|Attendance||UCAS code/apply||Year of entry|
|3 years full time||V100||2017
|6 years part time||Apply direct to the University||2017
|Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes|
Are you interested in the history of the modern world and how the past influences the present? This course explores world history and covers many different histories: of people, cultures and societies, and of states and governments.
You can study history as a single or joint honours degree. See the course combinations section for more information.
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You will study world history, focusing on many countries, including Britain and the United States. Topics include culture, society and economy in Britain and other countries; crime; leisure; women's history; the French Revolution; slavery; fascism; war, genocide and the Holocaust; British politics; and British imperialism. You will learn how the past informs our everyday lives and how history is communicated in words, images, objects and through technology.
Year 1 is an introduction to university-level history. Year-long modules provide an in-depth and broad learning experience. Our virtual learning environment gives access to information and resources and also to interactive learning.
Year 2 offers option modules, greater specialisation and the opportunity to study abroad. You will undertake historical research in more depth and explore how technology makes history stimulating, rewarding and vitally relevant. Personal tuition provides further assistance, and prepares you for your third year.
In Year 3, the dissertation and capstone project allow you to build on all you have learned and construct something uniquely yours. The dissertation is an individual, supervised research project; the capstone project is collaborative - a history e-journal. With options including a work placement module, and personal tuition emphasising careers and employability, Year 3 is the culmination and final preparation for further study and the world of work.
You can also choose to study a foreign language for free. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.
In ‘World History' students examine the sometimes surprisingly deep historical roots of our current ‘globalized' world. Taking the year 1500 as its approximate starting point, the module focuses on various examples of world-wide encounter and exchange in terms of exploration, trade, commerce, manufacturing, finance, technology, culture, belief and conflict. All these have been of immense importance in influencing and determining the nature and pace of historical change in 'the West' and in other parts of the world. Through a variety of case studies, students encounter a range of historical occurrences that stimulate many questions of relevance to our knowledge and understanding of the world today. How did people of previous centuries perceive the world? How much (and how little) did they know of regions other than their own? How did they learn about other regions, and other peoples? What sort of encounters occurred between peoples from different parts of the world? What world-historical forces shaped events and ideas from 1500 to the twenty-first century? Finally, how might knowledge of all these things influence understanding of our current 'globalized' world?
The module ranges widely in terms of place as well as of time, across the British Isles and Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Caribbean. Through contemporary accounts and historical interpretation, it shows how histories of all these regions contributed to the history of the world, 1500-2000.
This module will introduce students to the political, social and cultural history of Britain and Europe at a key period of transition in time from 1500 to 1800, between the end of the Middle Ages and the establishment of the modern era. This module provides the basis for student understanding and appreciation for much else in the history programme. It emphasises the extent of the shift between the sixteenth century and the eighteenth century. In political terms this period saw many changes. We examine the rise of absolute monarchy which was to generate so much conflict, including a civil war in Britain. We go on to study changes in ideas about the nature of politics, rights and participation in the eighteenth century, climaxing with the French Revolution which was to herald the birth of the new political world. Changing ideas about religion played a large role in the formation of modern Europe and these will be considered. Ideas about magic, witchcraft and heresy will be explored, together with changing attitudes in the eighteenth century. Culturally, this is the time when traditional religious beliefs about the world began to be challenged by new ideas emerging from the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment. But pre-industrial Europe remained a traditional society in many ways, one dominated by nobles, though the great majority of the population were peasants and their attitudes towards the world were dominated by the struggle for survival and the concerns of village life. Whilst the first part of the course will focus on traditional society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the second part will focus on the eighteenth century as a period of great cultural and social transformation. Subjects that will be addressed will include: changing attitudes towards women and the family; urbanisation; the risk of the book and printed literature; changing attitudes toward sexuality; the rise of a bourgeois and consumerist society..
This module will stimulate students to think about ways in which gender and sexuality have played, and continue to play, an important role in the construction of personal and group identities. It is only relatively recently that gender historians broke the boundaries of traditional forms of history to highlight how individual identities, private lives and public roles of men and women throughout history have been largely determined by gendered sexual, racial, ethnic, religious and class differences. Even more recently historians have also begun to consider age and the life-cycle as an important factor affecting the lives of ordinary people in the past. The experiences of men and boys and women and girls have been recorded and understood according to historically and culturally specific definitions of normal gender roles within the family, wider society, religious institutions and medical science. Such definitions have frequently been contested but they contribute to understandings of subjects as diverse as parenting and the rise of youth gang culture; marriage and divorce; medicine and mental health; sexuality, pornography and prostitution; the creation of Empire and post-colonial societies; the role of combatants from the Crusades to the Iraq war; crime and punishment; work, the impact of capitalism and the institution of slavery; political power and citizenship; and the uses of space in homes and cities. This course will introduce students to the ways that gender, sexuality and other categories of difference have impacted on the lives of individuals and diverse social groups. Sexuality and gender are central to any historical understanding of human motivation, and gender differences have defined social, personal, political and power relations across the world. Gender historians utilise cutting edge theories and research to understand a broad range of historical processes and events from the medieval period to the modern. This module will therefore provide a good introduction to many themes and ideas that students will encounter throughout their study of history at Kingston, including courses on slavery and race, British politics, nationalism and empire and women's lives in modern Britain and America.
This core module for first year History students explores the domestic history of Britain in its first half century of democracy. The module will range widely over leisure, society, politics and national identity, from the lives of ordinary people to influential film stars, like Charlie Chaplin, and wartime leaders, such as Winston Churchill. It will consider debates about whether the 1920s and 1930s were mainly a time of economic depression and hunger marches, or actually an exciting, socially mobile ‘Jazz Age' of dance, motoring, radio and suburbanisation. There will be particular emphasis on visual culture, from people's enjoyment of film in the ‘dream palaces' of cinema, to the role of television in the affluent 1950s.
We will examine the contrasting reputations and legacies of the two World Wars in British history, and assess whether those reputations are justified. Politically, we search for explanations for the surprising strength of the Conservative Party in an age of democracy, the fortunes of the British Union of Fascists, and Labour's creation of a welfare state and National Health Service. Throughout, students will be encouraged to reflect upon how much Britain was changing. Should we see Britain as wealthier, fairer, and more culturally vibrant by 1959, or as a society in which most people's opportunities remained limited, whether by class, gender and race, or, less tangibly, a poverty of expectations and horizons? Through studying modern Britain, the module will also introduce students to key historical skills, and train them in a wide variety of primary sources from films and television programmes to Cabinet documents. Seminars will be highly participatory, including debates, small group activities and mock general elections. Assessment will be by essay and source analysis.
This is a core module for full field history students at level 5 but is also offered to half- and minor-field students. It introduces students to life in Britain during a period of great reform, both in terms of the relationship between government and the people and in the way people see themselves. We explore the transformation of a rural society into one concentrated in large towns and cities and the challenges this creates. We draw in issues of class, religion and poverty; changing attitudes to private and public lives; emergence of leisure as a commodity and consumerism as past-time; responses to new understandings of disease; debates about the role of women and changing ideas about family and children. Alongside these debates in social history, the module will investigate the politics of an era which saw a slow transition into a modern democracy, focussing on iconic figures such as Disraeli and Gladstone. It forms a logical companion to Nationalism and Empire (HS5003).
The module also serves as an introduction to independent study, working (under close supervision) on a primary-sources based research project of their choice, related to themes covered in the module. This helps to prepare them for their final year dissertation project.
This is a core module for History single-honour students at L5 but it may also be of interest to students in a variety of other subjects. This module introduces students to world history in the twentieth century. It is taught through lectures and seminars, and there is a strong element of student participation through seminar presentations. We examine wars and their consequences from a variety of geographical perspectives: Africa, China, Japan, India, Russia, the US and the Middle East, with special focus on the First World War. No other event so significantly altered political boundaries around the world, or stimulated such nationalist sentiment. We will also look at several themes that underscore the war's worldwide impact: the radicalisation of warfare; the use of propaganda; advances in medical care and psychiatry; the mobilisation of women; economic change; the emergence of new artistic movements; the stimulus given to revolution and movements for independence; and efforts to establish global governance. The module therefore provides a world history emphasising political developments but shedding light on social and economic issues as well.
This module is an optional period module at Level 5 and explores the major authors and literary themes of the ‘long' eighteenth century.
Students will be required to think about literary production in relation to historical and cultural change and to explore the inter-connections of satire and sensibility, town and country, and polite and popular literature through its focus on major developments in the period such as the following: satire and society, the ‘rise of the novel' debate, sensibility and the literature of feeling, and the growing participation of women in the literary marketplace.
Key to this year-long study of eighteenth-century literature is the crucial context it provides for understanding the evolution of Romanticism towards the end of the century. The module aims to situate the poetry of the major Romantic poets between 1780-1830 in an historical context and explore the philosophical and theoretical concepts that underpin their work. It also seeks to scrutinise the formation of literary categories such as ‘Romanticism' and encourage a critical scepticism about the usefulness or otherwise of such terms.
This module begins with a survey of the main sweep of historical, political and economic developments, social actors and movements that gave shape to Latin American politics from its colonial beginnings to the early modern era. The over-arching theme in the first teaching block is the contentious development of the nation-state and national economy in the global system, the legacy of which continues to shape the political landscape of the region. In the second teaching block, students will engage with substantive themes in contemporary Latin American politics, and examine current flashpoints in regional politics through the eyes of a range of actors. We explore and evaluate the range of new forms of participation that have emerged since the 1990s to contest the limitations of formal democracy under neoliberal globalization: from the barrio to factories, communities taking root on occupied land and urban spaces, constituent assemblies, popular assemblies and UN summits – or if all else fails, the streets. We end by examining national and regional development strategies that emerged at the beginning of the 21st century as a response to the perceived failure of neoliberalism, and ask, is there a new politics emerging in the region?
This module is a core module for Full-Field Politics & International Relations students and Half-Field Politics students. It can be taken as an option by Half-Field International Relations and Human Rights students.
The module offers a critical introduction to the foundations of modern political thought. It is organised around an examination of the work of several major political philosophers and the concepts associated with their writings. Beginning with an exploration the origins of modern political theory in Machiavelli, it goes on to look at debates about of human nature, the state, and property within social contract theory, and the development of political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by thinkers such as Mill, Marx, and Rawls. The module will examine a number of core political concepts, including freedom, justice, gender, equality, democracy, and tolerance, and address the central questions of moral and political philosophy: How should we act? How can we live together? Why should we obey the state? Throughout the module students will be encouraged both to challenge the arguments and assumptions of the thinkers that they study and to consider their contemporary relevance.
A L5 option module informed by research-led teaching and of particular value to students of many disciplines including History, Politics and International Relations, ‘Nationalism and Empire: Britain and Germany, 1815-1914' explores some of the most interesting and complicated aspects of modern European history. Rivalry between Britain and Germany found intense, violent expression in two world wars. The century preceding the outbreak of war in 1914, however, was marked not by rivalry and suspicion alone (of which there was a good deal), but also by shared interests political and diplomatic, social and cultural. What mattered to one of those countries was often also of interest to the other. Britons and Germans had more in common than might be assumed from their relationship in the years since 1914, not least a preoccupation with nationhood and with overseas empire. Reflecting this variety and complexity, the module ranges widely within and beyond Britain and Germany, also taking in the European and imperial contexts. Through contemporary and historical accounts and primary source materials, it examines over the course of a hundred years the varied ways in which Anglo-German and international affairs influenced politics, the economy and society in two major European states.
This module will introduce students to the controversies and debates over slavery and other forms of violence committed against groups of people in the modern world and their responses seeking emancipation. Beginning in 1492 with the development of a modern racism, it looks at the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the subsequent development of US Slavery, and the struggles of African Americans into the twentieth century. These cases will be revisited from the perspective of gender, and compared to other forms of structural oppression of colonised peoples and workers.
The module will consider the challenges in identifying the standpoint of the oppressed and study examples of how ‘subaltern' oppressed groups enter politics. There are case studies of different historical and contemporary movements for emancipation, exploring some of their key debates and the challenges of constructing unity whilst respecting diversity. The module as a whole will encourage the critical analysis and assessment of the various interpretations that have been put forward and facilitate the development of students' research skills, ability to work together and communicate their ideas.
This module is an optional period module at Level 5. We will study key texts from the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries that register the ways in which Britain is transformed by the Industrial Revolution, and which give expression to fears about technology, social mobility and urban culture.
We will consider literature of the period that questions and resists established theories of gendered identity, and which challenges the literary representation of sexuality, defying censorship in the process. We will be introduced to writers who engage with contemporary debates about science, religion, the empire, and racial and national identity.
And we will encounter a range of consciously modern texts which dislocate and make new the reader's experience by technical innovation and experiment. In recent years, writers studied have included Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf.
This module explores the social, cultural and political history of Britain from 1960 to the present day. Particular weight will be attached to considering the changes and continuities in ordinary people's lives and leisure in this period, through an examination of the impact of such phenomena as the Beatles, Eastenders and Facebook. These cultural aspects will be complemented by an evaluation of the role of such social factors as class, gender, ethnicity, and education as well as the place of individual character in influencing people's experiences and opportunities. The inter-action between socio-cultural changes and politics will also be a major theme, with analysis of changes in government policy, ideology and leadership style from Harold Wilson through Margaret Thatcher to Tony Blair. The issue of a changing British national identity and character will also be addressed. This is contemporary history, with a firm emphasis on the relationship between the near past and the present, encouraging students also to reflect on their own experiences of a very recent period of history. A range of contemporary sources, including film, television, music and memoir will be used to foster engagement with the period. This is also an era increasingly attracting the attention of historians both of society and political culture, and this growing historiography will be analysed, with a particular focus on debates over the leisure, habits and attitudes of 'the people'.
This research-led module explores the rise and impact of the Extreme Right in the 20th and early 21st centuries in Britain and in three other countries in Western Europe (namely France, Germany and Italy). It adopts a historical and comparative approach, and focuses on fascist, populist and authoritarian ideas, parties and movements in Britain and across Europe, and the challenges these posed for the liberal democratic state and its main institutions. The relationship between democracy and dictatorship proved to be a major source of controversy and change in the 20th century, and the question of how the liberal state 'managed' (or mis-managed and succumbed to) the threat from the Extreme Right has been a major theme in the historiography in recent years. In fact, such issues remain very prominent today. The first half of the course thus describes and analyses the historical developments, main patterns and key controversies engendered by these events and challenges in the interwar period. The second half of the course explores the extent to which these historical developments and the associated challenges were possibly replicated in the post-1945 period, especially with the more recent resurgence of the extreme Right across Britain and Europe in the early 21st century.
Of interest and value to students of history, politics, international relations and economics, this L6 option module examines offers a comparative historical perspective on twentieth British, American and world affairs. That century was of immense significance for both countries. At its outset Britain, with a worldwide empire, appeared to be the primary global power. At century's end (and with the demise of the Soviet Union), it had been supplanted by the United States. Now, in the twenty-first century, there is speculation as to whether and for how long American primacy may endure. The prospect of American 'decline' is currently a source of anxiety among American policymakers. Historians have identified many reasons for American ascendancy and British ‘decline' during the period 1900-2000. Were these two phenomena related, closely or otherwise? The answer to that question is by no means straightforward. Vitally important as were internal social and political changes, study of relations between the two countries – and of their relations to other states and nations – also provides us with insight into the scale and nature of historical change on a global scale. Focusing on key case studies in twentieth century British, American and international history the module provides stimulating study into issues of power and 'decline'.
In this L6 core module students engage in historical activities both individual and collaborative. They provide material for and assist in the running of ‘Capstone', an ‘in house' History e-journal, developed by History staff and colleagues in the LRC and the ADC. The material will be both text-based and visual. Students may submit short research-based essays, book, film and exhibition reviews and reports on events and current affairs from a historical perspective. They may also submit their own photographs. Supervised by History staff with experience and expertise in publishing and editing, students work in teams to apportion reporting and editorial responsibilities among themselves. Their objective is to create over the course of two semesters at least one edition (and no more than two editions) of ‘Capstone', with a focus on one or more historical themes. This e-journal provides students with the opportunity to display and share the results of their work with other students and with staff. It provides them with invaluable experience in working together towards a common objective with a historical focus. The module has considerable employability benefits. Not only that, it encourages student awareness of and participation in an electronically linked ‘community of scholarship' within and also perhaps beyond the university.
Cold War, Hot War examines various events in the Middle East from past to present and will provide a comprehensive outlook on a troubled area.
It begins by studying the historical foundations in the region and then explores the impact of the Cold War on the region through case studies such as the Eisenhower Doctrine; the Baghdad Pact, the Suez Crisis and the 1973 war. All this would be assessed against the wider framework of nationalism and regional politics from the early 1950s to the collapse of the USSR in 1990s. Using primary documents we will then assess the consequences of the end of the Cold War on the current crisis and the rise of religiopolitics. The theme of nationalism and leadership will be further explored during the second half of the module, focusing on a number of case studies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel) their ‘hot wars', foreign policy and current upheavals and challenges.
This research-led module is devoted to a study of two of the most important phenomena to bring about the shift between the early modern and the modern world. The first of these is the body of transformative ideas about science and the nature of human society known as the Enlightenment. The second is the French Revolution, which brought down the old regime in Europe and laid out the foundations of the modern political world. A key part of the module will address the relationship between ideas and revolution. The module will also increase the students' depth of knowledge of key issues in ideas, including the scientific revolution, the rise of the novel, the role of gender in eighteenth-century politics and society; and shifting attitudes towards race and slavery.
This module will be examining some deeply troubling events in recent history and politics and the various ethical, legal and political responses that they have generated. It has been argued that the Holocaust was a critical turning point, a catastrophe which required a fundamental ethical, legal and political rethinking of how the rights of human beings could be protected when states in the modern world engage in the systematic attempt to murder large numbers of people, including many of their own citizens. The module begins with reflections on the Nazi attempt to eliminate a whole group of people (the Jews) and to murder and enslave millions of others. It then considers a range of responses, including the Nuremberg trials, the Genocide Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It examines a number of cases of genocide and crimes against humanity that have nevertheless occurred subsequently. It evaluates the repeated failure for decades to halt or prevent these crimes and then considers the rethinking caused by the genocides in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the setting up of ad hoc tribunals and an International Criminal Court to prosecute perpetrators and provide justice to victims. It concludes with reflections on how much progress has been made in protecting citizens in a world of sovereign nation states and what forms of justice can work after such crimes have been committed. These are highly contested questions and the module is designed to encourage the critical analysis and evaluation of a wide range of arguments that have been put forward from a variety of perspectives.
This L6 module is a special option, taken by students after consultation with the module leader, to whom they must apply in person prior to making their module choices for Level 6. Emphasising employability, it enables students to build on skills and knowledge already acquired in the course of their studies, especially through Historians Craft at Level 4 and Extended Essay/Research Project at Level 5. It enables them to further develop those skills and knowledge and in the process also acquire practical work experience. The module takes the form of an innovative combination of lectures/seminars, workshops and work placements within and outside Kingston University. The placement element of the module acquaints students with the varied ways in which historical knowledge is applied beyond the environment of the university. In this module students learn about the ‘business' of History, in the form of institutional research projects and in the activities of archives and record offices. Students gain from experience and expertise built up over many years by the Centre for the Historical Record (CHR), which has undertaken pioneering work in the creation and dissemination of digitised historical records. The CHR offers practical work experience within the university. It also arranges placements at external history-related institutions with which it has developed excellent links over many years.
The module differs from many others in History at Kingston in that its theme relates not to particular historical events or people but to ‘Public History' – in effect the ways in which history is understood and used in a public context, in the United Kingdom and other countries. Students learn about Public History in seminars. They choose a historical topic, related to the work of the institution where they undertake their placements. In workshops they discuss and reflect on Public History as practised at large and in their placement locations.
A core module for full field students and available also to half field students, the dissertation provides an opportunity for students to work independently under the personal supervision of research-active staff. Supervision is complemented by personal tuition (separate personal tuition arrangements are put in place for minor field students). In undertaking a lengthy research project students exercise and deploy historical knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the History programme, notably at Level 5. Using their experience and research skills they now focus in depth on a specific and discrete topic that they have chosen in consultation with their supervisor. Nothing else in the History undergraduate programme is quite like a dissertation. The experience is unique, as each dissertation is unique. For the History student it is a culmination of undergraduate study. It is an exercise in preparedness for postgraduate and professional life, and it is also evidence of that preparedness.
You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.
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We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.