War 1450 to the Present (HISM427)

StaffProfessor Jeremy Black - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In place of the dated War and Society approach, which now looks as passé and dated as the rest of the 'New Military History' of the period, this module offers state of the art conceptualisations of military history, approached both thematically and chronologically. It presents a context through which the standard issues if operational military history can be approached. This is an opportunity for students to experience how a subject develops.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. At the end of this module students should be able to handle concepts in military history.
  • 2. Students should have an understanding of the processes by which the subject has developed, having taken part in debates at the cutting edge of fresh conceptualisations.
  • 3. Students should have moved beyond the passé ideas of War and Society that fail to provide any explanation of development and change.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Students should demonstrate the ability to analyse and synthesise widely different types of historical material and evidence.
  • 5. They should be able to identify and understand the nature of original sources.
  • 6. Students should be able to research for themselves and present independent accounts and interpretations of different historical issues.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Capacity for independent critical study and thought.
  • 8. The ability to apply key bibliographical skills (including the use of on-line finding aids).
  • 9. Students should have the capacity to work as an individual and to work with a tutor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way (e.g. lead a group discussion or task).

Syllabus plan

1. War, problems and definition.
2. The nature of military change.
3. The technological dimension.
4. The organisational dimension.
5. The west versus the rest.
6. Civil wars.
7. Early modern warfare.
8. The impact of revolution, 1760-1815.
9. 1815-1914.
10 The twentieth century
11. The future of war.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Weekly 2-hour seminars
Guided independent study278Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual Presentation1 hour1-7, 9

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay383,000 words1-11Written and oral
Essay625,000 words1-11Written and oral
Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-11Re-assessment period
EssayEssay1-11Re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

J.M.Black, Rethinking Military History (Routledge, 2004)
J. M. Black, War and the World, 1450-2000 (Yale UP, 1998)
J. M. Black, Why Wars Happen (Reaktion, 1998)
J. M. Black, War: Past, Present, Future (Sutton, 2000)
G. Parker, The Military Revolution (CUP, 1988)
W. H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Blackwell, 1983

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?