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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3580 Empire, State and Society: Britain's Imperial Experience, c. 1870-1914

40 creditsClass Size: 14

Module manager: Dr Christopher Prior

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1) Handle and evaluate primary evidence and source material;
2) Investigate an historical topic in depth.

Skills outcomes
Further enhances Common Skills listed below:

High-level skills in oral and written communication of complex ideas.
Independence of mind and self-discipline and self-direction to work effectively under own initiative.
Ability to locate, handle and synthesize large amounts of information.
Capacity to employ analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Ability to engage constructively with the ideas of their peers, tutors and published sources.
Empathy and active engagement with alternative cultural contexts.
Skills in interpretation and analysis of complex documentary-based material.


With the transfer of Hong Kong to China, we are now coming to the end of the Imperial phase of British history, and historians are beginning to consider the relationship between overseas expansion and the growth of the modern British state. This special subject explores the ways in which Britain's long imperial involvement shaped its economy, society, and politics in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It focuses upon not so much what Britain 'did' to the Empire as what the Empire 'did' to Britain. Primary and secondary sources are used, and the syllabus for the subject straddles the fields of political, social, cultural, economic, and intellectual history. The topics covered range from the question of who benefited from British overseas expansion, to the manifestations of empire in British popular culture, to the ways in which the possession of an empire impacted upon the British political process, to the Empire's contribution to the forging of a British national identity. The set texts are grouped under headings which suggest the major issues to be explored. They include contemporary fiction; biography; historical literature; political memoirs and diaries; collections of speeches; and left-wing critiques of empire.

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 hours356.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Exam preparation; researching, preparing, and writing assignments; undertaking set reading; and self-directed reading around the topic. 356 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contributions to class discussions, two assessed exercises, an exercise or exercises worth 10% of module marks.

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
Oral PresentationFormat to be determined by tutor.10.00
Essay3,000 word written exercise or equivalent to be submitted by 12noon on Friday of the second week of the January examination period.20.00
Essay3,000 word written exercise or equivalent to be submitted by 12noon on Monday of the May revision week.20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

10% oral presentation is redone with 'an equivalent written exercise'

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 50.00
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: 29/04/2009


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