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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: From New Jerusalem to New Labour: The Labour Party in Contemporary Britain (HIST10344)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is a research-led course informed by the tutor's extensive work in the area of Labour party history. The course asks students to analyse the history and politics of the Labour party in contemporary Britain. Ranging from the 1940s to the present, students seek to understand key issues in Labour's history: the party's goals and objectives, its relationship with the British people, its internal politics, and the role of its leaders. This is studied against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society. Given that the Labour party currently finds itself at a crossroads and, moreover, at a time when there is unprecedented public cynicism about politics, the course is a timely contribution to the School's offerings in history and provides students the opportunity to grapple with highly topical issues.

The course assesses the achievements in the 1940s of the Labour party under Clement Attlee, its most famous leader; grapples with the descent into factionalism throughout the 1950s; analyses the rise of Harold Wilson and his struggle to establish Labour as 'the natural party of government'; examines the party's response to economic and industrial strife throughout the 1960s and 1970s; considers the weakening of the party under Callaghan and Foot; and explores its rebuilding under Blair and Brown. The course places particular emphasis on the importance of 'leadership'. Students are asked to study the relationship between the Labour party and 'socialism', as well as considering the very nature of politics in a mature democracy.
Course description The course aims to achieve a detailed knowledge of Labour party politics and history since the 1940s. Development of the skills of critical enquiry and close reading required to analyse scholarly literature in an intellectually mature way will be central to the course. Successful completion of the course will require an analytical and critical approach to the material studied and a willingness to consider a variety of different perspectives on an area of history which is politically controversial.

Weekly two-hour classes will be discussion based, with a small lecturing component where appropriate. The first part of the course will study Labour's objective of building a 'New Jerusalem' in Britain, and subsequent collapse into factional conflict, as well as the search for new doctrinal goals. The second part of the course will examine the relationship between the Labour party and the trade unions; the nature of socialism in Britain; the party's struggles under Callaghan, Foot, and Kinnock; and the New Labour project of Blair and Brown.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting Students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  26
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay (50%), 2-hour exam (50%). The essay length is 3,500 words.

There will be a take-home exam for one semester visiting students. Visiting students who are in Edinburgh for the whole academic year will take the exam in April/May
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of the course, it is intended that students will be able to:
- produce a sound analytical essay in the subject area
- demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, the ability to scrutinise political debates and analyse them in a scholarly manner
- demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, a sound understanding of key issues in British politics since the 1940s
- demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, an ability to read critically and analyse secondary sources to a satisfactory standard
Reading List
Stephen Brooke, Labour's War (1992).
Robert Crowcroft, Attlee's War: World War II and the Making of a Labour Leader (2011).
Stephen Fielding, Peter Thompson, and Nick Tiratsoo, England Arise! The Labour Party and Popular Politics in 1940s Britain (1945).
Kenneth Harris, Attlee (1982).
Kevin Jefferys, The Churchill Coalition and Wartime Politics (1991).
Kevin Jefferys (ed.), War and Reform: British Politics during the Second World War (1994).
Andrew Thorpe, Parties at War (2009).
Correlli Barnett, The Lost Victory (1996).
Bernard Donoughue and G. W. Jones, Herbert Morrison: Portrait of a Politician (1973).
Martin Francis, Ideas and Policies under Labour, 1945-1951 (1997).
J. Fryth, Labour's High Noon: The Government and the Economy 1945-1951 (1993).
Peter Hennessy, Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (1992).
K. O. Morgan, Labour in Power, 1945-1951 (1984).
Henry Pelling, The Labour Governments, 1945-51 (1984).
Jim Tomlinson, Democratic Socialism and Economic Policy: the Attlee Years, 1945-1951 (Cambridge, 1997).
Brian Brivati, Hugh Gaitskell (1996).
John Campbell, Nye Bevan (1987).
Michael Foot, Aneurin Bevan, volume two: 1945-1960 (1973).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Independent gathering of evidence; critical consideration of learning materials; oral argument and debate; management of timetable and workload; and the production of work to deadlines
KeywordsNew Jerusalem
Course organiserDr Robert Crowcroft
Tel: (0131 6)50 3764
Course secretaryMrs Caroline Cullen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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