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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5035M Approaches to Contemporary European History

30 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Matthew Frank

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module takes a thematic approach to European history since the end of the Second World War and by looking beyond ‘East’, ‘West’ or even ‘South’, challenges the sometimes artificial divisions with which the history of the Continent has been studied. In order to explore what has been called the ‘false contrasts and fair comparisons’ made about recent European history each theme will be explored with reference to at least two different countries. Students will benefit from the country- and regional-specific expertise of staff on this team-taught module (France, Spain, Germany, east-central Europe the Soviet Union) as well as from their thematic interests (e.g. political violence, humanitarianism, empire, migration, ethnic cleansing, youth movements). The module will provide students with a good grounding for further study of Contemporary European History at dissertation level and beyond.


1) to explore the history of Contemporary Europe
2) to undertake comparative history
3) to examine historiographical debates relating to this subject
4) to engage critically with a range of sources
5) to formulate nuanced arguments, both written and oral, in relation to these issues
6) to develop further both transferable and subject specific skills

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module the students should:
1) have a solid grounding in several key themes in contemporary European history
2) have a sophisticated knowledge of the relevant historiography, including recent developments in the field
3) be able to analyse a range of source materials
4) be capable of developing a clear argument based on a range of primary and secondary sources
5) have more confidence in studying contemporary European history at greater depth, i.e. for their dissertation.


1. 1945 – disjuncture and continuities

2. What is Europe?

3. Migration

4. Pasts

5. Rights

6. Transitions

7. Empire

8. Protest

9. Security

10. Consumerism and consumption

11. Beyond Europe?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

The students will read extensively each week to prepare for class discussion. They will have to prepare two essays and an oral presentation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through ensuring class participation, evaluating oral presentations and assessing essays.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 (Historiographical essay) submitted in week 930.00
Essay1 x 4,000 (Research essay) submitted in Examination Week 260.00
Oral Presentation1 x 10 minutes10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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