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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2125 Britain and the Atlantic World

20 creditsClass Size: 42

Module manager: Dr Pete Maw

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides specialist, research-led coverage of the history of the British-Atlantic empire, drawing on new perspectives and methodologies from the fields of Atlantic and global history. It explores the significance of flows of peoples, ideas, and commodities across the Atlantic and compares and contrasts the types of societies that developed in the British-American colonies. The module offers students the opportunity to study encounters between Europeans and Africans and to consider how Atlantic engagements shaped economic and political developments in Britain. It includes a detailed analysis of Britain's engagement with slavery and the slave trade, the trans-Atlantic 'consumer revolution', as well as patterns of European emigration to the New World and the social and economic lives of settlers in the British-American colonies.


1. To examine the history of Britain and the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the concepts and approaches of Atlantic and global history.
2. To explore the consequences of transatlantic flows of peoples and commodities and the types of economies and societies that developed in the British Atlantic empire.
3. To study encounters between Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans in the Atlantic basin.
4. To encourage students to reflect on aspects of British history that are influenced by international developments.
5. To analyse the challenges facing historians in interpreting documentary sources on African and Native-American cultures written by Europeans.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:

1. Knowledge and understanding of the major concepts of the historiography of Britain and the Atlantic World.
2. The ability to construct and express challenging arguments on the history of Britain's Atlantic empire.
3. An understanding of different communities that made up the British Atlantic World.
4. The ability to analyse primary sources and to locate them in their appropriate historical context.


1. Conceptualising the British Atlantic World.
2. Servants, families and convicts: the settling of the British Atlantic.
3. Forced migrants: Britain and the African slave trade.
4. Why slavery? The transition from indentured servants to slave labour in the plantation economies.
5. Sugar, tobacco, coffee, and rice: the planters' Atlantic World.
6. Life on the Plantation: The Slaves' Atlantic Worlds.
7. An Atlantic World of Goods: Merchants, Consumerism, and the Atlantic Economy.
8. The Williams thesis: the Atlantic Economy and the British industrial revolution.
9. Imperial Crises: The British Atlantic World Before and After the American Revolution.
10. Abolition: The end of the British slave trade and slavery in the British empire
11. Atlantic History and Global History.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

1. Undertaking set reading
2. Self-directed reading around the topic
3. Researching, preparing, and writing assignments
4. Exam preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions; a written primary source evaluation; an assessed essay; feedback tutorials with the Module Leader.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportPrimary source evaluation10.00
Essay1 x 2,000 word essay, due by 12.00pm on Monday of teaching week 840.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 20/04/2017


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