English and History BA
School of English
Department of History
You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry.
English and history is a natural combination, uniquely positioning you to understand and interrogate diverse texts and media from all over the world and place them within their historical, social and political contexts.
You'll explore literary and historical cultures from the medieval to the present day, all the while developing your skills as a critical, creative and independent thinker.
As a dual honours student, you'll divide your studies between the School of English and the Department of History. Choice and flexibility are at the heart of our teaching, which means you can pursue and develop your own interests. At every level, there is a wide variety of modules to choose from. You will be taught by world-leading experts from both departments.
You'll be required to take a minimum number of credits within both departments each year, but how you choose to divide your modules after this is up to you: split your modules evenly between English and History, or choose to weight your degree in favour of one subject or the other.
For the English side of your course, you can pursue either an English Literature or an English Language pathway, or take modules from both areas.
Research is central to the student experience here in Sheffield. All our teaching is informed by the latest findings, and all our students have the opportunity to carry out their own research project as part of their degree. Outside of your degree, there are many opportunities to develop your interests, insights and critical faculties.
Over the course of each academic year at Sheffield, you will need to study modules that equate to the value of 120 credits. Some of these credits will be taken up by our core modules, which are designed to give you the breadth of knowledge and ways of thinking necessary to the degree being awarded.
For your remaining credits, you will be able to choose from an extensive range of optional modules, allowing you to shape your degree to the topics that interest you.
UCAS code: QV31
For English, all first year students take the core module: Renaissance to Revolution (40 credits). Remaining credits can be chosen from the list of optional English modules listed below (all 20 credits) or from guided modules from across the University. Dual students must also fulfil the core requirement for their other subject.
For history, the first year programme is designed to help you to make the transition from studying History at school or college to studying it at degree level. It introduces you to core academic skills and provides a solid grounding in historical study and research, giving you the foundations you'll need to deepen your understanding of historical events and processes throughout your degree and setting you off on the path to becoming an independent historian.
Our first year history option modules introduce you to our main areas of teaching and research and give you insight into what you can study in the coming years, so that you can better shape your degree to your individual interests.
English core module:
- Renaissance to Revolution
This module surveys the poetry and prose from the early modern period in England, i.e., that written between the beginnings of the sixteenth century through the seventeenth century to the late eighteenth century. We will look at different genres, from court complaint to sonnets, prose fiction, erotic verse, restoration drama and the works of writers such as Donne, Herbert, Spenser, Marlowe, Dyrden, Milton and Pope. The texts studied will be related to critical methods that help us understand the relationships between literature and the culture, society, and politics of the period in which it was produced.40 credits
English optional modules:
- Contemporary Literature
This module introduces students to a diverse range of texts in English (prose, poetry, and film) with a focus on texts published since 2000. Texts will be chosen to provoke thinking and debate on urgent and controversial topics that might include: globalisation and neoliberalism; ecology and animal lives; artificial intelligence and the posthuman; political activism and social justice; migration and displacement; state violence and armed conflict. We will discuss formally and conceptually challenging works, raise ethical and philosophical questions and begin to discover how current critical and theoretical approaches can help us to engage with contemporary texts.20 credits
- Early Englishes
Early Englishes works backward over a whole millennium of English, 1600 to 600. Each week's lectures and seminar focus on one century and one text representative of that century (for example, Beowulf and Piers Plowman). We will use a variety of techniques , literary, linguistic, anthropological, cultural historical, to analyse each text, thereby opening up discussion of the issues that preoccupied the English of the time, from glorious monster-slaying to the slow surrender of pagan belief to terror at the imminent arrival of Antichrist and on to the first expressions of love and desire. Texts will initially be studied in translation so no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is necessary, but students will also be given the opportunity to examine texts in the original language.20 credits
- Introduction to Creative Writing
The aim of this unit is to help students to develop their expressive and technical skills in writing poetry and prose and to improve their abilities as an editor and critic of their own and other people's writing. Students will be guided in the production of new work and encouraged to develop an analytical awareness of both the craft elements and the wider cultural and theoretical contexts of writing. This module explores poetic techniques for creating new poems and narrative techniques for generating some prose work through the critical study of published examples, imaginative exercises, discussion and feedback on students' own writing. This exploration will help students to develop their own creative work while sharpening critical appreciation of published poetry and modern and contemporary fiction. The course is designed to give students the expereince of being workshopped as well as to establish basic creative writing techniques on Level 1 to preparing students for the challenges of Creative Writing Level 2.20 credits
This unit introduces students to the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare. Students will read a wide range of his works and will analyse them in the context of the cultural and historical energies of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. We will consider the range of dramatic styles and genres that he engages, alongside the conditions of performance, kinds of publication, and the characteristics of the language in which he worked. We shall also relate the texts to critical methods that help illuminate the relationships between drama and the culture, politics, and religion of the period.20 credits
- History of English
This module traces the history of the English language of the Fifth century AD through to the present day. Students will learn about the development of English over this period, looking at the factors which have shaped the language, and learning a variety of techniques for studying the language. The module will also introduce students to the range and variety of the English language at all periods, and to the ways in which English influences, and is influenced by, other languages.20 credits
- Practical Stylistics
How are literary effects created through language? How can we describe these effects? This course will aim to provide literature students with a gentle introduction to language, and provide language students with experience of applying linguistic analysis to literary texts. The emphasis will be upon a practical hands-on approach, and topics covered will include sentence structure, lexical choice, cohesion, narrative structure, discourse analysis (with reference to drama and dialogue) and point of view in narrative fiction. The texts studied will be predominantly literary and twentieth century, and will include extracts from novels, plays, poetry and short stories.20 credits
- Introduction to Cinema
This module aims to study a cross-section of the most important American films up to the present day and to develop both a formalist and an institutional analysis of these works. Its intention is to study the growth of the classical Hollywood style, a matter of a sophisticated range of technical stratagems as well as of a genre-based cinema, and of the institution of Hollywood itself, the most significant force in cinema to-day.20 credits
- Studying Theatre: A History of Dramatic Texts in Performance
Covering classical, contemporary and popular texts, Introduction to Theatre aims to turn an interest in theatre and theatre-going into a more thorough appreciation of the ways in which playwriting, acting, design and performance have shaped theatre's development. Each week students will study a particular play and the historical context that informed its first performances and its theatrical afterlife. The course emphasis is on theatre as a social practice and practical discipline. Seminars and lectures will focus on the play in performance, and the processes that underlie production. Students do not need previous knowledge or experience, but should be prepared to try some new approaches to texts, for example through practical workshops.20 credits
History core module:
- History Workshop
What does it take to be a historian? In this module, students study the process of historical research, learning discipline-specific methods and essential study and writing skills through close engagement with a historical monograph linked to their tutor¿s research interests. Students will develop skills in critical reading, historiography, essay writing, bibliographic techniques, and oral communication. Assessment consists of independent work (completing tasks on the online learning environment and producing a critical analysis of the secondary source), and group work (oral presentation on a related historical topic).20 credits
History optional modules:
- Empire: From the Ancient World to the Middle Ages
Covering the period from the 4th century BC to the 15th century AD, this module invites students to explore the ancient and medieval worlds through the lens of `empire'. It provides an introduction to ancient and medieval types of empire, their contacts with and legacies to each other, and the connectedness between East and West in this period. Using a wealth of primary evidence and drawing on corresponding historiographical debates, students explore what it meant to live in ancient and medieval empires, what kind of social, cultural and religious encounters they engendered, and whether there was any space for resistance.20 credits
- The 'Disenchantment' of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770
The decline of magic, and some sorts of religion, lies at the heart of this course which traces the emergence of human societies that sought to operate according to rules supposed to be scientific. European cultural experience in the critical juncture between the Reformation and the Enlightenment was by no means the simple rejection of one world-view and its replacement with another. Through the rich, surviving evidence of court records and printing-presses we examine people's changing assumptions about how they should be governed and how they fitted into the world around them.20 credits
- The Making of the Twentieth Century
The module aims to explore the forces in Europe which produced two World Wars of unprecedented destruction, leaving the Continent in ruins by 1945. From there, it analyses the ways in which Europe was able to rise from the ashes, with a troubled route to a semblance of emerging unity - and certainly a half-century of initially unexpected peace - following the suicidal 'European Civil War' of 1914 - 1945. The changing balance of power and approach to war in 1914; the 'era of ideology' in the unparalleled brutality of 'totalitarian dictatorships' and the clashes of Fascism, Communism and Democracy; the postwar settlements; and the growth of the European Community are some of the themes explored.20 credits
- Land of Liberty? Rights in the USA, 1776-2016
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that men were created with ‘certain unalienable rights’. Yet the new United States denied those rights to large swathes of its people. Examining themes which resonate powerfully today, this module explores American history as a struggle over how rights have been defined and debated, expanded and contracted, and secured and denied. Linking the history of ideas to the efforts of ordinary people, we will look at debates over liberty and slavery, democracy and disenfranchisement, capital and labour, integration and segregation, gender and sexuality, nationalism and internationalism, and conservatism and liberalism.20 credits
- The Transformation of the United Kingdom, 1800 to the Present
This module explores the central political, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic developments that have transformed Britain since 1800. Unlike most of its European neighbours, Britain did not experience dramatic moments of revolution, constitution-building, invasion or military defeat; indeed the belief that the nation was set on a course of gradual evolutionary progress was central to many versions of British identity. This course examines how, when and why change occurred in Britain. Key themes include the transition to mass democracy; the impact of industrialisation; shifts in social relationships based on class, gender and ethnicity; and the rise and fall of Britain as an imperial power.20 credits
For English, in your second year you will take a minimum of 40 core credits within the School of English. (You might choose to take one or both of the following core modules in its entirety, or you might take 20 credits from each core module in the Autumn semester.)
For history, your second year builds on what you've learnt so far, furthering your knowledge in areas of history that you have already encountered and introducing you to new and exciting topics. A wide range of modules will help you to explore new areas and discover where your main interests lie ahead of your final year.
These modules will not only help you mature as a historian, challenge assumptions and appreciate the bigger picture, they will also develop professional skills of analysis, judgement and communication.
We want your degree to be coherent, so our core module continues to give you a strong foundation for your historical knowledge. Each dual honours degree will include a minimum of 40 credits from history modules at level two.
English core modules:
- Romanticism to Modernism (a)
This module focuses on a diverse range of texts (including poetry, prose, drama and film) produced between the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. It pays detailed attention to the varied styles, issues, and movements produced by the rapid technological, political and cultural shifts that characterise these two centuries. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module introduces cutting-edge research carried out within the department in areas such as romanticism, the Gothic and science fiction, experimental literature, colonial and postcolonial contexts, war studies, and animal studies40 credits
- Literature and Critical Thought (a)
This course introduces writers, concepts and approaches fundamental to contemporary literary theory, and explores their application to diverse relevant texts. Students will engage in a transhistorical study of the formal, literary and cultural functions of genre (e.g. in the forms of comedy and tragedy). They will also encounter theorists such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Ferdinand de Saussure, Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Michael Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard. Lectures will introduce and explain this material, and seminars will discuss and apply it to the study of literature.40 credits
- Romanticism to Modernism (b)
This module focuses on a diverse range of texts (including poetry, prose, drama and film) produced between the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. It pays detailed attention to the varied styles, issues, and movements produced by the rapid technological, political and cultural shifts that characterise these two centuries. Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module introduces cutting-edge research carried out within the department in areas such as romanticism, the Gothic and science fiction, experimental literature, colonial and postcolonial contexts, war studies, and animal studies.20 credits
- Literature and Critical Thought (b)
This course introduces writers, concepts and approaches fundamental to contemporary literary theory, and explores their application to diverse relevant texts. Students will engage in a transhistorical study of the formal, literary and cultural functions of genre (e.g. in the forms of comedy and tragedy). They will also encounter theorists such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Ferdinand de Saussure, Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Michael Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan and Jean Baudrillard. Lectures will introduce and explain this material, and seminars will discuss and apply it to the study of literature.20 credits
English optional modules:
Creating Fiction (details TBA)
- Road Journeys in American Culture: 1930-2000
This module analyses the development of road narratives from the 1930s to the present, looking at the ways in which this narrative trope tells the story of American culture and society throughout the twentieth-century. The module aims to address some or all of the following questions. Do road journeys reflect or run away from political realities 'at home'? To what extent is the road journey a gendered space predominantly occupied by men? Are certain groups of people allowed to travel and other groups not? Is the road journey a metaphor for American colonization and expansion, or something else more ambiguous? Texts to be studied include films such as 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Bonnie and Clyde', The Straight Strory', and 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' novels such as 'On the Road' by Jack Kerouac, 'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov, and 'The Music of Chance' by Paul Auster, and poems by Elizabeth Bishop and Amy Clampitt.20 credits
- John Donne
This module focuses on the work of one of the most charismatic, provocative, and intellectually challenging poets and preachers of the early modern period, John Donne. Ranging across Donne¿s writings, we will consider his erotic and religious poetry, political satires, letters, and sermons. The module will examine the social and literary circles in which Donne¿s work was written and read, with a particular emphasis on contemporary cultures of print and manuscript, and also seek to locate Donne¿s work in the wider context of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century society, exploring, for example, his engagement with court politics, religious controversy, debates about marriage, and the exploration of the New World. The module will conclude with an examination of the critical reception of Donne¿s work and, in particular, the ways in which his biography has been constructed from the seventeenth-century to the present day.20 credits
- Shakespeare on Film
This module deals with issues arising from the transposition of Shakespeare¿s plays to film. It will consider such issues as the relationship between text, staging and the cinematic adaptation. The course will look at, for example, the comparative strengths of films that attempt textual fidelity (Branagh¿s Hamlet) and those that reflect the auteur/director¿s need to `rewright¿ the original (Derek Jarman¿s The Tempest); and analyse the problems, in terms of space, language and otherwise, associated with adapting stage drama for cinematic purposes. In particular, this module will look at some of the most exciting, unconventional and successful adaptations of Shakespearean plays to screen.20 credits
- Literature and Nonsense
This Level 2 module aims to introduce students to literary nonsense published between the eighteenth century and the present day. Challenging the common conception that nonsense literature is a Victorian phenomenon that begins and ends with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, it will trace both the forebears and the heirs of these two fathers of nonsense in order to propose nonsense as a kind of writing that presents radical formal, philosophical and ideological challenges to literary and critical practice.20 credits
- Literature, Ecology, Capital
Fredric Jameson famously noted that it `seems to be easier for us today to imagine the thoroughgoing deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism¿. This module explores how literature represents the relationships between ecological crisis and the crises of capitalism. We will consider texts concerned with (for example) petroculture, habitat loss, biotechnology, meat and tourism. Chronologically, we will move from the late nineteenth century to the present. Given the global nature of the topic, we will be concerned with a diverse range of national literatures.20 credits
- New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema
This module will explore the ways in which contemporary British directors working within the broad traditions of British realist cinema have responded to and sought to represent the contemporary period. Students will study films by directors such as Andrea Arnold, Shane Meadows, Andrew Haigh, Clio Barnard, Duane Hopkins, Joanna Hogg, Steve McQueen, and Francis Lee and will consider these works in a range of theoretical, formal, and institutional contexts.20 credits
- European Gothic
What were the historical circumstances which led to the rise of the Gothic in Europe? This course will interrogate the Gothic through this and many other questions which will place emphasis upon its historical and political contexts. We will examine a variety of Gothic texts from 1764 to the present day, and locate and critique them historically through a variety of contemporary reviews and critical essays. Gothic art and architecture will also be examined in relation to the texts with a scheduled slide show, examining work by 'Gothic' artists such as Goya and Piranesi.20 credits
- Representing the Holocaust
This course will examine fictional and non-fictional, literary and filmic, representations of the Holocaust, and considers the use and extension of conventional textual forms to do so, including documentary film, memoir, short story and cartoon. Texts covered will include Elie Wiesel's 'Night', Claude Lanzmann's film 'Shoah', Martin Sherman's 'Bent', Martin Amis's 'Time's Arrow' and Ida Fink's stories in 'A Scrap of Time'.20 credits
- Good Books: Intertextual Approaches to Literature and the Bible
Literature, film and television constantly return to the Bible as a source of narrative, character and image. Biblical texts are translated, rewritten, transposed and radically challenged by literature from the medieval period to the present day and so intertextual readings of the Bible and literature provide insight into the ways authors engage with politics, philosophy, and tradition. Our module explores a range of intertextual relationships, from medieval dream poetry through to contemporary writing and cultural representation, including a range of genres and approaches. We will analyse film, TV and visual media as well as literary forms, to explore the ways in which creative writers interpret and re-imagine biblical narratives and tropes.20 credits
- Satire and Print in the Eighteenth Century
Against a background of political, religious and cultural ferment, new ideas of the individual's relationship to the state emerged in the early-eighteenth century. New kinds of readers, authors, and an increasingly powerful book trade reshaped the literary map of Britain. Those fraught relationships are captured in the prose and poetry of the satirists upon this course. The political, religious and economic satires of writers including Defoe, Pope, Swift, Ramsay, Finch, Gay, Leapor, Montagu, Addison and Steele will be read as a new and troubled relationship between the individual and the state emerged alongside a vigorously contested idea of 'Britain' in literature.20 credits
- The Postcolonial Bildungsroman
This module considers the bildungsroman as a global form that, having emerged in tandem with Western imperialism, remains a vital means of constructing the self and (re)imagining social and political relations in postcolonial literatures. We will focus on the representation of growth, development and community in novels from South Asia, Nigeria, South Africa and the Caribbean, paying attention to features that are, arguably, anti-developmental, including primitivism, animality, violence, illness and disability. We will investigate how `postcolonial' or `global' novels stretch, resist or overhaul, an inherited form and ask how contemporary concerns with race, gender and religious conflict play out for protagonists in whose lives the local and the global meet.20 credits
History core module:
- Historians and History
This course will introduce students to the most influential 'schools' of historical practice in operation in the second half of the twentieth century and which remain influential today. These include Marxism, the Annales school, quantitative history, history from below, feminist and gender history, and postmodernism, as well as English empiricism. Lectures will provide an overview of each approach, and discuss the historical context in which it emerged. In seminars, students will be taught to assess critically the opportunities and limitations of each approach.20 credits
History optional modules
Dual honours students will normally take between one and three option modules, depending on if you choose to take Writing History, a document option and/or if you choose to major or minor in history.
- Writing History
The Course Assignment in History is an extended (5000 word) essay in which students are given freedom to choose and explore problems and issues raised in another module that they have taken, or are currently taking, at Level 2. The balance between primary and secondary materials will depend on the topic and the availability of sources. In each case students work independently under the guidance of a supervisor.20 credits
(Writing History is not available to students minoring in history)
Band A: Pre-1500 history option modules:
- The Family in Late Antiquity: Romans, Barbarians and Christians
This module examines how family concepts and family life were affected by the two phenomena that changed ancient society beyond recognition: Christianisation and the establishment of `Barbarian¿ kingdoms on Roman territory. To study the period of late antiquity from the point of view of the family is a particularly fruitful way of understanding these changes, as for most late antique men and women their family was their most immediate and most important life experience. Throughout the module we will explore crucial aspects of the late antique household: settlement patterns, family finances, intergenerational relationships, marriage, gender roles, childhood and forms of family commemoration. We will pay particular attention to strategies families developed to safeguard their identity and their livelihood at a time of major social and cultural upheaval.20 credits
- The Fall of the Roman Empire in the West
This course will explore one of the classic problems of world history, conventially seen in terms of 'decline and fall', but recently reinterpreted in a more positive light with a new emphasis on 'transition', 'transformation', and the cultural diversity of a period now generally known as Late Antiquity. These themes will be explored through a wide range of informative and entertaining primary sources and a lively historiographical debate. Students will acquire a good general awareness of the last century of the western Roman empire (no prior knowledge of this period is required), but will also explore a number of important comparative themes in history such as authority, community and identity, why empires exist, and how they end.20 credits
- Tolerance and Dissent in Europe (12th - 16th Centuries)
Different religious faiths have coexisted in Europe for centuries. Yet religious violence occurred repeatedly across Europe until the 18th century. Historians have largely focussed on the policies implemented by political and religious authorities in explaining these events. While addressing group culture in general and the contributions of social groups to the institutionalisation of values in a religious context, the seminar aims to trace the possibility and the limitations of religious pluralism in Europe between the 12th and the 16th centuries. This long term perspective will contribute a novel approach to the history of the Reformation.20 credits
- Rome and its Empire (14-235 AD)
This module provides an introduction to the themes, sources and methods involved in studying the Roman empire at the height of its power, between the consolidation of a monarchical style of government at the death of Augustus and the beginning of this government's `crisis' in the third century. It draws on a wide variety of sources, including narrative history, letters, legal texts, inscriptions, coinage, architecture and artefacts. The module particularly focusses on traditional and current scholarly debates surrounding the `Romanisation' of the vastly different territories under Roman rule (stretching from Hadrian's wall to the Euphrates), the relationship between local and Roman identities, as well as definitions of Roman forms of `imperialism' and strategies of cohesion.20 credits
- The Rise of Rome and its Empire (c.500-90 BCE)
This course will look at the political, cultural, and economic dimension of Roman imperialism (500 BC-90 BCE), the relevant primary sources and the current historiographical debates. Firstly, we will study the motives of Roman aggression and the causes for their success. Secondly, we will also look at the ways in which the Romans understood and conceptualised their imperial practices. Thirdly, we will consider the role of the other Italian peoples in the Roman imperial project, and how the peninsula underwent processes of integration and cultural change that was instrumental to, but not necessarily bound with, Roman imperial expansion.20 credits
- Revolution, Reform and Crusade in 11th-c. Europe
This module explores one of the most dramatic and debated centuries in European history. Beginning with the apocalyptic resonances of the year 1000, the module then examines the evolving political framework of the period, with special attention to the role of bishops and queens. It next explores the transformation in Europe's economy, before comparing and analysing the two major historiographical approaches to this puzzling period: church reform and feudal revolution. The course then considers the place of Judaism and Islam in eleventh-century Europe, and concludes with Europe's growing involvement with the wider world, putting the First Crusade into full context.20 credits
- From the Pharaohs to Alexander the Great: The Battle for the Ancient World
This module examines the ongoing battle for dominance in the ancient Near East between the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks. From the outset of the Iron Age (around 1000 BCE) until Alexander the Great swept in from Macedonia to conquer the whole of the known world in 330 BCE, four empires rose and fell in the area now known as the Middle East. In the midst of all these powers lived ancient Israel—the small yet strategically located society that produced the texts known as the Old Testament. The module explores the key political, military, religious, economic, and social events that shaped these empires, shifted the balance of power between them, shaped their sacred texts, and made parts of these societies iconic symbols of the ancient world.20 credits
- The Archaeology of the Later Medieval Church in England
This module will provide an overview of the archaeology of the later medieval church in England between 1066 and c.1540. Drawing on a wide range archaeological, architectural and textual sources it will explore the nature of the church through a series of thematically organised lectures and seminars. Themes covered include the development of the parish church and its architecture, the place of the church in the rural landscape, churchyard archaeology, the impact of the Black Death, the fabric of monastic life, monastic economies and the effects of the Reformation. You will learn to critically evaluate and debate established approaches, and to develop fresh, evidence-based arguments that are relevant to current research.20 credits
- The Celtic West: from the fall of Rome to the Viking Age
This interdisciplinary module seeks to reconstruct an understanding of early medieval western Britain and Ireland from the end of the Roman Empire in the early fifth century to advent of the Viking Age. In contrast to the Anglo-Saxon regions of eastern Britain, there exists the notion that the Celtic West was at the `edge of the earth', and consequently was a land of tyrants and barbarians, who, in their isolation, were removed from the cultural and political developments of this time. This module will break down the misconceptions of Britain's `Dark Age' past through the analysis and interpretation of written sources and archaeological evidence, including material culture and scientific data. It will explore the people and their beliefs, and will demonstrate that, as the realm of Saints, scholars, traders and artisans, early medieval western Britain and Ireland were intricately connected to the wider European and Mediterranean world.20 credits
- The Ancient Greek Economy
This module explores the economic foundations of the ancient Greek world from the 8th to 2nd centuries BC, with particular emphasis on the Classical period (5th-4th centuries BC) and the polis societies of Athens and its neighbours. This task involves critical engagement with different forms of textual, iconographic and archaeological evidence and throughout emphasis is placed on the challenges and rewards of combining diverse sources of evidence. Students are first introduced to key debates about the nature of the ancient Greek economy and the strengths and weaknesses of the sources available for reconstructing it. Thereafter, a series of paired lectures and seminars, organised chronologically and thematically, examines topics including settlement, land ownership and land use, slavery, craft production, trade, material culture and identity, and sacred economies in social contexts ranging from the early polis and Greek colonisation, through empire to the emergence of Hellenistic kingdoms.20 credits
Band B: 1500-1800 history option modules:
- Intoxicants in Early Modern England
The module looks at the uses and abuses of intoxicants in England during the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This includes `old world' intoxicants, such as wine, beer, and ale, as well as `new world' commodities like tobacco, chocolate, coffee, and tea. The module introduces students to the economy of intoxication, and the importance of intoxicants to domestic trade and global expansion; to the role of intoxicants in medical practices; to the places, spaces, rituals, and conventions of consumption; and to importance of intoxicants to the early modern state and political culture.20 credits
- The Export of England: Seventeenth Century Trade and Empire
This module considers the commercial and territorial expansion of seventeenth-century England. It examines how England¿s commerce was transformed from the largely bilateral cloth trade with Europe conducted by mercantile corporations, to a multilateral commerce conducted under several conditions (the `navigation system¿, `free trade¿, joint-stock companies). These changes coincided with the foundation of North American and West Indian colonies, building on earlier experiences in Ireland, and the course will consider their developing relations with the metropolis. Throughout, the focus will be on whether these changes were a consequence of deliberate `mercantilist¿ state policies, or of the initiative of thousands of individuals.20 credits
- Gender, Culture and Society in Britain 1650-1850
This course will give students the chance to consider one of the most important, exciting and original areas of recent historical research gender. The course aims to encourage students to consider broad questions and theories about gender history through one specific context: Britain between the years 1650-1850. It was during this period that Britain was transformed from an early-modern to a modern nation. Students will explore the comparative experiences of men and women during a series of momentous developments, including the Englightenment, the industrial revolution, the emergence of a class society, the emergence of popular participation as a significant feature in political life, and the rise of 'separate spheres'. The course will thus enable students to assess the part played by gender in the emergence of 'modern' British society. Students will be encouraged to explore how a focus on gender encourages new interpretations of the key economic, political, social and cultural developments of this period.20 credits
- A Protestant Nation? Religion, Politics and Culture in England 1560-1640
On the accession of Elizabeth I, England became an officially Protestant country but the Church, State and laypeople did not necessarily agree about the nature of changes needed to accommodate the new religion. On the level of national government policy, we shall explore what governments expected from their subjects and how they attempted to secure religious conformity during the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I. How far did anti-Catholicism define English identity in this period? Did authorities at the national and local levels disagree about how severely religious minorities should be treated?20 credits
- Social Crisis and Political Change in England, 1550-1640
England experienced rapid social and economic change in the two generations before 1640 and these changes had a considerable impact on the development of the state. This course examines political and administrative responses to increasing poverty, migration and urbanisation, as well as responses to death and epidemic disease. It will also consider government attempts to foster growth in both the domestic and international economy. These initiatives were also shaped by changing visions of government and good order, and the course will consider the role of these ideas in defining social problems and appropriate responses to them.20 credits
- Disease, Medicine and Health Care in Early Modern Europe
Attitudes to disease and the body were often fundamentally different in early modern Europe. The aim of this module is to explore changing ideas about the human body, disease and health care across Europe across a broad periosd from its late medieval roots to the new science of the seventeenth century. Developments in public health care are explored, such as the development of hospitals, along with the impact of new ideas emerging from Renaissance Humanism and from the Scientific revolution. We will make wide use of contemporary texts, including herbals, recipe-books, health manuals, and case histories.20 credits
- Becoming America, 1690-1763
This module investigates the proposition that modern America took shape in the period 1690-1763, prior to and, as we will consider, in many ways productive of the transformation often associated with the era of the American Revolution. The module will consider primary sources and associated secondary debates relating to five key themes: ethnic diversity and religious pluralism, geographic dispersal, the growth of domestic and international market economies, the emergence of popular, partisan politics, and the reconfiguration of notions of power, authority, and control. The module considers longstanding and emerging historiographical debates, including but not limited to the prevalence and manifestations of monarchical versus liberal political culture, anglicisation and colonial consumption, and geography/regionalism and periodization in colonial American history.20 credits
- Understanding the Aztecs: Life and Death in Early Sixteenth-Century Mexico
Human sacrifice has cast a long shadow over the history of the Aztecs, obscuring the complexity, sophistication and compassion of the distinctive society which dominated central Mexico in the early sixteenth century. But the Aztecs' unique island-capital of Tenochtitlan was not only a centre for spectacular religious bloodshed, but also a sophisticated metropolis, home to a civilised society of highly educated individuals and close loving families. Taking a principally ethnohistorical and cultural approach, this module examines life in Tenochtitlan on the eve of its shattering conquest by the Spanish invaders whose records are also the principal source for Aztec history.20 credits
- Culture in Early Modern Europe
Culture is the key to understanding how societies thought and behaved in the past. Early modern Europe - a period of immense cultural change and conflict - is no different. This wide ranging module introduces students to ideas about culture and examines how cultural history has revolutionised what we know about the lives of men, women and children in Europe between 1500 and 1800. Building on a rich historiography and through a series of intriguing case studies, the module draws on wide range of sources - such as diaries, letters, and legal records, to printed works, art and archaeology - to enter into the many cultures of early modern Europe. The module explores issues like material culture, youth culture, cultures of protest, intellectual culture, and religious culture. It asks whether we can talk about different cultures of men and women and how cultures were affected by social and economic inequalities. It thinks about forces of cultural integration and pressures of cultural conflict. And it explores ideas of cultural change, and how these changes helped create the modern world.20 credits
- Gender in Britain in the Long Eighteenth-Century
Eighteenth-century Britain witnessed great change: historians have argued for a `revolution¿ in industry, the `birth of a consumer society¿ and the emergence of a `public sphere¿ of political debate; global trade expanded, towns grew, and new Enlightenment ideas flourished. In this context, gender identities and roles were redefined, understandings of the body debated, and notions of masculinity and femininity contested. This module explores these ideas about gender, and how they informed the experiences of women and men, from polite fashions to the criminal underworld, bluestocking sobriety to drunkenness in gentlemen¿s clubs, and from `subcultures¿ of homosexuality to the first `feminists20 credits
Band C: Post-1800 history option modules:
- Spain, 1917-1982
The primary aim of this course is to introduce students to the study of Spanish history and to prepare them for more advanced study, particularly of modern European history. The restoration of the monarchy in 1875 marked the beginning of an extraordinarily turbulent century of Spanish history, which is dominated by the Civil War of 1936-39. Against a background of far-reaching government corruption, the weapons of political terrorism became increasingly prominent and a cyclical pattern of escalating violence and brutal repression culminated in a bloody Civil War and the subsequent military dictatorship of General Franco. The role of the army will be examined as will the nature of the Franco regime, together with the opposition forces of anarchism, socialism and Basque nationalism.20 credits
- Fascism 1918-1945
This option studies the rise and fall of European fascism between 1918 and 1945. The aim is to account20 credits
- Holy Russia, Soviet Empire: Nation, Religion, and Identity in the 20th Century
This module explores the twentieth-century history of Russia, the Soviet Union, and its successor states. Rather than approaching this turbulent period in history by focusing on the rise and fall of different political leaders (as is often the case in survey courses), we instead approach this subject through the prism of nation, religion and identity. The course probes the following questions: What did the `Russian revolution¿ mean for the multi-national empire created by the Romanovs? How far did the communist party manage to create a `Soviet¿ identity, and on what was this based? Did the Bolsheviks¿ attempt to create an atheist society succeed? And what happened to `Soviet¿ identity when communist leaders began to lose their grip on power in the final decades of the twentieth century?20 credits
- The French Third Republic, 1870-1940
This course will introduce students to French history from the fall of Napoleon III until the Second World War. The emphasis will be on the major political debates which emerged during the period, especially ideological struggles over whether France should be a republic or monarchy. Some of the questions to be explored include French attitudes towards democracy and the nation, the rivalry of Church and State, anti-semitism and the Dreyfus affair, the rise of socialism and the labour movement, the domestic ompact of the First World War, the inter-war period, and the Popular Front of the 1930's.20 credits
- Slavery and Abolition in the United States
This module explores slavery and its critics in the United States. Focusing mostly on antebellum America - the three decades before the Civil War - we will move from the daily struggles over life and labour on the plantation to the place of slavery in national politics and international trade. Students will explore the character of the slave community, the relationship between master and slave, and debates over the rights and wrongs of the `Peculiar Institution'.20 credits
- The Making of Modern India, 1780-1965
Modern South Asian history has been an exceptionally fertile field of scholarly exploration, with many new insights and theoretical developments emerging from this field. This module will study the recent historiographical trends while looking closely at several historical developments during the period of British rule and the immediate post-colonial period. The module will be divided into four parts: the early colonial period, the late colonial period, the period of anti-colonial resistance or the national movement, and the post-colonial/Nehruvian era. The themes to be studied include: land/agrarian settlements, British expansionist policies, the revolt of 1857, the formation of caste identities, British famine policies, socio-religious reforms, Gandhian mass-mobilization, Islamic assertions, the national movement, Nehruvian socialism, partition of the subcontinent, and post-colonial legacies.20 credits
- Gender and Sexuality in Modern Britain, 1850 to the Present
Through lectures and seminars, this course offers an overview of the history of gender and sexuality in Modern Britain. We will examine political, social, cultural and economic change from the perspective of gender relations and constructions of gender, as well as shifting understandings of sex and sexual politics from the Victorian period of alleged sexual repression to moments of liberation resulting from two (or more) so-called 'sexual revolutions' in the 20th century. We are interested, in equal measure, how women and men experienced, negotiated, and reacted to these changes in gender norms and sexual mores.20 credits
- Imperial Germany, 1871-1918
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of Imperial Germany and its position in the controversial interpretations of the 'peculiarities' of Modern German History, ie the structural continuities leading the the rise of National Socialism and its seizure of power in 1933. The module will cover topis crucial for an understanding of these debates, such as the party system and electoral culture, the structure and sociability of the middle class, the forms and impact of social militarization, and the emergence of radical nationalism. Particular attention will be paid to the confessional conflicts and identities and to the First World War20 credits
- From World War to Cold War: Europe 1945-1968
This module examines the social and cultural character of Europe after the personal and political traumas of the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on developments in France, Italy and West Germany. Its purpose is to provide a stimulating and wide-ranging introduction to a key aspect of post-1945 European history, encouraging students to consider the history of post-war Western Europe as a unity, and highlighting the similarities between states. Similarly, it deliberately transgresses the boundaries between political, economic, social and cultural history. Topics will include the end of World War II, consumption and affluence, debates about Americanisation, and the changing nature of politics and society during the 1960s.20 credits
- Media and Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century Britain
This module will explore ways in which the press, the cinema, and radio and television broadcasting shaped politics, society and culture in twentieth century Britain. The first half of the module will examine the historical development of each of the major media forms and discuss the different types of content that they provided. The second half will explore a number of key issues, such as the impact of the media on the evolution of modern democracy, the media's role in reflecting and shaping identities such as class, gender and ethnicity, and the media's contribution to the emergence of a consumer society.20 credits
- The History of Terrorism
In the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7, the rhetoric of the war on terror has been one of the most significant political vocabularies of the twenty-first century. Yet, terrorism is not a new phenomenon: the history of the modern world, particularly during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, has been marked by violent challenges to political authority by non-state actors. This module will consider in detail the phenomenon of terrorism in a historical setting, considering various manifestations (geographically, chronologically and ideologically) as well as the related areas of state terror and counter-terrorist strategies.20 credits
- The History of American Foreign Relations
George Washington famously warned against 'the insidious wiles of foreign influence' in his farewell address in 1796. But history has challenged any idea of the United States as a self-contained, bounded nation. Rather, the U.S. has played an active role in world affairs and has been profoundly shaped by events and people outside its borders. This course surveys the history of the U.S. in global context, beginning with America's first forays into overseas expansion in the late nineteenth century. We will cover both the major foreign policy moments and trends in U.S. history ;wars, government initiatives and interventions abroad, interstate diplomacy 'as well as the less formal encounters, migrations, and transnational exchanges that constitute American foreign relations. Primary and secondary source readings, lectures, and discussions will pay particular attention to the intersections between changes at home and developments abroad.20 credits
- Global South Asians: Travel, Migration and Diaspora, 1850-1950
It has been estimated that, by the early twenty-first century, more than 25 million peoples of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent were living in Europe, North America, Africa and Southeast Asia. This module aims to historicise this diaspora by examining how and why South Asians have criss-crossed the globe in increasing numbers from the nineteenth century: for pilgrimage, trade, service, indenture, learning, diplomacy, politics, performance, mission and employment. The focus will be on different experiences of travel, migration and settlement in the high and late colonial period (1858-1947) that anticipated mass migration in the post-war era.20 credits
- The Battle for China's Future, 1839-1949
This module explores a century in which nationalists and imperialists fought over China. We will begin by looking at how the Qing empire, having expanded China's frontiers, confronted the `semi-colonialism' of foreign powers and bloody domestic rebellions. After covering the Qing's fall in the 1911 Revolution, we will examine different designs for national integration on the part of warlords, reformers, and radicals, and consider the civil wars that followed. China's history in this period is sometimes told as a straightforward story of Eastern response to Western impact. But in introducing you to China before Communist rule, we will consider a more complex story of innovation, exchange, accommodation, and resistance, as the Middle Kingdom's dynastic rulers and their republican successors tried to meet foreign and domestic challenges, balance conservatism and modernization, and redraw their country's social, political, and geographic boundaries.20 credits
- Two Germanys, `One People'? Central Europe, 1945-1990
In 1989-90, German `reunification' brought together populations changed by 40 years of different lived experiences, within borders that had not bounded any previous German state. This course examines the social, political, and cultural history of East and West Germany in comparative perspective, focusing on how they related to one another as well as to pre-1945 German history. Special emphasis will be placed on relationships with European neighbours, allied superpowers, and migrant populations in order to show how contemporary Germany has been shaped by transnational processes and how non-Germans have likewise helped define what it now means to be `German'.20 credits
- The Northern Ireland 'Troubles' and Peace Process
This module introduces students to one of Europe's most recent - and deadly - intra-state conflicts. The `Troubles' in Northern Ireland, c.1968-98, were marked by the persistence and seeming intractability of a conflict that contained national, ethnic and religious dimensions. With the paramilitary ceasefires in the 1990s, a new era opened; but difficulties remain in moving from an absence of violence to a genuine peace. Students will consider the conflict as a low-level civil war within the United Kingdom, as well as a dispute over sovereignty. The module covers the competing political and paramilitary groupings and various initiatives to enhance peace.20 credits
- Shell-Shock to Prozac: Mental Health in Britain
This course charts the history of psychiatry and mental health in Britain. We start at the First World War, with the large-scale management of psychiatric casualties (shell-shock). We will look at the uptake of psychoanalysis in interwar Britain, contrasted with `extreme' asylum treatments such as lobotomy and insulin coma therapy. We shall then gauge the impact of the National Health Service from 1948, the closure of the asylums, and the impact of new drug therapies (including the iconic Prozac). Finally we shall analyse the rise of patient activism, and the emergence of new `epidemic' illnesses such as depression and self-harm.20 credits
- Trumpism: An American Biography
Donald Trump's election, commentators claim, was unprecedented as well as unexpected: a break with more than two centuries of custom. Yet closer scrutiny of American history suggests Trump is no aberration. The module will interrogate the U.S. past to better understand the present, looking at the likes of populism as a political language, whiteness as a psychological wage, masculinity as a path to high office, protectionism as an economic policy, and deindustrialization as a political spur. By asking historical questions about the roots of Trump¿s rise, we will situate the American present in a complex and often painful past.20 credits
- Decolonisation: The End of Empire & the Future of the World
The world was transformed in the twentieth century. A world of empires and colonies became a world of independent states. In this module we analyse this global transformation. Why did it happen - and how? How much really changed? For people around the globe - from imperial rulers in Europe to anti-colonial nationalists in the 'third world' - the crumbling of European empires was an opportunity to shape the future of their own communities and of the world. Sometimes negotiated, often violent, these hard-fought struggles over the future created the world we live in today.20 credits
- The Welfare State in Britain, 1900-2015.
Although 1948 is remembered as the birth of the British welfare state, the involvement of the government in the wellbeing of its citizens has a far longer history. In this unit, we will explore the gradual evolution of British welfare practice and policy from 1900 until the present day. We will analyze the shifting relationship between citizens and the state in modern Britain, drawing both on historiographical and primary sources. We will examine how debates about class, gender, race and immigration informed the nature and extent of welfare provision over the past hundred years. In doing so, we will set the birth, growth and decline of the British welfare state alongside debates about the nature of citizenship in modern Britain.20 credits
- Empire, Sexuality and the Family in Modern Europe
The last two centuries have witnessed the dramatic transformation of family life and sexuality across Europe. The experience of empire, both at home and in overseas colonies, played an essential role in that transformation. This module considers how empire shaped European debates about and experiences with sexuality and the family, including questions about race, religion, gender, marriage, childhood and family structures. We will examine developments on the ground both in the metropole and in colonies. Not least, we shall explore the shadow of empire in twentieth-century policies on and debates about sexuality and family life, from National Socialist eugenics laws to international human rights debates about protecting families and children of refugees. In doing so, we will connect a rich body of historical writing about the family, sexuality, gender, law and empire.20 credits
- Life Worth Living
What does it mean for a life to go well? How does one live life well? What is a flourishing life? These questions have shaped intellectual endeavour for millennia. Life Worth Living explores approaches to these questions through engagement with diverse traditions/thinkers including classical Greek philosophy, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Existentialism, Marx, and Nietzsche. The module includes historical analysis of these traditions, visits from individuals whose lives are shaped by them, fieldwork to discuss the ideas beyond the classroom, and assessments to help students develop their own vision of a life worth living.20 credits
- Asian Britain: Travel, Migration, Diaspora
It has been estimated that, by the early twenty-first century, more than 25 million peoples of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent were living in Europe, North America, Africa and Southeast Asia. This module aims to historicise this diaspora by examining how and why South Asians have criss-crossed the globe in increasing numbers from the nineteenth century: for pilgrimage, trade, service, indenture, learning, diplomacy, politics, performance, mission and employment. The focus will be on different experiences of travel, migration and settlement in Britain in the high and late colonial period (1858-1947) that anticipated mass migration in the post-war era.20 credits
History document modules
History document modules have a narrower focus than our standard option modules and usually cover a specific event, a movement, or a moment in time. They help you develop your skills in the use and analysis of primary sources which will be invaluable as you progress through your degree. Dual honours students have the option to take one document option module.
Band A: Pre-1500 history document modules:
- The Medieval Inquisition
The Inquisition ¿ an extraordinary court instituted by bishops from the 13th century to judge heretics and encourage their return to the Roman Church ¿ marks an important development in medieval history and has played an essential role in modern perceptions of the Middle Ages. By focusing on some of the best known sources of the Inquisition, which have been important in recent historiography as well as contemporary fiction (The Name of the Rose), this document option will help students reflect on how a better understanding of the Middle Ages and a critical questioning of modern prejudices can benefit from each other.20 credits
- 1066 and all that - the Norman Conquest of England
This document option examines the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, looking at its causes, course, conditions, context and consequences. Through the close study of key primary sources for the topic, all readily available in modern English translation, the module explores what this conquest meant for those involved in it, both Norman and English, in terms of politics, religion, social relations, gender and historical consciousness. The module will also explore the broader impact upon the other countries of Britain.20 credits
- Match of the Day: The Nika Riot of 532
On Tuesday, 13 January 532, a chariot race in Constantinople's Hippodrome got out of control. Shouting `Nika!' (`Conquer!'), the fans of the two competing Circus factions united in anger against the emperor Justinian. The week-long riot that followed was the most violent event Constantinople had ever seen. This module analyses the different accounts and later sources of the Nika riot in detail as a way into the study of sixth-century Byzantine society and imperial mentality, and more broadly the dynamics of mass violence, the authorities' varied responses, and the interaction of different urban groups in a moment of crisis.20 credits
- The Ten Commandments
This module examines the Ten Commandments, perhaps the most well known `legal' code in the world. Through the close study of key primary sources from the Hebrew Bible and the cultures that informed its writing, all readily available in modern English translation, the module explores the ancient Near Eastern context for these commands, the four texts in the Hebrew Bible that might be given the name Ten Commandments, and the role these texts played in the political, social, economic, and ethical aspects of ancient life.20 credits
- Murder in the cathedral: the Becket Affair
On 29 December 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was brutally murdered in his cathedral by four knights of his King and one-time friend, Henry II. In the space of ten years, a close friendship had been ruined, and Thomas' stubbornness, flight to France, and untimely death created additional tensions for the English king. This document option investigates events surrounding Thomas' death and the emergence of his cult. It asks how a minor squabble became a continent-wide cause célèbre, forcing Henry into an act of ritual humiliation to clear his name while ensuring that Thomas' memory lived on.20 credits
Band B: 1500-1800 history document modules:
- The Gunpowder Plot
The Gunpowder Plot provoked endless debate at the time and in following centuries over the precise nature of the plot, its objectives and the degree of government complicity. The answers to these questions lie in a rich but ambiguous body of primary sources written by the government and its apologists, by Catholics, and by other observers. This course will enable students to analyse all these types of source, and to address systematically the problems of source analysis and interpretation that they present, while building up a detailed understanding of the problematic position of Catholics in late Elizabethan and Jacobean England.20 credits
- The Myth of Venice
Historians usually debunk fabrications, but myths can themselves be the focus of historical study. This module explores the Myth of Venice, its production, diffusion, and reception. Venice was celebrated as the ideal republican government, but it was also the city of state terror and seductive `oriental¿ luxury. Students will examine a wide variety of sources and develop the skills required for their interpretation: descriptions of the city by Venetians and foreigners; political tracts; maps, paintings and sculpture; theatre and literature. The course concludes by considering how these myths have endured and influenced the writing of Venetian history.20 credits
- The Putney Debates, October 1647
Following the first English civil war there was political stalemate over the post-war settlement. By late 1647 there were calls for revolutionary political change, not least at the famous Putney debates. They came at a crucial moment in the development of the revolution, and successive editors between 1891 and 2007 presented the records of the debates in varying contexts in order to reveal the fundamental significance of the revolution. This module explores the background to the debates at Putney, what was said, and also considers how different editions of the debates reflect the shifting significance attached to the English revolution20 credits
- Tenochtitlan, City of Blood and Flowers: Aztec society in the early sixteenth century
Since the devastating arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1519, the history of the Aztecs has been haunted by the spectre of human sacrifice. But their unique island-capital was not only a centre for spectacular religious bloodshed, but also a sophisticated metropolis, and home to a very civilized and familiar society of educated individuals and loving families. Attempting to recover the history of this complex indigenous culture, this document option examines life in Tenochtitlan at the time of the Spanish arrival through the records of the remarkable encounter between the Aztecs and Spanish, along with pre-conquest archaeological and visual sources.20 credits
Band C: Post-1800 history document modules:
- Russian Revolution 1917-18
This course will allow students to explore the Russian revolution, through a close study of sources from 1917-18. A tight focus on these years will enable students to grasp some of the complexity not only of political events in St Petersburg, but also of the social tensions and rifts across the whole of Russia. Through a close reading of primary sources, students will be able to reflect independently on how Soviet and Cold War narratives of the revolution can now be challenged. Sources will include propaganda posters and films, works of art, popular songs, graffiti, peasant petitions, and workers' letters.20 credits
- 1968 in Western Europe: Rebellion and Upheaval
`1968¿ is an emblematic date, signifying political upheaval and mass demonstrations, strikes, cultural rebellion and protests against the war in Vietnam. The module will analyse the significance of 1968 as a dense sequence of events which affected many aspects of social, political and cultural life in Western European societies. The module will focus on selected political incidents and their cultural and artistic reflections in France, England and Germany, and explore some of the political controversies surrounding the events of 1968. It will draw on a wide range of primary sources (both textual and visual), including pamphlets, eyewitness reports, and songs.20 credits
- Barcelona and the 'Tragic Week'
In 1900, artistic innovation and social conflict were juxtaposed in Barcelona. Rebuilt in the Art Nouveau idiom known as Modernisme, the bourgeois city was challenged by a burgeoning anarchist movement. Spectacular events, including the 'Tragic Week' itself, saw Barcelona renamed the 'rose of fire'. Students will examine how public space is contested, looking at architecture and urban planning as well as the representation of the marginalised and dispossessed. These were the anarchists, whose methods changed from bomb-plots to education and syndicalist organisation. Textual sources will be used to explore this anarchist sub-culture and the growth and importance of anticlerical riot.20 credits
- Guilty Men? European Leaders and the Origins of the Second World War
The origins of the Second World War have been a matter of sustained historiographical debate since 1945. This unit introduces students to some of the key sources pertinent to the discussion through a series of linked lecture workshops and seminars ¿ highlighting the major diplomatic, political and economic issues that framed European relations in the 1930s and also how the personalities involved served to shape the conduct of events.20 credits
- Appeasement, the Munich Crisis and the British People
The conduct of foreign policy in Britain in the late 1930s and the policy of appeasement in particular have been matters of sustained historiographical debate since 1945. This unit introduces students to some of the key sources pertinent to the discussion through a series of linked lecture workshops and seminars. These highlight the shifting debates between the `Guilty Men' and the anti-appeasers, and the diplomatic perspective, but we also consider how the Press, the British public, men and women, and various political parties responded to the Crisis and understood their position as the Second World War loomed.20 credits
- Jane Groom's 'Extraordinary Scheme': Disability and the body in the Transatlantic World c. 1800-1900
This document option takes as a starting point Jane Groom's emigration scheme to send white, working-class, deaf people from London to Canada and establish a deaf colony in North America. The scheme is used as a springboard to think about issues of disability and the body in the nineteenth-century Transatlantic world. Topics covered include: institutionalisation, immigration restrictions, deaf separatist demands for a `Deaf State' in the USA, eugenics, and medical and social attitudes towards disability and the body. The course draws on a range of primary sources including: newspapers, memoirs, propaganda pamphlets, immigration legislation and medical and scientific treatises.20 credits
- The Easter Rising: Living, Fighting and Dying in 1916
The rebellion in Dublin at Easter 1916 was a moment of profound crisis. For a week, rebels occupied key buildings in central Dublin, having proclaimed an Irish republic. After their surrender, sixteen leaders of the rebellion were executed, inaugurating a new martyrology and prompting a wave of public sympathy. This document option will explore the broad range of perspectives on the Rising, including those of civilians, rebels, and those tasked with its suppression. Drawing on plentiful digital resources (memoirs, diaries, official inquiries, and witness statements), this document option will uncover what it was like to live through that landmark event.20 credits
- The Welfare State in Britain, 1900-2015.
Although 1948 is remembered as the birth of the British welfare state, the involvement of the government in the wellbeing of its citizens has a far longer history. In this unit, we will explore the evolution of British welfare from 1900 until the present day. Drawing on newspaper reports, documentary film and television, diaries, memoirs, charity records, and local government sources, we will analyze the shifting relationship between citizens and the state in modern Britain. We will examine how debates about class, gender, race and immigration informed the nature and extent of welfare provision over the past hundred years.20 credits
- Coercion and Consent in the Third Reich
This course will introduce students to sources and literature that explore the relationship between state and society in Nazi Germany. With particular emphasis on exploring the extent to which support for the regime resulted from coercion or popular consent, it aims to give students a nuanced understanding of the nature of National Socialism, its appeal and effectiveness as well as its contradictions and limitations. Students will consider documents and interpretations that consider `resistance' and `collaboration', which will aid their analysis of the choices and constraints that shaped the relationship between the Nazi state and society.20 credits
- Religion in an Age of Terror: Ancient Texts and the Making of Modern Israel.
This module will look at the origins, growth and development of conflict & violence in the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), in order to provide a historical perspective on the roots of contemporary religious violence. The focus of the module will be a case-study on the conflict in Israel/Palestine (especially between 1947-67). Primary source analysis will be of the Bible/Quran (and related material), and the documents relating to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Related topics will include: theories of religious violence; religious terrorism; politics and religion; and the roots of religious 'fundamentalism.'20 credits
- Global Lives: South Asian Travel and Migration in the Age of Empire
By the early twenty-first century, more than 25 million peoples of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent were living in Europe, North America, Africa and Southeast Asia. This module aims to historicise this diaspora by analysing letters, diaries, and travelogues. These sources reveal how and why South Asians have criss-crossed the globe in increasing numbers from the nineteenth century: for pilgrimage, trade, service, indenture, learning, diplomacy, politics, performance, mission and employment. The focus will be on different experiences of travel, migration and settlement in the high and late colonial period (1858-1947) that anticipated mass migration in the post-war era.20 credits
- The Irish Republican Brotherhood, 1858-85
Britain's 'Irish problem' has long roots. This document module examines one of the most important violent Irish organisations that challenged British sovereignty in Ireland. Founded in 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) (or the Fenian movement, as it was also known) was a transatlantic movement dedicated to the overthrow of the British state in Ireland. Fuelled by hatred for the British after the dreadful Famine in Ireland of the 1840s, the Fenians constructed a sophisticated organisation that was part secret society, terrorist cell structure and propaganda machine. It was the early forerunner of the Irish Republican Army. This document option investigates aspects of Fenianism from a range of angles. Using sources written and produced by contemporaries, we will consider the dynamics of the IRB and its place within nineteenth-century Ireland.20 credits
In your third year, there are no core requirements for English. You will choose from a wide range of options: from short, intensive topics to year-long modules (including an optional dissertation). As a dual honours student, you will choose a minimum of 40 credits within the School of English.
All the optional modules available in your third year reflect areas of research by our world-leading academics.
For history, your final year is where you can choose to focus on one of the areas of history that you're most passionate about, using the academic skills and historical knowledge that you have acquired in years one and two to undertake focussed primary source research.
All students have the opportunity to take a Special Subject and a dissertation, as we think that they are important staples of a history degree.
These modules give you the chance to explore your chosen topic in detail, alongside a leading expert in the field, helping you to further develop your knowledge and research skills. The unusually wide-ranging research expertise at Sheffield means that, with modules focusing on themes such as gender and domesticity; art; war and violence; cultural change; medicine and science, you'll be spoilt for choice.
You will normally take 60 credits in each subject.
Students choosing the major/minor option, can take a minimum of 40 credits and a maximum of 80 credits of history.
You can choose a maximum of one special subject and one thematic option.
There are two dissertation options available. All students can choose to take a 20 credit dissertation. Students who wish to major in History can choose to take a 40 credit dissertation; in this case the 40 credit dissertation must be taken in combination with a Special Subject.
English optional modules:
Details of the following modules are to be announced:
ModCons: Exploring the Long Twentieth Century
Renaissance Literature, Modern Crisis
Life After Death? Romantic Poets Write the Afterlife
The Invention of Romanticism: Pride, Persuasion and the Modern Mind
Stories at the End of the World: From the Beginning of the End to Apocalypse Now
What it Means Not to be Human: Animals, Ecology, Technology, Literature
Creative, Experimental, Destructive (Writing)
Chivalry and Romance in the Middle Ages
Power, Knowledge and Sexuality on Stage, 1580 -1700
Literature of the Black Atlantic
Strange Forms: Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Other Peculiar Genres
Textual Materialities: Archives, Editing and Literary Artefacts
Immodest Women: Lives and Lines
Searching Selves: Voicing the Early Modern ‘I’
- Radical Theory
The premise of this course is the necessity to re-interpret the university as a site for philosophical speculation and theory-based intervention. Run collectively, the course will address, to use Walter Benjamin's terms, the catastrophe of the status quo, and is structured around three aims, which are: 1) to address `moments' of crisis such as, for example, climate change; the neoliberal, market-driven higher education system; the state of exception; the myth of the human; 2) to theorize these crises, and 3) to explore the relationship between theory and practice: in particular to explore theorized agency as enabling political activism.20 credits
This module provides third year students with an opportunity to develop work done in Approved Modules and Core units, or study a relevant topic not included in these courses. Students are expected to show a capacity for research and for organising a long essay. The Dissertation is an essay between 8,000 and 10,000 words, the result of a sustained period of independent study at Level 3. The Dissertation takes the place of a second semester Approved Module. Disertation topics must be approved by the Dissertation convenor, Cathy Shrank. She will take into account appropriate courses that have been taken. She may advise against taking the Dissertation. It is exected that students will formulate a topic with the help of a potential supervisor chosen from the full-time academic staff and after discussion with their Personal Tutor. Registration for the Dissertation depends on availability of supervisors. Dissertation students have a preliminary meeting with their supervisors early in Semester 1 and then meet supervisors at least three times during Semester 2. Normally supervisors read one near-complete draft of the Dissertation not later than the first week after the Easter vacation. The Dissertation is due at the end of Semester 2 and normal assessment submission regulations apply to it.20 credits
History final year thematic module examples:
This module explores key historiographical and theoretical approaches to the study of cities and the ways that historians can apply these ideas in practice. It adopts a comparative analysis that requires students to consider a range of cities from antiquity to the post-modern era. Students will have the opportunity to engage with the rich and stimulating interdisciplinary scholarship in this field, to pursue their own lines of research, and to formulate their own interpretations of a subject that is central to the nature of `civilization'.20 credits
- Money, Power and Society
This module takes a comparative approach to the history of debt in societies across time. Students will have the opportunity to engage with and formulate their own interpretations of a subject that raises significant questions of historical and contemporary relevance: the nature of money; the ethics of lending and borrowing; markets, trust and institutions; the role of the state; globalization and finance capital. The module adopts an interdisciplinary approach, in which historical examples are related to theoretical perspectives from sociology, economics, anthropology and literary theory.20 credits
- A Comparative History of Revolution
This module takes a comparative approach to the study of Revolution as a way to gain a better understanding of significant transformation of the social, economic and political landscapes of entire societies, to question underlying assumptions regarding values and legitimacy, as well as to understand and assess the vocabulary of revolution which has come to permeate political language. By comparing different case studies, students will have an opportunity to engage with the rich and stimulating historiography in this area and to formulate their own interpretations of a subject that touches on significant questions about change and power.20 credits
- Conflict, Cultures and (De)Colonisation
This module examines the rise and fall of empires as processes that shaped the colonised and the coloniser. It considers the growth and governance of empires, and the role of decolonisation struggles, in shaping our contemporary world. The module approaches this history from multiple vantage points, and asks: who held power both during empire and after empire¿s end? Drawing upon diverse historiographical traditions, and examining a wide range of time periods and places, we will question explore the centrality of empires in the telling of global history. In doing so, we will bring the past to bear on contemporary debates about race, globalisation, migration, and decolonisation.20 credits
- The Family
The family is one of the most important forms of social relation across historical periods and places. But this seemingly 'natural' form of social organisation has a diverse history, as households and familial relationships were shaped by their cultural, economic, and political contexts. This module examines historical family structures and familial relations, from affection and care to authority and exclusion. We pay particular attention to gender and race, considering how intersecting identities shaped the family as we know it today. Drawing on anthropology, feminist history, and queer history, we also consider non-biological kinship: from 'chosen families' to surrogacy.20 credits
History optional modules:
(Dissertation is only available to students majoring in History and when taken in combination with a Special Subject.)
- The Uses of History
This module offers an opportunity for students to reflect on their experience of studying History at university. It encourages and guides reflection on the nature of History as a discipline, and on the questions raised by representations of the past in both academic and non-academic settings. In doing so, the module provides a capstone to undergraduate study, enabling students to bring together the experience and knowledge they have gained across the degree course, to engage in debate about important questions facing historians in the present, and to consider ideas about the role and purposes of History as an academic subject.20 credits
- Short Dissertation
The dissertation in History is an exercise of 7,500-8,500 words in which students explore an individually chosen topic involving problems and issues derived from a module taken at level two or level three. It is expected to consist of research at a high level where interpretation and analysis will be of importance. The balance between primary and secondary materials will depend on the topic and an availability of sources. In each case students work independently under the guidance of a supervisor.20 credits
The Dissertation in History is an exercise of 9-11,000 words in which students explore an individually chosen topic involving problems and issues derived from a module taken at level two or level three. It is expected to consist of research at a high level where interpretation and analysis will be of importance. The balance between primary and secondary materials will depend on the topic and the availability of sources. In each case students work independently under the guidance of a supervisor.40 credits
History final year Special Subject examples:
- The Road to Civil War: England 1621-1642 I
This course aims to provide an intensive document-based analysis of the working of early Stuart politics on both theoretical and practical levels, and to use it to stimulate an informed evaluation of the roles played by a variety of ideological and political forces in provoking civil war. Particular attention is paid to the career and voluminous unpublished correspondence of one of the foremost and most tragic political figures of the period, Sir Thomas Wentworth, First Earl of Strafford. Strafford's unpublished letters, along with parliamentary debates, state trials, sermons, newsletters, and popular pamphlets will be used to tease out the private and public attitudes of both major political actors and the 'man in the street' towards the main political and cultural divisions of the pre-Civil War period.20 credits
- The Spanish Civil War I
The Civil War (1936-1939) has a resonance beyond Spanish national boundaries. Students will be expected to gain a detailed understanding of the political complexity of the Civil War and come to their own conclusions as to whether it was an international confrontation which took place on Spanish soil or a local conflict involving foreigners.20 credits
- The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry I
The aim of this course is to introduce students to the various debates on the origins and execution of the 'final solution' in Nazi occupied Europe during the Second World War.20 credits
- Stalinism and De-Stalinisation, 1929-1961 I
This module explores Russian history from 1929 - when Stalin's fiftieth birthday was celebrated across the Soviet Union and he was heralded as Lenin's great successor - to 1961 when his body was removed from the Red Square Mausoleum under cover of darkness. It examines the rise, reign and - posthumous - fall of the Soviet leader and the nature of the new world he sought to create. The module will explore not only the ideological and political dilemmas of the ruling elite, but also the diverse experience of ordinary citizens who faced both new opportunities and new ordeals during a period of radical transformation.20 credits
- Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Britain, 1923-1945 I
This module examines three inter-related issues in order to assess the impact of fascism in Britain between the wars. Making full use of one of the best archives for this purpose in the country held here in the Special Collection of the University Library, first we examine the political organization, the ideas and the culture of 'native' British fascism from its inception in 1923 to the Second World War. Second, we move on to explore active and ideological resistance to British fascist and racist organisations by a loose coalition of Communists, Socialists, Liberals and even Conservatives, as well as the resistance mounted by those religious and ethnic groups most affected by fascist racial provocation and violence. Third, we will consider how contemporary interpretations of fascism, and formal and more informal relations with the European dictatorships, contributed to the National Government's policy of appeasement on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to the greater definition of what was quintessentially 'British' about Britain's war aims with the outbreak of World War Two. We will approach these topics by analysing primary source material, including political pamphlets and propaganda, newspapers, public records, memoirs, oral testimonies, visual material, film and recordings, and novels.20 credits
- The Weimar Republic - Laboratory of Modernity I
The history of Weimar Germany has often been portrayed as an almost permanent crisis and the ultimate demise of parliamentary democracy. But the Weimar Republic was more than just a polity and economy in crisis. It was also a laboratory of modernity, a site of permanent experimentation in politics, the arts and mass media, in gender relations and in attempts to built new communities. The module will examine key topics in the political participation and symbolic representation of this classical modernity. It will explore these issues in a broadly conceived perspective, drawing upon a broad range of contemporary source material, both textual and visual.20 credits
- Makers of a New World: Merchants, Scholars and Commoners in Late Medieval Europe I
This module explores the changes which helped to create a 'new world' in Europe in the period c. 1350 - 1450, tracing the economic, social, political, intellectual, cultural, and religious developments which would support the 'discovery' of a wider world, and its colonisation from the 16th century onwards. Students will assess the contributions made by merchants who established a capitalist market economy, but also shaped the social life of their cities as patrons, with particular focus on the Italian and German city-states; by scholars who colonised the past by 'rediscovering' the Classics; and by commoners, who became increasingly involved in politics.20 credits
- Art, Power and History: Ideals and Reality in Renaissance Florence I
With its rich artistic life, financial innovations, and vibrant humanist culture, Renaissance Florence had a lasting influence on the rest of Europe. This module makes full use of the extremely rich visual and documentary sources available to historians (including paintings, sculpture, architecture, diaries, memoirs, tax and electoral records, sermons, histories, political writings) to explore the complex interrelations of social, cultural and political history. In doing so it provides the essential context for the understanding of key figures such as Machiavelli, Bruni, Alberti, Guicciardini, Vasari and Savonarola.20 credits
- Permissive Britain? Social and Cultural Change 1956-74 I
This module explores British society and culture as the nation moved from an era of austerity to one of unprecedented affluence. Key topics include the impact of affluence on class and gender relationships, the emergence of a national youth culture, changes and continuities in sexual behaviour, and debates about immigration and race. The unit encourages students to assess the significance of reforming legislation that relaxed the censorship regime, decriminalised homosexuality, enabled easier access to abortion, liberalised the divorce system and abolished capital punishment, examining the arguments of those who resisted, as well as those who championed the `permissive society'.20 credits
- The Phoenix City: Rome in Late Antiquity (300-600) I
Drawing on literature, letters, laws, sermons, inscriptions, archaeology, art objects and material culture, this module will critically analyse traditional and recent approaches to the transformation of urban space and urban identity in late antique Rome between the reign of emperor Constantine (306-337) and the pontificate of Gregory the Great (590-604). Through exploring civic and religious building programmes; religious conflicts; urban administration; urban economy, demography and poverty; rituals of urban life; the cult of the Roman saints, and the rise of monasticism the module will assess the complexity of the shift of power from emperor to pope in late antique Rome.20 credits
- Cannibals and Christians: Mexico and Spain, c.1492-1600
This module examines the extraordinary clash of cultures which occurred following the `discovery¿ of America, and the reciprocal relationship which developed between Europe and the `New World¿ in the sixteenth century. Focusing on the sixteenth-century discovery, conquest and settlement of Central and South America, especially Mexico, the module will address such themes as the nature of the encounter, the intellectual and cultural impact, trade and exchange, migration, evangelisation and empire. The module addresses the encounter from a wide range of perspectives, evaluating the encounter from the viewpoint of sailors, conquistadors, priests, historians, explorers, missionaries, administrators and the indigenous people themselves.20 credits
- Britain's Social Revolution: Welfare, State and Society, c. 1870-1914
This module introduces students to the powerful debates about and important reforms targeted at a variety of `social questions' which haunted Britain from the late nineteenth century until the First World War. It demonstrates how new forms of knowledge, ideas about social solidarity and political and social movements shaped how Britons addressed issues such as poverty, unemployment and public hygiene. By analysing a wide variety of primary sources, including visual sources, this module will examine competing visions about the future of the nation and, in particular, what role the state should play in determining that future.20 credits
- Renaissance and Popular Culture in Early Modern England
Renaissance is often often associated with `high culture', `popular culture' with `the masses' or `the people': different cultural worlds which grew further apart over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This module challenges this categorisation and model of cultural change. It introduces students to a much more encompassing idea of Renaissance as an educational and cultural movement which not only looked to revive the learning and wisdom of the `ancients', but also translate that knowledge into English and communicate it to as wide an audience as possible. The first half of the module explores the writers and statesmen committed to this agenda, the ideology which drove them, and the tools at their disposal: for example education, theatre, language, popular print. The second half of the module then considers different aspects of early modern life affected by this Renaissance: not least notions of state, society, and family; gender identities and relations; astrology, witchcraft and medicine; citizenship, governance, and warfare; colonialism and global commerce; drinking habits and telling jokes; and attitudes towards the self.20 credits
- Contested Visions: Imagining an Empire in mid-nineteenth century Britain
British expansion did not result from a single, coherent imperial strategy, or a fit of `absence of mind¿; it developed from specific cross-cultural encounters and competing colonial visions. Some saw the Empire as a place of adventure, others an opportunity for Christianisation, still others as a `New World¿ in which to build a Greater Britain. These visions were always contested and challenged both overseas and in Britain. This module explores these contested visions and the impact of empire at home. It is structured around different `visions of empire¿ including those of humanitarians; missionaries; settlers; travellers; scientists and the British public.20 credits
- Tools of Empire? Medicine, Science and Colonialism, 1800-1950
Western science and biomedicine have, for long, been seen as symbols and agents of progress. Research in the last two decades has, however, revealed their close ties with the history of colonial conquest and rule - so much so that scientific discoveries such as guns, steamboats, and quinine have been seen as `tools of empire`. This module will, however, go beyond this fact and discuss much larger questions of equal relevance. It will, for instance, deal with the question of the `consumption` of science in the colonies, the role of the colonies in constituting western science, the role of medicine in furthering colonial hegemony, the `reinvention` of traditional sciences such as Unani and Ayurveda under colonial influence, the relationship between scientific centres and peripheries, and post-colonial developments with respect to medical and scientific administration. In exploring these themes, the module will not limit itself to any particular region, but will draw upon readings from South Asia, Africa, and the Americas.20 credits
- The Irish Revolution, 1912-1923
This module explores Ireland's revolutionary decade, from the Ulster Crisis of 1912 to the end of the Civil War in 1923. That period saw the demise of the Home Rule ideal, the rise of republicanism and the partition of the island amidst bloody sectarian and political violence. Among the issues examined are the paramilitarisation of political culture, the impact of the Great War and Easter Rising, the nature and dynamics of revolutionary violence, and the entrenchment of divisions - intra-communal as well as inter-communal. The controversial historiography of the Irish revolution, its place in public history and its cultural representations form an important aspect of the module. Above all, the sense of what it was like to live through a revolution, as a rebel, a policeman, a soldier or a civilian, is a key unifying theme of this module.20 credits
- The United States and the Cold War, 1945-1975
The Cold War shaped American foreign policy as well as domestic politics and culture for much of the second half of the 20th century. But how all-encompassing was the Cold War? How did non-state actors react to and influence the course of its development? And how 'cold' was the Cold War? This module will examine the Cold War with fresh perspective. We will revisit the traditional historiography, which focuses on high policy actors and U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. But we will also gain new insight from an emerging literature that challenges such a deterministic and elite framing of what was a global conflict that involved multiple actors at all levels of society, many of whom brought with them complex motivations that existed prior to, or outside of, the rigid Cold War binary. In addition to these secondary sources, we will explore a wide range of primary source material, from declassified State Department documents to Third World assertions of sovereignty to popular films and novels.20 credits
- Merchants, Mariners and Migrants: The English Overseas, 1570-1624
The period c.1570-1624 saw a reorientation of England's global position, as increasing numbers of English people began to venture into unfamiliar regions. This course charts the nature and significance of their travels. We will encounter merchants in Europe, the Ottoman Empire and the far east, settlers and conquerors in Ireland and America, explorers in the frozen seas of the far north, and pirates in Spanish America. The latter part of the course focuses on the foundation of England's first `successful' American colony, Jamestown. Throughout, we consider the motives driving these ventures, and the complex nature of the encounters that ensued.20 credits
- Ending the Cold War
Based upon a wealthy variety of primary sources recently released and for its most part digitalized and/or published, this course will explore why and how the apparently secure world collapse in 1989. Topics will include: Germany, Ostpolitk and CSCE; Superpower détente; The Fall of Détente: Afghanistan and Euromissiles; Reagan, SDI and Third World Interventionism; The Polish Crisis, 1980-1981; the Second Cold War and intra-German rapprochement; the Soviet Union's systemic crisis and imperial overstretch; Gorbachev Political Thought and Reform; Gorbachev, Reagan and Nuclear Weapons; Gorbachev's Eastern European policies; The Road to Maastricht and EU.20 credits
- Mao and the Making of Twentieth-Century China
In 2015, citizens in Henan Province erected a 120-foot gold statue of Mao Zedong, which was swiftly torn down on government orders. Why does Mao still provoke such strong feelings? To some he is a monster: history's greatest mass murderer. But recently historians have painted a richer picture of Mao's China, trying to understand its social character, political culture, and role in Cold War rivalries. Focusing on the origins, character, and legacy of Maoist rule, and devoting most of our attention to the period between the declaration of the People's Republic in 1949 and Mao's death in 1976, we will use translated primary sources, a rich visual culture, and a burgeoning scholarly literature to explore Maoist thought and its critics; major upheavals like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution; and everyday life under `Communism with Chinese characteristics'.20 credits
- Breaking up (in) the Carolingian Empire
In 858, an event took place that scandalised Europe. At a public assembly, a Frankish king, Lothar II, accused his wife Theutberga of the most outrageous crimes, in order to secure a divorce so he could marry his mistress Waldrada. Yet despite his best efforts, and to everyone's surprise, Lothar failed to get his way - and so his kingdom spiralled into crisis, exacerbated by Viking attacks, interfering popes and predatory uncles. This Special Subject concentrates on this crisis, and the rich documentation it produced, to investigate the politics, society and culture of early medieval Europe under the Carolingian kings.20 credits
- Humanitarianism, Internationalism and the British Empire, 1900-2000.
What is humanitarianism? How has it shaped, and been shaped by, beliefs about Britain's role in the world? Why, in the eyes of politicians and the public, did British interests, and the interests of `humanity' so often coincide?The unit analyses British humanitarianismfrom 1900 to 2000. We situate British humanitarianism within the history of the Empire, globalization, U.S. ascendancy, and Cold War tensions. We consider traditionally disenfranchised groups - women, children and imperial subjects - as objects and agents of humanitarian interventions, and ask whether humanitarianism can be considered as `political' both in the past and in the present.20 credits
- Eating, Meeting and Greeting in the Medieval West
In 1095, Urban II delivered a sermon that kick-started the Crusades in a small city in the south of France; 120 years later, King John would seal a document limiting his powers in front of his barons at Runnymede. Separated by time, geography and audience, both these assemblies nevertheless shaped the medieval world. They are two of the many meetings between 1050 and 1250, which presented opportunities for face-to-face discussions and law-making, trials of justice and wit, as well as celebrate, feast, and mourn. This Special Subject investigates the purposes and events of these assemblies in the Central Middle Ages. Historians insist on separating `Church¿ and `State¿ in the Middle Ages, but this module looks at both to understand how medieval European government functioned, and how rulers employed the theatre of ritual and the growth of bureaucracy and law to influence their subjects and increase their power.20 credits
- Solidarity, Sabotage, Students: Protest in Europe from 1968 to 1989
This module will explore the history of protest since 1945 within and beyond Europe, with a view to understanding social movements and how they seek to effect political change. Protest research in history and the social sciences has focused on widely varied actors, forms, traditions, and issues, leading to very different conclusions about why and how protest occurs. This course will emphasise the merits and limits of particular approaches for answering different historiographic questions such as those about long-term continuities between movements, the synchronisation (or not) of protest across borders, and why protest activity appears to rise and fall dramatically. The course will examine movements from the 1950s to the early 2000s, focusing in particular on pacifism, student protest, feminism, `New Social Movements', international solidarity, and globalisation.20 credits
- Emotions and identity in twentieth-century Britain: from stiff upper lip to Facebook
This special subject introduces students to a relatively new area in social and cultural history: the emotions. In the early twentieth century, Britain confronted the emotional disorders of warfare, the repressed and sexualised emotions of Freudian theory, and the prevailing culture of `stiff upper lip'. In the present we have seen social media site Facebook expand reactions to a post from a simple `like' to `love', `sad' and `angry'. The shifts in attitudes towards emotions have been spectacular and far-reaching, and have involved psychology, psychiatry, medicine and biological science. This course helps students to understand how this has happened.20 credits
- South Asian Muslims in the Age of Empire, 1850-1950
Writing in 1888, the Viceroy of India, Lord Dufferin, described South Asia's Muslims as `a nation of 50 million, with their monotheism, their iconoclastic fanaticism, their animal sacrifices, their social equality and their remembrance of the days when, enthroned in Delhi, they reigned supreme from the Himalayas to Cape Cormorin.' How far does this colonial representation capture the diverse lives and experiences of South Asian Muslims under British rule? Were they a `nation' or even a cohesive community before India's Partition in 1947? To what extent did Dufferin's understanding of Islam fuel reformism, cultural expression, global movement and nationalist politics?20 credits
- Anarchy in the UK? Radicals, Democrats and Revolutionaries 1830-1886
This module examines the history of radical political culture in the United Kingdom from the Reform Act of 1832 to the Home Rule crisis of 1886. The re-imagining of the British state within radical political cultures is the chief focus, with particular emphasis on the democratic ideals projected from a variety of perspectives, liberal, socialist, republican, and Irish nationalist. There were many radical proposals to transform the British polity; from a desire to extend the franchise to republican activism, the many layers of radicalism in the United Kingdom will be assessed within wider political, cultural and intellectual contexts.20 credits
- The American War in Vietnam, 1945-1975
The American War in Vietnam tarnished the United States' international reputation, bitterly divided the country, and continues to haunt US foreign policy. Yet, the war was much more than simply an episode in American history. Rather, it was a global event. New scholarship reveals the role of Vietnamese, French, Chinese, and Soviet actors, among others, while the political and cultural impact of the war extended beyond the U.S. and Vietnam. This module employs new scholarship and an array of primary sources, from government documents to fiction and film, to explore the American, Vietnamese, and international dimensions of the conflict.20 credits
- Resistance & Liberation in South Africa: Gandhi to Mandela
This module analyses resistance to segregation, apartheid, and white supremacy in South Africa. Drawing upon memoirs, oral histories, novels, films, speeches, news reporting, online databases, and document collections, we begin with the non-violent campaigns led by Mohandas Gandhi in the 1900s against the segregation of Indians in South Africa, and end with Nelson Mandela's election as president in the country's first non-racial democratic elections in 1994. We will explore the inspirations, nature, and effects of a wide range of forms of political, social, and cultural resistance by opponents of white supremacy - from ordinary people to elite politicians - both inside South Africa and around the world.20 credits
- Half Slave and Half Free: The Origins of the U.S. Civil War
Between 1861 and 1865, around a million Americans died in a conflict that concluded with the defeat of the breakaway southern Confederacy and the emancipation of the South's enslaved people. Why that war happened is one of the central problems of U.S. history. To some, the struggle signifies an `irrepressible conflict' between two rival civilizations, but for others, blundering politicians and a dysfunctional democracy brought on an avoidable crisis. Through looking at men and women, blacks and whites, slaves and citizens, and politicians and voters, we will try to understand why - as Abraham Lincoln put it - `the war came.'20 credits
- Humour and Laughter in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Laughter is fundamental to human experience. Yet, the things we see fit to laugh at and how that laughter is thought about, tolerated, suppressed or celebrated, have all varied with time, place and culture with compelling possibilities for historians. Eighteenth-century Britain was a golden age of humour, brimming with bawdy jestbooks and a surfeit of satirical texts and images. It even witnessed the invention of caricature as we know it. The module explores this comic material-and ideas about it-to investigate fundamental shifts in manners, morality and political participation in the period, and the historiographical debates surrounding them.20 credits
- From Julius Caesar to Augustus: Rome's Revolution (89 BC-14 AD)
This module will analyse the profound political, cultural, and social changes that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of a new regime by the victorious Caesar Augustus, a period of turmoil called the Roman Revolution by some modern scholars. We will aim at understanding these changes in the context of ongoing cultural and political processes that had affected the city of Rome in the previous decades. This was a period marred by internal political violence, and for which we have an impressive wealth of contemporary documents written by some of the protagonists of the events.20 credits
- Forced into Being: How Involuntary Migration Created Ancient Israel
Religious conflict and migration shape the Middle East now, just as they have for nearly 3000 years. Case in point: ancient Israel and its sacred texts-known widely as the Old Testament-are the product of a rather small satellite nation whose primary experiences included subjugation by larger military powers, resistance against the potential influence of foreign religious practices, and forced migration from its land that resulted in life among unfamiliar peoples. Indeed, the Old Testament is a collection of texts written by involuntary migrants to involuntary migrants, often about involuntary migration. This special subject examines how the migratory experiences of this relatively small society shaped some of the most important religious texts in history, which are sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and remain influential factors in the international conflicts of the 21st century Middle East.20 credits
- Slavery in the American South, 1789-1861
By 1861, some four million African Americans were enslaved in the American south. This module explores the lives of these enslaved people. We examine the roles, relationships, and experiences of enslaved men, women, and children, through themes such as social and cultural life, work, the family, community and conflict, truancy, escape, and violence. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources - from the perspectives of enslaved and formerly enslaved people, as well as their enslavers - we focus in particular upon the varied ways in which African Americans resisted both their enslavers and their enslavement.20 credits
- Empire of Faith: The Making of Global Catholicism, 1500-1700
Modern Catholicism is a global religion: one billion Catholics now live in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Yet global Catholicism was forged five hundred years ago, as Catholic missionaries travelled to nearly every corner of the world between 1500 and 1700. In this course, we consider how Catholic belief was shaped in encounters and exchanges with people across the early modern world: from the dreaming lodges of the Huron people in Canada, to Confucian scholars' courts in China. We will explore the ways in which a global religion was created in an exchange between centre and periphery.20 credits
- A twelfth-century Renaissance?
From the birth of the universities and the appearance of an administrative class to the introduction of new forms of art and literature, the long twelfth century transformed European intellectual thought and consequently law, government, and religion. This module uses sources written by contemporaries ¿ from legal tracts to love letters, and from the philosophical musings of university masters to the satirical ballads written by their students to investigate that transformation. It will explore the `twelfth-century renaissance¿ imagined by scholars, focussing on how men and women at the time provoked, reacted to, and understood the changes in law, thought, and culture.20 credits
- Popes, Caliphs, Emperors, 1095-1229 (1)
The Crusades are known as religious wars, in search of the earthly and heavenly Jerusalem. Yet they were only part of the complex interactions between peoples of different politics, religions, and cultures in the medieval Mediterranean basin. Using sources including histories, letters, buildings, art and mosaics, this module will examine how religion intertwined with medieval politics, culture and society. From Iberia to Jerusalem, and from Italy to Africa, we will investigate religion’s role in expressing political power and in the everyday life of the people who lived there. How was religious authority received, understood, and contested by contemporaries?20 credits
- The World of Intoxicants in Early Modern England (1)
Intoxicants were a key feature of early modern societies. This is as true for ‘old’ world alcohols like wine, beer, ale, and other fermented drinks as it is for ‘new’ intoxicants like opiates, tobacco, sugar, caffeines, chocolate, and distilled liquors that began to enter European diets after 1600 from the Levant, the Americas, and Asia. Focusing on intoxicants in England, this module considers a) the ongoing importance and, indeed, increasing significance of alcohols to culture, society, and economy over the course of the seventeenth century and b) the introduction and popularisation of new intoxicants over the same period. Introductory reading: David Courtwright, Forces of habit. Drugs and the making of the modern world (2002) Jordan Goodman and Andrew Sherratt, eds., Consuming habits. Drugs in history and anthropology (1995) Phil Withington and Angela McShane, eds., Cultures of intoxication (1995)20 credits
- Capitalism and Identity in 19th-century Britain (1)
How did people see themselves and the world in nineteenth-century Britain? The module emphasises the way local transformations and struggles were linked to global processes: emergence of class identities, shifting ideas about gender roles, and discourses of racial, religious and scientific superiority in a globalising world. We will study a broad range of primary sources, including textual, material and visual culture: from rival models of change and their popular reception; to the way identity was bound up with new consumer goods and fashions; to visual representations of empire and the impact of humanity upon the environment.20 credits
- The English People and the English Revolution, 1640-1651 (A)
This module examines the social and cultural impact of the civil wars and revolution in mid-seventeenth century England. The war, which grew out of irreconcilable political conflicts, was the most destructive ever fought on British soil. Responses to the war in turn created new political and social conflicts, leading to a revolution and Britain's only experience of republican rule. Drawing on the evidence of official publications, pamphlets and diaries, the module explores how the English people responded to the war and helped to make the revolution.20 credits
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
Learning and assessment
You will learn through a mix of lectures and smaller group seminars. We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings, and you are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular office hours if there's anything you want to ask.
You'll be taught by world-leading experts in both departments. School of English staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired. In the Department of History, our internationally renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents, allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents and remarkable people.
In addition to writing essays and more traditional exams, our modules use a range of innovative assessments that can include designing websites, writing blog posts, delivering presentations and working with publishing software.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
typically including History or Classical Civilisation
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
typically including History or Classical Civilisation
A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation + B in a relevant EPQ ABB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation + B in a relevant EPQ
International Baccalaureate | 34, typically with 5 in Higher Level History or Classical Civilisation 33 typically including 5 in Higher Level History
BTEC | DD in a relevant subject, typically in combination with grade A History or Classical Civilisation DD in a relevant subject, typically in combination with grade A History or Classical Civilisation
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AAABB + B, typically including History or Classical Civilisation AABBB + B, typically including an Arts and Humanities subject
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA, typically including History or Classical Civilisation B + AB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation
Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall with 45 at level 3 including Distinctions in 36credits including History credits + Merits in 9 credits . 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with 45 at level 3 including Distinctions in 30 credits including History credits + Merits in 15 credits .
Mature students - explore other routes for mature students
You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
General Studies is accepted
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
School of English
We're a research-intensive school with an international perspective on English studies. Students can specialise in their chosen subject, whilst taking modules from other programmes, forging interdisciplinary connections. We are famous for our pioneering work with communities, locally and internationally. We encourage our students to get involved and to apply their academic learning, working in partnership with external organisations both within the city of Sheffield and beyond.
Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.
We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. Our modules use a range of innovative assessments and can include designing websites, writing blog posts, and working with publishing software, in addition to writing essays and delivering presentations.
We're committed to providing our students with the pastoral support they need in order to thrive on their degree. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings. You are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.
The School of English is based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the Department of History and the School of Languages and Cultures.
Department of History
As a history student at Sheffield, you'll develop your understanding of the past in a friendly and supportive environment.
Our internationally-renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents - allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people, and long-lasting transformations, from the ancient period to the modern day and across the globe.
You can tailor your course to suit you, discovering the areas of history that most inspire you most while preparing for the future you want with opportunities like studying abroad, work placements and volunteering.
Department of History students are based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the School of English and the School of Languages and Cultures.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings
Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017
School of English
Research Excellence Framework 2014
Department of History
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
Research Excellence Framework 2014
School of English
The academic aptitude and personal skills that you develop on your degree will make you highly prized by employers, whatever your chosen career path after university:
- Excellent oral and written communication
- Independent working
- Time management and organisation
- Planning and researching written work
- Articulating knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories
- Leading and participating in discussions
- Negotiation and teamwork
- Effectively conveying arguments and opinions and thinking creatively
- Critical reasoning and analysis
Our graduates are confident and articulate. They have highly developed communication skills, equipping them for a wide range of careers in journalism, the charity sector, marketing and communications, theatre and television production, PR, copywriting, publishing, teaching, web development, accountancy, and speech and language therapy, among other fields.
Many of our students go on to postgraduate study, research, and an academic career.
Department of History
Our history graduates are highly skilled in research, critical reasoning and communication. You'll be able to think and write coherently, to put specific matters in a broader context, and to summarise complex ideas in a discerning and creative way.
Our graduates have gone on to become successful lawyers, marketing executives, civil servants, accountants, management consultants, university lecturers, archivists, librarians and workers in museums, tourism and the heritage industry.
So, however you choose to use your degree, the combination of academic excellence and personal skills developed and demonstrated on your course will make you stand out in an increasingly competitive graduate world.
Companies that have employed our graduates include Accenture, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and DLA Piper. You'll also find our graduates in organisations ranging from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Imperial War Museum and the National Archives, to BBC online and The Guardian.
You can study our courses with the Degree with Employment Experience option. This allows you to apply for a placement year during your degree where you'll gain valuable experience and improve your employability.
There are opportunities to study abroad, for a semester or a year, as part of a three or four year degree programme. We have exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore and throughout Europe.
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Apply for this course
Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.