Making History: An Introduction to the Study and Writing of History (20 credits)
This module, compulsory for all History students, introduces you to the methods and skills necessary to succeed in the study of history at university level. Writing history poses certain challenges, some of a philosophical nature, others of a practical kind. A particular aim of the module is to introduce you to and allow you to practice the skills utilised in the writing of history, partly by writing an essay inspired by historic Canterbury or Kent and your own historical interests. As you will discover, there is an important relationship between the creation of historical knowledge and accurate, structured writing: historians, in short, must be first rate communicators.
Snapshots in Time: History and Historiographical Controversy (20 credits; core for Single Honours and Law with History students)
The module is formed of case studies which help illustrate the nature of historiography and the way in which historiographical debate drives the development of historical understanding. Recent case studies have included Stonehenge, Samuel Pepys Diary, and Bloody Sunday: Northern Ireland 1972. Where possible, we seek to offer examples from different historical periods 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.
The core module is Futures of the Past, which consists of a series of studies of contemporary debates in and about history. Through this module, students will think about History as a set of practices and consider how these do, or do not, translate into different settings and the significance of that. Structured around live issues, this is a stimulating module that also develops valuable employability skills.
All students will complete a dissertation, though there is a choice between a 40 credit option at 10,000 words and a 20 credit version at 5,000 words. This completes the student’s structured progression through the programme, ensuring that they leave Canterbury Christ Church with not just a degree and a piece of work of which they can be justly proud but also with a specific skill set highly praised by employers.
The following Optional Modules may be on offer (please note that the list of modules on offer may change from year to year, but we always try to offer students a good choice ranging from ancient history to the modern period).
Snapshots in Time: History and Historiographical Controversy (20 credits; optional for Combined Honours students)
The module is formed of case studies which help illustrate the nature of historiography and the way in which historiographical debate drives the development of historical understanding. Recent case case studies have included Stonehenge, Samuel Pepys Diary, and Bloody Sunday: Northern Ireland 1972. Where possible, we seek to offer examples from different historical periods 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.
Civilizations of the Ancient World (20 credits)
This module introduces students to the cultures and civilisations of the ancient world through the examination of historical and archaeological evidence. Themes will include art, religion, politics, and society.
Europe in the Age of the Vikings (20 credits)
The fearsome reputation of the Vikings is underlined by nicknames such as ‘Blood Axe’ and ‘Skull splitter’, but they were much more than violent pirates. The Vikings also formed extensive trade networks across Europe and Asia Minor, founded new countries, developed new technologies, created beautiful objects and left behind a literary tradition that influenced European culture for many centuries. In this module you will examine both the reality of Viking society and relations between the Scandinavian peoples and their European neighbours.
Kings, Queens and Conquerors in Medieval Europe (20 credits)
This module offers an introduction to western 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 provides an introduction to early modern history, the period running from 1450 to around 1700, and examines the major social, political, religious and economic developments and events which 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 which 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)
The aims of this module are to equip students with a knowledge and understanding of the origins, course and consequences of the Cold War, which dominated (and distorted) the international landscape from the end of the Second World War through to 1989-1991. The module also aims to address the Cold War’s legacy and how this continues to shape the world of today in important ways whether in regard to ongoing tensions between Russia and the West, turmoil and violence in the Middle East, international terrorism, and the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
Self-Evident Truths: American Histories from Colonisation to the Present (20 credits)
This module provides an introduction to the histories of North America from English colonisation to the present. The module takes a thematic and chronological approach, and examines topics such as Colonisation, Enslavement, War, Expansionism, Exceptionalism and Global Power. The module will give students a broad survey of North American history, which will provide the foundation necessary for learning development and informed specialism at Level 5 and 6. The module introduces students to a variety of interdisciplinary methods used by historians and supports the development of analytical skills important to the discipline of history.
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 Medieval Europe (20 credits)
In this module you will explore what it was like to live and die in Europe during the Central Middle Ages. You will integrate historical and archaeological evidence to explore the daily lives of people from the time of the Vikings through to the Black Death.
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.
Atlantic Americas: Commerce, Domination and Resistance in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (20 credits)
This module aims to introduce students to the early modern ‘Atlantic world’ and the place of ‘the Americas’ within it. The early modern Atlantic world is broadly defined as a set of colonizing and colonized states ringing the Atlantic Ocean, across the main stem of ‘first wave’ colonization in the recent past, beginning with Jamestown and early Spanish colonization of the Americas, and ending with wars of independence between the colonies and the metropole, the Haitian revolution, and the Louisiana purchase. It focuses on how networks of trade, migration, law, and exploitation shaped a diverse array of peoples and polities, from England itself, to Ireland, Mexico, the Caribbean, the eastern seaboard of the United States, and parts of Canada. The module aims to forge connections beyond the traditionally national(ist) stories of single states and Empires, and to instil in students an appreciation of the nuanced complexity inherent to colonial history.
War and the Making of the Early Modern World, c.1500-c. 1789 (20 credits)
This module considers the effect of military change, both technological and cultural – the so-called ‘Military Revolution’ – on the formation of modern states in Europe and, crucially, the way in which these changes shaped Europeans’ interactions with the non-European world. The modules considers the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the rise of Great Britain as a maritime power, and dynastic and religious war in Europe, as well as the American and French revolutions.
Women, Power and Patronage in Elizabethan England, 1558-1603 (20 credits)
The module aims to equip students with a critical understanding of key themes for the study of women’s lives in Elizabethan England. This was a period when rule by women was a hotly contested issue and the arguments for and against Elizabeth I’s accession to the throne continued throughout her reign. The debates about women’s ability to exercise independent agency were also mirrored at other levels in society from the aristocratic to the very poor. The lives of women were governed by traditional laws and precepts, but were also influenced by radical changes introduced by the Reformation, the rise of print culture and increased educational provision. The module will enable students to develop an appreciation of differing historical interpretations of these topics and to engage with a range of sources for the study of women’s lives in late Tudor England.
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.
Race and Racism: Categorisation, Conquest and Control in America (20 credits)
Race has played a central role in shaping American national identity, political institutions and the (unequal) distribution of resources. Beginning with the perspective that race is integral to the sociohistorical order of the United States, this module, with a long historical lens, pays particular attention to the racial formation of people of colour in America, and the role of race in the development of national politics and policy. The course explores the historical development of US racial formation through engagement with the histories of Native American Ethnic Cleansing; the US Annexation of Mexican Territory; anti-Asian Movements; Labour and Immigration Policy; Japanese WWII Internment; African Enslavement; Racial Apartheid; and the politics of Miscegenation and Multiraciality. Additionally, this course will investigate how the legacies of racial subordination, struggle and resistance continue to shape contemporary racial hierarchies and racialised myths in contemporary America.
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 in particular the extent to which the notion of a ‘peoples’ 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’: the United States of America, 1914-1945 (20 credits)
In this module, you will study some of the most important themes and events in American history between 1914 and 1945. Topics covered include: American responses to two world wars and the challenges of modernity; race; gender. The module concludes with a series of cultural case studies that students read intersectionally, demonstrating the ways in which culture refracted a range of contemporary concerns.
American Girlhood (20 credits)
This module will introduce students to Girlhood Studies and will focus on the social, political and cultural relations that shape girls’ lives and experiences. The module will give students an overview of the methodologies and intellectual frameworks of Girlhood Studies and will evaluate a variety of cultures and identities contained by the category of “American girls.”
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, and to give the Vietnamese, both northern and southern, a prominent place in their own story.
Humanities in a Digital World (20 credits)
This module will provide students with an understanding of how the digital world can enrich our knowledge of the humanities. It embeds some of the core skills and competencies that students need to fully engage with research in their disciplines, making them digitally literate scholars for the twenty-first century.
Applied Humanities Employability in Practice (20 credits)
This module aims to complement the theoretical elements of a humanities degree by taking the skills-set that students acquire as undergraduates and helping them see ways and means to render it relevant to the world of work. In contrast to academic class-based learning, the focus here is on exciting and useful practical work-based experience. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of a work environment either through a 40 hour micro-placement; or 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.
Roman Frontiers: Life and Interaction at the Edges of Empire (20 credits)
This module critically examines 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.
Britain in the Early Medieval World (20 Credits)
This module explores the archaeology and history of the British Isles between the fourth and eighth centuries AD. You will explore debates surrounding religion, society, migration, settlement, economy, and state formation. Themes include the Britons, Picts, Scots, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.
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’: England, Normandy and Civil War c. 1120-1154 (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 Crown and the Republic: The British Civil Wars 1625-1660 (20 credits)
The aims of the module are to consider the causes and consequences of the breakdown of royal authority during the reign of Charles I. This was an unprecedented period of civil war, which led to the brief abolition of both the monarchy and the House of Lords and which was followed by republican rule. It affected the civilian populations across the British Isles with an estimated 100,000 deaths caused by fighting and disease within the rival armies. Themes to be studied include the role of the Crown in the three kingdoms, the influence of Parliaments in Ireland, Scotland and England, the militarisation of society, 17th century forms of republicanism, religious dissent and the treatment of the war wounded and their families.
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.
Power, Splendour and Diplomacy: The Early Modern Courts of Europe (20 credits)
This module aims to equip students with a coherent, detailed knowledge and systematic understanding of the principal ideas, approaches and debates that inform historians currently researching early modern court history. Students will be introduced to a comparative history of European courts, principally but not exclusively against the background of the 17th century. Students will be introduced to a variety of historical approaches, including art history, architectural history, history of collecting, and music history.
‘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 1919-23; 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.
The Modern Black Freedom Movement (20 credits)
Freedom, as historian Eric Foner reminds us, is a hotly contested concept. What it means, who enjoys it, and on what terms has been and continues to be a subject of intense national and interpersonal debate. The history of African Americans is indelibly linked to struggles for freedom and navigating the constraints of structural oppression and racism. The module examines the enduring social construction of race and racism in the United States, and its impacts on modern African American experience and freedom struggles. The 1954 Brown Supreme Court decision signalled a shift in black collective political action, and the course traces the evolution and legacy of the “Civil Rights Movement”, which is arguably one of the most transformative social movements in modern U.S. history. Specifically, this course gives an overview of black freedom struggles in the segregationist South and urban North and West; ghetto uprisings and the emergence of Black Power ideology; deindustrialisation and conservative ascendancy; the criminal justice system, police brutality and mass incarceration; the presidency of Barack Obama; #BlackLivesMatter movements; and Black America under a Trump presidency.
Writing the Colour Line: American Literature from Plessy to Ferguson (20 credits)
The Supreme Court’s 1896 decision in the case of Plessy V. Ferguson asserted that racial segregation was legal under the United States’ Constitution. Since the legal demise of segregation, extra-legal strategies for separating the races and for policing the behaviour of African Americans have continued to thrive. Alongside this racial suppression, writers and activists from the Harlem Renaissance, through the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the developing Black Lives Matter movement of the present day have used every means available to challenge and dismantle racism. This module investigates the literary strategies that black and white authors deployed to challenge the status quo and to instigate racial change over the course of more than a century. Alongside the literary history of racial segregation, the module explores twentieth century musical and visual cultural traditions as well as the intellectual history of the period. The module aims to chart the intertwined narratives of race in American literature, popular culture, and intellectual life. Students are encouraged to take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the long twentieth century in America.
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 Nuclear Age, 1945-1972 (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.
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, crossborder exchange, memory, and identity.
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.