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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Consensus to Thatcherism: Government and Politics in Post-War Britain (PGHC11377)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course provides an introduction to the advanced study of a crucial period of modern British history. The period extending from the reforming Attlee government of 1945 to the revolution carried out by Margaret Thatcher is one of the most controversial in recent history.
During those decades, Britain was repeatedly transformed by a series of developments, shocks and crises. Governments wrestled with recurrent economic difficulties, powerful social trends, and polarising issues. The boundaries and duties of British state power were repeatedly expanded; politicians attempted to manage the economy to a unique degree; and political parties and their leaders struggled to secure power and authority in an environment of constant crises. Ranging from the ministries of Attlee to Thatcher, this course will explore the period in detail. Analysing the rise and fall of governments and parties, the evolution of political doctrines, and the problems which bedevilled the British state, this course will offer students a detailed insight into modern Britain and the performance of politics in a mature democracy. It is structured around historically and historiographically significant themes. Each class session will address a particular theme, problem, or interpretative issue that has generated significant controversy in recent scholarship. Students will draw on a range of specialist texts and archival material.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Online Activities 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some of the most important issues and themes connected to history of post-war British politics and government;
- independently identify and pursue research topics in this period of modern British history;
- exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches for the study of political history;
- analyse and contextualise primary source material;
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay;
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises (such as with wikis or group essays) and oral presentations;
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework;
- demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading & research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers.
Assessment Information
One 3,000 word essay (100%). This will be submitted via Learn and marked using TurnitIn. Online versions of the postgraduate essay feedback form will be employed on the course.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1: Introduction: Course Map and Introduction to Modern British Political History [synchronous forum seminar]

Week 2: The Attlee Government, 1945-1951 [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 3: The Remaking of the Conservative Party, 1945-1951 [synchronous forum seminar]

Week 4: The Conservative Ascendancy, 1951-1964 [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 5: The Curious Case of Mr Wilson [synchronous seminar]

Week 6: Who Governs Britain? Edward Heath in Power, 1970-1974 [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 7: The Failure of Labour? Wilson, Callaghan, and the British Disease, 1974-1979 [synchronous seminar]

Week 8: What was Thatcherism? [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 9: The Iron Lady: Thatcher in Power, 1979-1990 [synchronous seminar]

Week 10: The Stupid Party? The Labour Party, 1945-1990 [asynchronous forum seminar]

Week 11: Concluding Session: The Changing British State, 1945-1990 II [synchronous seminar]

Asynchronous forum discussions will be supplemented by front-loaded video lectures of 10 minutes' duration introducing the topics to be discussed.

In addition to this there will be a one-hour virtual office slot each week, via Skype.
Transferable skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of current political questions
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
Reading list The following three books will be provided to the students free of charge:

John Charmley, A History of Conservative Politics since 1830 (Basingstoke, 2008).

K. O. Morgan, Britain since 1945: The People's Peace (Oxford, 2001).

Andrew Thorpe, A History of the British Labour Party (Basingstoke, 2008).

E-books will be available through 'Cambridge Histories Online', 'Cambridge Books Online' and 'Oxford Scholarship Online'.

A. Blick, 'Harold Wilson, Labour and the Machinery of Government', Contemporary British History 20 (2006), 343-362.

S. Brooke, 'Problems of socialist planning: Evan Durbin and the Labour government of 1945', Historical Journal 34 (1991), 687-702.

Peter Clarke, 'Mrs. Thatcher's leadership in historical perspective', Parliamentary Affairs 45 (1992), 1-17.

Robert Crowcroft, 'The 'high politics' of Labour party factionalism, 1950-5', Historical Research 81 (2008), 679-709,

D. Edgerton, 'The "white heat" revisited: the British government and technology in the 1960s', Twentieth Century British History 7 (1999), 53-82.

Steven Fielding, 'What did 'the people' want? The meaning of the 1945 General Election', The Historical Journal 35 (1992), 623-639.

Geoffrey K. Fry, 'A bottomless pit of political surprise?' The political 'mystery' of the Thatcher era', Twentieth Century British History 21 (2010), 540-557.

A. King, 'The Rise of the Career Politician in Britain, and its consequences', British Journal of Political Science 11 (1981), 249-285.

S. Meredith,'Labour party revisionism and public expenditure: divisions of social democratic political economy in the 1970s', Labour History Review 70 (2005), 253-273.

Anthony Seldon, 'Trade unions and the fall of the Heath Government', Contemporary Record 2 (1988), 36-46.

Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, 'Rationing, Austerity and the Conservative Party recovery after 1945', Historical Journal 37(1994), 173-197.

Primary source material will be available via numerous online archives, including the National Archives, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, and the Thatcher Foundation.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robert Crowcroft
Tel: (0131 6)50 3764
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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