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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED1212 Making of the Modern World

20 creditsClass Size: 280

Module manager: Dr Anne-Sophie Jung

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

PIED 1211 Making of the Global South

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

By engaging with global histories and the ‘long nineteenth century', the module will trace how the world became increasingly integrated and connected—economically, politically, militarily, and socially—and question the meanings of the concept of modernity. The module elaborates on three 'sites of modernity': social (Enlightenment), economic (the Industrial Revolution), and political (the French Revolution). Each of these events is paired with a global history perspective which challenges the dominant historiography of these events. In the second half of the module, it will examine the impact of colonialism on land, health, and the climate catastrophe, and investigate processes of resistance to colonialism, and the emergence of neo-colonialism. Persistent features of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade will be examined that will include links between racism and colonialism, the role of the state in development, and the patterns of resource and surplus extraction from the South in the making and reproduction of the modern world.


To examine the political, economic and socio-cultural dynamics of colonialism and to explore the role that colonialism in the Americas, Africa and Asia played in the making of the modern world. A particular link will be made between the expansion of colonialism, the dynamics of the transatlantic slave trade and the development of industrialisation in Europe.
The module also pays attention to the responses to colonialism from peoples in the global south, explores the continuing legacies of colonialism and scrutinises some of the recent efforts to address the North-South gap (e.g. via Fair Trade or Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives). The module introduces key features of the making of today's world, including the role of domination, subordination and violence in the processes of economic surplus production and appropriation and the resultant demand for political-economic and social change, justice, and emancipation throughout the modern period. Students are introduced to similarities and differences regarding some of these key features of the global political economy during the colonial and the contemporary period, e.g. the issue of forced labour. The module is based on the premise that colonialism, slavery and the expansion of capitalism had profound effects on the formation of the modern world and that this historical knowledge is necessary for an understanding of its contemporary condition.

Learning outcomes
- to have an appreciation of the historical factors underlying differences in levels of social and economic development between countries in the industrialised 'North' and those in the newly industrialised/developing 'South';
- be familiar with the processes of subordination and domination which facilitated both the expansion of European industrialisation and the incorporation of colonised regions into the emerging world capitalist economy;
- understand the relationship between colonialism and the development of capitalism;
- understand the various legacies of colonialism;
- understand the role of power asymmetries, theft, and violence in the making of wealth and poverty;
- understand key political-economic structures, dynamics and tensions of the modern world.


Why Study a Global History? The 'Discovery' of the Americas
Renaissance & Enlightenment; Appropriation & Enslavement
British Colonial Encounters, Industrial Revolution & Trade: Britain & India
Revolutions & the Making of the Modern Middle East
The Scramble for Africa
Impact of Colonialism on Land
Environmental Injustice in the Making of the Modern World
Epidemics, Colonialism & Public Health
Anti-colonialism, Independence & Decolonisation
Neo-colonialism & Development

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The extra lecture each week will be used to extend the analysis; teach; introduce and discuss suitable concepts; and have student pair and group discussions in the lecture theatre. Short video material will also be analysed regularly. Students will read and research in preparation for their seminars and assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar discussions are centred around student participation, ensuring students have grasped the week’s issues and are able to draw connections between the topics of the different weeks. Seminars also provide an opportunity for students to seek clarification on any issues relating to the module and ask questions. Seminars are a space for students to practice the presentation of ideas and arguments to their fellow students and feed back to class the literature they have covered. Students have the opportunity to submit a 1000-word formative mid-term essay in week 6, answering one of the 'guiding questions' from the syllabus.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2000 word essay- end of term100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students will also have the opportunity to submit a shorter 1500 word formative version of the essay (non assessed)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:51:18


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