Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

History and English and American Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QV31

2019

By studying History and English together, you gain a broad perspective on each subject. Both areas allow students to tailor their studies to their own interests.

2019

Overview

Our English programmes cover traditional areas (such as Shakespeare or Dickens) and also allow you to examine American literature to gain a broader perspective on literature written in English. You are also given the opportunity to explore creative writing and recent developments in literary theory.

Within History you examine a wide range of sources and study varied historical opinion on subjects spanning different periods and regions – with areas of expertise including English and American History.

Independent rankings

History at Kent was ranked 13th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, 91% of our History students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. 

History at Kent was ranked 12th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 14th in The Complete University Guide 2018. Of History students who graduated in 2016, 96% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2018 and Creative Writing was ranked 12th in The Complete University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, 92% of our English students were satisfied with the quality of teaching. 


Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

Literary Forms aims to introduce students to the major forms of literature: poetry, prose and drama, with a core emphasis on innovation. Students will examine the formal structures and generic features of these major forms and, through studying specific examples, observe how these forms change over time and in response to changes in authorship, literary production, and audience/readership. Embedded in this module will also be the development of writing and research skills that will equip students to manage successfully the transition from A-level to university study in the field of English and American Literature.

Read more
30

Critical theory and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of literary texts have become increasingly fundamental to English Studies, while also offering a number of rich and complex ways of reading and understanding society and culture more generally. In this course, we will introduce you to some key theoretical readings in five broad areas: feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, Post-Colonialism and Race, and Sexualities. Through these readings, we will invite you to make connections between theoretical approaches and to think about how they might inform your reading practices on this and other courses. The aim of this work is to help you to understand the significance and usefulness of theory on its own terms, as well as giving you a coherent grounding in the ways theoretical concepts help us to approach and understand literary and other texts. Through this, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of the dynamic relationship between theory and culture, literature and politics.

Read more
30

This module has two aims:

1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level;

2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it. This will be achieved through four blocks of seminars and lectures.

These will cover:

• The practice of history, introducing history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level.

• Historical methodology. This will cover the development of university history in the nineteenth century and how this differed from the study and writing of history that had gone before. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.

• The varieties of history. This will examine some of the major themes and approaches, such as Marxism or nationalism, in modern historical scholarship.

• Beyond history. The final block will consider the ‘linguistic turn’ and new ways of studying and writing history in the twenty-first century.

A fifth component, concentrated in the first three or four weeks of the module, will provide training in core, practical skills (library and bibliographic skills, IT skills and the use of MyFolio and PDP).

Read more
30

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.

Read more
15

This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the Renaissance to religious wars of the early seventeenth century. This period in European history witnessed the cultural and social upheaval of the Reformation, the advent of print and the intellectual changes associated with Humanism, the formation of recognisably 'modern' nation states, and the beginnings of Europe’s troubled engagement with the wider world. . As with the complementary module on later European history (c.1600-1750) the lectures and seminars will be arranged around six key areas: 1) religion 2) intellectual and scholarly life 3) economy 4) society 5) politics and war and 6) culture. These themes will be approached through the examination of national histories, specific events, and historiographical controversies.

Read more
15

This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the religious wars of the first half of the seventeenth century to the dawn of modernity in the second half of the eighteenth century. This period in European history witnessed the development of a system of nation states in Europe, the rise of Absolutism, the development of new European powers in Eastern and Central Europe, an expansion of European influence in the Americas and Asia (leading to a greater commercialisation of European society), as well as the fundamental shifts in European intellectual culture associated with the Scientific Revolution, overseas expansion and the Enlightenment. As with the complementary module on earlier European history (c.1450-1600) the lectures and seminars will be arranged around six key areas: 1) religion 2) intellectual and scholarly life 3) economy 4) society 5) politics and war and 6) culture. These themes will be approached through the examination of national histories, specific events, and historiographical controversies.

Read more
15

Science has arguably been the greatest force for cultural change in the last 500 years. Scientists have changed the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. They have moved the earth from the centre of the universe, and have taught us that we are nothing more than jumped-up apes. This module visits some of the most important events and developments since the so-called 'scientific revolution' (c. 1700) and questions some myths about how science works.

Note that absolutely no technical knowledge of science is required for this module. This module is all about people, places and culture, not an examination of particular scientific theories.

Read more
15

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.

Although this module is independent of and distinct from the other module on the history of global empires, (1850-1960) which will run in the Spring term, for the deep interconnectedness of this history, which this module/s highlights, students will be encouraged to take both.

Topics will cover:

1. The Iberian Empires in the Atlantic, c. 1500–1700

2. Vasco Da Gama and the Portuguese Empire in the Indian Ocean

3. The expansion of European colonies in the Americas

4. Competition for the World: European Rivalries for World Domination, 1600–1700

5. Trade and Dominion: the East India Companies and the Making of Asian Empires (1700-1850)

6. Global empires in the 18th century

7. Imperial Crisis? 1760 – 1830

8. Imperialism and the Global Economy: Free trade, Industrialization and the Balance of Payment (will also cover: Informal Empires in Latin America)

9. Africa and the Global Economy in the 19th century

10. Empire and Rebellion: the Revolt of 1857

Read more
15

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 expansion of European empires from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, in the age of decolonization. Topics include the conquest of Africa in the age of the so-called ‘New Imperialism’, the French and British Civilizing missions in Africa and Asia, the emergence of modern ideas of race, immigration, freedom struggles in Asia and Africa, and postcolonial cultural and political developments across the world. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation and enable them to form a deep understanding of the postcolonial world.

Although this module is distinct from the other module on the history of global empires, (1600-1850) which will run in the Autumn term, for the deep interconnectedness of this history, which this module/s highlights, students will be encouraged to take both.

Topics will cover:

1. The Victorian Empire: Law, Education and Modernity

2. Empire on the Move: Missionaries, Indentured labour and Convicts

3. The 'Scramble for Africa'

4. The Nature of the British African Empire: from the ‘civilising mission’ to Indirect Rule)

5. French, Belgian and Portuguese Colonialisms

6. Empire and Race: Ideas of Difference and Degeneration

7. Freedom from Empire: Nationalist and anti-imperialist movements in South Asia, North Africa

8. WWII and the 'Second Colonial Occupation'

9. Decolonization in Africa

10. Neo-imperial Adventures? The USSR and China in Africa

11. The Legacy of Empire: the Commonwealth, Immigration and Multiculturalism

Read more
15

Subjects to be covered will include: The Crimean War; The Franco-Prussian War and German unification; the origins of the First World War; the Treaty of Versailles; the League of Nations; the origins of the Second World War; the Cold War in Europe; the origins of the European Union; from détente in Europe to the fall of Communism.

Read more
15

This module explores the emergence of contemporary forms of sport through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The shifting forms and functions of sport will be studied and these will be related to changes to broader social and cultural transformations in British society. The tension that existed for much of this period between the amateur and the professional will be investigated as will the growing commercialisation of the sports industry. Students will learn about the diversity of sporting traditions across British history and examine how they were shaped by wider forces such as work, class and gender. To this end, the focus will fall not only on what are perceived to be the national winter and summer games of football and cricket but also on a range of other sports, such as rugby, netball, boxing, tennis, rowing and athletics.

Read more
15

Charles the Great (Charlemagne), king of the Franks (768–814), has been called 'the father of Europe', while Alfred the Great, king of Wessex (871–99), has been viewed as a key figure in the emergence of a united England. But what made Charles and Alfred ‘great’? This module examines and compares the achievements of these two rulers in order to cast light on broader political, cultural and social developments in the Frankish empire and Anglo-Saxon England. Both Charlemagne and Alfred oversaw sweeping programmes of reform which attempted to bring order to all spheres of life. These drives for order produced an outpouring of writing, offering the historian unparalleled views of early medieval government and intellectual culture. However, some have suggested that the towering reputations of Charlemagne and Alfred owe more to their employment of intellectuals and propagandists to portray their militaristic regimes as pious, civilised and ordered. Indeed, the fame of both kings today rests to a large degree on the survival of two remarkable royal biographies: Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne and Asser’s Life of Alfred. Using these two texts as baselines, we shall examine the rich sources of the period – narrative, documentary, literary, artistic, archaeological – in order to test the biographers’ claims. How did Charlemagne and Alfred rule? In what ways were the challenges they faced similar and different? Why did they promote education and literacy? Did their reforms actually change anything on the ground? Can we ever know anything about the ‘real’ Charlemagne or Alfred? By considering such questions, students will gain firm understandings of the evidence for and debates over royal government and political order in ninth-century Europe.

Read more
15

This module considers the relationship between the English crown and aristocracy from the mid-fifteenth- to the mid-seventeenth centuries. During this turbulent period, England experienced considerable unrest as a result of the often vexed nature of monarcho-aristocratic relations – the Wars of the Roses, the mid-Tudor rebellions and civil war in the 1640s being the most obvious instances of tension and conflict – but there were also decades of relative calm and stability.

The module will, therefore, consider not only the clashes between 'over mighty subjects' and 'under mighty kings', but will also explore art, culture, architecture and religion, as symbols of both royal and noble power, authority and influence.

Read more
15

This module is especially concerned with the end of Empire in Africa. After exploring the origins and nature of European empires in Africa, the course examines the impact of World War II on the British Empire and the end of British imperial influence in Kenya and Egypt. The course compares the British approach to decolonisation with those of the French, Belgians and Portuguese, raising the cases of French Algeria, the Belgian Congo, and Portuguese Angola and Mozambique. American attitudes to empire are also considered. Finally, the module covers the history of Italian and Soviet involvement in the Horn of Africa.

Read more
15

The module introduces students to a broad range of material and themes relevant to the history of medicine, highlighting changes and continuities in medical practice and theory as well as in medical institutions and professional conduct. The section on ancient medicine addresses the role of Greek writers such as Hippocrates. The section on medieval medicine focuses on major epidemics, the origins of medical institutions, and the role of medical care and cure in the context of social and demographic changes. In particular, this section addresses the role of the Black Death and subsequent plagues, as well as the history of hospitals. The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of public health and the welfare state, and the role of social Darwinism and eugenics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For the late 19th and 20th centuries, the course will look at the role of gender and sexuality, medicine and modern warfare, health and disability, and modern medicine and medical ethics.

Read more
15

The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module is pursued via the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation.

Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.

Read more
15

The module will introduce the students to the history of the U.S during its dramatic rise to industrial and international power. Beginning with the transformation of the U.S into an urban industrial civilisation at the end of the 19th Century, it ends with a review of the American position at the beginning of the 21st century.

Themes include early 20th century reform, the rise to world power by 1918, prosperity and the Depression, the New Deal, war and Cold War, race relations, Vietnam, supposed decline and resurgence from Nixon to Reagan, the end of the Cold War, and the Clinton Administration.

Read more
15

What happened when the Roman Empire collapsed? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? How violent were the Vikings? What actually happened at the Norman Conquest?

This module is designed to provide an introduction to early medieval European history. We will focus on the main political events and most significant changes that took place during this period. We will also look at aspects of society and culture. The aims are that students should have a clear understanding of the outlines of European history in this period, a sense of what life was like in particular communities, and of the types of evidence that survive for historians to use. The weekly lectures will help guide students through the module, and in the regular seminars there will be opportunities to explore key debates and sources in more detail.

There will be an optional fieldtrip to St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's, Canterbury.

Read more
15

This module is a survey of medieval Europe from c.1000 to c.1450. It includes elements of political, institutional, religious, social and cultural history.

The module is intended to provide students with a foundation that will allow them to make the most of other courses in European history, particularly those focusing on the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, by equipping them with a grounding in geography and chronology, as well as in a variety of approaches to the study of history.

Lectures will provide an overview of some of the period's defining features including the feudal system; kingship; the crusades, warfare and chivalry; popes (and anti-popes); monasticism and the coming of the friars; heresy; visual culture; women and the family; and towns and trade.

Read more
15

This module examines the principal themes of the political, social and cultural history of Britain during the Victorian era (c. 1830 –1900). This period saw the building of one of the world’s greatest empires, the transformation of Britain from a rural society into the world’s first and leading industrial nation, and the development of a modern state and new forms of democratic participation.

Read more
15

The first section of the module will focus on the impact of the Enlightenment, and revolutionary approaches to social change, in France and Russia. In the final seminars, the wider impact of revolutionary ideas, including the concept of nationalism, will be explored in a wider European context.

Topics covered will include: the Enlightenment; Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; Frederick the Great; Joseph II and the Habsburg Monarchy; the French revolution; the Napoleonic Empire; Spain: Reform, Reaction and Revolution; the Congress of Vienna; nationalism in Europe; the revolutions of 1848.

Read more
15

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module examines the rise and spread of popular religious movements in Western Europe from the eleventh to the early fourteenth century and considers how some of these movements became seen as heresy and were associated with political dissent, ideas of persecution and social and economic change. It also considers the leadership of the Medieval papacy and its contribution to the transformation and condemnation of religious and heretical movements. The module finally explores the reasons why popular religious movements provoked such strong reactions and compares and contrasts the treatment of these religious and heretical movements with that given to other social minorities (especially women, lepers and homosexuality).

The course will draw on narrative, hagiographical, documentary and visual sources. The course will require students to engage with primary sources, and to think critically about theoretical approaches toward the above mentioned themes.

Read more
30

This module is meant to introduce students to the key processes and dynamics of sub-Saharan African history during the past two centuries. The course covers three chronological periods: the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras. In their study of the pre-colonial period students, will especially familiarize themselves with the changing nature of African slavery and the nineteenth-century reconstruction of political authority in the face of economic, environmental and military challenges. The colonial period forms the second section of the course. Here, students will gain an understanding of the modalities of the colonial conquest, the creation and operation of colonial economies and the socio-cultural engineering brought about by European rule. The study of the colonial period will end with an analysis of African nationalisms and decolonisation. In the final part of the course, students will develop an understanding of the challenges faced by independent African nations. The nature of the post-colonial African state will be explored alongside such topical issues as the Rwandan Genocide and the African AIDS epidemic.

Read more
30

This module introduces students to Russian history from the end of the Crimean War to the Soviet victory in the Second World War. It will equip students to understand the continuities and differences between tsarism and Soviet communism. Themes covered will include: the reforms of Alexander II; the late tsarist autocracy; populism and Marxism; the 1905 revolution; the First World War; the February and October revolutions; the intelligentsia and revolution; revolutionary ideology; the building of socialism, c. 1917-1928; the Stalin revolution, c. 1928-1941; the Second World War.

Read more
30

In 1500 England and Scotland were both Catholic, and entirely separate countries. In 1603 they were united under one ruler, the Scottish King James VI who inherited the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth I. This module will introduce students to the political history of the period, meeting famous characters such as Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots, but it will also get beyond headline-grabbing monarchs to explore complex political realities. Alongside the contested process of religious change and the secret scheming between England and Scotland, we shall consider the impact of propaganda on the people of different parts of the British Isles. Students will encounter a wide variety of sources, ranging from political pictures and tracts to acts of Parliament and diplomatic correspondence.

Read more
30

Society has always been fascinated by those deemed different and over time, unusual people have been viewed and constructed in a myriad of ways. The course explores the continuities and changes surrounding those classed as different. Broadly, the course will investigate the changing nature of difference from the 1780s to the 1920s. It will examine the body and mind as contested sites; spaces occupied by those considered different; the establishment of normality versus deviance; the changing conceptions of difference over time; relationships between unusual people and the wider society. Using a broad range of sources, from novels to film, the course will trace the shifting cultural constructions of difference.

Read more
30

This module will offer a comparative study of the armies of the Great Powers during the First World War. The module will adopt the ‘war and society’ approach to this topic and so will focus on the social composition and combat effectiveness of the armies concerned, along with civil-military relations and the higher strategic direction of the war. This module will therefore seek to answer some of the key questions of the Great War: how did the Great Powers manage to raise and sustain such large armies, why did soldiers continue to fight, given the appalling casualty rates; how politicised were the armies of the Great War, why were politicians allowed to embark on foolhardy military adventures, how crucial were the Americans in securing Entente victory and how effectively were economies adapted to meet the demands of the armies? Comparative topics for discussion in seminars will include; planning for war, recruitment and conscription, the officer corps, generals and politicians, discipline and morale; and attitudes to technological advances.

Read more
30

Between 1815 and 1914 Britain engaged in only one European war. The Empire was, therefore, the most consistent and most continuous influence in shaping the army as an institution and moulding public opinion of the army. This module will examine various aspects of the British army’s imperial experience between 1750 and 1920 (although the focus will fall, for the most part on the small wars of the Victorian period). The central focus will be on the campaigning in Africa and India, exploring how a relatively small number of British soldiers managed to gain and retain control of such vast territories and populations. Through an examination of a wide range of literary and visual primary sources, the module will also explore how the imperial soldier specifically and imperial campaigning generally were presented to and reconfigured by a domestic audience.

Topics covered will include:

The everyday life of the imperial soldier

Representing the imperial hero: Henry Havelock and Charles Gordon

The portrayal of imperial campaigning in contemporary popular culture

The legacy of the Boer War: commemoration, doctrine and reform

The modern memory of colonial warfare: from Lives of a Bengal Lancer to Zulu

Read more
30

Cultures never develop and grow in isolation. They are built on the values of past generations, and they are shaped and challenged in interaction with other cultures. The main objective of this module is to explore and present the powerful interaction between Europe and the Islamic world in early modern times, c. 1450-1750.

The course will firstly provide an overview of the rise and fall of three major Islamic states and empires (the Abbasid Caliphate, the Safavid Empire, the Ottoman Empire). It will then assess the early modern European encounter with the Islamic world 1) by discussing the scholarly, religious, political and economic incentives for this encounter; 2) by documenting the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period; 3) by exploring the enormous impact, which this encounter had on European civilization. The course will focus on the following topics and areas of life:

1) Transmission of scientific, technical and medical knowledge.

2) Collecting manuscripts and studying the languages of the Islamic world

3) Trade and economic exchange

4) Conflict and cooperation

5) Understanding Islam, translating the Koran

6) European discovery of Arabic literature, art and architecture

7) Arabs in the West (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)

8) Europeans in the East (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)

Read more
30

'We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.'

Sir John Seeley, The Expansion of England (1883)

Despite Seeley's assertion of accidental conquest, at its zenith the British empire decidedly controlled over ¼ of the world's global real estate, and 1/5 of the world's population. The economic, cultural and global impact of British colonialism is still very much apparent today - from contested borders and inter-state disputes, through languages and cultures, to the inequities in wealth and trade that exist between the prosperous 'North' and the underdeveloped 'South'. Why, then, was imperial expansion so vehemently defended by its protagonists in the 19th and 20th Centuries? And what made colonial conquest, colonisation, and economic exploitation of non-European spaces feasible on such a global scale and for so long? These are the 'big questions' that underlie this module. Using documentary sources and specialist texts and articles, we shall investigate various aspects of British colonial rule from the perspective of its practitioners and from that of their colonial 'subjects'. The intention is to try and understand European imperialism on its own terms, to interrogate the cultural and conceptual discourses that underpinned its existence, and to reflect upon the many ways in which the history of European empire has shaped the modern world in which we live today.

Please note that the title of this module is changing. It will run in 2016/2017 as 'A Cultural History of the British Empire.'

Read more
30

The curriculum works systematically through the exploration and settlement of different regions, with weekly material covering particular migratory pathways, including Chesapeake planters, New England puritans, pirates and settlers in the Caribbean, and other seminal cultural zones including attention to the Middle Colonies and the Lower South. Introductory coverage will explore the "prehistory" of British colonialism through an examination of the plantation of Ulster, and other aspects of migration and imperialism will be treated through engagement with the Scottish experiment at Darien and English attempts to gain footholds in West Africa. The curriculum will concentrate on particular themes to help sustain integrity across this diffuse oceanic domain: encounters with indigenous peoples, Atlantic imperialism, settlement demographics, and cultural folkways. The final weeks of the course will treat points of convergence and integration, including the growth of cities, religious movements, political commonalities, and the eighteenth-century wars for empire in the Atlantic, culminating in the Peace of Paris of 1763.

Read more
30

The diplomatic relationship between Britain and France in the first half of the twentieth century can be seen as a marriage of convenience. Not natural historical allies, the British and French governments were forced increasingly to work together to combat the tensions in Europe that led to the outbreak of the First and Second World Wars.

This module explores the love-hate relationship between the two countries in tracing the origins of the Entente Cordiale, and by addressing some of the major historiographical debates in twentieth century international history. Lectures will provide students with an overview of these debates and the topics listed below, and seminars will encourage students to consider their understanding of these areas and critically engage with them through discussion.

Themes explored will typically include, imperialism, political reform and its impact on foreign policy formation, democratisation, the rise of nationalism, peacemaking at the end of the two world wars; the Ruhr Crisis, the Treaty of Locarno, the League of Nations; the Kellogg Briand Pact; the Briand Plan; the Geneva disarmament conferences of the late 1920s/early 1930s; Eastern Europe and Russia; different strategies to deal with the rise of Hitler; the fall of France, the rise of Vichy; the secret war; the outbreak of the Cold War.

Read more
30

This module examines the European experience of war during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The lectures will consider the major national armies (French, Prussian, Austrian, Russian, British and Spanish) and how they were expanded and reformed in the wake of the French Revolution. Seminars will consider key themes, such as the nature of the officer corps, recruitment and conscription, the nature of 'People's War’, interactions between soldiers and civilians, developments in tactics, logistics and discipline and morale. The approach taken, will largely be that of ‘war and society’, focusing on the social history of the armies but there will also be some consideration of operational history and cultural history approaches to this topic. While this approach moves significantly away from ‘old military history’ with its focus on generals and battles, there will be some consideration of Napoleon’s methods of warfare and how these were successfully countered by his enemies.

Read more
30

Over the last two centuries, surgery has been radically transformed from a barbaric craft to a precision based science. Aided by new technologies, surgeons pioneered exploration into the body in ways never achieved before and became heroes of the hospital operating theatre and beyond. Historians have called this a surgical revolution. But how revolutionary was it? Did surgeons always get it right? Did new ideas, procedures and technologies immediately replace those that came before them? Is the history of surgery simply a story of continual progress? This module will examine major aspects of surgery from 1750 in order to evaluate the extent to which a 'surgical revolution' took place. Topics to be addressed include the rise of pathological anatomy; dissection and body snatching; anaesthesia; antisepsis and asepsis; vivisection; war; organ transplantation; and keyhole surgery. Adopting a social and cultural approach, the module will examine these topics in line with several key themes: the surgical profession, masculinity and heroism; patients, ethics and the body; technologies and techniques; and the sciences of pathology and physiology. The module will also explore the dissemination of surgical history today to public audiences through analyses of museum exhibits.

Read more
30

Spanning the period from the Exclusion Crisis of the late 1670s until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, this module will explore a crucial period in the history of Britain through an examination of politics, religion and diplomacy. Emerging from the upheaval of revolution in the 1640s and 1650s, the British monarchy had to adapt to new circumstances in the ensuing 100 years and one of the aims of the module will be to consider the changing nature of kingship and queenship in this age. Dynasticism remained important - after all, two unions were brought about during this period - with the Dutch (1689-1702) and the Hanoverian electorate (1714-1837). Necessarily, therefore, the European dimension will be central to the module, while the focus will be on Britain, not merely England. Parliament assumed an enhanced role in the politics of this period - with annual parliaments from 1689 and parliamentary union with Scotland in 1707 - and the module will pay close attention to the fortunes of ministers, the growth of parties and the increasingly active electorate in an age of frequent general elections. The module will also assess how extra-parliamentary opinion, the press and popular protest affected the political landscape. Religious conflict remained an issue, with continuing tension between the established church and 'dissenters', as well as between Catholic and Protestant (the attempt to exclude James, Duke of York from the succession signifying the continued interdependence of religion and politics). Finally, the module will examine the impact on Britain of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) and the Seven Years' War (1756-63), and the growth of the British colonial empire.

Read more
30

Science and religion are often presented as in antithesis; worldviews that will inevitably clash. Popular accounts of science often present religion and religious institutions as a restraining force on the advance of science, and find it difficult to deal with the many scientific figures whose work was either underpinned or unaffected by their faith. This module will look critically at these narratives, re-examining famous episodes such as Galileo's clash with the Catholic Church, and debates over Darwin’s theory of evolution, from the Huxley-Wilberforce debate of 1860 to the Scopes Trial in Tennessee in 1925. We will explore the late 19th-century roots of the "clash narrative" and the developing idea of inevitable “Warfare” between science and religion, noting the other ways in which the relationship has been understood. This includes the long-lasting natural theological framing of scientific knowledge, which saw evidence of God’s existence and attributes in the natural world, and historians’ accounts of the role of religion in motivating individuals and groups to undertake scientific work.

Read more
30

Seventeenth-century Britain experienced considerable division and tension, most obviously in the Civil Wars in mid-century between the countries which comprised the multiple kingdom of Britain. The aim is to examine the reasons for, and the attempted resolution of, major political and religious problems, with a clear sense of the European context in which these events were played out. Topics to be studied will include the ideological clashes between crown and parliament in England; the political and cultural divisions of `court' and `country'; religious disunity across the three kingdoms; the expansion of a `public sphere' of politics and religion; the failure of republican government in the 1650s; the instability of Restoration politics and the coming of the Glorious Revolution; and Britain's changing role in Europe across the century.

Read more
30

The history of the Great War is a subject of perennial fascination, for this war left its imprint on British/European society to an extent almost unparalleled in modern history. No previous war matched it in scale and brutality. The military history and the course of events have been told many times. This course, by contrast, focuses on the social and cultural upheavals of the Great War. The aim is to move beyond narrow military history and examine the war's socio-cultural impact on British and European societies. Furthermore, it hopes to overcome historians' fixation with national histories. The First World War was, by definition, a transnational event and this course will fully explore the comparative method.

Read more
30

This module will explore the American West, looking at the social and economic dynamics underlying Western history, together with processes of environmental transformation. The unit spans a chronological period from 1803 – the Louisiana Purchase - to 1893 – the date of the Chicago Exposition and Turner’s famed ‘Frontier thesis’. Commencing with a look at constructions of the West in history, literature and film, the module will move on to critically analyse key issues and moments in Western History including the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Gold Rush, and the Indian Wars. Outline themes include the construction of regional identities, protracted conflicts for resources, environmental changes, and the continuing importance of the West as a symbolic landscape. A key aim of the course lies in facilitating critical discussion on the process of nineteenth-century westward expansion, addressing issues of colonial conquest, environmental despoliation, economic change, and social cohesion. Through lectures and seminars, we will explore the major themes of Western history in this period and examine relevant historiographical debates. Portrayals of the West in art, literature, and film will be used extensively to illustrate the diversity of Western culture and situate the importance of myth in shaping popular and historical discourse.

Read more
30

The module will explore the nature of the British Army in the Second World War. How it reacted to the crushing defeats of 1940 in France and 1942 in the Far East before transforming itself into a war-winning force. The course will begin with the inter-war army examining its lack of doctrine and the confused role it had in British and imperial defence plans. From there it will move on to examine the transformation of the army from a pre-war small professional outfit to a vast conscript army, before concluding on the situation in 1945, the retention of peacetime conscription and adaptation to the Cold War world. It will take a broad approach to military history, studying the political, economic and cultural realities behind the force.

Read more
30

The module will explore the nature of the nature of armoured warfare. It will reveal how quickly advocates of these new machines developed theories of armoured warfare and how these were applied to the battlefield. It will show the supposed decline of the tank and heavy armour in the years since the collapse of the Communist Bloc, only to be given a new lease of life by the two Gulf Wars. The course will also look at the cultural ideas behind the tank, how it has seeped into the imagination as a symbol of modernity and change: for example, the crucial importance of tanks to images of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and to the Beijing protests of 1989.

Read more
30

This module explores the place of death within late medieval English culture, focusing especially on the visual evidence of tombs, architecture, and illuminated manuscripts. It will begin by examining how ideas about death and the dead were expressed in works of art before the arrival of the Black Death to England in 1348. We will then explore the ways in which funerary sculpture, architecture and painting changed after, and perhaps because of, the devastation of the plague. These sources will be set within the context of literary, documentary and liturgical evidence. Further, it will explore how historians approach the history of death from different disciplinary perspectives, and consider the place of visual evidence within a range of sources and methods.

Read more
30

Condemned by the international community for refusing to sign the Kyoto Accords, rendered powerless by electricity blackouts, and stricken by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the United States of America is today embroiled in a narrative of environmental controversy and catastrophe. This module explores to what extent the USA has been ‘inviting doomsday’ throughout the modern (twentieth-century) period. Commencing with an introductory session on writing and researching American environmental history, the module is then split into four sections: Science and Recreation, Doomsday Scenarios, Environmental Protest, and Consuming Nature. Over the twelve weeks we will consider a range of environmental issues that include wildlife management in national parks, pesticide spraying on prairie farms, nuclear testing in Nevada, and Mickey Mouse rides in Disneyland. By the end of the module, we will have constructed a comprehensive map of the United States based around themes of ecological transformation, assimilation and decay.

Read more
30

This module will introduce students to a range of writing from the late-medieval period. It focuses on a number of central genres in English literature that emerged between the late-fourteenth and early-sixteenth-centuries (romance, tragedy and fabliaux, miracle plays and devotional prose), and will explore some key topics and themes in medieval literature. In previous years, we have explored, for example: authority and the idea of the 'author', politics and social change, gender, sexuality, piety, personal identity, chivalry, free will, legend, historicism, reading technologies and practices, iconography, and medievalism. The themes and theories covered by the course will vary from year to year in response to the lecture programme, and to the emphases made by individual teachers.

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales will offer an accessible introduction to many of these core genres and themes, and initiate students in issues that are pertinent to less familiar writers and texts from the period, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory's Le Morte Darthur, and The Book of Margery Kempe. During the course of the module you will also learn about the historical and cultural contexts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, how such contexts influenced the literature of the period, and how modern medievalisms (the versions of ‘the medieval’ presented in, for instance, film, TV , art and historical novels) have shaped twenty-first-century ideas about medieval life and literature.

Read more
30

Before 1660 there was no English novel, and by the end of the eighteenth century there was Jane Austen. This module asks how such a literary revolution was possible. It investigates the rise of professional authorship in an increasingly open marketplace for books. With commercial expansion came experiment and novelty. Genres unheard of in the Renaissance emerged for the first time: they include the periodical essay, autobiography, the oriental tale, amatory fiction, slave narratives and, most remarkably, the modern novel. Ancient modes such as satire, pastoral and romance underwent surprising transformations. Many eighteenth-century men and women felt that they lived in an age of reason and emancipation – although others warned of enlightenment’s darker aspect. Seminar reading reflects the fact that an increasing number of women, members of the labouring classes, and African slaves wrote for publication; that readers themselves became more socially varied; and that Britain was growing to understand itself as an imperial nation within a shifting global context. It asks students to reflect, as eighteenth-century writers did, upon the literary, cultural and political implications of these developments

Read more
30

This curriculum offers a survey of medieval and early modern literature from 1400 to 1700. Looking at a wide range of forms including poetry, prose and drama, students will consider the relationship between medieval and early modern life experience and the literary works it produced. We will consider how important debates surrounding political, social, gender and religious identity inflect and are reflected in the literature of the period, including works by writers such as Hoccleve, Donne, Lanyer and their contemporaries. Students will explore the boundaries of the literary canon, encountering pamphlets, petitions, sermons and conduct books, for example and consider the ways in which literary and non-literary texts both mirror and influence culture and society.

Read more
30

The drama of early modern England broke new literary and dramatic ground. This module will focus on key plays across the period. It will explore the development of dramatic writing, the status of playing companies within the London theatres, drama's links to court entertainment and its relationship to the provinces. Dramatic and literary form will be a central preoccupation alongside issues of characterisation, culture, politics, and gender. Shakespeare's work will be put into context in relation to the plays of his contemporary dramatists as well as the various cultural, historical and material circumstances that influenced the composition, performance and publication of drama in early modern England.

Read more
30

This course will introduce students to the field of postcolonial literature, focusing on the period from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The module will be divided into three consecutive areas: empire and colonisation (three weeks); liberation movements and the processes of decolonisation (either three or four weeks); and migration and diaspora (either three or four weeks). Centred primarily on canonical British colonial texts, the first part of the course may also involve comparison with other less familiar texts and contexts, such as those of Zionist nationalism and settler colonialism, or more popular twentieth-century imperial fantasy and adventure genres. The texts in the second part of the module will be drawn primarily from Africa, the Carribean, the Middle East, and South Asia. The intention is to allow students to bring these disparate regions and texts into a productive dialogue with each other by reflecting on their shared history of decolonisation and their common engagement with colonial and liberation discourses. The course further aims to sketch a narrative of empire and decolonisation that is in part relevant to contemporary postcolonial Britain, to which the final section on migration and diaspora then returns. Some brief extracts from theoretical material on colonial discourse analysis, decolonisation, postcoloniality and migration will be considered alongside a single primary text each week. Students will be introduced to key ideas from the work of (among others) Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall and Gayatri Spivak. Together with a broad primary textual arc stretching from the British empire to postcolonial Britain, the course will thus give students a cohesive intellectual narrative with which to explore changing conceptions of culture, history, and postcolonial identity across the modern world.

Read more
30

This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of Victorian literature. It will equip students with critical ideas that will help them become more skilful and confident readers of texts in and beyond this period. Students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts: environmental (for example, considering the effects of urbanisation and the Industrial Revolution); imaginative (examining a variety of genres: for example fable, dream-vision, novel); political (class conflicts, changing gender roles, ideas of nation and empire); and psychological (representations of growing up, courtship, sibling and parent-child relationships, dreams and madness). Students will be made aware of such critical concepts as realism and allegory and will be encouraged to think about various developments of literary form in the period.

Read more
30

When the Long Island-born poet Walt Whitman proclaimed in 1855 that the “United States” were history’s “greatest poem” he made an important connection between national political culture and literary expression. In some ways this was no exaggeration. As a new experiment in politics and culture, the United States had to be literally written into existence. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s dramatic Declaration of Independence in 1776, followed by the drafting of the Constitution after the Revolutionary War with Britain, the project of shaping the new United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was essentially a literary one.

In this module we will explore how American writers in this period tried in numerous, diverse ways to locate an original literary voice through which to express their newfound independence. At the same time, the module includes the work of writers who had legitimate grievances against the developing character of a new nation that still saw fit to cling to such “Old World” traditions as racialized slavery, class conflict and gender inequality.

Read more
30

This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of contemporary literature written in English, where 'contemporary' is taken to refer to twenty-first century work. It will equip students with critical ideas and theoretical concepts that will help them to understand the literature of their own time. Students will consider examples of a range of genres: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and the essay. They will also be selectively introduced to key ideas in contemporary theory and philosophy. Over the course of the module, students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts. They will consider writers' responses to, for instance, questions of migration, environmental change, and financial crisis. They will also consider a range of aesthetic developments and departures, for example: new conceptualism and the claim to unoriginality; archival poetics; the turn to creative non-fiction; the re-emergence of the political essay. The module will not focus on a given national context. Instead it will set contemporary writing against the background of identifiably international issues and concerns. In so doing it will draw attention to non-national publishing strategies and audiences. Overall, the module will aim to show how writers are responding to the present period, how their work illuminates and reflects current cultural concerns. The weekly topics will address both thematic and formal concerns.

Read more
30

This module is a study of twentieth-century American literature and culture organized conceptually around the idea of modernity. Students will explore the interconnections between modernity in the United States and the literary and philosophical ideas that shaped it (and were shaped by it) from the start of the century to its close. At the core of the module will be a necessary focus on two versions of American modernity, broadly represented by New York and Los Angeles respectively. Novels, works of art and critical texts will be read alongside one another to explore how these major regional hubs of aesthetic and cultural output developed competing conceptions of "modernity", “American culture” and the place of “the urban” in twentieth-century life, with important effects on contemporary perceptions of the USA. Moving beyond a sense of “modernism” as simply an aesthetic challenge to nineteenth-century modes of romanticism and realism, to consider the embeddedness of “modernist” literature within the particularities of its cultural and historical moment, students will be asked to develop a more nuanced approach to critical reading that pays close attention to the role of differing conceptions of modernity in the USA. The rise of mass culture, the L.A. film industry, the importance of Harlem to the history of race, the role of the intellectual, the urban challenges of the automobile, the birth of the modern American magazine, and questions of conservation and “creative destruction” in cities will all be considered through readings of key novels and critical texts from what Time Magazine editor Henry Luce famously called “The American Century”.

Read more
30

This module features key modernist texts, for example the work of Ezra Pound, H.D., T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys. It also makes substantial reference to key philosophical theories of modernity and textuality. The literary works are taken mostly from a restricted period 1910-1930. One focus in the module will be the notion of the artist as applied to the writer as an art-practitioner. Other texts which might form part of the curriculum may include a limited selection of works by Mina Loy, Wyndham Lewis,, Elizabeth Bowen, F.T. Marinetti, Samuel Beckett, Georg Lukács, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Derrida and Paul De Man. Other topics include modes of representation, language and experience, colonialism and modernism, textuality and identity, war and democracy, class and politics, cosmopolitanism and bohemianism, sex, morality and city life. This material requires both theoretical and historical orientation, as well as skill in distilling significance from complex literary artefacts with regard to the network of mediations which both bind such works to their apparent context and appear to dislocate them.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The module will explore the nature of the nature of armoured warfare. It will reveal how quickly advocates of these new machines developed theories of armoured warfare and how these were applied to the battlefield. It will show the supposed decline of the tank and heavy armour in the years since the collapse of the Communist Bloc, only to be given a new lease of life by the two Gulf Wars. The course will also look at the cultural ideas behind the tank, how it has seeped into the imagination as a symbol of modernity and change: for example, the crucial importance of tanks to images of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and to the Beijing protests of 1989.

Read more
30

This module explores the American West in the twentieth century, looking at social, political, economic and environmental dynamics. It plots the continuing evolution of the trans-Mississippi region in its 'developed' state (post the closure of the Frontier) as a geographical and an imagined space. A core aim lies in illuminating the West as a contested place party to many visions through discussion of such topics as Las Vegas and urban Cold War culture, the West, the militia movement, Western environmentalism and Red Power. Emphasis is placed on exploring the constructed mythology of the West via various modern mediums including Wild West shows, Disneyland and the cowboy brand in politics. Over the course of the module, we will engage with the Hollywood Western as an evolving product, situated in its twentieth-century context, as well as revisionist

scholarship on the region based around ideas of continuity versus change, ecological transformation and variegated Western identity.

Read more
30

Fundamental to Western European political and cultural ambitions since the mid-eighteenth century has been technological change. This module provides a unique and stimulating social history of science and technology in a period of industrialisation and imperial expansion. In the first part, we examine the twin foundations of British industrial and imperial power exemplified by the dramatic eighteenth-century voyages of Captain James Cook around the Pacific, and by the evolution of the steam engine by James Watt in the same period. In the second part of the module we focus on the powerful new nineteenth century technological systems - railways, steamships, electric telegraphs and ship canals - which served to discipline the diverse cultures of Empire, whether British, American or Continental. In these ways, the module will provide a striking foundational study for an enriched understanding of politics and society in the modern world.

Read more
30

The United Nations was established by the victorious states of the Second World War in 1945. The preamble to the Charter of the United Nations declared that the organisation's aim is to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’; promote fundamental human rights and the rights of nations large and small; maintain international law and promote social progress. This module will explore how successfully the organisation has met its founding ideals. In doing so, it will consider major issues that faced the United Nations during the first fifty years of its existence. It will examine how policy was formulated in the committee rooms of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It will then explore how effective such policy proved in the context of the Cold War and the changing post-colonial environment of the late twentieth century.

Read more
60

From early nineteenth century concerns over declining birth rates to the profound impact of the AIDS epidemic in the late twentieth century, this module will examine key political, economic, social and medical issues and events that shaped discourse, attitudes and behaviours surrounding sex and health in Britain since 1800. A central concern of this module will be to untangle the complicated relationship between public discourse and private behaviour. Indeed, while vocal social commentators, scientific and medical communities, the State and the Church increasingly sought to regulate sexual attitudes and behaviours, deviant and tabooed practices such as prostitution, masturbation and sex outside marriage were (and still are) prevalent. In untangling public discourse and private behaviour, the module will consider: the extent to which the regulation of sex and health has been successful; the ways in which attitudes and behaviours changed across the period and varied according to geography, social class, sexual preference, gender and ethnicity; and how they affect our attitudes towards sex and health today. Themes addressed in this module include: Britain's role in the global commercialisation of contraceptive technologies; venereal disease; abortion and infanticide; eugenics; same-sex relationships; and sex crimes.

Read more
60

This module aims to study the Court of Queen Elizabeth I as the fulcrum of power and politics in the realm and as a cultural centre. Students will be introduced to the historiography and current interpretations of the political and cultural history of England and Wales in the Elizabethan period. They will analyse a wide range of original primary sources on the workings of the royal household, and on the processes of policy-making by the Queen and the privy council in relation to the government of the kingdom, and be invited to examine critically the evidence for the reputation of the Elizabethan Court as the centre of patronage in the 'English Renaissance' of literature and drama. There will be regular opportunities to discuss research in progress on these subjects.

Read more
60

This module will be based around study of the German Wars of Unification (1864-1870) and the American Civil War. Both sets of conflicts will be examined through a series of themes: political management of war in the second half of the nineteenth century; the nature of generalship and command; the issues of logistics, communications and military medicine; the experiences of front-line troops; and the management and attitudes of home fronts.

Read more
30

This special subject addresses the loyalists during the American Revolutionary era, who for a host of reasons remained wedded to king and empire, and sought to resist the tide of movement towards US independence using any means at their disposal – ideological, economic, spiritual, physical, and emotional. The loyalists, identified with the interests of the British Crown, were among the great losers during the Revolutionary War and at independence. Estimates of between 60,000-80,000 departed the U.S. at the end of the war, repatriating in clusters throughout the British Empire. Celebrated and long-studied in Canada, the American loyalists, have been vulnerable to "the condescension of posterity": for many decades vilified in nationalistic American narratives of the Founding Era, and absentmindedly overlooked in British imperial histories that looked to the Second Empire. They were a diverse lot, mobilised by diverse interests – including within their number thousands of Indians and slaves as well as wealthy whites, Anglicans, women, soldiers, ethnic minorities, and others who had benefited from royal patronage or who disparaged the Patriot movement. The subject's topicality resonates far beyond the academy, as shown by recent developments (e.g. Scottish and Quebecois referenda, Brexit and changing sentiments on Europe, and globally prominent issues of migration and refugee integration). We treat the culture of royalism and loyalty on the eve of the Revolution, the experiences and arguments of loyalists during the Revolution (including their military history and the battles for hearts and minds), the diasporic communities of loyalists who moved to the British Isles, Sierra Leone, Nova Scotia and elsewhere, and try also to contextualise perhaps as many as half a million loyalists who remained in or returned to the U.S. after the American Revolution, who faced the prospect of an awkward reintegration.

Besides working chronologically through these themes and issues, students taking this special subject will also develop skills, work in, and be assessed in palaeography and primary source analysis (consulting the Loyalist Claims), and digital humanities (pursuing the digital mapping of loyalists).

Read more
60

Over seventy years after Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, we are still living in the shadow of the Second World War. The end of the Cold War has seen an upsurge in commemorative activity ranging from new memorials to court cases. This special subject considers the impact of the Second World War on European societies (including Britain) between 1945 and the present day. This module will examine – and compare – the ways in which contemporaries and later generations have tried to make sense of the upheaval and horrors of the Second World War. The module will explore a host of commemorative practices and media (ranging from architecture and popular histories to film and war memorials) and their socio-cultural contexts. Methodologically, the module explores the cultural history of the legacy of war. Cultural history here means the study of languages, practices, artefacts and gestures through which events are encoded by those who live through them or in their aftermath.

Read more
60

Early Modern European states fostered a culture of obedience. Subjects were meant to show loyalty to their monarch through conforming to their commands, and the doctrine of obedience was promulgated in pulpits and cheap print up and down the land. Nevertheless, rebellions occurred. This course will examine when, why and how subjects resisted their monarchs during the sixteenth century in England, Ireland Scotland, and what factors could push resistance into rebellion – even to the ultimate sin of regicide. We will explore the impact of religious changes on rebellion, considering how having a monarch with a different religion might facilitate rebellion, and the impact of classical ideas about the res publica, the commonwealth or republic, on providing new justifications for rebellion, and explore how these phenomena occurred in the three different contexts of the three kingdoms. We shall also consider how rebellion was reported, and the relationship between the state and controlling news, and how domestic rebellions were influenced by and in turn affected local, national and foreign developments.

Traditionally, historians tend to think about rebellion and resistance following one of two approaches, either social history, considering bottom up protests and popular culture, or intellectual history, exploring theoretical justifications for rebellion and understanding the nature of legitimate political power. This module will allow students to explore both historical approaches. When the module is run at level 5, students will be expected to compare the uses of both approach and its strengths and weaknesses, and at level 6 they will be invited to combine both approaches in their own work.

Read more
30

This course examines the place of crusading within Medieval society focusing on the thirteenth century, especially on the period between c. 1200 and 1291. It will consider crusading against the Muslims in the Holy Land as well as crusading within Europe, especially in Southern France against the Cathar heresy and in northern Europe, where crusading was used as a device to convert the pagans in the Baltic region. The module will deal with issues such as holy war, ecclesiastical control over crusading, conversion of heretics and pagans, trades within the Mediterranean and with Medieval Russia, military strategies, funding warfare, political alliances, military orders, diplomatic relations with the Greek and Arab worlds, preaching, pilgrimage and cultural encounters. The course will be structured around themes including: what is a crusade; how to plan a crusade; crusades in the twelfth century; the Third Crusade; the military orders; crusading castles; trades; cultural encounters; crusade and mission; the Fourth crusade; the crusades against the Cathars; crusades in northern Europe; the Fifth crusade; St. Francis of Assisi and the conversion of al-Kamil; Frederick II and the conquest of Jerusalem; Louis IX and the crusades; the fall of Acre in 1291; the trial of the Templars.

Issues such as warfare, the importance of religion, and the presence of the Church within the Medieval society will inform the course's approach to the material. The course will draw on narrative, hagiographical, documentary and visual sources. The course will require students to engage with primary sources, and to think critically about theoretical approaches toward these issues. If possible, a visit the relevant museums and archival collections in London will be arranged.

Read more
60

Saints were a central feature of the Christian religion in medieval Europe, and they also had a profound influence on culture and society. This module explores the development of the cult of saints from Late Antiquity to the eve of the Reformation. Some of the main topics that will be considered include relics, miracle stories, pilgrimage, and artistic production. In addition to these topics, the module will consider the impact that saints and relics had on the building of churches and the feast days in the calendar. We will look at a wide variety of sources including illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, stained glass, church buildings, and saints’ lives. All texts will be read in translation.

Read more
60

This module addresses the politics, ideology and culture of the USSR in the post-war era. It starts with an exploration of late Stalinism, before covering Khrushchev's reforms, Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinism and Gorbachev's perestroika. Along with these themes, time will be devoted to: the intelligentsia; labour camps and the release of detainees in the 1950s; Soviet science; religion and spirituality; emerging nationalism; the Human Rights Movement; ‘village’ prose; the Soviet economy; foreign policy and policy in the ‘near abroad’; the collapse of the USSR; and Yeltsin’s reformism and the new Russian state. The approach is interdisciplinary, and this will be reflected in the wide range of primary sources used; and throughout the module students will be introduced to the relevant historiography.

Read more
60

This special subject will allow students to discuss the changing diplomatic and cultural relationships between England, France and Scotland in the hundred years before the Anglo-Scottish dynastic union of 1603. This period was one of substantial political and religious upheaval and as an unintended consequence of the different processes of religious reform in each country, international relations changed completely. Students will be encouraged to challenge the traditional narrative of a straightforward shift in Scotland's primary diplomatic allegiance from France to England as a result of religious changes. They will examine in detail subjects such as Henry VIII's wars in France and Scotland, the dynastic significance of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the increasingly tense diplomacy undertaken between Scotland and England in the approach to James VI's accession to the English throne in 1603. The module will be structured chronologically, but several themes will run throughout. These include the significance of propaganda and textual responses to politics. Through this, students will be encouraged to consider the significance of conflict and change in the creation of public political discourse, and challenge teleological narratives surrounding the growth of the public sphere. A second theme will be the impact of religious change on broader political allegiances: did the Reformation fundamentally change how diplomacy worked? Thirdly, students will be encouraged to consider the differing political and cultural cultures of each of the three kingdoms under consideration, and how such domestic concerns played in to diplomatic interactions.

Read more
60

This special subject explores California history from Native American times to modern day. It charts the rise to power of the US Pacific Coast and the many complexities that come with mass immigration, technological innovation and cultural frontierism. The special subject does not provide a simple narrative of state history, but instead employs a series of case studies to illuminate key periods of California's past and present, auto-stops, if you will, to navigate the Golden State as both a place, an idea and, most significantly, an image. The case studies also facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, for example, the Great Depression in California is considered by a session on the life of the hobo, his music, migration, work and community in the period. Sources here include Nels Anderson’s classic sociological text 'On Hobos and Homelessness’ and collections of Okie/hobo music of the period. A number of movie showings will relate both the rise of Hollywood as a state industry as well as Hollywood’s own social commentary on the California experience. The California dream and the notion of California exceptionalism will be critiqued across the module. Students will be expected to immerse themselves in the culture industry of the state and truly explore what (if anything) makes California so special or Golden.

Read more
60

Aims and Outcomes

1. Analyse in depth the diplomacy and politics of Britain, the major European powers, the United States and Japan in the period 1919-1939 and explain how they contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.

2. Analyse and deconstruct the various historiographical debates among historians relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion, course work and unseen examination.

3. Analyse and discuss a variety of primary sources relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion and through course work.

Subjects and themes

This module will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the international diplomacy and politics of the period, 1919-1939; that is, between the two world wars. This was an era of unprecedented historical complexity.

Themes and issues covered include the fulfilment of the peace-making objectives of the victorious powers at the end of the First World War; the tensions between the European and imperial agendas of Britain and France; the idea of the 1920s as a large-scale experiment in democratisation; the impact of the extreme ideologies of the right and left on international affairs; the impact of cultural nationalism on international diplomacy; the work and role of the League of Nations; the disarmament/rearmament debate; the quest to ban war; the individual diplomatic strategies of Britain, the major continental European powers, the United States and Japan between 1919-1939 and how they changed; the major treaties of the period, including the Treaty of Versailles and the other peace treaties signed in Paris in 1919; the Treaty of Locarno (1925); the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928); the Four Power Pact (1933)l the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935); the Rhineland Crisis (1936); the diplomatic tensions caused by the fascist dictators, including an in-depth analysis of the Spanish Civil War; the statecraft of international diplomacy in the interwar period and the quest for appeasement.

Read more
60

This module is designed to give final-year Single or Joint Honours History students an opportunity to independently research a historical topic, under the supervision of an expert in the field. Students are required to submit a dissertation (maximum length 9,000 words) based on research undertaken into primary sources, and an extended reading of secondary sources. It is designed to allow students to engage in their own historical research into any chosen topic (the only stipulation being that there must be a member of staff available within the School of History who is able to supervise the topic), and to present their research in a cogent and accessible format.

Read more
30

The aim of this course will be to show how far the Great War has infiltrated into modern culture and to test the validity of Paul Fussell's thesis that the Great War created Britain's modern cultural atmosphere. Fussell contends that modern society is marked by a love of irony, paradox and contradiction formed by the experience of the Western Front. Against this theory we will set the ideas of Samuel Hynes and Martin Stephen, as argued in their works, A War Imagined and The Price of Pity. This course will explore how the Great War has influenced our lives and why we have certain images of it. Why, for example, do most people associate the Great War with words such as 'waste', 'futility' and 'disillusion'? Why does the morality of the Great War seem so tarnished, while the Second World War is conceived as a just war? The course will be based upon literature (high and popular), poetry, art, architecture and film. We will therefore be 'reading' a 'primary text' each week. The course will serve to highlight many of themes of the 19th and 20th century British survey courses and will further contextualise the course on Britain and the Home Front in the Second World War.

Read more
60

Themes covered will include: Nursing and hygiene in the Crimea; the impact of disease in the South African War; military hospitals; the impact of war on mental health; inspecting and measuring the military body; venereal disease in the First and Second World Wars; technology; ethics and experimentation; malingering, agency and resistance in the two World Wars; disability and the long term impact of war.

Read more
30

In the twelfth century, a dazzling new style of art and architecture flourished in Europe. Known since the sixteenth century (often pejoratively) as Gothic, this aesthetic pervaded visual culture, from the soaring vaults of vast cathedrals to domestic interiors, and from precious gem-encrusted reliquaries to tapestries, ivories, panel paintings, manuscripts and jewellery. Works of art made in this period offer fascinating insights into the beliefs, priorities and even anxieties of their patrons and makers. In this module, we will explore the nature of image-making in the later Middle Ages: what were images for, and for whom? How and why were they made and used? What was the status of the artist? What does the Gothic image reveal about the workings of the medieval imagination? This module offers a survey of the development of Gothic art from its inception in the celebrated Abbey Church of St Denis to the dawn of the sixteenth century. Lectures will provide an overview of the arts in this period, and in seminars we will focus on particular works of art and architecture, including Canterbury's extraordinary Cathedral.

Read more
30

This module examines the relationship between global capitalism and the novel since the 1980s. By arguing for the centrality of capital and class in the understanding of contemporary post-colonial literature, it reveals how a vibrant global realism has emerged that speaks to the new urban realities of massive rural migration to the city, exploding slum life, and more polarized class inequalities in the global South. It will explore how neoliberal globalization both makes possible and is critiqued by new realist narratives of abjection and resistance from across the global South, especially from India, Nigeria, South Africa, Martinique, Chile, and Egypt.

Read more
30

This module explores the Gothic from its eighteenth-century origins to its present-day incarnations, examining in particular the conventions that have allowed this diverse and evolving genre to remain at once relevant and recognisable. The course focuses on the elements of terror, hauntings and transgressions and how these conventions are deployed and reworked by writers in key literary and historical moments in the genre's development, such as at the end of the end of the eighteenth century, the fin de siècle, post-war America and the millennium. It asks students to consider the Gothic within the social, political and cultural contexts that inform the novel’s various concerns about gender, sexuality, race, class and the law. There will be a strong emphasis on examining and exploring the theoretical discourses underpinning the shifts and developments in the major critical debates and trends. Students will be encouraged to relate textual and critical analysis to topics such as aesthetics, popular culture and literature, religion, social and political history as well as contemporary concerns such as marginalization, queer identity, the body and immigration. The module will demonstrate the ongoing significance of the Gothic as an experimental and evolving form that functions as a vehicle for political and social critiques and, as such, relates to concerns central to the study of undergraduate English and American literature.

Read more
30

This module provides students with an opportunity to explore literature written by, for and about medieval women. It will consider women as writers, readers and the subjects of literature; as the consumers, compilers and scribes of books; and as the protagonists and antagonists in a variety of literary and artistic forms produced in England and Europe during late-medieval period. In the course of the module, we will explore how literature reflected, and helped to construct and constrain, women's lives, bodies, sexualities, identities and experiences, and the avenues through which they expressed their thoughts, desires and fears. By examining a range of material, including lyrics and romances, devotional manuals, saints lives, plays, letters, conduct books, sculptures, iconography and the everyday objects owned by women, we will encounter, for example: women as they were and how they were supposed to be; female friendship and same-sex desire; women’s diverse roles in society and in the home; how their bodies and relationships were used in polemic and political discourse; their influence on prominent male writers of the period; and the construction and erasure of late-medieval women’s voices in the historiography of later ages. The specific topics, materials and the date range covered by the module may alter from year to year to reflect teaching staff’s specialisms and interests.

Read more
30

In this module, students will explore responses to colonialism, decolonization and mass immigration in late twentieth and early twenty-first-century British literature. Analysing poetry and prose, students will engage with narratives of national belonging and the mutability of national identity. They will examine responses to: the decline of British global influence; mass immigration from formerly colonised regions; the rise of neoliberalism; and the emergence of American geopolitical power (often articulated through concerns about the proliferation of mass culture). These responses will be related to literary forms that seek to address discourses of multiculturalism (and claims that multiculturalism has failed) and notions of a fractured post-imperial Britain, which are all the more pertinent in an age of increased calls for national and regional devolution.

Read more
30

This module offers students the opportunity to read and analyse Shakespeare's earliest extant plays and poems and to consider the issue of 'early’ writing and style. This module will consider the theatrical, social, historical, and material contexts for the first plays Shakespeare wrote when he migrated from Stratford-upon-Avon to East London. In the course of the module, we will look specifically at Shakespeare’s practices of co-authorship with other dramatists in his early career, including Christopher Marlowe, George Peele, and Thomas Nashe. We will also consider such issues as performance spaces, company involvement, touring, patronage, and poetic ambition. Students will have the opportunity to read across genre and form, including canonical plays as The Taming of the Shrew and Richard III, and less often studied works such as Edward III and the plague narrative poems.

Read more
30

This module will explore arguably the most popular of secular literary forms from late medieval and early modern Europe. The course will explore a range of chivalric romances alongside a variety of other literary, textual and material productions that testify to a cultural fascination with the ideals of knighthood and with courtly values more generally. The module will pay particular attention to the rise of romance literature in the late medieval period, with narratives that were repeatedly translated into English for socially diverse audiences. The module will explore particular tropes within romance literature and courtly lyric poetry, particularly in respect of the portrayal of women. It has long been recognised that romance literature was often read by mixed gender audiences and the module will explore how the genre functioned to guide female behaviour against patriarchal and social norms.

The module will also study how supposedly courtly literatures consistently appealed to 'middling' socially aspirant consumers and not only to society’s elite who were so often the protagonists portrayed in such texts. Actual readers, manuscript case studies and England’s first generations of printers will be examined to explore the contexts for the middling classes’ fascination with chivalric literature.

Read more
30

This module gives an opportunity for intensive study of one of the major novelists of Victorian England. There are many different views and interpretations of Dickens circulating in our culture. He has been dismissed as a writer of cosy sentimentality, celebrated as a radical critic of his age, and admired for his prodigious output and creative innovation.

Studying a selection of his fiction, we will consider a wide variety of interpretations, in the light of the most current literary criticism of Dickens's works. We will analyse Dickens’s texts in terms of narrative method, genre, characterisation, imagery and book history and – in the process – we will examine how the novels respond to, or challenge, significant aspects of Victorian culture and society such as class, gender, family, nation, childhood, the city, empire, industrialisation, and modernity.

Read more
30

The module raises students' awareness of contemporary issues in postcolonial writing, and the debates around them. This includes a selection of important postcolonial texts (which often happen to be major contemporary writing in English) and studies their narrative practice and their reading of contemporary culture. It focuses on issues such as the construction of historical narratives of nation, on identity and gender in the aftermath of globalisation and 'diaspora’, and on the problems associated with creating a discourse about these texts.

Read more
30

The module is structured around poetry and fiction produced in New York since the Second World War. The emphasis is on New York's experimental and avant-garde traditions, and one organising principle is the inter-connectedness of the arts in New York. The module introduces students to some of the main areas of culture in the city, from the New York school of poetry through Abstract Expressionism, early Punk and on to post-modern fiction. Writers to be studied will include John Cage, Barbara Guest, William Burroughs, John Ashbery and Patti Smith.

Read more
30

The Unknown asks you to think creatively and analytically and to learn by a combination of careful reading and experimental writing. You will be able to read a variety of important literary and critical texts published over the last 200 years – mostly in the last 50 years. You will be asked to use the skills of critical analysis and close reading developed elsewhere in your degree in new ways and to take a fresh look at the study of literature. The course draws on the ideas writers have about writing, as well as on psychoanalysis, literary theory, fiction, poetry, drama and film. It asks you to think deeply about how, and why, you read and write.

Read more
30

This module explores the eighteenth century fascination with bodies and the truths (or lies) bodies were supposed to reveal. Our focus will be on the ways in which the body is read and constructed in eighteenth-century literature and how these readings and constructions reflect various concerns about class, race, gender and sexuality. Efforts to regulate the body (particularly the female, plebeian and racialised body) became the focus of many reformers and philanthropists in the period who sought to recuperate the productive (and reproductive) labour of idle or transgressive bodies to serve the nation's moral and financial economies. Other writers, however, emphasised the body's potential to work against social and cultural norms, focusing on events such as the masquerade, in which women dressed as men and aristocrat’s as chimney sweeps.

Through the course of this module we will examine a range of literary representations of the body which seek both the control the body and to celebrate its disruptive potential. We will read texts from a variety of genres including medical literature, misogynist satire, sentimental novels, popular fiction, travel writing and pornography. Primary texts will be read alongside recent critical work by Thomas Lacquer, Michel Foucault, Roy Porter, and Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, which illuminate the ideological stakes writers played for when writing about the body. Topics for discussion will include disability and deformity, race, the sentimental body, dress and the body, the body as text and the relationship between the body and the body politic. The primary focus of this option will be literature, but we will also examine visual representations of the body in caricature and satire as well as in the portraiture.

Read more
30

While the so-called ‘Brontë myth’ remains potent in popular culture today, the lives-and-works model associated with it continues to encourage readers to seek partially concealed Brontë sisters in their fictions. Beginning and ending with the problematic of mythmaking – its origins in Gaskell’s 'Life of Charlotte Brontë' and its subsequent perpetuation in film and other rewritings - this module will restore attention to the rich literary contribution made by the sisters through an intensive focus on their novels and selected poetry in the context of Victorian debates about gender and the woman question. Situating the Brontë myth in relation to other forms of mythmaking in the period (for example, ideologies of class, gender and empire), it will consider a small selection of film adaptations and go on to examine the Brontës’s experiments with narrative voice and form, their variations upon the novel of education, the tensions between romance and realism in their writing and their engagement with religious and philosophical questions as well with the political, economic and social conditions of women in mid-Victorian culture. We will also consider a range of modern creative and critical engagements with the Brontës' literary works..

Read more
30

Much Irish writing in the 20th and 21st centuries has been torn between tradition and innovation, between the need to define a national identity in opposition to Britain and the desire to transcend national boundaries and embrace a cosmopolitan modernity. With four nobel laureates in the 20th century (Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, Heaney), modern Irish literature has gained international recognition. In recent years, Irish Literature has undergone surprising changes in theme and content, moving from the insularity of parochialism to the emergence of the 'Global Irish novel". The charting of this development will provide an important framework for the discussion in this module of recurrent issues in Irish writing, such as history, cultural memory, violence and society, queer sexualities and gender relations, national and cultural identities, and the negotiation of what the historian Roy Foster has called the 'varieties of Irishness'. The module will consider a broad variety of Irish writing from 1975 to 2014: sampling significant developments in poetry, drama and prose.

Read more
30

This course explores the intersections between nation, narration and globalisation in the twentieth and twenty-first century novel. It will focus this exploration through textual representations of 'the stranger', a figure theorised since the beginning of the twentieth century as symptomatic of modernity in European cultures, and more recently by postcolonial critics as the paradigm through which the effects of globalisation are ‘encountered’ in contemporary ‘multicultural’ national and transnational spaces. Students will be encouraged to analyse the historical and conceptual relations between novel and nation and the particular ways in which the body of ‘the stranger’ has been reified through them. At the same time, they will be invited to consider ‘the stranger’ as a disorientating embodiment of distance and proximity, and to evaluate how this dynamic constructs and deconstructs the form and boundaries of the novel as a genre, and the surrounding familial, national and racial paradigms of belonging. Through discussions of the theoretical work of writers such as Georg Simmel, Freud, Fanon, Edward Said, Judith Butler, Zygmunt Bauman, and Homi Bhabha, students will be asked especially to consider the mutual effects of estrangement across gendered, racial, and colonial divides. The broad aims of the course are to problematise ‘the stranger’ as a literary means of orientating the individual and the nation; to situate the twentieth and twenty-first century novel as a symptomatic site for ‘strange encounters’; and to understand the extent to which it poses ‘strangeness’ and ‘homeliness’ as inseparable, necessary and possible acts of narration.

Read more
30

This module will bring together works of poetry and fiction by a number of black writers in the USA and Canada in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With a particular emphasis on migration, music, and urban space, we will explore the intellectual, political, and aesthetic imperatives that drive these writers to address questions of race, ethnicity, gender, belonging, representation, poverty, privilege, and trauma.

Beginning in Harlem in the 1920s, the moment when “the Negro was in vogue”, students will examine the ways in which black Americans and Canadians have sought to make their impact on the literary landscape, by turns exposing and employing the power structures of the dominant culture. This comparative look at US and Canadian literatures, however, also challenges students to scrutinize the construction of literary and other categories, and to consider the commonality and distinctive difference between black experience north and south of the 49th parallel.

Lectures/workshops will emphasise discussion of key moments and movements in African American / African Canadian arts; the significance of linguistic distinctiveness; the cultural self-categorisation of black, African American, Africadian and Halfrican identities; and the rise of African American literary theory.

Read more
30

This module focuses on the theory and practice of marriage and divorce in early modern England and its treatment in the literature of the period. Examining a wide range of texts (drama, poetry, prose works and domestic handbooks alongside documentary sources such as wills, legal records and letters), it will explore the ways in which representations of marriage and its breakdown both reflected and informed the roles of men and women in early modern society. The relationships between discourses about gender, politics and the historical evidence about men and women's married lives in the period will be explored both through reading in the extensive secondary literature of gender, women's history and masculinity as well as through the study of primary sources such as wills, court records, advice books, popular literature (ballads and pamphlets, for example), literary texts (poems, plays and tracts), diaries and personal memoirs and material objects such as wedding rings and scold’s bridles, for example. From Shakespeare and Fletcher's dramas of happy and unhappy marriage and Spenser's poetry of marital bliss, to argument surrounding men and women's roles in marriage in the poetry and pamphlets of Milton and his contemporaries, we will also go in search of the personal accounts of women and men's experiences of marriage and its breakdown and the material artefacts which are testament to them.

Read more
30

Thomas Hardy is one of the most important writers of the last two hundred years. Born into a family that was somewhere below working class, he went on to become one of the most articulate explorers of human emotion and circumstance, whose abilities to describe the natural world are unmatched by any of his peers. In later life, he had achieved so much in the world of letters that even royalty visited him at his home. In his early sixties, he retired from novel-writing and decided to have a go at publishing poetry, unaware that he would go on to have an equally long career as a poet and would become one of the preeminent writers of verse in the twentieth century.

In this module, you will discover why Hardy persists in being one of Britain's most important, modern and relevant writers. It will explore the range of Hardy's work including his novels, some short fiction poetry, prose, and autobiography, in the light of specifically nineteenth-century concerns such as the emergence of modernity, the impact of science, the beginnings of modernism, and the shift from the rural to the urban. Themes to be explored will include Hardy’s changing position as an author throughout his career; his development of forms of narrative; his views on history and philosophy; the representation of class; anxieties about social, cultural and economic change; the status of the human and the animal; his interest in evolutionary theory and its widespread effect; and finally, his career and position as a twentieth-century poet.

Read more
30

Why is the memoir such a popular genre in contemporary literature? Are memoirs individualistic, sentimental and voyeuristic (what is often dismissed as “misery literature”) or can they have strong ethical impulses and powerful real-world effects? This course critically examines the significance of the memoir – a first-person account of a part of one’s life, often written by someone not previously known as a writer– in late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century literature. Through reading a range of recent memoirs we will examine the themes, techniques and debates that have come to characterise this genre. Drawing on a range of aesthetic, theoretical and cultural perspectives, we will approach these memoirs both as literature – as rich sources for critical analysis and capable of transforming academic criticism – and in terms of their appeal, and sometimes controversial reception, within present-day mass audiences. We will also expand our discussion of memoirs to consider graphic narrative and film.

Read more
30

The Love Poem will tell a history of English poetry through the lens of its most important and singular genre. Students will interrogate the characteristics of modern poetry itself through an investigation of love, desire, gender and intimacy as they have been articulated through the changing lyrical tradition of the language. The module will examine key canonical writers from the beginnings of the English lyric, including Thomas Wyatt and William Shakespeare, through complications in metaphysical poetry, the ballad and Romanticism, up to present day representations of homosexual love, popular song and avant-garde expression. Poets will be studied alongside theorists such as Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes and Judith Butler, exploring the possible ways in which poetry can be said to challenge dominant modes of love, interact with their social environment through love poetry, and investigate, express and explain the experiences of attraction, attachment and loss.

Read more
30

This module examines the development of Virginia Woolf's writing across the span of her life. It explores Woolf’s most important modernist texts alongside some of her lesser-known writings, and considers a range of literary genres she wrote in (novels, essays, short stories, auto/biography). As well as paying close attention to the distinct style of modernist literature, there will be consideration of various historical, cultural, philosophical, political and artistic contexts that influenced, and were influenced by, Woolf’s writing. Students will be introduced to the key critical debates on Woolf, featuring discussion of topics as diverse as feminism, visual art, the everyday, war, sexuality, gender, class, empire, science, nature and animality. With Woolf as its central focus, this module therefore seeks to understand the lasting significance of modernist literature.

Read more
30

What is the relationship between 'animal' and 'human', and how is this explored through writing? This module seeks to examine creaturely relations by focusing on literature from the eighteenth century up to the present, alongside key theoretical and contextual material that engages with questions concerning animality and humanity. We will focus on how writers imagine distinct animal worlds as well as how they understand the role of animals in human cultures. A range of novels, short stories and poems will raise questions about how we look at, think with, and try to give voice to animals, and topics covered will include 'Becoming Animal', 'Animal Autobiography', 'Observing Animals', 'Colonial Creatures', 'Animal Experiments', 'Taming and Training', and 'Questions for Animals'. Students taking this module will gain a firm grounding in the diverse critical field known as 'animal studies', whilst also considering the broader cultural, philosophical and ethical implications of how we think about the relationship between humans and animals.

Read more
30

This module is an intensive study of aesthetic and decadent literature in late Victorian Britain. We will explore some of the key literary and critical works that popularised the concept of the 'aesthetic' and the ideal of the aesthetic life, and examine how and why 'art for art's sake' and 'decadence' came to be understood as the watchwords of a countercultural movement. The module also takes in along its way some of the manifestos, scandals, satires, and controversies that made aestheticism and decadence vivid in the public imagination, such as the 'Fleshly School of Poetry' controversy, the notorious periodical The Yellow Book, and the three trials of Oscar Wilde. This module pays particular attention to the relationship between the literary and visual arts, and aims to help students gain a sophisticated understanding of the intellectual and imaginative stakes of Victorian aestheticism and decadence, as well as of the social and material contexts from which a 'cult of beauty' arose in late Victorian Britain. We will consider the ways in which Aestheticism and Decadence look backward to Romanticism and forward to Modernism; how they became a means of imagining alternative sexualities, identities, and lifestyles; and how they clarify (or falsify) the relations between art, ethics, and politics.

Read more
30

The New Woman, a controversial figure who became prominent in British literature in the late nineteenth century, challenged traditional views of femininity and represented a more radical understanding of women's nature and role in society. She was associated with a range of unconventional behaviour – from smoking and bicycle-riding to sexuality outside marriage and political activism. This module will examine some of the key literary texts identified with the New Woman phenomenon including women's journalism in the period. The module's reading will be organised around central thematic concerns such as: sexuality and motherhood; suffrage and politics; career and creativity. We will consider to what extent the New Woman was a media construction or whether the term reflected the lives of progressive women in the period. This module will also examine how the New Woman became a global phenomenon, beginning with the plays of Henrik Ibsen, before spreading to literature produced around the world by writers from Britain (eg Amy Levy, Evelyn Sharp) America (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), Australia (George Egerton), and New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield). The module will also consider the legacy of the New Woman into the early modernist period, through studying Virginia Woolf’s novel that depicts the suffrage movement, Night and Day.

Read more
30

The module examines some key texts in the theory and literary presentation of utopia. In the first part of the module we will examine classic early utopian texts (Plato, More) and will set these in the context of the modern theory of historical progress (Hegel) the failure of that progress to materialise (Agamben) and the nature of hope for the future (Bloch). In the second part of the module, we will examine modern classics which look at the failure of the communist utopia (Zamyatin, Huxley, Orwell) and at later texts which revived the genre of utopia (LeGuin, Atwood).

Read more
30

This module offers students a synoptic perspective on Marxist cultural criticism from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day in Europe, Russia and North America. It begins with an analysis of a selection from Marx’s own writings, with the aim of introducing key terms, such as “alienation,” “ideology,” and “dialectic.” Students’ understanding of these terms and their critical uses for literary and cultural studies will develop during the course of the module, as they encounter a range of important Marxist thinkers and their writings.

Throughout the module students will be invited to interrogate and transgress the boundaries separating literary from critical texts, and theory from practice. They will be invited to consider creative practice and Marxist criticism in dialogue with one another at particular historical moments. Although anchored in the literary and the textual, the module will also offer opportunities to think critically about the term “culture” itself in its broadest senses, encompassing a range of aesthetic and social practices, such as sport and music. Progressing through the great class conflicts of the early twentieth century, the Frankfurt School, New Left and anti-racist decolonization movements of the postwar period, up to the contemporary neoliberal moment, the module aims finally to offer students a set of tools with which to understand their own cultural encounters in the present as well as to reconfigure and re-evaluate the cultural knowledge they have accumulated in stages one and two of their degree programmes.

Read more
30

This module focuses on the exploration of the graphic novel as a visual and literary medium. The module will interpret the term ‘graphic novel’ broadly, and incorporate discussions of comic books, political cartoons, as well as film and television adaptations as a part of its curriculum. The module will begin with an examination of the more mature aesthetic that became increasingly popular for graphic novels during the late 1980s, and examine how these developments have continued to evolve to the present day. Strong emphasis will be placed on readings informed by sociological and political discourses. Students will be encouraged to relate their close analysis of texts to topics such as the distinctions between art and popular culture, and the connections between literary and social history, as well as contemporary concerns such as identity politics, neo-liberal capitalism, protest, and anarchy. As such, the module will demonstrate how the study of graphic novels directly relates to several key concerns in the study of undergraduate English.

Read more
30

Teaching and assessment

Your history modules are taught using a combination of lectures, providing a broad overview, and seminars, which focus on discussing particular issues and are led by student presentations. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, slide and PowerPoint demonstrations. Assessment is by coursework, performances and examinations.

English and American Literature modules are taught by weekly seminars. Compulsory modules include a weekly lecture, with individual supervision offered for the Long Essay. Assessment at Stage 1 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

You develop excellent skills of analysis, frequently assessing multiple sources before condensing opinions into concise, well-structured prose. Graduates are able to demonstrate self-motivation and the ability to work independently, demonstrating to potential employers that they respond positively to various challenges and that they can work to tight schedules and manage demanding workloads.

Your degree could lead to a career in fields such as journalism and the media, management and administration, local and national civil services, the museums and heritage sector, commerce and banking, teaching and research, archaeology, business, or librarianship.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including English Literature or English Language and Literature grade B, and History, Classics-Ancient History or Classics-Classical Civilisation grade B excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL, IB HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6 OR English Literature A/English Language and Literature A (or Literature A/Language and Literature A of another country) 5 at HL or 6 at SL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700
Part-time £4625 £7850

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.