Empire and Globalisation (HISM482)

StaffDr Marc Palen - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesThose of entry to the MA programme
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module is designed to enhance students’ understanding of recurring themes in the history of empires and globalization from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.  It will be taught by two or three different tutors, and exact thematic focus will depend on staff expertise and student choice. Through studying topics including political ideology, law, migration, violence, resistance, cultural imperialism and decolonization students will trace key developments in the subject, and think about these comparatively across time and space. The module will also introduce students to the approaches of different disciplines, such as economics, law, anthropology, geography and political theory. In this way students will learn to draw thematic comparisons between material from different sources, show awareness of contrasting approaches to research, and demonstrate an enhanced understanding of some of the philosophical and methodological questions arising from research into empire and globalisation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of key themes and issues in the history of empires and globalisation.
  • 2. Demonstrate an awareness of historiographical and theoretical debates around empires and globalisation and their role in shaping the modern world.
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and significance of imperialism and globalisation.
  • 4. Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of a wide selection of primary source materials and be able to evaluate their historical value critically.
  • 5. Evaluate different disciplinary perspectives on themes related to imperialism and globalisation.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Synthesise and analyse widely different types of historical material and evidence.
  • 7. Identify and understand the nature of original sources.
  • 8. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key historical concepts and debates.
  • 9. Research independently and present interpretations of different historical issues.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Demonstrate a capacity for independent critical study and thought.
  • 11. Apply key bibliographical skills to independent study.
  • 12. Construct and defend a sustained argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.
  • 13. Work as an individual and with the tutor and their peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way (e.g. lead a group discussion or task).
  • 14. Analyse, summarise and organize material to produce a coherent and cogent argument within specific deadlines.

Syllabus plan

Potential seminar topics include (these will vary depending on staff expertise and student choice):

  • Introductions: Empires and Globalisation
  • Political Authority, Governance and Ideology: The Rise of Democracy?
  • The Political Economy of Empires and Globalisation
  • Migration, Labour and Diasporas
  • Cultural Imperialism and the Spread of Western Civilisation
  • Law, Development and Human Rights: Becoming ‘Human’
  • Conflict, Resistance and Violence: Globalising Warfare
  • Decolonization and ‘Neo-Imperialism’
  • A ‘Clash of Civilisations’? Restructuring Post-Cold War Global Relations
  • Critics of Empire, Challenges to Globalisation
  • Review and Conclusions

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 activities2211 x 2 hour workshops
Guided independent study278Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay Plan x 22 sides A4 maximum1-14Oral in seminar and tutorial
Presentation15-20 minutes1-14Oral in seminar and tutorial

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
Essay383000 word1-14Mark, written comments and oral feedback
Essay373000 word1-14Mark, written comments and oral feedback
Presentation2525 minutes1-14Mark, written comments and oral feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-14Referral/deferral period
PresentationScript as for 25 minute presentation1-14Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

C. A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford, 2003).

J. Burbank and F. Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, 2010).

P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism 1688-2000 2nd ed. (Harlow, 2001)

P. Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (Oxford, 2007).

A. G. Hopkins, Globalisation in World History (London, 2002).

J. Darwin, After Tamarlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires (London, 2008).

F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York, 1968).  

E. Hobsbawm, Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism (London, 2008).

A. McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (New York, 1995).

G. B. Magee and A. S. Thompson, Empire and Globalisation: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, c. 1850-1914 (Cambridge, 2010).

E. Said, Orientalism (London, 1978) and Culture and Imperialism (London, 1993)

J. Stiglitz, Globalization and its Discontents (London, 2003).  

A. L. Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (New York, 2002).

M. Thomas, B. Moore and L. J. Butler, Crises of Empire: Decolonization and Europe’s Imperial States, 1918-75 (London, 2008).

M. Thomas, Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in European Colonial Empires 1918-40 (Cambridge, 2012).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Africa Through a Lens https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/africa/

British Library Images Online https://imagesonline.bl.uk/

British Museum Online Collection http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx

Centre for Imperial and Global History Exeter Podcasts http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/research/centres/imperialandglobal/podcasts/

Colonial Film Database http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/

Foreign Broadcast Information Service http://infoweb.newsbank.com

Global Commodities http://www.globalcommodities.amdigital.co.uk/

Library of Congress Digital Collection http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html

National Archives Online http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Home/OnlineCollections

National Library of Australia Digital Collections https://www.nla.gov.au/digicoll/

Pitt Rivers Museum http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/vcollections.html

Sudan Archive at Durham https://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/sudan/

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces

Visualising China http://visualisingchina.net/

Wellcome Images http://wellcomeimages.org/

World Digital Library http://www.wdl.org/en/

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Key words search

Empire, globalisation, imperialism, colonialism