A Global History of Empires: 1500-1850 - HIST4350

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2023 to 2024.


This course explores the history of empires on a global scale. It challenges students to grasp the history of empires by examining their structures, instruments and consequences. The course will cover the history of empire from the sixteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. Themes will include the expansion of European empires (Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, Dutch and Belgian) in the Americas, Asia, the global rivalry for empires among European nations in the eighteenth century, the commercial expansion of the East India Companies in the Indian Ocean,, the expansion British colonies in India, slavery and the Abolition movement and the Revolt of 1857. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay 2,000 words 40%
Primary Source Critique 1,000 words 40%
Seminar Performance 20%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

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 some understanding of the political, economic and socio-cultural developments in the history of European empires from the sixteenth to the twentieth century on a global scale; and be equipped with the skills needed to understand evaluate, contextualise and communicate effectively their knowledge of history.
2 Engage with the history of modern empires and demonstrate their skills in researching historical subjects and in communicating their knowledge and ideas, using a variety of methods.
3 Better understand the disciplines of political, social, economic and cultural history.
4 Examine and evaluate primary sources, whether texts or images, and understand their context, strengths and limitations, and value.

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

1 Demonstrate a grasp of the history of modern empires in their global context, which will help them to have a better understanding of the modern multicultural world and the global economy.
2 Practise problem-solving skills and ability to work both independently and within groups. Students will have engaged in independent work, used library resources, and will have improved their skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, seminar presentations and essay-writing.
3 Communicate complex concepts effectively using a variety of methods. They will have acquired the ability to further develop skills they have already gained, which will be of use to them in future study or occupations


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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