Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

History and Religious Studies - BA (Hons)

UCAS code VV61

2018

Through Religious Studies, you learn the place, role and influence of religion and religions in human culture, with a specific focus on Europe. Religion is also a key factor in any study of the history of Europe, especially Europe in the Middle Ages, which is an area of particular expertise in the School of History at Kent.

2018

Overview

Religion is a vital element in human culture, and today religious issues are everywhere - from current affairs and international events, to the history of ideas, art and literature. Studying History you learn how to approach and critically analyse many types of source within their proper contexts and to assess their impact both in the past and today. Both these subjects follow a modular structure, allowing you to tailor your studies to your own interests.

Taking History with Religious Studies, you gain an appreciation of world history through a focus on one of humanity's most powerful organising forces.

Independent rankings

History at Kent was ranked 19th in The Guardian University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 94% of our History students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. 

Religious Studies and Theology at Kent was ranked 14th in The Guardian University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 89% of our Religious Studies students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

History at Kent was ranked 14th for graduate prospects in The Times Good University Guide 2017. Of our History students who graduated in 2015, 92% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE). Religious Studies students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK in finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE). 

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

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 purpose of this module is to introduce students to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, through a consideration of their key concepts, ideas, texts and practices (such as bhakti, moksha, yoga, dharma). The first half of the module will examine some of the most interesting features of the Vedic and post-Vedic tradition: the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the polytheism of the Mahabharata. The second half will examine the contrasting philosophical positions of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions using materials from the Pali canon and several Sanskrit Sutras. Particular attention will be given to the variety of interpretations of the Buddhist 'No-self' doctrine and concept of enlightenment as well as the meaning and function of the Buddha’s career.

Read more
15

This course investigates the beliefs and practices of Jews and Muslims in the world today. Topics in Judaism include the life and work of the Patriarchs, the concept of the 'chosen people', the Promised Land, the Torah, synagogue, Jewish festivals and the Jewish home. In the case of Islam, topics include the life and work of Muhammad, the Five Pillars, the Qur'an and Hadith, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, Sufism, the Shariah and the Islamic contribution to the arts and sciences.

Read more
15

This module will introduce students to discussions about the definition of religion and to some of the disciplines in which religion is studied, with special reference to the differences between Theology and Religious Studies. Particular consideration will be given in the initial weeks to the phenomenological approach and to the efficacy of Ninian Smart’s dimensions of religion. In the following weeks, the module will be focused on the comparative study of religion (with reference to Eliade), the sociology of religion (with reference to Durkheim, Weber and Marx) and the psychology of religion (with reference to Otto, James, Freud and Jung). The module will also host a study skills session to be run in conjunction with the Student Learning Advisory Service, the aim of which is to equip students with key study skills in the areas of writing essays, referencing and plagiarism-prevention.

Read more
30

The Bible is not a single book, but ta biblia, the library. At the most modest estimate, the literatures of the Bible span a period of over eight hundred years. If we think of the metaphor of a library, the books in the Bible would not just be shelved in the Religion/Theology section, but also, say, Philosophy, Politics and Cultural History/Myth. The influence of these books on ‘Western’ culture has been immense. This is a course for those seeking basic biblical ‘literacy’, which is profoundly useful for studies in other disciplines (e.g. History, or Literature), as well as for students in Religious Studies. It is a course for those who think they already know the Bible (this course will help you read the Bible in different ways, with new questions) and those who have never read a Bible at all. The course gives a basic overview of the story and contexts of the books of the Bible (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament) from Genesis to the Apocalypse of John, or from Eden to the End of the World.

This course provides a basic introduction to different sections of the biblical ‘library’, combining a general overview with in-depth study of selected passages and books.

NB: As with all Biblical Studies courses at the University of Kent, ‘Bible’ is defined in the broadest sense: the Christian and Jewish canons (73 or 66 books, though we won’t be studying all of them!) apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and also all the ancient and modern intertexts, poems, films and novels, that inform and draw on biblical traditions.

Read more
15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of Christianity, through a consideration of key ideas, texts, symbols, stories, rituals, conflicts and continuities, across contemporary and historical contexts. The course will offer a broad overview of two thousand years of Christian history, and seek to address the question of how the cult surrounding an obscure spiritual teacher from first century Nazareth became the world's largest religion, currently estimated at over two billion adherents. It will address the early church, eastern and western traditions, the medieval church, the Reformation and the relations between Christianity and modernity, as well as focusing on contemporary forms of Christianity, and the rapid growth since the 1970s of churches in the global South. By examining key concepts and practices across a range of historical and contemporary settings, the course will explore how the meaning and significance of these have often been subject to violent contestation, both amongst Christians and in their encounters with other religions. It will therefore encourage students to appreciate how the ideas and convictions that are often used to defend or attack Christianity have themselves been shaped by this history.

Read more
15

This module provides an historical introduction to the philosophical, religious and cultural traditions of East Asia. It will provide a foundation for understanding the historical development, key concepts and important practices of the major worldviews of East Asia with specific reference to traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto and other animist traditions.

Read more
15

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. The topics covered will reflect the research and teaching interests of the School of History’s four permanent early modernists and prepare students for early modern modules taken at I and H level. Students will be encouraged to take this module along with a similar module in the Spring term which will cover the period from c.1600 to c.1750.

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. The topics covered will reflect the research and teaching interests of the School of History’s early modernists and prepare students for early modern modules taken at I and H level. Students will be encouraged to take this module along with a similar module in the Autumn term which will cover the period from c.1450 to c.1600.

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

Vikings, in the popular imagination, are commonly perceived as horn-helmeted, blood-thirsty pirates who killed and pillaged their way across Europe in the Middle Ages with their blood-stained axes. In reality, Vikings did much more than that. They changed the existing early-medieval political order for good; they contributed a great deal to the international trade, economy and urbanisation of different parts of Europe; and they explored and settled the uncharted territories of the North Atlantic, specifically the Scottish Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and as far as 'Vinland' (parts of Newfoundland), becoming the first Europeans to reach and temporarily settle in the North American continent; and they were perhaps the most engaging story-tellers of their time. By the time the Norse settled down and ceased raiding in the second half of the eleventh century, they had fundamentally altered the political, religious, economic and military history of much of the known world. This course will attempt to separate fact from fiction by critically reading and analysing primary source documents alongside archaeological, linguistic and place-name evidence, and thereby uncover the real history that lies behind the well-known stories of the Viking World. In addition, the students will be introduced to the major historiographical debates related to the Viking Age.

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

The module is designed to be a wide-ranging introduction to 19th century Russia. The political history of Russia will be covered through a focus on individual tsars, with an emphasis on their approach to reform. Seminars will be devoted to Alexander I, Nicholas I and Alexander II in particular. Russia's involvement in war, and its impact on domestic life, will be another area of focus, with the Napoleonic War and the Crimean War receiving particular coverage. A seminar will be devoted to the birth of the Russian intelligentsia and the early growth of the revolutionary movement. Cultural traditions will be explored through examination of Russia's literary tradition. Social history will be explored through a focus on the changing status of the peasantry, with particular reference to the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861. In addition, students will be introduced to the multi-ethnic reality of Russian life. Another theme will be Russian religion and spirituality. This broad approach to Russia will be helpful to students who wish to pursue Russian history at stages 2 and 3, but will also be of comparative interest to students who do not continue with Russian history.

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 and the Roman medical tradition as represented in the texts of Galen.

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 medicine and the natural world discusses the source of medical knowledge as derived from the natural world through diverse cultural, social and scientific practices.

The section on health and climate highlights the historical links between disease, climate and environment, for example the emergence of theories of miasma, putrefaction and the ideas of "unhealthy climates".

The section on medicine and empire introduces the historical links between medicine and imperialism from the eighteenth century onwards.

The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of the welfare state and new theories of biology and disease transmission in the 19th century. These will be linked to the development of 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
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The purpose of this module is to survey some of the most significant 20th century trends in the dialogue between psychology and religion through the writings of depth-psychologists, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists and phenomenologists of religion. The module begins by exploring the varieties of religious experience, especially through the work of William James and Rudolf Otto, after which it examines the contributions of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology to the study of religion, particularly in the work of Freud, Jung and Hillman. This material provides the basis for subsequent discussion of the interdisciplinary literature comparing religious altered states of consciousness (mystical, visionary and paranormal experiences) with other altered states of consciousness (madness, drug induced experiences etc.). The module concludes by discussing the principle issues addressed by transpersonal psychology (particularly in the work of Wilber and Grof): the relationship between western psychotherapies and eastern religious disciplines of spiritual emancipation; competing models of spiritual transformation.

Read more
30

The aim of this module is to enable students to think sociologically about religious life. Whilst addressing key debates within the sociology of religion (e.g. secularization, subjectivization), it seeks to introduce students to core concepts and methods in sociology that will enable them to understand religious life in terms of broader social structures and processes. Examples of issues covered in the module include: the nature of sociology as a discipline, macro and micro levels of analysis, the agency/structure debate and the nature of social structure, individualization, and sociological perspectives on gender, class, emotion, materiality and belief. The significance of intersectionality between different social structures will also be discussed, and useful sources of secondary data (e.g. BRIN) will be explored. The central assessment task for the module – a case study presenting the sociological analysis of the nature and place of religion in a particular individual's life – brings these theoretical and methodological approaches together into a micro-level analysis of lived religion in a way that is informed by broader social and cultural structures. Examples of good writing in this style of sociological research are presented and explored through the module.

Read more
30

The primary aims of this module are to give you a critical grounding in Islamic sources, thinkers and theories relevant to the development of Islamic liberal and fundamentalist perspectives, and it also explores the ways in which these perspectives bear upon contemporary debates and events. It will equip you with the ability to situate current views within their historical and theological context, critically assess them, and constructively apply them to current phenomena. The module will introduce you to key Islamic debates such as those which address textual interpretation, the relation between revelation and human reason, and the nature of political authority. It will familiarise you with key sources such as the Qur'an, Hadith and treatises of key Islamic theologians and jurists, and it will introduce you to classical and modern theorists from Ibn Taymiyyah to Tariq Ramadan. A range of case studies will allow you to apply these sources and theories to contemporary situations. The module draws lessons for critical thinking about the way in which social context and religious premises affect both religious and political theories. These sources and skills will provide a basis for the analytical work that you undertake in your assessed work.

Read more
30

This module will enable students to analyze and understand the development of Christian theology over the last two hundred years. We will be critically evaluating the significance and contribution of a number of leading twentieth century theologians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and endeavouring to understand to a sophisticated degree the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the twentieth century. The module will begin by surveying the main strands of post-Enlightenment Christian theology, including the contributions of Kant, Schleiermacher and Feuerbach. There will be a detailed focus of two of the 'Death of God' theologians from the twentieth century, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. We will then critically evaluate the significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his influence (with particular reference to Harvey Cox and John A.T. Robinson); Liberal Protestantism and the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, with particular reference to Paul Tillich and Karl Barth; Rudolf Bultmann and his programme of demythologization; and an interrogation of the Christian understanding of 'hope' with specific reference to Jürgen Moltmann. The module also involves a study of key theological movements, in particular Liberation Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology.

Read more
30

This module will be divided into two parts. First, it will familiarise students with how Continental philosophy has developed in response to methodological and historical questions. Second, it will then show how Continental philosophy applies to the philosophy of religion by discussing traditional religious problems—e.g., the existence of God, the problem of theodicy, the conception of the good life—and seeing how seminal Continental thinkers engage with these issues in diverse ways. The first part of the module will discuss critical, historical-based methodologies in: philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer and Ricoeur), phenomenology (Dupré and Marion) and geneaology (Foucault). The second part of the module will utilise contemporary scholarship consisting in contemporary philosophers applying the aforementioned methodological approaches to religious problems.

Read more
30

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the history and practice of the anthropology of religion through the past 150 years. Students will explore the ‘anthropology of religion’ to provide an historical and contemporary understanding of how anthropological studies of religion enrich knowledge of what it means to be religious. The course will examine and students will practise the anthropological method of rich participant observation and comparative analysis. Course content focuses on foundational and contemporary issues of religious definition, ritual, belief, embodiment, rationality and relationships in both Western and non-western contexts.

Read more
30

This module will explore the theme of ‘Biblical Codes’ from two angles:

1) How has the Bible been read as code?

2) How can we read/ ‘decode’ biblical mysteries (prophecy, apocalyptic, or ‘wisdom’)

Under heading 1) we will be exploring how different writers and groups (some of them inside the Bible, some of them outside it) have read the Bible as temporal or political code. For example, the biblical book of Daniel attempts to decode the book of Jeremiah, which had already become deeply mysterious to ancient readers. Similarly, the New Testament ‘deciphers’ biblical prophecy and motifs by applying them to Jesus or the Roman Empire. At the other end of the time spectrum, we find bestsellers like Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Code (1997), Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye’s attempts to decrypt biblical visions of the end of time by way of contemporary global politics, or recent readings of the book of Ezekiel as prophecies about UFO’s. Techniques of decryption are also built into central developments within Jewish and Christian traditions. In fact, what is often called the history of ‘hermeneutics’ could also be described as the history of ‘How not to read literally’. We will be looking at a range of examples of such developments by focusing on readers like Philo of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, or Jewish Kabbalah.

Under heading 2, we will undertake some in-depth readings of prophecy, apocalyptic, or wisdom texts—the ones that readers of the Bible find most difficult to ‘decode’. Texts to be studied will be taken from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Pseudepigrapha. We will be exploring the contexts that produced these literatures and thinking about how to read (decipher?) them across the abyss of time.

Read more
30

Recent cultural and political theories have been haunted by the question of religion, its definitions and functions, its emancipatory capacities, its relation to violence, and its relationship to the history and future of the concept of the secular. The centrality of religion as a topic for these recent interdisciplinary discussions has emerged in relationship to a growing unease about earlier, modern modes of distinguishing public and private life; a ‘return’ of religion as an internationally significant political force in recent decades; and surprising appropriations of religion as a figure for secular Western democracy. Theorists (particularly in the area of postcolonial theory) are questioning naturalized or ahistorical distinctions between religion and the secular (e.g., Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, Saba Mahmood). Many contemporary thinkers attempt to short-circuit the distinction between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’, making possible surprising paradoxes of a “materialist theology” (Slavoj Žižek), an “emptied” religiosity (Gianni Vattimo), or what Hent de Vries calls simply a “political theology”. Once we get down beneath the easily-rehearsed stereotypes, we find that the old religious archives (like the Bible) model competing forms of politics: from messianic anarchism to theocracy. In our political histories—and presents—these have been used (and now are being re-used) in surprising ways.

This course considers important moments in the Western history of political theology in order to understand modern and contemporary discussions of secular politics. These moments will be considered in relation to comparable instances of politically imagined theology (or theologically imagined politics) from other religious traditions as well. Students will:

- examine key topics in the modern formation of these discussions (e.g., distinctions between public and private; secular spheres; religion as extra-political ideal; fanaticism; politicized evaluations of Western religion as exceptional in relation to the ‘others’; religion and political revolution)

- map important similarities and differences between Western and non-Western modelling of the relationship between religion and politics

- critically evaluate recent presentations of the inherent violence of religions, the inevitability of the clash of civilizations, and the usefulness of religion in ‘making globalization work’

Read more
30

This course explores the central teachings, practices and sacred texts of Mahåyåna Buddhism and will focus upon the first 500 years of its history in India. It will examine the rise and development of Mahåyåna Buddhism in India through analysis of its key sacred literature and philosophical schools as well as its subsequent spread to East and North Asia.

Read more
30

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Asian cultures, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Asia will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Asia and Europe/ the West.

Read more
30

This module will evaluate and critique a range of historical, philosophical, theological and secular perspectives on death and the afterlife, beginning with the way the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Upanishads conceptualize the nature and destiny of humankind, including such concepts as sheol, moksha, purgatory, eternal life, heaven and hell. This will be followed by a discussion of the interplay in western theological and philosophical traditions between competing notions of the resurrection of the flesh and the immortality of the body as well as an evaluation of what various Christian thinkers, including Augustine and Origen, believed that an eternity in heaven or hell might be like. The module will then investigate the range of eschatological teachings that different traditions have offered, including in Christian thought the diversity of realized and future forms of eschatology, as well as the tenability of purported testimony surrounding the possibility of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and mind-dependent worlds, and the way in which such endeavours have been sustained or critiqued in the light of scientific and historical advances. The module will conclude with a detailed study of the way in which filmmakers and novelists have approached eschatological and apocalyptic teachings and reconceptualised them, with specific reference to Conrad Ostwalt’s work on the desacralization of the apocalypse in Jewish and Christian thought in a range of 1990s Hollywood science fiction movies, and the impact that such attempts have had on the way questions of life after death have conventionally been approached.

Read more
30

This module will examine the theme 'Global Christianities' through the lenses of the anthropology of Christianity and the sociology of religion. We will explore the ways in which we can see Christianity as a cultural product, and how Christianity has shaped different cultures and societies globally, as well as how the religion has been shaped by and through encounters in different local settings. We will look at the history of the globalization of Christianity, and consider the historical, political and economic effects of local missionary encounters. The course will examine the processes of conversion to Christianity in different contexts, both at the level of individual and broader social group, and how these have been understood in relation to concepts of ‘modernity’.

The course will draw attention to the relatively recent emergence of the anthropology of Christianity in relation to the broader disciplines of anthropology as a discrete area of study and how this relates to the study of Christianity as a global phenomenon within sociology. We will consider the ways in which these disciplines have constructed and objectified ‘religion’ as an object of study in ways that has historically occluded the social scientific study of Christianity in different global contexts.

The course will address some of the main debates in the anthropology of Christianity, deepening understanding of global Christianities through exploring studies of Christian cultures in diverse ethnographic contexts. The topics addressed will include: culture and conversion; globalization and localisation; interrelations between Christianity, subjectivity and language; embodied and emotional forms of different Christianities; concepts and experiences of God; mediation, immanence and transcendence; coherence and fragmentation; gender, sexuality and the family. Through engaging with readings on these areas, we will explore the socio-religious power-dynamics of Christianity in relation to both culturally dominant and marginal traditions.

Read more
30

This module will examine the main doctrines and practices of early Indian Buddhism as seen through the Theravada Buddhist literature of the Pali canon (in translation). The module will examine what we might know about the figure of the historical Buddha and the central concepts and doctrinal themes in his teachings as represented in these materials, with particular attention paid to their historical and social context and the philosophical, soteriological, ethical and socio-political ideas expressed within early Buddhist literature in the period 500 BCE to 500 CE. The module will also consider the rise of "Theravada" and modern developments within this tradition of Buddhism.

Read more
30

WAR STUDIES STUDENTS WILL HAVE PRIORITY ON THIS MODULE.

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

This module is designed to introduce students to the political, social, and cultural history of England in the dramatic centuries between the departure of the Roman legions and the arrival of the Normans. During this period the country was transformed from a province of the Roman Empire into several independent kingdoms; redefined by christianity, invaded by vikings, it was eventually unified into a single state, one that was rich, sophisticated and ripe for conquest. A wide range of sources will be used including archaeology and poetry, letters and lawcodes. There will be an optional field trip to the British Museum.

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 course will examine this key era of US history by examining the key political and social events, developments in the history of ideas and historiographical controversies from the victory over Mexico to the final withdrawal of US troops from the South. It will focus on the changes that occurred and the changing interpretations of them. Students will be able to see the interplay of forces and ideas that led to a conflict that few, if any, wanted and lasted for longer than anyone expected. Historical and fictional depictions in art and film will be evaluated for the ways they shape perspectives. The key historical topics include the rise of slavery as a public issue in the late 1840s, the attempts to find compromise within the Constitutional framework, the activities of the extremists, the changing nature and goals of the war, the effects the war had on both sides, the plans for the post-war period, the changing elite and popular attitudes, the nature of the final, pragmatic arrangements that the country accepted. Students will be able to pursue topics of their choice alongside and as part of these themes.

Read more
30

This module introduces students to the circumstances behind and motives for the crusading movement, to the key events of early crusades, and to the rise and fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Extensive use is made of primary sources in translation. Topics to be covered include: The background of the crusades; The historiography of the crusades: What were the crusades?; The First Crusade; The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; The second Crusade; The fall of Jerusalem in 1187; The Third Crusade; The Fourth Crusade; Crusading within Europe; The capture of Damietta; The crusade of Louis IX

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

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

Focusing on the history of modern Germany in the Twentieth Century, the module examines major changes and continuities in the development of a highly advanced, industrialised but also militarised European nation state which played a central role in shaping the modern European geographical and political landscape. The module explores the end of the Imperial Monarchy after the end of the First World War in 1918, the role of the Allied reparation demands, hyper-inflation and political instability of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of National Socialism and the Third Reich during the 1930s. The course will chart the influence of anti-Semitism, racial eugenics and geopolitics in Germany’s quest for world domination during the Second World War and assess the legacy of the Holocaust in defining post-war German identity and society. By examining the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the module will take a critical look at the politics, ideology and day-to-day history (Alltagsgeschichte) of East and West German society during the Cold War, and explore the underlying factors which led to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and subsequent German reunification.

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

The French Revolution continues rightly to be regarded as one the great turning points of modern European History. This course will introduce students to the political, social and economic context of France from the accession of Louis XVI to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. It will explore and assess the divergent interpretations for the origins of the revolutionary conflagration of 1789. There will also be an attempt to understand how a revolution based on the triad 'liberty, equally and fraternity,' lost of sight of its humanitarian aspirations and quickly descended into fratricidal political terror and warfare on a trans-European scale. Students will also be encouraged to cast a critical eye on the vexed question of the French Revolution's contribution to modern political culture.

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

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

'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

This module covers fundamental transformations taking place in European society between c. 1500 and 1800. It focuses specifically on the everyday experiences of early modern Europeans, and how these changed as a result of, amongst others, global expansion, religious change, urbanisation and economic innovation. Through looking at how these transformations at a macro-level affected the micro-level of European households, this module aims to give insight into the ever-changing lives of Europeans before the onset of 'modernisation' in the 19th century. Themes that will be addressed in the lectures and seminars vary from migration, crime, and poverty, to witchcraft, sexuality and material culture.

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

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

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

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

Week 1: introduction

Weeks 2-6 (including Study Week) German Wars of Unification, 1864-1870

Weeks 7-12 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; the management and attitudes of home fronts

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
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

This module will examine the main doctrines and practices of early Indian Buddhism as seen through the Theravada Buddhist literature of the Pali canon (in translation). The module will examine what we might know about the figure of the historical Buddha and the central concepts and doctrinal themes in his teachings as represented in these materials, with particular attention paid to their historical and social context and the philosophical, soteriological, ethical and socio-political ideas expressed within early Buddhist literature in the period 500 BCE to 500 CE. The module will also consider the rise of "Theravada" and modern developments within this tradition of Buddhism.

Read more
30

This module will examine the theme 'Global Christianities' through the lenses of the anthropology of Christianity and the sociology of religion. We will explore the ways in which we can see Christianity as a cultural product, and how Christianity has shaped different cultures and societies globally, as well as how the religion has been shaped by and through encounters in different local settings. We will look at the history of the globalization of Christianity, and consider the historical, political and economic effects of local missionary encounters. The course will examine the processes of conversion to Christianity in different contexts, both at the level of individual and broader social group, and how these have been understood in relation to concepts of ‘modernity’.

The course will draw attention to the relatively recent emergence of the anthropology of Christianity in relation to the broader disciplines of anthropology as a discrete area of study and how this relates to the study of Christianity as a global phenomenon within sociology. We will consider the ways in which these disciplines have constructed and objectified ‘religion’ as an object of study in ways that has historically occluded the social scientific study of Christianity in different global contexts.

The course will address some of the main debates in the anthropology of Christianity, deepening understanding of global Christianities through exploring studies of Christian cultures in diverse ethnographic contexts. The topics addressed will include: culture and conversion; globalization and localisation; interrelations between Christianity, subjectivity and language; embodied and emotional forms of different Christianities; concepts and experiences of God; mediation, immanence and transcendence; coherence and fragmentation; gender, sexuality and the family. Through engaging with readings on these areas, we will explore the socio-religious power-dynamics of Christianity in relation to both culturally dominant and marginal traditions.

Read more
30

This module will evaluate and critique a range of historical, philosophical, theological and secular perspectives on death and the afterlife, beginning with the way the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Upanishads conceptualize the nature and destiny of humankind, including such concepts as sheol, moksha, purgatory, eternal life, heaven and hell. This will be followed by a discussion of the interplay in western theological and philosophical traditions between competing notions of the resurrection of the flesh and the immortality of the body as well as an evaluation of what various Christian thinkers, including Augustine and Origen, believed that an eternity in heaven or hell might be like. The module will then investigate the range of eschatological teachings that different traditions have offered, including in Christian thought the diversity of realized and future forms of eschatology, as well as the tenability of purported testimony surrounding the possibility of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and mind-dependent worlds, and the way in which such endeavours have been sustained or critiqued in the light of scientific and historical advances. The module will conclude with a detailed study of the way in which filmmakers and novelists have approached eschatological and apocalyptic teachings and reconceptualised them, with specific reference to Conrad Ostwalt’s work on the desacralization of the apocalypse in Jewish and Christian thought in a range of 1990s Hollywood science fiction movies, and the impact that such attempts have had on the way questions of life after death have conventionally been approached.

Read more
30

This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide the students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Religious Education and Philosophy in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance. The student will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers’ tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

Read more
30

This course explores the central teachings, practices and sacred texts of Mahåyåna Buddhism and will focus upon the first 500 years of its history in India. It will examine the rise and development of Mahåyåna Buddhism in India through analysis of its key sacred literature and philosophical schools as well as its subsequent spread to East and North Asia.

Read more
30

Recent cultural and political theories have been haunted by the question of religion, its definitions and functions, its emancipatory capacities, its relation to violence, and its relationship to the history and future of the concept of the secular. The centrality of religion as a topic for these recent interdisciplinary discussions has emerged in relationship to a growing unease about earlier, modern modes of distinguishing public and private life; a ‘return’ of religion as an internationally significant political force in recent decades; and surprising appropriations of religion as a figure for secular Western democracy. Theorists (particularly in the area of postcolonial theory) are questioning naturalized or ahistorical distinctions between religion and the secular (e.g., Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, Saba Mahmood). Many contemporary thinkers attempt to short-circuit the distinction between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’, making possible surprising paradoxes of a “materialist theology” (Slavoj Žižek), an “emptied” religiosity (Gianni Vattimo), or what Hent de Vries calls simply a “political theology”. Once we get down beneath the easily-rehearsed stereotypes, we find that the old religious archives (like the Bible) model competing forms of politics: from messianic anarchism to theocracy. In our political histories—and presents—these have been used (and now are being re-used) in surprising ways.

This course considers important moments in the Western history of political theology in order to understand modern and contemporary discussions of secular politics. These moments will be considered in relation to comparable instances of politically imagined theology (or theologically imagined politics) from other religious traditions as well. Students will:

- examine key topics in the modern formation of these discussions (e.g., distinctions between public and private; secular spheres; religion as extra-political ideal; fanaticism; politicized evaluations of Western religion as exceptional in relation to the ‘others’; religion and political revolution)

- map important similarities and differences between Western and non-Western modelling of the relationship between religion and politics

- critically evaluate recent presentations of the inherent violence of religions, the inevitability of the clash of civilizations, and the usefulness of religion in ‘making globalization work’

Read more
30

This module will explore the theme of ‘Biblical Codes’ from two angles:

1) How has the Bible been read as code?

2) How can we read/ ‘decode’ biblical mysteries (prophecy, apocalyptic, or ‘wisdom’)

Under heading 1) we will be exploring how different writers and groups (some of them inside the Bible, some of them outside it) have read the Bible as temporal or political code. For example, the biblical book of Daniel attempts to decode the book of Jeremiah, which had already become deeply mysterious to ancient readers. Similarly, the New Testament ‘deciphers’ biblical prophecy and motifs by applying them to Jesus or the Roman Empire. At the other end of the time spectrum, we find bestsellers like Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Code (1997), Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye’s attempts to decrypt biblical visions of the end of time by way of contemporary global politics, or recent readings of the book of Ezekiel as prophecies about UFO’s. Techniques of decryption are also built into central developments within Jewish and Christian traditions. In fact, what is often called the history of ‘hermeneutics’ could also be described as the history of ‘How not to read literally’. We will be looking at a range of examples of such developments by focusing on readers like Philo of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, or Jewish Kabbalah.

Under heading 2, we will undertake some in-depth readings of prophecy, apocalyptic, or wisdom texts—the ones that readers of the Bible find most difficult to ‘decode’. Texts to be studied will be taken from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Pseudepigrapha. We will be exploring the contexts that produced these literatures and thinking about how to read (decipher?) them across the abyss of time.

Read more
30

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the history and practice of the anthropology of religion through the past 150 years. Students will explore the ‘anthropology of religion’ to provide an historical and contemporary understanding of how anthropological studies of religion enrich knowledge of what it means to be religious. The course will examine and students will practise the anthropological method of rich participant observation and comparative analysis. Course content focuses on foundational and contemporary issues of religious definition, ritual, belief, embodiment, rationality and relationships in both Western and non-western contexts.

Read more
30

This module will enable students to analyze and understand the development of Christian theology over the last two hundred years. We will be critically evaluating the significance and contribution of a number of leading twentieth century theologians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and endeavouring to understand to a sophisticated degree the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the twentieth century. The module will begin by surveying the main strands of post-Enlightenment Christian theology, including the contributions of Kant, Schleiermacher and Feuerbach. There will be a detailed focus of two of the 'Death of God' theologians from the twentieth century, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. We will then critically evaluate the significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his influence (with particular reference to Harvey Cox and John A.T. Robinson); Liberal Protestantism and the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, with particular reference to Paul Tillich and Karl Barth; Rudolf Bultmann and his programme of demythologization; and an interrogation of the Christian understanding of ‘hope’ with specific reference to Jürgen Moltmann. The module also involves a study of key theological movements, in particular Liberation Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology.

Read more
30

The purpose of this module is to survey some of the most significant 20th century trends in the dialogue between psychology and religion through the writings of depth-psychologists, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists and phenomenologists of religion. The module begins by exploring the varieties of religious experience, especially through the work of William James and Rudolf Otto, after which it examines the contributions of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology to the study of religion, particularly in the work of Freud, Jung and Hillman. This material provides the basis for subsequent discussion of the interdisciplinary literature comparing religious altered states of consciousness (mystical, visionary and paranormal experiences) with other altered states of consciousness (madness, drug induced experiences etc.). The module concludes by discussing the principle issues addressed by transpersonal psychology (particularly in the work of Wilber and Grof): the relationship between western psychotherapies and eastern religious disciplines of spiritual emancipation; competing models of spiritual transformation.

Read more
30

The primary aims of this module are to give you a critical grounding in Islamic sources, thinkers and theories relevant to the development of Islamic liberal and fundamentalist perspectives, and it also explores the ways in which these perspectives bear upon contemporary debates and events. It will equip you with the ability to situate current views within their historical and theological context, critically assess them, and constructively apply them to current phenomena. The module will introduce you to key Islamic debates such as those which address textual interpretation, the relation between revelation and human reason, and the nature of political authority. It will familiarise you with key sources such as the Qur'an, Hadith and treatises of key Islamic theologians and jurists, and it will introduce you to classical and modern theorists from Ibn Taymiyyah to Tariq Ramadan. A range of case studies will allow you to apply these sources and theories to contemporary situations. The module draws lessons for critical thinking about the way in which social context and religious premises affect both religious and political theories. These sources and skills will provide a basis for the analytical work that you undertake in your assessed work.

Read more
30

This module will be divided into two parts. First, it will familiarise students with how Continental philosophy has developed in response to methodological and historical questions. Second, it will then show how Continental philosophy applies to the philosophy of religion by discussing traditional religious problems—e.g., the existence of God, the problem of theodicy, the conception of the good life—and seeing how seminal Continental thinkers engage with these issues in diverse ways. The first part of the module will discuss critical, historical-based methodologies in: philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer and Ricoeur), phenomenology (Dupré and Marion) and geneaology (Foucault). The second part of the module will utilise contemporary scholarship consisting in contemporary philosophers applying the aforementioned methodological approaches to religious problems.

Read more
30

Students are required to identify a viable research focus or question for their project which they will then pursue, with supervisory support, in order to submit their final dissertation. In the summer before joining the module, students will be given advice on how to identify their research focus, and by the start of the autumn term in which the module begins they will be expected to have produced a single side of A4 summarising key literature or other sources relevant to their specific project. Individual supervision will begin from the autumn term onwards. Initially this is likely to focus on clarifying the research focus or question, and situating it more deeply in existing literature and debates. Following this a clearer outline plan for conducting the research will be developed, with students then undertaking work necessary to meet each phase of this plan. If the project involves original fieldwork, the student will be expected to submit a research ethics application form for Faculty approval. As the project develops, chapter drafts will be submitted for review and discussion with the supervisor. Supervision contact time is likely to vary according to the project and student need, but will not exceed a total of 6 hours per student (including face to face supervision or time spent writing written feedback to electronically-submitted drafts). Supervisors will provide feedback on chapter drafts, which will need to be submitted to supervisors in good time before supervision meetings, but will not provide feedback on whole draft manuscripts once chapters are completed.

Supervisors will only provide supervisory support during term-time. Once the project has been agreed and a supervisor allocated in the autumn term, students will not normally be allowed to change their fundamental focus of their project (although their specific questions are likely to change as the project develops) or change their supervisor unless in highly exceptional circumstances.

Read more
30

The aim of this module is to enable students to think sociologically about religious life. Whilst addressing key debates within the sociology of religion (e.g. secularization, subjectivization), it seeks to introduce students to core concepts and methods in sociology that will enable them to understand religious life in terms of broader social structures and processes. Examples of issues covered in the module include: the nature of sociology as a discipline, macro and micro levels of analysis, the agency/structure debate and the nature of social structure, individualization, and sociological perspectives on gender, class, emotion, materiality and belief. The significance of intersectionality between different social structures will also be discussed, and useful sources of secondary data (e.g. BRIN) will be explored. The central assessment task for the module – a case study presenting the sociological analysis of the nature and place of religion in a particular individual’s life – brings these theoretical and methodological approaches together into a micro-level analysis of lived religion in a way that is informed by broader social and cultural structures. Examples of good writing in this style of sociological research are presented and explored through the module.

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

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 module studies the most important event in interwar European history, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Beginning with three weeks dedicated to the background to this conflict (with particular emphasis on the advent of the Spanish Second Republic in 1931, this module combines chronological with thematic studies. It covers the army rebellion of July 1936 which unleashed civil war, the subsequent revolution and terror in the government zone of control, militarisation and terror in the rebel areas of control, the Battle of Madrid, the war and the armies, the war in the air, the war at sea, the nature and impact of foreign intervention, regionalism and centralisation, the Battles of Euzkadi, Teruel and the Ebro, and the final defeat of the Spanish government in 1939. In addition to an understanding of the 'bird's eye’ view of strategy and battles, students will also explore aspects of conscription, desertion, discipline, civil-military relations and morale. Students will also explore the ‘home fronts’ and the polarisation of politics associated with anarchism, socialism, communism, fascism, Carlism, monarchism and Catholicism. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of a conflict which continues to be of relevance nowadays.

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

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

In 1307, Edward I in England, the most powerful ruler of northern Europe died, leaving the crown to his son, Edward II. A year before, after years of bitter anarchy and political chaos, Robert I Bruce, the arch-nemesis of the two Edwards, had been inaugurated as the King of the Scots. Edward II received a powerful and centralised state with a comparatively mighty economy, while Robert got a comparatively weak and decentralised kingdom, greatly impoverished by some a decade of fighting. In theory, at least, Robert should have subjugated himself to the over-lordship of Edward. In reality, however, the Fortune was on Robert's side. Remarkably, not only that Robert overcame Edward militarily and politically, but he also made Scotland, towards the end of his reign, a relatively united and powerful monarchy, that started playing a leading role in international European affairs. The authority of Edward, conversely, was challenged not only by Robert, but also by his own nobles and churchmen. After a series of socio-economic, political, military and familial failures, Edward II was deposed in 1327. In 1329, Robert died in dignity, leaving his country united. A year later, Edward was executed, leaving a divided country. The seminar will survey and analyse various aspects of Edward’s and Robert’s rules, with a particular attention to their individual upbringing and relationships with their family members and close kinsmen, struggle with their political opponents, military strategy and campaigns, relationships with Church, coping with the Great Famine of 1315-7, the struggle for Ireland and the question of inheritance.

Read more
60

The English East India Company (founded 1600) is the most famous corporation in world history. Its remarkable geographical expanse as a business connecting the British Isles with the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans makes it a protagonist in histories of globalisation. But the company's impressive longevity from the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I to the reign of Queen Victoria make the Company a common institutional thread whose changing character in each period can illuminate the broader story of English history as well as the separate histories of the territories the Company engaged with. Historians have debated what the Company represented. The Company did so much to stimulate global trade, but was it a private business in the modern sense? It ruled British territory on behalf of the British state, but was it a state in its own right? This course encourages participants to engage with these (and other) large and important questions and will digest the high quality literature that the company has rightly attracted. But the core of this class will be the challenge and joy of digesting the remarkable corpus of documents and writings that the Company issued or provoked including all of the most important political economists from the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth: from Thomas Mun through Edmund Burke to James and John Stuart Mill. Participants will read and reflect upon a wide variety of materials from translated Persian documents trying to make sense of the Company's operations, from the correspondence of Company factors in Japan, to the company's charters, board room minutes, pamphlets, and histories as well as its art and architecture in the cities it did so much to develop. Participants will therefore receive a broad understanding of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century British, Indian, and global history; they will also develop expertise in the following sub-fields: cultural, art, political, parliamentary, global, economic, constitutional, and business history.

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

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 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 examines the history of human rights in human experimentation during the Cold War, and traces the development of biological and chemical warfare research from the Second World War through to Allied military research in the 1950s and 1960s. It charts continuity and change in the development of medical ethics standards in modern military research on humans, and assesses the extent to which research subjects were informed of the risks involved in the research.

The module explores Allied war-time research and the international response to news of Nazi medical atrocities. The Nuremberg Medical Trial and the Nuremberg Code are important milestones in the history of informed consent and modern medical ethics. The module looks at the nuclear testing programme that was conducted by the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1950s, and investigates in detail the evolving chemical warfare programme at Porton Down in the United Kingdom where one of the servicemen, Ronald Maddison, died from exposure to the nerve agent sarin in 1953.

The history of research into incapacitants and biological warfare agents is located into a wider context of an evolving system of medical ethics in which non-therapeutic experiments without consent were increasingly seen as unethical and unlawful. Finally, the attempts by veteran groups for recognition and compensation will be examined as part of a wider political history of the Cold War which has shaped our understanding and memory of the more recent past.

Read more
60

What were the experiences of 'outsiders' who did not conform to Nazi ideals? What was it like to live in an occupied country during the Second World War? This course, which is structured in two parts, examines both Germany during the Third Reich and Vichy France under German occupation. Themes to be addressed include: the persecution of Jews, Roma and Sinti, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and those with impairments; pro- and anti-natalist policies; the concentration camp system; German resistance; the fall of France; Vichy collusion; popular collaboration; French resistance; and the Liberation.

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

When Charles I became king of England in March 1625, he also inherited the thrones of Scotland and Ireland. This module will consider politics, religion and culture in Caroline Britain from Charles I’s assumption of the triple crown, until he declared war on the English Parliament in August 1642. During this fascinating period, the king pursued controversial policies and eventually faced armed resistance in all three kingdoms – the struggle against the Scottish covenanters (1639-40); the Irish rebellion (1641); and finally, civil war in England (1642).

Students will have the opportunity to analyse a wide variety of primary source material, including royal letters, private correspondence, paintings, journals, newsletters, religious documents and state papers. Through these rich sources, students will explore the many factors which shaped the character of Charles’s government and will be encouraged to draw their own conclusions about the nature and success of the king’s approach. Was this a period of relative harmony until the late 1630s or were all three kingdoms on a trajectory towards conflict from the outset of the reign? By the end of the module, students will be able to answer these, and other historiographical questions, including perhaps the most crucial question of all - what were the causes of the ‘British Civil Wars’?

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

This course will look at the central theme of the "Rights Era"- the move in the U. S. from a customary deference to tradition and view of the mainstream to the enforcement of political equality with far less regard for mainstream views. It will examine competing views of what "equality" means and consider the numerous groups that have demanded it since 1945 and the way they both fought for their causes and created the turbulence and confrontation in American society after 1960. These groups include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women, the disabled, certain religious groups, those who have faced discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, as well as other groups that followed similar legal strategies, such as environmentalists and those who seek greater guarantees of property rights, free speech rights, and gun rights. This not only is an essential topic for understanding the modern United States but as UK is currently undergoing similar legal changes, it has meaning for contemporary Britain.

This course assumes no prior knowledge of American law or of the courts in the United States. It can also include subjects of interest to students not listed above, assuming sufficient materials are available on those topics. It aims to places this groups & their activities in the context of the time and show how the strategies worked (or failed) and the reaction of both elite and general opinion to the claims.

Read more
60

A century after the discovery of the Americas, in a treatise published in 1580, the radical Reformer Jacob Paleologus argued that it was most unlikely that the ancestors of the American natives could have crossed the Ocean and he concluded hence that all humans cannot descend from one single individual, Adam. So the discovery of America not only challenged traditional geographical knowledge, but also questioned fundamental religious, anthropological and historical assumptions. This module will explore early modern encounters with new worlds and with non-European cultures and it will ask about the impressions, which these encounters made and the manifold changes of European life they brought about. Based on the weekly reading of one primary source, we will follow travellers, merchants, scholars and missionaries on their expeditions to the inner parts of Africa, to the court of the Shah of Persia, to China and to the Americas. We will watch them drawing maps of uncharted lands and compose dictionaries of unheard languages. And we will not only listen to European voices, but will also try to reconstruct the experiences and impressions of non-European actors and visitors. The central aim of this module is to discuss the religious, intellectual, political and economical contexts of these discoveries and cultural encounters. We will ask how the various actors organized and methodized their expeditions and how they interpreted their discoveries. The module will also address the consequences, which these discoveries entailed. How did they affect the traditional European ideas about mankind, religion, the world and their position in it? How did they influence European life style, fashion, art and literature? How did they affect the lives, social structures and cultures of the discovered people?

Read more
60

A decade ago John Dunne, in a review article, described Napoleonic history as a poor relation of the French Revolution that seemed on the verge of ‘making good.’ These prophetic words described well the growing interest among scholars in Bonaparte’s ambitious Imperial mission extending beyond France’s ‘natural frontiers.’ The work of historians Stuart Woolf and Michael Broers has postulated that the Napoleonic mission to 'integrate Europe under a single system of governance' could be viewed as a form of 'cultural imperialism in a European setting.' This special subject will introduce students to the pros and cons of this historiographical debate. It will give final year students an alternative means of engaging with the familiar historical category of ‘Empire.’ There is no shortage of source material translated into English relating to this period. Indeed the memorial de Saint Helene has been available to the Anglophone world since 1824. Consequently a critical and in-depth engagement with primary material will be one of the priorities of this special subject. The focus on French expansion abroad, in the early nineteenth century, challenges one to move away from understanding the Napoleonic Empire in national terms; this course in essence, by its very nature, is European in both scope and content. To do this it will explore processes of acculturation and international competition on a thematic basis. It will examine, in broad multi-national manner, the complex interaction between centre and periphery or what Italians, more prosaically, describe as conflict between ‘stato reale’ and ‘stato civile.’ Napoleon was his own best advocate when it came to forging his posthumous legacy. Students will be encouraged to appraise critically his memoirs and understand that behind claims of progress lay a brutal struggle for the fiscal military resources of Europe. Yet, even more important will be to consider that while the military and political effects of the ‘grand Empire’ were ephemeral, it created a judicial and administrative edifice which survived well beyond 1815 and continues to shape European civilisation to this day. Of course, laws do not merely structure the powers of governmental action but have a complex impact on notions of citizenship, the economy and culture (especially family life). This special subject will investigate the Napoleonic Empire in its many facets. Students will be urged actively to pursue their individual interests in either war and society, Empire, political culture and/or gender.

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 course will examine this key era of US history by examining the key political and social events, developments in the history of ideas and historiographical controversies from the victory over Mexico to the final withdrawal of US troops from the South. It will focus on the changes that occurred and the changing interpretations of them. Students will be able to see the interplay of forces and ideas that led to a conflict that few, if any, wanted and lasted for longer than anyone expected. Historical and fictional depictions in art and film will be evaluated for the ways they shape perspectives. The key historical topics include the rise of slavery as a public issue in the late 1840s, the attempts to find compromise within the Constitutional framework, the activities of the extremists, the changing nature and goals of the war, the effects the war had on both sides, the plans for the post-war period, the changing elite and popular attitudes, the nature of the final, pragmatic arrangements that the country accepted. Students will be able to pursue topics of their choice alongside and as part of these themes.

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

The course will provide students with a historical understanding of command at a variety of levels by looking at various types of battle scenarios, both strategic and tactical. The course will take an international perspective and explore the changing nature of command across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Seminars will focus on case-studies of a range of conflicts and commanders. Conflicts covered will include the two World Wars, Malaya, Korea and Kosovo; in addition there will be in-depth investigation of the command styles of Haig, Montgomery and Patton.

Read more
30

This module covers the period approximately 1900-79 and follows the fortunes of H. G. Wells’ ‘open conspiracy’ – his scheme by which scientists would rule the world. The aim is to understand what scientists (and their friends and critics) thought was the social role of science during this period, and how they sought to make sure that science played that role. We aim to find out why scientists thought a scientific approach to life and society was desirable; how they sought to impose it; and to what extent, or in what ways, they were successful in their aims. Along the way we will see how scientists engaged with particular political ideologies, and with the government. Examples covered include the ‘poverty vs. ignorance’ nutrition debate during the great depression, the development of nuclear power and consumer technology at the Festival of Britain. We will see the pivotal role played by WWII in terms of facilitating scientists’ ambitions to govern, and the rise of psychology as arguably the most influential science in terms of governance. The module makes particular use of fictional and documentary film sources as a means to understand the place of science in public culture.

Read more
30

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is by a combination of lectures, providing a broad overview, and seminars, which focus on discussing particular issues and are led by student presentations and small group work. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, and slide and PowerPoint demonstrations.

Assessment is by a combination of coursework and examination.

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

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 heavy workloads. You develop excellent skills of analysis, frequently assessing multiple and often conflicting sources before condensing opinions into concise, well-structured prose.

Many graduates find employment 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, and the law.

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 Classics-Ancient History, Classics-Classical Civilisation or History 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

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 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

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.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, 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.