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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

HIST5852M Histories of Migration from Early Modern to Modern

30 creditsClass Size: 14

Module manager: Andrea Major

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Migration has been central to human histories since the earliest times. In this MA module, students will explore the histories of migration from the early modern period to the present day, in a variety of geographical and political contexts. Seminars led by experts in early modern and modern histories of different geographical areas will allow students to engage with common themes and diverse realities of historical migrations, while considering key overarching questions concerning migration, mobility, empire, transnationality, and modernity. Ours is a world shaped by migration: this course will place debates around migration and the idea of migration 'crises' in historical perspective, while using primary sources to explore individual and group experiences of migration, alongside the responses of people, states, and international communities. Seminars will mix specific case studies - from the early modern Atlantic to India around Partition and beyond - with discussion of broader questions. What has it meant historically to be a migrant, or a refugee, exile, or nomad? What has been the nature of forced and voluntary migrations in different historical contexts? What is the relationship between histories of migration and histories of race, conflict, state formation, empire, class, identity, and internationalism? How, and by whom, are migration histories remembered? By exploring a diverse range of migration histories, students on this module will come to understand the central place of migration in history and gain a historical perspective on contemporary debates.


This module will introduce MA students to a diverse and global set of migration histories through seminars based in the specific research areas of members of the School of History. Students will learn to work critically with primary sources relating to migrations from the 15th century to the present day. They will engage with ongoing historiographical debates around migration, exile, refuge, slavery, and transnationality, as well as with interdisciplinary approaches to migration and its histories.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have
1. developed a detailed and critical understanding of migration histories from the early modern period to the present day
2. learnt to critically assess primary sources for the history of migration and to place them in context
3. engaged with complex and interdisciplinary debates around migration and mobility in history
4. developed their ability to frame oral & written arguments
5. engaged with libraries, archives, and online repositories for the study of migration histories


This module will explore the histories of migration in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia from the early modern period to the present day. As this is a team-taught module, seminar topics will vary year-to-year and will usually be linked to specific regional and temporal contexts, but themes may include
- early modern exile & refuge
- imperial migrations
- migration & decolonisation
- migration & labour
- forced migration & slavery
- wartime migrations
- migration & disease
- language & migration

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours268.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students will be expected to read set primary and secondary materials in preparation for each seminar. They will also engage in broader reading in order to prepare for assessments and to set seminar materials in context. Self-directed reading will be required for assessments and as part of class preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored in-class, with module tutors monitoring attendance and performance in seminars. The two 20% assessments represent points at which students will be assessed and receive feedback prior to writing the 60% essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 word essay due 12 noon on Monday of Exam Week 260.00
PresentationVerbal presentation of 20 minutes, as part of a presentation workshop (half-day timetabled event), with a 1000-word report20.00
Assignment1000-word written response to event; event to be determined but may as an example include a field trip, archive visit, or film screening20.00
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: 17/02/2022


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