New courses



The Department of International History will be introducing the following new courses in 2018-2019. They are available for selection starting in September 2018.

Undergraduate courses


HY244 - Britain’s Atlantic World, 1688-1837

Dr Padraic X. Scanlan

This course explores the history of Britain in the Atlantic world during the ‘long eighteenth century,’ from the Glorious Revolution in 1688 to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. It is impossible fully to understand the profound transformations in British political, economic and cultural life in this period without an understanding of Britain’s growing presence in the Atlantic, in both its restive colonial empire and in the wider Atlantic political economy. The course focuses on three important forces that shaped Britain’s presence in the Atlantic world: the intermittent, nearly century-long war with France, the rapid expansion of British settler colonies and concomitant rise of American republicanism, and the expansion and entrenchment of slave labour in plantation societies in South America, the Caribbean, and southern North America. As Britain's empire expanded into the Americas, domestic British society was transformed – by Enlightenment innovations in science and political organisation, by transformations in social life and gender politics, and by rebellions in Scotland and Ireland that led to the consolidation of Great Britain as a single political unit. This course explores the many connections between the expanding British colonial empire and the increasingly confident and sophisticated British state, and frames these connections in the crucible of a dynamic and often violent Atlantic world.

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HY246 - The Global Caribbean: Colonialism, Race and Revolutions 1780s-1980s

Dr Imaobong Umoren

This course presents an overview of Caribbean political, economic, social and cultural history from the height of transatlantic slavery to the postcolonial era in the 1980s. It especially focuses on the three central themes of American and European colonialism, race and revolution and takes an expansive view of the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanic and Dutch Caribbean. Wherever possible, comparisons and contrasts with the Caribbean the United States and Latin America are drawn upon. Weekly topics that will be explored in lectures and seminars include; the precolonial Caribbean; European Colonial Encounters; transatlantic slavery and the making of ‘race’; the structure of slave societies: plantations and Maroons; the Haitian Revolution; abolition, apprenticeship and emancipation in the British and French Caribbean; Asian Indentureship and the continuation of slavery in the Hispanic Caribbean; Independence, Wars, and the rise of US imperialism in the Hispanic Caribbean; inter-regional labour migrations and radicalism; the First World War; extra-regional labour migrations, black internationalism, Negritude, and Afrocubanismo; the US Occupation of the Dominican Republic and Haiti; economic Depression and Labour Rebellions; the Second World War and Departmentalisation in the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean; the Cold War; the Cuban Revolution and Caribbean Federation; Decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean; the Black Power Movement; neo-colonialism, tourism, and violence in the postcolonial era; the politics of development, health, and reparations.

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Postgraduate courses


 HY474 - Slavery and Emancipation in the British World

Dr Padraic X. Scanlan

This course explores the history of slavery and freedom in Britain and the British world from 1600 to 1900. In the liberal tradition, slavery and freedom are framed as theoretical and rhetorical opposites. In practice, the lines between slavery and freedom were blurry and ambiguous. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sugar grown and processed in the British colonies of the Caribbean by enslaved African workers was a cornerstone of the imperial economy. Britain’s North American colonies were caught in the economic and political orbit of the sugar islands. At the end of the eighteenth century, the American, French and Haitian Revolutions transformed, but did not end, the political economy of slavery in the British world. In 1807, Britain abolished its slave trade. In 1834, slavery was abolished in the British empire. Abolition did not, however, end Britain’s close association with slavery. Cotton produced by enslaved people in the American South provided Britain with crucial raw material during the industrial revolution. British investments kept the empire imbricated in the global trade in enslaved people and the commodities their labour produced. And yet, even as the British empire became entrenched in the nineteenth-century world of slavery, reformers placed ever greater faith in liberal ideas of freedom, bureaucratic transparency, free labour, and free markets. This course offers an opportunity to examine the place of slavery and emancipation in the history of the British world, and the ambiguities and paradoxes of a liberal empire built on the backs of enslaved people.

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Dr Megan Black

HY479 - Environmental History in a Global Context

Dr Megan Black

This course will consider how environmental ideas and practices have shaped relations between nation-states and the wider world throughout history. Diplomatic and environmental historians have struggled to speak to each other despite a shared interest in the world—a world defined largely by political boundaries in one vision and by environmental features in the other. However, recently, historians have begun to explore how environmental ideas and processes, from resource scarcity to climate change, became an object of international relations, as well as how environmental conditions shaped the field of possible action in the enactment of foreign relations. This course will therefore consider how industrialized nations, especially the United States, thought about nature and impacted ecosystems at home and abroad in the modern era. It briefly reviews early colonial encounters between peoples and environments across the Americas and Asia, before turning to late-nineteenth and twentieth-century attempts to engineer and conserve nature across the globe in the image of Western modernity and postwar debates about over-population, resource scarcity, nuclear contamination, chemical toxins, and Anthropogenic climate change. We will engage an array of topics of relevance to international history, including colonialism, imperialism, war, modernization, development, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations and examine a growing array of scholarship in U.S. Environmental History, International History, Globalization Studies, Political Economy, and Postcolonial Studies that have brought the environment from the background to the center of their analyses. Students will be prepared to analyse historical debates over how humans, corporations, and governments have interacted with nonhuman nature on a global scale, and how nonhuman nature shaped interactions over time. Along the way, we will ask, how did officials and decision-makers try to define and manage a borderless nature? How might an environmental lens help us to better understand historical relationships between nations?

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Cold War Public Diplomacy: United States Cultural Battles Abroad

Dr Victoria Phillips

Because the Cold War was a series of ideological battles for the “hearts and minds of mankind,” culture became a weapon. This seminar examines the United States’ export of its ideals to counter communism abroad. Although the course focuses on American-led projects, soft power, and psychological warfare, the reach was global and thus offers the opportunity to examine nations world-wide. The class opens with an examination of American political power from the 19th-century’s claims about the frontier through the American Century and Cold War conceptions of “truth,” “propaganda, " and "informational" practices. The intersection of American governmental branches and clandestine operations with international private foundations, the press, advertising agencies, universities, corporations, and private individuals unpack the complexity of export operations. The course continues to explore cultural diplomacy through radio, music, modernist art, dance, literature, books, magazines, film, television, architecture, and sports.  It examines the power of race, gender, and religion. The concept of soft power is challenged by its intersection with military operations, hot wars, or the threat of nuclear attacks in case studies of Korea, Berlin, Cuba, and Vietnam. Cultural exports are examined in the context of secondary source readings and primary sources including conventional archival documents as well as examples of art, film, and performances.


A Gender History of National Socialism – History, Memory, Debates

Professor Johanna Gehmacher

This course will contrast popular perceptions of gender policies of the National Socialist regime with a reflexive approach to the wide range of scholarly literature on the gender history of the National Socialism. It will also address gender as a category for the analysis of National Socialism which cannot be discussed without regard to the category of race—to which it is subordinated in National Socialist ideology and politics. The course will reflect the vibrant and controversial field of research from its beginnings in the 1970s up to the present, and thereby combine the approaches of social and gender history, discourse analysis and the history of memory. The course will both address the historiography of the field and discuss central analytic concepts. It will look into the history of fascist movements in Germany and Austria and examine the participation of women as well as the movements’ gendered concepts of society. Students will learn about different aspects of the installation of the National Socialist regime in Germany in the 1930s and discuss various aspects of the gender history of the regime (eg. the intersection between racial laws and family policies, the changing policies on the female work force during the war, the gendered history of genocidal extermination policy or gendered strategies of resistance) using a variety of analytical texts as well as (translated) original sources. The course will also confront the history of public memory of National Socialism and tackle the peculiar role of specific gendered images in memory politics as well as in popular history.