Modern British History - HIST4300

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Gaynor Johnson checkmark-circle


The course will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in modern British history from the early twentieth century to the 1990s. It will examine the roles of total war, imperialism and decolonisation, social welfare legislation, the advent of mass culture in shaping the nation. Subjects to be covered will include: crisis and reform in Edwardian Britain; politics and society in the Great War; stagnation and recovery in the interwar years; appeasement; the People's War, 1939-45; the welfare state; decolonisation; the affluent society and the politics of consensus; the end of consensus 1970-79; nationalism and devolution; Thatcher and the rolling back of the state; New Labour.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 21
Private study hours: 129
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 1,500 words 20%
Essay 2 2,500 words 25%
Presentation 500 words 5%
Examination 2 hours 50%

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Peter Clark, Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990
Peter Dorey, British Politics since 1945
Juliet Gardiner, Wartime: Britain 1939-45
Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War
P Johnson (ed.), Twentieth Century Britain: Economic, Social and Cultural Change
Ross McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951
Martin Pugh, State and Society: a Social and Political History of Britain since 1870
Paul Ward, Britishness since 1870

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 To provide students with an understanding of key events and themes in British History in the twentieth century and place this understanding in the wider context of Britain's relationship with Europe and the wider world.
2 To expose students to the disciplines of political, social and economic history and their various methodological approaches.
3 Students will learn how to access a range of sources, of information, primary and secondary, relevant to British history of this period and present the results.
4 Students will acquire skills of conceptualisation, reflexivity, critical thought and epistemological awareness.
5 To develop a critical understanding of different historical approaches and degrees of bias as well as of the methodological complexities in the historical record itself.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 To develop analytical and reflective skills and the ability to express complex ideas and arguments orally and in writing, skills which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment.
2 To develop communication, presentation and information technology skills.
3 Students will engage in group work and will be encouraged to work cooperatively with others in order to enhance one and other's learning.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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