HST112: Paths from Antiquity to Modernity
20 credits (semester 1)
Module Leader: Dr Charles West (2012-13). (2013-14 TBC)
Taking you from the height of the Roman Empire to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, this module is an introduction to the dominant narrative of History, from a European perspective (though the module ventures widely beyond Europe when appropriate). Each lecture looks at a particular historical ‘turning point’, while the weekly seminar takes a more thematic approach, tackling historical notions such as revolutions, progress, globalisation and renaissance. By the end of the module, you’ll have a sense of the broad sweep of History, fascinating in itself but particularly useful for single and dual honours students as preparation for more detailed study at Levels II and III. You will also have an appreciation of the importance of periodisation (how historians divide up time), and the problematic concept of modernity. This module is explicitly intended to aid with the transition to the study of History at University.
There are three lectures and one seminar a week, attendance at all of which is compulsory.
You will be assessed on your preparation for and participation in seminars, and will complete two pieces of written work (essays of 1500 and 2000 words). The first essay is a rough draft of the second. Further guidance is provided in the module course booklet, available through MOLE. The marks for this coursework constitute 33% of the overall mark. A further 17% of your mark will be determined by your oral performance in seminars. The remaining 50% will be derived from an unseen exam, taken during the examination period. You should note that you must pass both the coursework and examination components in order to pass overall. All assessment is subject to moderation by internal examiners.
This module does not have a course textbook: no book currently in print provides quite the same overview as that of this course. However, here are some recommendations for books that you might find stimulating, and which bear some relation to the course’s major themes:
- Norman Davies, Europe. A History (Oxford, 1996). Broad, learned: a little sedate.
- Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: conquest, civilization and cultural change 950-1350 (Harmondsworth, 1994). Compelling.
- Chris Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World (Oxford, 2004). A modern classic.
- E. J. Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes: The short twentieth century, 1914-1991 (London, 1995) (his other books in the series are also good).
You may find a historical atlas useful, too. Further recommendations for reading will be made available in the course booklet.
Intended Learning Outcomes