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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2857 The Global Cold War

20 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Sean Fear

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

HIST2856 ‘From World War to Vietnam War, 1945-75’

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of twentieth-century international history from roughly the end of the Second World War to the end of the Vietnam War. It uses a thematic approach to explore the development of international events and relations, engaging students in the study of ‘transnational’ history moving beyond a focus on traditional diplomatic relations. It examines the interplay of political, strategic, ideological, economic, and cultural factors in shaping international relations between countries involved in the global Cold War.Content note: in this module we are concerned with key themes including international relations, power dynamics, decolonization and anti-colonialism, war, state-building, and lived experiences of the Cold War. To discuss these themes effectively it is necessary for us to potentially read, look at, and discuss material which covers topics which may be challenging for you. These topics include: racism, sexism, and forms of individual and community discrimination; violence (systemic and militarized); and human rights abuses and humanitarian crises (including genocide). If you know that it will be unsettling for you to encounter such content, please make your tutor aware so that we can identify the best way to support you through these parts of the module.


The aim of this module is to explore the Cold War as a global phenomenon that fundamentally reshaped national, regional, and international histories in the twentieth century. It will introduce students to key themes and different historical approaches for understanding the Cold War’s diverse impacts.

Learning outcomes
1. Understand the Cold War as a social, political, and cultural phenomenon with global impacts
2. Understand methodological and thematic overlaps between ‘international’ and ‘transnational’ history
3. Analyze and make thematic comparisons across a variety of historical situations
4. Analyze and evaluate different historiographical approaches to study of the global Cold War
5. Evaluate change over time and different regions’ and people’s experiences of the Cold War
6. Apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion and assessed work.


Topics may include:
• Ideology
• Grand Strategy
• International Institutions
• Cultural Histories of the Cold War
• Regional Cold Wars
• Human Rights & Humanitarianism
• Development
• Race & the Cold War
• Violence & the Cold War

Teaching methods

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

Private study

- Undertaking core reading and other activities in preparation for seminars: 45 hours
- Reviewing and consolidating notes on lectures: 22 hours
- Identifying gaps in their knowledge and self-directed reading to address these: 20 hours
- Researching, preparing, and writing assignments: 88 hours
- Reflecting on feedback and implementing suggestions in future assignments: 5 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

2 x 1,000-word book reviews, for which written feedback will be provided to help student prepare the essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 word essay60.00
Assignment2 x 1000 word book reviews40.00
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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