Napoleon and Europe, 1799 - 1815 - HIST6024

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 60 (30) Ambrogio Caiani checkmark-circle


This special subject will introduce students to the pros and cons of the historiographical debate surrounding Napoleonic and Revolutionary French history. It will give final year students an alternative means of engaging with the familiar historical category of 'Empire.' The focus on French expansion abroad, in the early nineteenth century, challenges one to move away from understanding the Napoleonic Empire in national terms; this course in essence, by its very nature, is European in both scope and content. To do this it will explore processes of acculturation and international competition on a thematic basis. It will examine, in broad multi-national manner, the complex interaction between centre and periphery or what Italians, more prosaically, describe as conflict between 'stato reale' and ‘stato civile.’

This special subject will investigate the Napoleonic Empire in its many facets. Students will be urged actively to pursue their individual interests in either war and society, Empire, political culture and/or gender.


Contact hours

Total Contact hours: 80
Total Private study: 520
Total Study hours: 600


Please note that this module is only available to single-honours and joint-honours students on the BA in History and BA in Military History programmes. It is not available as a Wild module, nor is it available to short-credit students.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 3000 words 8%
Essay 2 3000 words 8%
Gobbet Exercise 2000 words 8%
Take Home Test 8%
Presentation 1 4%
Presentation 2 4%
Exam 1 2 hours 30%
Exam 2 2 hours 30%

Reassessment methods:
100% Coursework (5500 words)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Michael Broers, Europe under Napoleon 1799-1815 (Hodder, London, 1996)
Michael Broers, Napoleon: The Spirit of the Age (Faber & Faber, London, 2018)
Connelly, Owen, Napoleon's satellite kingdoms managing conquered peoples (Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, 1990)
Geoffrey Ellis, The Napoleonic Empire (Palgrave, London, 1991)
Clive Emsley, Napoleon conquest, reform and reorganisation (Routledge, London, 2014)
Alan Forrest and Philip Dwyer, Napoleon and His Empire, Europe, 1804-1813 (Bloomsbury, London, 2006)
Alexander Garb, Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe (Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2003)
Stuart Woolf, Napoleon's integration of Europe (Routledge, London, 1991)

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. Demonstrate a deep awareness of the factual material and analytical tools and approaches necessary to understand the nature & mission of the Napoleonic Empire and its trans-European impact.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of France's constantly evolving military and diplomatic priorities.
3. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the most important political and military turning points of the period, and some of the historiographical battles waged around the subject.
4. Demonstrate the ability to discuss the complex analytical and conceptual problems raised in the special subject, and to present their work in written and oral form.
5. Demonstrate an enhanced critical understanding of the diversity of human cultures, and the effects of Empire on different geographic, political, social and cultural contexts.
6. Effectively find, use, critique and critically evaluate relevant primary sources on the Napoleonic Empire.

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

1. Demonstrate a range of intellectual, research and transferable skills. They will come to understand the problems that are inherent in the historical record and the limits within which interpretation is possible
2. Demonstrate critical thought and independence of mind, the capacity to marshal subtle and sophisticated arguments, and the ability to challenge received conclusions
3. Communicate complex ideas and information effectively.
4. Effectively manage their own learning and work effectively without close supervision or guidance.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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