Making History: An Introduction to the Study and Writing of History (20 credits)
This module is compulsory for all single honours History students and may also be taken by combined honours students. The aim of the module is to emphasise the methods, approaches and skills that full immersion in the degree-level study of History requires.
Snapshots in Time: History and Historiographical Controversy (20 credits; possibly core for Single Honours students)
The module is formed of casestudies which help illustrate the nature of historiography and the way in which historiographical debate drives the development of historical understanding. Recent case casestudies have included the Norman Invasion of 1066; the Reformation; and the Atomic Bombing of Japan in 1945. Where possible, we seek to offer a medieval, an earlymodern and a modern example of how historians can arrive at competing and conflicting views on the same events and developments. This module will focus on historians, their art and craft, and their arguments and debates across three chronological periods.
Futures of the Past: Public History and Our Present Debates (20 credits)
History is perhaps the single most ‘invoked’ discipline or field of knowledge in the vast sweep of present-day public debates and popular cultures. For this reason, this module looks at the ways that History can be used and misused in the public realm and trains students to engage critically with these representations.
Independent Study (10,000 word research dissertation, 40 credits, OR 5,000 word research dissertation, 20 credits)
The dissertation is your opportunity to not just read History but to write your own. In this module, you will produce a formal independent dissertation project, which entails detailed analysis of primary and secondary sources. Through one-to-one supervision with a qualified member of staff, you will have the opportunity to put into practice everything you have learnt in your degree. The process begins in the spring of your second year, when you submit a topic proposal and consult with staff about the nature and scope of your chosen research area. Your supervisor will then offer guidance and support as you undertake the significant amount of independent learning necessary to write something of which you can be truly proud.
Below is the suite of optional modules. Please note that the list of modules actually offered to students may change from year to year but we always try to offer students a good choice across the key chronological periods that comprise our degree programme.
Snapshots in Time: History and Historiographical Controversy (20 credits)
The module is formed of case studies that help to illustrate the nature of historiography and the way in which historiographical debate drives the development of historical understanding. Recent case studies have included the Norman Invasion of 1066; the Reformation; and the Atomic Bombing of Japan in 1945. Where possible, we seek to offer a medieval, an early modern and a modern example of how historians can arrive at competing and conflicting views on the same events and developments. This module will focus on historians, their art, craft, arguments and debates.
Civilisations of the Ancient World (20 credits)
This module introduces students to the cultures and civilisations of the ancient world through an examination of historical and archaeological evidence from Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Near East, and the central Mediterranean (including Greece and Rome). Explored themes will include art, religion, politics, and society, with an emphasis on the long term influence of ancient civilisations on later societies and the contemporary world. This is an ideal introduction to further modules in ancient history and/or archaeology.
Kings Queens and Conquerors in Medieval Europe (20 credits)
This module offers an introduction to Northern Europe in the Middle Ages via a thematic exploration of medieval society and its formation in the period c. 750 and c. 1250. It explores a number of themes in this period, including the Carolingian empire, the Capetian kings of France, relations between Germany and the papacy, monasticism, the emergence and collapse of the Angevin empire, queenship, the birth of a persecuting society, Louis IX and his crusades, and chivalry and aristocratic society. The module seeks to explore the emergence of medieval Europe through the study of a range of primary sources, such as chronicles, as well as secondary literature.
Renaissance, Reformation and Revolution in the Early Modern World (20 credits)
This module introduces students to early modern history, the period running from 1450 to around 1700, and examines the major social, political, religious and economic developments and events that occurred across England at this time. Topics covered include the Reformation, Humanism and the Renaissance, the printing press, colonial expansion, poverty, witchcraft, court culture, monsters and the grotesque, print, war, women and the Enlightenment. The module also addresses the myriad developments, conflicts, and enduring themes that characterise this peculiar, and powerfully important, period in history.
The Making of Modernity: Enlightenment, Nation and Empire (20 credits)
This module covers aspects of European history from 1750 to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, an era especially marked by the impact of the so-called ‘dual revolution’ – the French Revolution of 1789-99 and the Industrial Revolution. It is also the age of empire, of the abolition of slavery, of the emergence of nationalism and socialism in Europe, of social Darwinism and feminism, of new more complex relations between the great powers, of the rise of the modern city and of great rural change.
The Cold War and the Making of the Contemporary World (20 credits)
This module is an introduction to some of the big themes and events of global history since 1945. It takes the Cold War as its focus, examining the ways in which this superpower conflict permeated every aspect of life around the world, and tracing the effects of that into the present day. The legacy of the Cold War can be seen in the still fraught relationship between Russia and the West, in the issue of nuclear weapons (notably in connection with North Korea and Iran), and in the turmoil that afflicts large parts of the Middle East, Africa and other former Cold War battlegrounds.
Applied Humanities: Employability in Practice (20 credits)
This module is one of the most highly praised aspects of our degree. While other modules teach you about different aspects of History, building up your transferable skills in the process, this module aims to complement the theoretical elements of a humanities degree by taking the skill-set that students acquire and helping to apply them directly to the world of work. In contrast to academic class-based learning, the focus here is on practical work-based experience. Students have the opportunity to develop an understanding of a work environment either through a 40 hour micro-placement; by bringing students into contact with professionals who will help set out a project/problem based work opportunity; or through a relevant case study. This could be work shadowing, a reflective diary, a portfolio, or a research report.
More details can be found on this page.
Castles in Medieval Society (20 credits)
In this module, you will come to appreciate how castles are one of the most visible and imposing reminders of our medieval past. The ruins we see now are the result of dynamic changes in society, culture, politics and architecture. This module therefore investigates castles in their medieval context using archaeological evidence, the landscape and standing buildings alongside written documents. It will consider how castles were viewed in medieval society and chart the evolution of castle studies in the modern era.
The Crusades, c.1095-c.1204 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the history of the crusading movement from its origins in the 1090s to the end of the fourth crusade. Along the way, you will explore major themes and debates, including, for example, the forces and influences that gave rise to the Crusades; the motives of crusaders; the causes, course and consequences of a series of crusades; Islamic responses to the crusades; the development of the crusader states; and the portrayal of the crusades in film.
Life and Death in the Middle Ages (20 credits)
The module will introduce you to the archaeology and history of Europe c.900-1348. This was a period of great change across all areas of life encompassing the formation of states, economic development, the foundation of new forms of religious life, agricultural and technological change and periods of disease. You will cover a range of material including the study of artefacts, settlements, agrarian and urban landscapes, narrative histories, administrative sources, and the built environment.
Anarchy, Law, War and Tyranny: Angevin England, 1128-1216 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the history of England under the Angevin kings (Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and John) who governed a vast collection of cross-Channel territories. Key topics include the ‘Anarchy’ of King Stephen’s reign (by way of background), the forging of the Angevin Empire under Henry II, Henry II’s fateful quarrel with Archbishop Thomas Becket, King Richard’s role in the Third Crusade and the disasters of John’s reign.
The Age of the Tudors, 1485-1603 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the political history of England and its neighbouring realms from the end of the Wars of the Roses through to the Reformations of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Tying together political history with contemporary political theories, the module considers the major political events of all the Tudor reigns and the roles of major institutions such as Parliament and the Church.
Sex, Deviance and Death in the Sixteenth Century (20 credits)
In this module, you will be introduced to a variety of sixteenth-century primary sources and shown how to work with sixteenth-century texts and artefacts which should deepen your knowledge of English history and its sources during this period. Key topics include print culture, health, witchcraft, heresy, gender, and the role of women in sixteenth-century England.
Terror, Consent and Resistance in Nazi Germany (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the relationship between the Nazi regime and the German people, examining the extent to which the notion of a ‘people’s’ community’ put down roots amongst women, workers and youth. The module also questions attitudes towards the persecution of the Jews and other ‘social outsiders’ and further considers ‘resistance’ and problems of measuring it.
Land of Hope and Glory? Britain since 1900 (20 credits)
In this module, you will be reminded that at the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain was the first modern society and the first superpower a Land of Hope and Glory. This module will go on to explore the changing nature of Britain's role in the world during a period that saw the rise and fall of empires, the two most devastating wars in history, Europe divided, and power shift steadily from the global north to the global south.
‘Isolation to Domination’: United States of America, 1914-1945 (20 credits)
The module covers the period thematically, including sessions on: the First World War, Red Scare & Nativism, Gender, Race, Depression, and the Second World War. After this, the module has four weeks of case studies designed to encourage students to read intersectionally, a representative sample of which might include: gangsters, the idea of the Mammy, a cultural analysis of horror narratives, and the significance of the Cultural Front in contemporary history and beyond.
War and Revolution in Vietnam, 1930-1975 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the origins, course and consequences of one of the most violent conflicts of the twentieth century. While the US war of 1965-1973 will feature strongly, the module also seeks to understand the conflict in its wider international context, to give the Vietnamese, both northern and southern, a prominent place in their own story, and to reflect on the cultural impact or war in literature, film and music.
Roman Frontiers: Life and Interaction at the Edges of Empire (20 credits)
In this module, you will examine historical and archaeological materials and perspectives related to the frontiers of the Roman Empire and cultural interactions within and beyond the edges of the Roman world, with a particular emphasis on northern Britain. Rather than focus on the Roman military and its fortifications, this module emphasises emerging themes of frontier life and communities, including across traditional Roman/native and military/civilian divides.
From Norsemen to Normans: Pirates and Princes (20 credits)
Historians have long been fascinated by the Normans due to the quantity and quality of the historical writing that celebrates their achievements and their magnificent architecture. Although 1066 is a date that looms large in British history, the Normans also settled in other areas of Europe. Rollo, a Viking raider, became count of Rouen after he was granted land in northern France by the French king Charles the Simple. This module considers how Rollo, ancestor of William the Conqueror, and his immediate successors were able to establish themselves in Normandy and how they founded one of the strongest principalities in France by the eleventh century.
King Stephen, Empress Matilda and the Anarchy: The Anglo Norman Dominions, 1120-54 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study some of the major aspects of the civil war between King Stephen (ruler of England from 1135 to 1154) and Empress Matilda, a period often described as ‘the Anarchy’. Themes explored include the causes and consequences of the civil war; the fate of Stephen’s power in Northumbria and Normandy; the role of the Church and disputes over elections to bishoprics; the activities, loyalties and ambitions of major barons; and the forces and influences that helped to restore peace.
Queens, Maidens and Dowagers: Women in Medieval England (20 credits)
In this module, which draws on chronicles, letters and records, you will reflect on the diverse nature of women’s experiences in medieval England. The module investigates the roles open to queens, aristocratic ladies, peasant women, townswomen, anchoresses and nuns in an era when women were widely regarded as the weaker of the two sexes. Topics covered typically include the impact of the Norman Conquest on women, queenship, royal daughters, estate and household management, religious devotion, and women at work.
From Richard II to The Wars of the Roses: Politics and Society, 1377-1509 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the history of England during the fifteenth century, particularly the causes, course and consequences of the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. It assesses the crisis of kingship occasioned by the Lancastrian revolution of 1399 and the characters of the men who sat upon the English throne in that period. Political turmoil in England is set against the context of social and cultural change throughout late medieval Europe.
The Stuart State: Britain, 1603-1714 (20 credits)
In this module students will study the development of the Stuart State through civil war and revolution, and consider the roles of the Monarchy, Parliament and the Church in seventeenth century politics. Key topics include the reign of Charles I, the causes and impact of the English Civil Wars, the Cromwellian Protectorate and the Restoration. The legacies of civil war will be examined in the formation of political parties and the regime change of 1688-9.
Poverty, Prostitution, Plague: The Problems of English Society, 1600-1800 (20 credits)
In this module students will study the social and cultural history of three powerful ‘problems’ central to life in England, c. 1600-1800. The module examines the history of welfare, sexual cultures, and medicine in a bid to recover the lived experiences of a broad majority of England’s population. Key topics include: early modern mental illness, transgressive sexuality, roguery and counterculture, and the English poor laws.
‘The Troubles': War, Rebellion and Loyalty in Ireland (20 credits)
In this module you will study the main elements and development of the Irish Question from the nineteenth century. Topics include the home rule crisis; the impact of the Great War; the 1916 Easter Rising; the Anglo-Irish and Irish Civil Wars 191923; the battle between the British state and the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland; Loyalist paramilitaries; and attempts at finding a solution to the ‘Troubles’ including the Peace Process and the negotiation of the ‘Good Friday’ Agreement.
Fascism in the Twentieth Century (20 credits)
In this module, you will study the experience of fascism using the methods of comparative history. As well as Italian fascism and German Nazism, the module draws examples from France, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Romania. It also considers regimes that imitated or embraced elements of fascism (such as Salazar’s Portugal, Franco’s Spain and Vichy France) before concluding by considering attempts to resurrect fascism after the Second World War.
The Global Sixties (20 credits)
In this module, you will discover that the ‘Sixties’ stretching from the late 1950s to the early 1970s remain a powerful myth. In the last few years, however, historians have begun to question the nostalgic take on the era that is fed by TV shows, historical novels, and fashion revivals. This module explores from a global perspective why, where and when the Sixties ‘happened’. The Sixties offers a way of addressing key questions regarding democracy, cross-border exchange, memory, and identity.
The Bomb (20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the role of nuclear science and nuclear weapons in the early Cold War era and, more particularly, to consider how the “Bomb” impacted on world politics and popular culture in the post-1945 period. The module further aims to provide a comparative approach to the American, British and Soviet nuclear experience. Case studies will include the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
A Superhero History: Truth, Justice and the American Way (20 credits)
In this module, you will be introduced to a new interdisciplinary area, comics studies. Through engagement with this area, you will be able to track and consider changes in American society from the 1930s to the present day and how superhero narratives have operated as both a means of representing change and a space through which audiences have been able to negotiate it. You will consider social, political, economic, cultural, and legal developments that informed narratives and society.
In Search of the Past: The Meanings of Heritage (20 credits)
In this module, you will explore the past through the idea of ‘heritage’ as it appears in history and culture. Topics covered will include antiquarianism, heritage tourism and travel writing; the development of museums and their collections; the formation of national heritage bodies in the Twentieth Century, popular culture and heritage in the age of global media; archaeology and its popular appeal. The rich heritage of Kent will supply examples, case studies and field trips.