Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST1520 Global Decolonization

20 creditsClass Size: 125

Module manager: Professor Simon Hall

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, empires gave way to an international system of politically independent nation-states. This process is known as ‘decolonization’. This module explores the processes and consequences of decolonization and the ways that imperial decline has shaped the world we live in today. This module explores different case studies of decolonization across time and space. It also examines key factors that shaped local and global experiences of decolonization, including issues of race, gender, and violence. Content note: to discuss these themes effectively it is necessary for us to read, look at and discuss material which covers some topics which may be challenging for you. These topics include: racist language, racialised depictions of people, violence and gender violence. The module tutor can provide more information on this if required.


This module explores the end of empire and how this has shaped the modern world. It aims to introduce students to key case studies and themes in the history of imperial decline and political independence movements. This module aims to explore:
a) The causes of imperial decline
b) The emergence of politically independent nation-states from empires
c) Decolonization’s political, economic, social and cultural impacts on former colonies and imperial centres of power
d) Ways of thinking comparatively about different instances of decolonization

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1. Evaluate how states, groups, and individuals have existed, acted, and thought in a range of colonies and postcolonial states.
2. Analyse how and why decolonization took place.
3. Critically assess decolonization’s diverse impacts on societies across the world.
4. Effectively apply different historical arguments about the causes and consequences of the changes examined in this module.
5. Understand and analyse the range, value, and challenges of a selection of primary sources from individuals and groups involved in decolonization.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
6. Present a structured and coherent analysis based on appropriate and relevant sources in assignments set by tutors.
7. Understand and apply the professional standards and practices of historical study.


Topics may include:
- Chronological overview of decolonization in the 19th and 20th centuries
- ‘Independence’, ‘Liberty’, and 19th Century Decolonization
- ‘Self-Determination’ and early 20th Century Decolonization
- Nationalism and Anti-Colonial Thought
- Political processes in mid-20th Century Decolonization
- Postcolonial State-Creation
- Violence and late 20th Century Decolonization
- Decolonization, race, and gender
- Decolonization’s Internationalism: Institutions, Movements, and the Cold War
- Decolonization and ‘Decoloniality’ in the 21st Century

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

This module will include one formative assignment, which takes the form of a 750-word book/article review, for which written feedback will be provided to help students prepare the primary source commentary and essay. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their feedback in a one-to-one meeting. This exercise will require students to learn how to identify scholars’ academic arguments and historical evidence, engage with and reflect upon different historical arguments, and develop their own analysis and writing skills (LOs 4 & 5; 6, 7). The ability to ability to summarize, analyse, contextualise, and write with clarity about a particular book or article (which in this exercise serves as an individual document or piece of evidence) are skills that will be developed (and required) when analysing a ‘primary source’. Students will also receive written feedback on the 3 x 500-word primary source primary source commentaries, which will feed into the 2,500-word essay (in which the critical use of primary sources as evidence plays a part).

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment1000-word Primary source commentary40.00
Essay1,500-word essay60.00
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: 27/03/2024


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019