Empire, Colonialism and Globalisation

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Taylor Sherman SAR M.10


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) and MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.



Course content

This course concerns the history of empires from the fifteenth century to the present day. Students will study the Ottoman, Mughal, Qing, Spanish, British and American empires in depth. We explore different approaches to these empires, and the dynamics of their rise and fall. We also explore the extent to which the imperial past has helped shape the processes of globalisation in early modern, modern and contemporary times. A number of major themes are addressed, including: gender and Islam in the Ottoman Empire, cultural cosmopolitanism in the Mughal Empire, religious conversion in the Spanish Empire, governing through ethnicity in the Qing Empire. regulating religion in the British Empire in India, colonial Medicine in Africa, and settler colonialism in Australia. The course is structured so as to encourage general and comparative discussions rooted in specific case studies.


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

There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent terms. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to submit a 2500-word essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

A full reading list will be provided. For general surveys of the subject, students may consult: Jane Burbank & Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, NJ, 2010); Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question:  Theory, Knowledge and History (Berkeley, 2005); David B. Abernethy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415-1980 (New Haven, CT, 2000); Susan E. Alcock, Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History (Cambridge, 2001); Christopher A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford, 2004); Alejandro Colás, Empire (Cambridge, 2007); John Darwin, After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire (London, 2007); Michael W. Doyle, Empires (Ithaca, NY, 1986); Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA, 2001); Stephen R. Howe, Empire: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2002); Herfried Münkler, Empires: The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States (Cambridge, 2007); Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (Princeton, NJ, 1997); Jürgen Osterhammel & Niels P. Peterson, Globalization: A Short History (Princeton, NJ, 2005).


Essay (45%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Essay (45%, 5000 words) in the ST.
Class participation (10%) in the MT and LT.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2016/17: 46

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)