestry that reflected on the unstable world around them. Their conflicting prescriptions for political, social and moral reconstruction showed that the very shape of the modern world was ‘up for grabs’.

  • “At last I can live like a human being!” Throughout Roman literature, stories such as Emperor Nero’s celebration of his vast Golden House in Rome abound, and reveal how the domestic sphere was used to construct notions of belonging and status in the Roman world. Students will compare textual sources like the letters of Cicero and Pliny the Younger with archaeological remains from Rome, Pompeii and beyond, bringing to life the sounds, smells and sights of Roman domestic space in all their multisensory complexity.

  • The American Civil War was the defining moment in the history of the United States. The American populace, north and south, white and black, found themselves grappling with two issues – what would be the nature of the political union that formed the backbone of the American nation state, and what would be the status of African Americans within that nation. Ostensibly, these matters were resolved as the bloody conflict resulted in the abolition of slavery and the settling of political debates about the relationship between states and the federal government. But were these contentious issues of politics and race truly resolved? America’s post-Civil War history certainly suggests not. Moreover, a cursory glance at modern America points to a continued schismatic discourse about the power of the federal government and the issue of race. Put simply, if one is to understand the nation’s more recent history and politics they must get to grips with the Civil War, the crucible in which the modern American nation was forged. This module takes a chronological approach to the period from 1848 to 1877. Starting with the sectional divisions over slavery in the 1850s and ending with the tumultuous conclusion of the Reconstruction period, this module explores the key causes, consequences, events, personalities, interpretations and legacies of the American Civil War. It approaches these important questions and themes from a range of historical standpoints, including military, social, political and cultural perspectives.

  • ‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him’ (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882). This module offers students an opportunity to engage with leading modern thinkers – including Rousseau, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud – as they confronted fundamental questions of human existence regarding God, religious belief, science and history. The module concludes at the beginning of the 20th century with the founders of modern sociology (Durkheim and Weber) and psychology (Freud) and their radical new ideas about the role of religions and their apparent decline.

  • Europe, as an “ideal” and imagined landscape, is a very old concept. What often impressed past observers was the deep richness and brightness of European cultures, their diversity and yet also their many common values. This module explores the journey towards the European Union, how this united Europe was built, and especially how it has been perceived by political movements, politicians, and scholars both in previous decades and in the present, offering students a better understanding of the world in which we live today.

  • The century from about 1050 to 1150 was one of profound upheaval and dynamic change in Europe. Old states were strengthened, and new ones founded under increasingly centralised power; demographic growth resulted in the expansion of towns and new rural settlements, while relative peace brought by strong government resulted in unparalleled opportunities for the emergence of new cultural forms. At the centre of all these changes was the Church, both as an institution and as the director of Christian life, and at the heart of the Christian life lay monasticism. From its beginning in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria, monasticism had always represented the striving toward human perfection. But by c.1050, many Europeans found the contemporary forms of religious life far from perfect. The needs of society had made monasteries not only refuges from the world but vital components in the operations of that world. Monasteries were part of the system of land ownership, and thus of local power. But they differed from other political agencies in one respect: they were also mediators of divine power. A ‘revolution’ in religious life occurred between c.1080 and 1150 because many came to understand these two functions as incompatible. But how religious life should be led – through personal austerity or in strictly regulated communities, in poverty or in comfort, with sexes mixed or kept apart – became a battleground among reformers. We look at the varied hopes and ideals of reformers, and the lengths to which they went to realise them.

  • Genocide is far from being an exceptional or infrequent event: by some counts, there have been over 50 genocides since 1945. This module seeks to understand the common roots of this recurrent phenomenon by making connections between a range of very different case studies, from colonial genocides in North America and Australia through to more recent cases in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur. We examine the causes of these genocides – from international and domestic factors, through to the reasons individuals chose to kill – and debate the role that ideology, war, competition for resources, and the nation-state system played in each, as well as engaging with issues of victimhood, loss, and living together again in the aftermath. These case studies and themes are explored in relation to developments in the historiography of genocide and anchored in a wide range of primary documentation – from perpetrator accounts, trial transcripts and victim testimony, through to photographs, forensic evidence and mapping technologies.

  • For too long, the history of the Holocaust has been dominated by perpetrator-led studies that advance its unfolding through the lens provided by the political scientist, Raul Hilberg, in his still-influential book The Destruction of the European Jews (1961). Hilberg’s paradigmatic model, built on long consultation with Nazi documents presented at the Nuremberg trial of 1945-46, suggested that the ‘Final Solution’ (the Nazi euphemism for destruction) unfolded over four stages: identification, expropriation, concentration and annihilation. This model continues to sustain scholarship though it completely neglected the victims’ perspectives. ‘The Holocaust Witness’ is a counter to the narrative limitations of that model. This interdisciplinary module advances a witness-centred history of the Holocaust through examining case studies of emigration, insurgencies in ghettos, cultural resistance, the difficult rebuilding of life and communities in the postwar period, and the impact of digital technologies on mediations of survivor-hood. It takes students through the emergence of the Holocaust witness as a cultural and juridical category in the twentieth century via a range of first person, collective and curated, testimonial, visual and oral documents.

  • Inverts, deviants, androgynes, tribades, sodomites, pansies, sapphists, sissies, tomboys, brown hatters, dykes, perverts: queers. Throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Britain these, and many other such terms, have been employed to identify and codify queer sexual practices and identities. Beginning with the emergence of homosexuality as a defined modern identity in the late nineteenth century, this module goes on to explore how queer identities were constructed and contested, described and debated in both mainstream culture and in the queer subcultures that emerged and took shape, laying the foundations for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) identities as we understand them today. We consider how queerness captured the fascination of the medical profession, the legal system, the media and the general public. Moreover, we investigate the interaction between these dominant discourses and queer people themselves, examining how queer people lived and loved in times of turbulence, from the interventions of sexologists to criminalisation, to same-sex desire in times of war, to the creation of modern queer communities. Along the way we also ask questions about how to research queer history. This module is multi-disciplinary, engaging with a diverse range of primary source material (including textual and audio-visual) and in particular makes use of oral history sources as a way of accessing the lived experience of queer people.

  • This module develops students' knowledge of advanced compositional techniques with particular focus on structure, harmonic control and the manipulation of rhythmic and melodic material. It provides opportunities to practise the art of musical composition and to develop skills in independent creative work and increases students' awareness, knowledge and understanding of issues related to contemporary composition practice in a variety of contexts. Developing on areas covered in MU2213 Composition Portfolio, the module will provide a framework for you to further explore the possibilities in your own compositional method. You will complete a structured portfolio that will properly demonstrate your increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of contemporary art music and related compositional issues. You will be assisted in acquiring a deeper confidence in experimenting with a range of compositional methods and techniques whilst being encouraged to explore the possibilities of your own compositional voice in the hope that this trend will continue into your professional life. During workshops you will be given the opportunity to have your work rehearsed and recorded by professional musicians. It is hoped that through these workshops you will discover more about the possibilities of instrumentation and the many practical compositional issues facing composers today. You should also seek to develop your own opportunities for the performance of your music in order to develop your confidence and professional activity.

  • In this module you will carry out independent research providing specialist insights into a topic of your choice from the field of ethnomusicology, film studies, historical musicology, performance studies, or theory and analysis. You will look at digital sources, secondary literature, and archive material on your chosen theme, and critically engage with new thinking in musicology. You will be guided by a supervisor who will advise on the planning, organisation, development and presentation of your dissertation, which will be between 13,000 and 15,000 words in length.

  • The learning objective is to write a detailed essay on a topic of a technical, analytical or theoretical nature relating to music.

    You will undertake an extended piece of academic work at the level appropriate to the final year of an undergraduate degree programme, carried out independently under the guidance of a supervisor, and laying the foundations for possible further work in the field at postgraduate level.

  • This course will develop and refine students’ abilities as solo performers at an advanced level through weekly seminars in which performances will be subjected to critical scrutiny by the course tutor and members of the class.  Students will develop the ability to manage the occasion of performance at a professional level and will engage in the study and performance of music by twentieth-century or contemporary composers writing in particularly challenging or complex musical styles.

    The course consists of regular instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department, regular two-hour practical seminars in which students perform suitable repertory according to a rota that requires appearance in front of their peers at least twice a term, thereby gaining platform experience in preparation for the final recital.  ‘Professional preparation’, consists of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns, such as preparation for an audition, performance practice, interpretation and communication.  Students share participation in a public lunchtime recital.  The dates of the recitals are arranged by the Concert Office in the preceding summer vacation.

    The writing of programme notes and concert reviews to professional standard as well as the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music administration and concert management skills are key requirements.

  • Solo Performance
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Intercultural Performance: Theory and Practice
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Music and Gender
  • Hearing the Orient: Critical and Practical Approaches to the Middle East
  • Practical Performance 2
  • Composing with Technology 2

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take twelve course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering versatility and choice.  

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and instrumental/vocal lessons. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of musical activities supported by the department, including performances by orchestras, choirs and other ensembles. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Advisor to support you academically and personally.

Assessment is carried out by a combination of examinations, which take place in the summer term, along with written papers, extended essays, assessed coursework, and a portfolio of practical work.

A Levels: ABB-BBB

Required subjects:

  • A-level Music or Grade 7 Music Theory at pass
  • Applicants without A-level in Music or pass in Grade 7 Music Theory may be eligible for the Intensive Theory entry. This requires Music GCSE grade A/7 or equivalent, plus performance at Grade 7 level. In term 1 you will be required to take Fundamentals of Music Theory, an intensive music literacy course.
  • Students wishing to take Solo Performance options will need to be of Grade 8 level in performance at point of entry.
  • If you are studying two A-level subjects, you may still be eligible for entry to the Music BMus (single honours), if you are able to provide evidence of your ongoing commitment to music. For this pathway, the standard offer is A B including Music. We require candidates to be performing to Grade 8 ABRSM standard, to have studied music theory to Grade 5 ABRSM level, and have a substantial record of musical performance or other musical achievements, which they should detail in their Personal Statement.
  • Five GCSEs graded A*-C or 9-4 including English and Maths.

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.

T-levels

We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Studying History and Music at Royal Holloway will provide you with a unique skill set, open up a wide range of career options and provide a basis for further study. As well as practical performance, composition and production skills, your degree demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged, are able to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and have a understanding other values and cultures, which equips you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. 

On graduation you will be informed and independent - armed with key skills including; problem-solving, organisation and planning, research and analysis, as well as communication and presentation skills and critical thinking.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800

Other essential costs***: £50 (Music)

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed.  For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Top 25

in the UK for research quality

Source: Complete University Guide, 2024 (History)

6th

in the UK for performing arts

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023 (Music)

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