Empire, Colonialism and Globalisation

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Taylor Sherman E601


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation. This course is available on the MA Global Studies: A European Perspective, MSc in Global History, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course looks at the political and cultural history of empires and their legacy in the contemporary world. It analyses specific imperial formations, including the Ottoman, Mughal, Qing, Spanish, French and British Empires. It explores comparative and theoretical debates concerning the nature and strengths of given empires and the dynamics of their decline. In addition, the course examines the cultural history of empires, exploring notions of race, gender, modernity, and hybridity. The course also explores the extent to which the imperial past has helped to shape the processes of globalisation in the contemporary world, and includes a look at the hegemonic power of the USA in the twentieth century. In addition to sessions on individual empires, thematic sessions will include: gender and Islam in the Ottoman Empire; Court Culture and the Mughal Empire; Ethnicity in the Qing Empire; Christianity, Conversion and Hybridity in Spanish America; Race, Slavery and the European Overseas Empires; Colonial Medicine and Psychiatry in Africa; and the American Empire from the Philippines to Afghanistan. Besides these case-studies there will be general and comparative discussions of archaic and modern globalization, the technologies and ideologies of empire, and imperial legacies in both the former colonies and metropolitan societies.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

Full Reading lists will be provided. As introductory reading, students should consult Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2010; M Doyle, Empires, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1986;; G V Scammell, The First Imperial Age, London, 1989, J H Parry, Trade and Dominion, London, 1971; D Lieven, Empire. The Russian Empire and its Rivals, Pimlico, 2003; C A Bayly, Imperial Meridian, London, 1989; S Howe, Empire. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2002; Robert J.C. Young, Postcolonialism: an Historical Introduction, Blackwell Publishers, London, 2001.


Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2012/13: 41

Average class size 2012/13: 14

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information