Historical Methods and Approaches
This module provides training in advanced historical research. It is designed to introduce students to methods of historical investigation, writing, and presentation, and to important historical resources (including archives, collections of sources, and museums). Attention will be given to the use of IT in historical work work as well as more traditional paper-based methods.
Students produce a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a historical topic, chosen in conjunction with their supervisor. This represents the culmination of the History MAs, and constitutes Part Two of the programme.
Themes in History
This module provides an introduction to advanced historiography. It is designed to develop students¿ awareness of traditional historiographical concerns alongside their knowledge current trends and new directions in writing and thinking about the past.
This module is designed to help students to identify a dissertation topic appropriate to their interests and expertise, and to tackle the problems of methodology, develop the research techniques, and undertake the project planning which are the necessary preliminaries to researching and writing a 20,000 word dissertation.
The Early Modern World, 1500-1800
In 1500, European exploration and colonisation of the rest of the world was only in its infancy. America, two continents North and South, had been unknown to Europeans until just eight years previously. Most of it was still unmapped by Europeans, as were large parts of the rest of the world. By 1800, on the other hand, it was possible to construct a recognisable modern version of a world map. Europeans had explored, colonised, and resettled huge swathes of America in the first instances. They had killed or displaced millions of Native Americans in the process, wiping out whole civilisations, and they had enslaved 12 million or more Africans in that same process, inflicting immense damage on African societies. Europeans were in the early stages of colonising large parts of Africa and Asia too by 1800.
And yet, advances in science had transformed human understanding of the universe, of the world, and indeed of ourselves. This was connected through the Renaissance in art, culture, and politics as well as science, to enormous changes in the structure of polities and societies. The early modern era perhaps saw the invention not only of modern empires, but of large, centralised modern states. Also, the Renaissance and then Enlightenment changed the way people and states interacted. Arguably, the early modern period represents the transition period between an era of medieval hierarchy and the origins of modern social and political democracy.
Essentially, the aim of the module, through your lectures, seminars, and independent reading and thinking, is to give you a sense of the connections between these places and their histories, highlighting that the increasing inter-connection between them is itself a feature of the early modern period. You¿ll also get a broad sense of how the world as a whole changed between 1500 and 1800.
Europe of Extremes, 1789-1989
The nineteenth century saw the rise of a western European civilization, characterized, as Eric Hobsbawm has noted, by capitalist economics, liberal politics, and the dominance of a middle class that celebrated morality and science. In the twentieth century this civilization faced unprecedented challenges from new political ideologies, and from a working class demanding the right to govern in its own name. The result was an eruption of violence not seen on the continent for centuries; in its wake, the Cold War divided the Europe with an Iron Curtain, and saw the continent become the client of two world superpowers ¿ the USA and the Soviet Union. This team-taught module relies on the specialist knowledge of its tutors to examine economic, political and social themes in the history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe.
How do historians study the past? Why do their accounts of the past differ, and why do they change over time? This module will help you to understand the various concepts, methods, and approaches that academic historians use when writing history and generating historical explanations. By the end of it, you will understand how and why professional historians disagree on many topics, and you will be equipped to evaluate competing interpretations of the same past events and processes.
The module also trains you in the fundamental skills required to study history as an undergraduate, and gives you an opportunity to learn more about the interests and expertise of the history staff you¿ll be working with at Swansea. It will help you make the transition from being taught history at school or college to studying history at university, and it will introduce you to the many different kinds of history you can explore in the course of your degree.
Britain and the World 1800 to 2000
This module will provide an overview of the history of British politics, society, culture, and the economy from c. 1800 to the present, from a national and international perspective. The lectures and seminars for this module will give students the opportunity to engage closely with events, processes, and people - both male and female, from diverse ethnic backgrounds - who contributed to the making of the modern British state and society, and who defined Britain¿s relationship with the wider world. We will discuss the transformative impact of warfare, Empire and colonialism, industrial and technological change. We will also consider the significance of race, class, and gender, and how they relate to national sentiment and social and political emancipation movements in Britain and beyond.
Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe, 1789-1815
Between 1792 and 1815 Europe was in a state of almost constant warfare. The French Revolutionary wars, the rise of Napoleon and the creation of a French Empire had a profound impact on the other European powers, great and small. This module explores the consequences of over two decades of warfare and French imperialism on Europe. It investigates the nature of the French Revolution and its impact upon European politics and society, the subsequent wars and the rise , character and fall of the Napoleonic Empire. In addition it will examine the reaction of the European states and peoples to French military success and dominance. Finally, it discusses the long-term legacies left by Napoleon and the wars.
The Practice of History
The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization.
At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.
The Great War for Empire, 1754-1764
The Seven Years War was the single most important conflict in the eighteenth century, before the struggle against Republican France. It was truly a global conflict as rival armies and navies confronted each other in Europe, the Americas and India. Not only did the conflict mark the apogee of the first British Empire and confirm the rise of Prussia to Great Power status; it was also a major contributory factor in the American and French Revolutions. The belligerent states were forced to mobilize themselves to an unprecedented extent and attempted to promote a sense of national identity and patriotism in their subjects through the media.