HST117: The Making of the Twentieth Century

20 credits (semester 2)

Module Leader: Dr Tehyun Ma (2018-19)

Module Summary

This course looks back at key developments in the political, social and cultural history of the twentieth century. Its aim is to broaden students┬┤ views of twentieth-century history by highlighting the ways in which barbarism and civilising forces went hand in hand in forging twentieth-century history. Rather than proceeding purely chronologically, this module focuses on a series of key themes that have shaped twentieth-century history, such as, for example, globalisation and fragmentation; revolutions; the political, social and cultural history of war; and democracy and mass politics. Each topic is introduced by a series of four lectures given by a subject specialist. An accompanying seminar programme allows for the in-depth discussion of specific issues and case studies.

Teaching and Assessment

The course will be taught through twice-weekly lectures and compulsory weekly seminars. Further guidance is provided in the module course booklet, available through MOLE.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level1

Selected Reading

There is no single textbook for this course that deals with all the issues discussed. Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991 (London, Abacus, 2000) is probably the best one-volume introduction.

Two paperback volumes are recommended as introductory and reference works for the module:

  • Richard W. Bulliet, Columbia History of the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998) (recommended)
  • Michael Howard and William Roger Louis ed., The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2000) (recommended)

Other texts which might be of some use in studying the period include:

  • Mark Mazower, Dark Continent (London, 1999)
  • David Reynolds, One World Divisible: A Global History since 1945 (London, 2000)
  • J. M. Roberts, A History of the Twentieth Century (London, 2000)
  • Bernard Wasserstein, Barbarism and Civilization. A History of Europe in Our Time (Oxford, 2007)

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this module will have developed:

  • A nuanced understanding of the broad forces that shaped the history of the twentieth century;
  • Their ability to present material in weekly seminars and participate in informed debate with peers and tutor;
  • Their ability to master basic research and writing skills in researching and writing informed, well-structured analytical essays on key topics;
  • Their ability to use various forms of information technology for academic purposes;
  • Their ability to analyse short extracts from primary documents and critically to evaluate secondary works on related topics;
  • Their ability to write informed and cogent essays under pressure of time.