MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
Integrated Master in History: History options

Year 1, Component 04

Option(s) from list
Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum

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?

Art and Ideas: I

This module tackles some of the biggest questions surrounding the history of art. You will explore some key theoretical issues in the history of art, such as the nature of representation, by engaging critically with seminal texts and artworks. In this module, you will develop your analytical and interpretive skills, and leave with a solid foundation for the study of the history of art.

Art Revolutions

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 these vibrant and multi-faceted artists, who refused to follow the crowd, influenced their world. Through analysis of primary and secondary sources, you’ll explore their historical reputation and their relevance today.

Introduction to Heritage and Museum Studies

This module provides an introductory overview to the field of heritage and museum studies and explores some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues faced by those working within and researching in the area of heritage and museums. The module defines heritage, discusses how heritage is officially recognised, and presents the instruments that are used to interpret, protect, and communicate heritage, at local, national, and international levels. It also introduces the main aspects of museum studies, explains how the definitions of museums has changed through time and how this definition affects how we preserve and present heritage today. This module will introduce you to the history of heritage and museum management and will lay the foundation of some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues of the heritage and the museum field. It defines heritage as a process in which people makes sense of the past, in the present and for the future and how the aims of heritage and museum management changes according to the heritage process and its contexts.

Interdisciplinary Research and Problem-Solving: An Introduction

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.

Ways of Knowing

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.

The World Economy in Historical Perspective

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.

Introduction to Politics

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.

Hidden Histories: Class, Race and Gender in Britain, c. 1640s-Present

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.

Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989

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.

Early Modern Europe in Global Context: Encounters, Exchanges, and Exploitation

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.

War and the Twentieth-Century World: Experiences, Representations, and Legacies

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.

Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories

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.

Revolutions in History, 1776-1919: How to Change the World

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.

Foundations of Human Rights

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.

Introduction to Epistemology

We all know that it’s good to know things. Knowledge, as the saying goes, is power, because without it we cannot hope to accomplish our most important goals. But what about the concept of knowledge itself? What good does it do? What practical work does it accomplish for us? Are there epistemic virtues, ie traits that reliably lead us to knowledge? Can we flourish without such virtues? And are those virtues sufficient to ensure that we possess reliable knowledge? Or is it possible for our social and political world to be so divorced from that truth that our individual traits cannot help us? What would the ideal knowledge community look like? What makes knowledge communities dysfunctional? This module will explore these questions and more. By the end of it, you will better understand how individual, social, and political factors interact in the human pursuit of knowledge.

Self and Identity

Begin your study of philosophy by exploring questions about selfhood and identity. What role does self-responsibility play in effective knowing? What is it to be a self? How does that differ from having an identity or identities? To what extent are our identities determined by others? Are they up to us? How can the study of philosophy help us with these questions?

The Sociological Imagination

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.

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