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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2460 Modern Hatreds: The Destruction of Yugoslavia and its Aftermath, 1991-2001

20 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Dr Matthew Frank

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The 1990s saw war, mass expulsion and genocide return to Europe. The collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991-92 and the conflicts which followed it provided an unwelcome reminder of how the path to independent statehood over the previous century had invariably been a bitterly contested and violent process throughout the Continent. In this module, we will examine the causes of Yugoslavia’s collapse and the nature of the conflicts which followed it. We will look at the unique role that communist Yugoslavia played in the Cold War and the delicate balancing act between the different republics and nationalities that constituted Tito’s federal Yugoslavia, which proved unsustainable after his death in 1980. In explaining Yugoslavia’s demise and the intensity of inter-ethnic conflict which followed the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia in 1991 and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, we will look beyond the lazy and tired notion of ‘ancient hatreds’ and discuss how the destruction of Yugoslavia was a deliberate and pre-meditated act by ethnic nationalists. We will look at the successive attempts by the international community – EC/EU, UN, US, NATO – to manage Yugoslavia’s demise and we will discuss the forms that direct outside intervention took, and the barriers to it. We will discuss how the perceived failures of international intervention in 1992-95 in Bosnia shaped not only NATO action in Kosovo in 1999 but also the subsequent enforcement of international law. It is an opportune time to examine this topic as in addition to the multitude of memoirs, contemporary commentaries and ‘instant histories’ that emerged during the 1990s, and the records generated by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, new archival material from the period is now being released, of which we will make extensive use.


The aim of this module is to allow students to learn about the causes of the break-up of Yugoslavia in the context of the end of the Cold War and how the international community became entangled in the wars of succession which followed the disintegration of this multi-national state. This is a multi-faceted topic that can be viewed from a variety of perspectives and students will benefit from engaging with a wealth of contemporary sources that cast light on these.

Learning outcomes
On completing this module students will:
1. have developed a deeper appreciation of a major episode in contemporary European and international history with continuing political significance
2. have acquired a detailed and nuanced understanding of the causes and consequences of the disintegration of multi-national states
3. have developed an awareness of how the international community has responded historically to ‘ethnic conflicts’
4. be able to identify how ‘history’ has been exploited for specific political purposes as well as how it conditions and justifies responses to contemporary crises
5. be able to analyse and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations
6. be able to identify and utilize a range of primary sources for their research
7. have applied fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.


Indicative topics might include:
Yugoslavia during the Cold War and under Tito; the rise of Milosevic and Serbian nationalism in the 1980s; the events of 1989-90 in central and eastern Europe and their impact on Yugoslavia; the struggle for independence and recognition in the constituent republics of Yugoslavia; reporting the wars in former Yugoslavia; UN peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention in Bosnia; the United States and the road to Dayton; NATO intervention in Kosovo; the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Teaching methods

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

Private study

Researching, preparing and writing assessments (75 hours); undertaking set reading for seminars (55 hours); self-directed reading around the topic (20 hours), reviewing and consolidating notes (22 hours); reflecting on feedback (8 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly seminar discussions; non-assessed and informal mini presentations on weekly topics and key sources; practice source commentaries; written assignments (40% component); office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words60.00
Assignment3 x 500-word source commentary40.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:41:10


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