From Empire to Independence: The Extra-European World in the Twentieth Century

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Antony Best SAR 3.14


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Economic History, BSc in Government and History and BSc in International Relations and History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

An introductory survey of events outside Europe in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on the collapse of the Western colonial empires, the development of relations between the West and the new states within Asia and Africa, revolutionary developments in Latin America, and the rise of non-Western models of political development. The course includes the state of the European empires in the first half of the century; the Japanese challenge to the West; the Chinese revolution; Indian independence; the decolonization process in Asia and Africa; the Japanese developmental state; the rise of the non-aligned movement; the Cuban revolution; the development of the Arab and non-Arab Middle East; American and Soviet relations with the Third World; post-independence South Asia; the modernization and underdevelopment debates; post-independence Africa; China under Mao and Deng; the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 revision lecture in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6 of MT and LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be asked to write at least three essays and to present a number of brief class reports

Indicative reading

W G Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan (1990); A Best, J Hanhimaki, J Maiolo and K Schulze, International History of the Twentieth Century (2001); J Darwin, Britain and Decolonization (1988); J P Dunbabin, International Relations since 1945, Vol 1, The Cold War, the Great Powers and their Allies (1994) Vol 2, The Post-Imperial Age, The Great Powers and the Wider World (1994); D Fieldhouse, Black Africa, 1945-1980 (1986); Goldschmidt, A Concise History of the Middle East; R Holland, European Decolonization, 1918-81 (1985); W Keylor, The Twentieth Century World (1984); S Sarkar, Modern India, 1885-1947 (1983); J Spence, The Search for Modern China (1990); M Yapp, The Near East since the First World War (1991); Skidmore and Smith, Modern Latin America (2005).



Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2015/16: 114

Average class size 2015/16: 13

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills