Component

MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
BA History options

Year 1, Component 04

Option(s) from list
AR117-4-SP
Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum
(15 CREDITS)

This module offers an introduction to the history of museums and galleries. We will consider the basic human instinct to collect and the creation of the first museums. We will examine ideas about taxonomy, ordering the world and the first museum spaces of display, asking questions about privilege and power. How have museums and galleries shaped history and science? What ethical issues are there today around these spaces? Should tobacco, oil and arms companies sponsor museums? Can museums be tools of ‘urban regeneration’? Do online archives and 3D scanning make museums themselves obsolete institutions?

AR121-4-AU
Art Revolutions
(15 CREDITS)

Realism and Impressionism. Meet the rule-breakers. What is it that motivates an artist to break the mould? Focussing on Realism and Impressionism in France, this module identifies not only how the political, social and economic changes during the nineteenth century affected art and creative thinking, but how this vibrant and multi-faceted group of artists, who refused to follow the crowd, influenced their world. Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, you’ll explore their historical reputation, as well as their relevance today.

CS111-4-AU
The World Transformed: The Enlightenment and Its Critics
(15 CREDITS)

Ours is a world that seems to be shaking at its very foundations. Ideas that have shaped the way we see ourselves and the world around us – ideas like democracy, free speech, citizenship, political authority, individualism, free markets, and human rights – are contested at every turn. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a period of political and intellectual upheaval known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). If we want to navigate our way through the chaos of today, then we need to return to the roots of our contemporary world – the Enlightenment. This interdisciplinary module explores this revolutionary period so that we can better understand our world today and bring about the world we want tomorrow. We will focus on political revolutions, on societal inequality, sickness, and control, and the dark side of technology. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they've taken.

CS112-4-SP
The World Transformed: The Enlightenment and Its Critics
(15 CREDITS)

Ours is a world that seems to be shaking at its very foundations. Ideas that have shaped the way we see ourselves and the world around us – ideas like democracy, free speech, citizenship, political authority, individualism, free markets, and human rights – are contested at every turn. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a period of political and intellectual upheaval known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). If we want to navigate our way through the chaos of today, then we need to return to the roots of our contemporary world – the Enlightenment. This interdisciplinary module explores this revolutionary period so that we can better understand our world today and bring about the world we want tomorrow. We will focus on debates surrounding knowledge, censorship and freedom of speech, the state of nature of the scope of political authority, and colonialism. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they've taken.

EC120-4-FY
The World Economy in Historical Perspective
(30 CREDITS)

Why did industrialisation first occur in Europe, not China or India? How did economic growth lead to the Industrial Revolution? What impact did two world wars have on the global economy? Explore the process of economic change and development from the sixteenth-century to the present day.

GV100-4-FY
Introduction to Politics
(30 CREDITS)

What is “Politics”? How have people conceived of political analysis, the state, laws, wars and political parties, across cultures and over time? Gain an understanding of essential concepts in the study of politics and explore the economic, social and intellectual trends that have made democracy possible.

HR103-4-SP
Hidden Histories: Class, Race and Gender in Britain, c. 1640s-Present
(15 CREDITS)

Why do we grow up knowing some histories, and not others? The histories taught in schools and discussed in the public realm often tell us about the past experiences of dominant groups – and the fact that these histories are so prominent also tells us that those groups still hold power. Approaching the past from the perspective of those ‘hidden from history’, this module uncovers ideas and experiences often overlooked in traditional accounts of modern Britain. Hidden Histories begins in the revolutionary years of the mid-seventeenth century to examine how radicals questioned dominant ideas about democratic rights and property ownership. It traces the influence of these radicals through to Chartism and Owenism, movements forged in the crucible of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century. These revolutionaries and radical movements highlighted power imbalances between men and women, in the family and the private sphere as well as in the public. As Britain reached the height of its imperial power, hierarchies of “race”, class, and gender increasingly structured elite discourse. In exploring how the working class, women, and migrants created their own vibrant cultures, the module emphasises histories of protest, resistance, and liberation – and shows that these hidden histories are essential to understanding modern Britain.

HR106-4-SP
Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989
(15 CREDITS)

Democracy cannot be taken for granted. There was a long road to modern democracy and universal suffrage. Evolution of existing systems, revolutions, and wars created what is generally called Western Democracy. This module will explore the development of democracy in Europe and the United States over the last 200 years. It will examine how democratic states were established, challenged and reborn from the late eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. Europe experienced dictatorships, two World Wars and the fall of the Iron curtain in this time period, but it also saw the expansion of citizenship and civil liberties, the establishment of parliamentary democracies on a global scale and the emergence of the welfare states with greater social provisions for its populations. In the year that followed its creation, the United States rapidly expanded its franchise, but it also continued to exclude many people from the democratic process well into the twentieth century. The module will also investigate the crisis of the welfare state, the rise of Neo-Liberalism, and the rise of populism--all challenges to democratic systems in the past and today.

HR107-4-AU
Early Modern Europe in Global Context: Encounters, Exchanges, and Exploitation
(15 CREDITS)

The early modern period (c.1450-c.1750) saw a profound increase in the number and type of interactions which European peoples had with the other peoples of the globe, resulting in a significant change in transnational movements of people, ideas, diseases, and things. These processes of interaction constituted a decisive turning-point in global and European history and continue to shape the world we live in today. This module focuses on some of the most important of these interactions, exploring when, why and how they happened, and with what consequences (cultural, environmental, material, political, and economic) for the people and places involved.

HR172-4-AU
War and the Twentieth-Century World: Experiences, Representations, and Legacies
(15 CREDITS)

The seismic upheaval of two world wars shaped twentieth-century society, culture, and politics across much of the globe. While the world wars raged, states directed the resources of all their citizens towards achieving victory, meaning that a range of actors beyond combatants were directly touched by conflict. In turn, those affected by war sought new relationships with nation-state, empire, and each other as they tried to come to terms with its legacies. The world wars therefore also inspired new visions of political and social life, generated subsequent conflicts and battles for independence, and caused the redrawing of borders in Europe and beyond. This module explores experiences, representations, and legacies of the two world wars and the cold war in multiple contexts. Lectures examine themes such as citizenship, trauma, and memory across these conflicts, while seminars focus on specific case studies from across the globe. Our aim is to understand not only how these wars affected different groups and individuals, but to trace the legacies of these conflicts in multiple arenas, and shed new light on how they continue to affect the world today. In emphasising society and culture, and the relationship between the local and the global, War and the Twentieth-Century World challenges conventional views of twentieth-century warfare and introduces students to diverse voices and perspectives.

HR173-4-FY
Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories
(30 CREDITS)

The past is never dead. It’s not even past’. In a world of conspiracy theories, toppling statues, and ‘culture wars’, the novelist William Faulkner’s most famous line resonates more than ever. Across the globe, History is co-opted to multiple causes and used to justify contradictory positions. Such uses of History often rely on myths, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. How can we separate political belief, personal opinion, and false information about the past from historical knowledge and understanding? Rebellious Pasts looks at the creation, consolidation, and operation of historical myths and stereotypes – and at how we, as historians, can use the tools of our trade to identify and challenge misleading representations of the past, replacing them with richer forms of understanding. The module helps you to develop the critical mindset needed to analyse historical arguments wherever you find them, but also the constructive skills essential to researching and writing your own histories. It combines lectures and seminars exploring how history “works” in different contexts with archive visits and library workshops that expose you to the raw materials of History. On Rebellious Pasts, you will undertake self-directed research drawing upon digitized collections, archives, and heritage sector institutions, and translate your findings into accessible public history artefacts. At its heart, History is the refusal to accept easy assumptions and the insistence on negotiating with evidence, no matter how tricky that is. By the end of the module, you will understand why History is a rebellious discipline – and how to harness its unruly powers.

HR176-4-AU
Revolutions in History, 1776-1919: How to Change the World
(15 CREDITS)

Revolutions are cornerstones of history. Radical political change often required the violent overthrow of existing systems of politics and government. This modules studies major revolutions to ask: What counts as a revolution? Who makes revolutions happen? Why do revolutions succeed or fail? How has the world been changed by revolutions? We will study key revolutions from across global history, from the American and French revolutions of the late eighteenth century, to the revolutions in Haiti, Japan, and China, and finishing with the Russian Revolution and the failed German revolution of 1918. The module will allow students to study some of the biggest turning points in world history, and to understand how and why the world changed at these moments.

HU100-4-FY
Foundations of Human Rights
(30 CREDITS)

What are human rights? How do we protect them? And what challenges do we face when promoting human rights on an international level? Discover the fundamental principles and practices, including topics related to international law and ethics, which underpin the protection and promotion of our human rights.

PY109-4-AU
Introduction to Epistemology
(15 CREDITS)

This module encourages students to reflect on what kind of knowers they want to be and what kind of knowledge community they want to belong to. We begin by considering why we possess the concept of knowledge at all. What good is it? What does it do for us? We will then explore some recent work in social epistemology, reflecting on how knowledge is an interpersonal phenomenon, focusing on the phenomena of echo chambers, epistemic injustice, and the role of trust in our knowledge practices. Next, we turn to work in political epistemology, looking at how politics shapes knowledge production and vice versa; we will focus in particular here on propaganda and belief polarization. Finally, we turn our attention to virtue and vice epistemology, which study the so-called virtues and vices of the mind. We will discuss important epistemic virtues that can help us flourish as knowers, e.g., self-reflection and intellectual perseverance; and we will also read about epistemic vices that undermine our capacity to acquire knowledge, e.g., closed-mindedness and dogmatism. By the end of the module, students will better understand how individual, social, and political factors interact in the human pursuit of knowledge.

PY110-4-SP
Self and Identity
(15 CREDITS)

In this module, you will explore ethical challenges from today's world (such as how to treat animals, the climate emergency, or making decisions about who should be prioritised in allocating medical resources). You will also explore ethical theories as tools for navigating these challenges. Shall we look to the consequences of our actions for orientation? Or to constraints on the means we take as agents? Or might we fare better by considering character dispositions and taking our cue from exemplars? And what methods do we have at our disposal to decide between these alternatives? Is there such a thing as ethics anyway? Or are there just personal opinions and everything is relative?

SC111-4-FY
The Sociological Imagination
(30 CREDITS)

How can sociology help you understand the world in which you live? What are some of the major features and trends in present-day societies? Using sociological tools, you analyse key features of different societies, such as stratification, poverty, racism, consumption, multinational corporations, religion, and the gender division of labour in low-income countries.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.