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

Postgraduate Course: An uncertain world: the West since the 1970s (PGHC11397)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn overview of some of the most important political, social and ideological changes in the Western world of the past forty years - from the economic crisis of the 1970's to the threat of Islamic terrorism in the 2010's.
Course description This course gives students the opportunity to examine the transformation of global politics since the 1970's. Topics will include the impact of decolonisation and the Cold War; the development of the European project and European integration; neo-liberalism in the US and Western Europe; the end of the Cold War, the 'end of history' and neo-conservatism; the politics of human rights and humanitarian interventions; European enlargement; globalisation and anti-globalisation; 9/11 and the War on Terror; immigration policy in Europe and the US; and the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath. The main aim will be to offer a nuanced and historical perspective on questions and themes that remain at the heart of contemporary political debate in 'the West' (and beyond). At the same time, the course will be an introduction to original methodological and historiographical frameworks for understanding the recent past, many of which draw on research conducted in political and intellectual history, the social sciences, philosophy and economics.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One assessed presentation, worth 10% of the final mark; one 500-word essay plan, due in Week 6, worth 10% of the final mark; one 4,000-word essay, worth 80% of the mark.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the most important issues and themes connected to global politics, economic trends and political thought in North America and Western Europe since the 1970's
  2. independently identify and pursue research topics in this period of history
  3. exhibit an understanding for different conceptual approaches for the study of history
  4. arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay
  5. demonstrate their ability to reflect on the reading & research they have undertaken and provide feedback for their peers
Reading List
Suggested introductory readings:
- Tony Judt, Postwar (2005)
- Daniel Rodgers, Age of Fracture (2011)
- Luc Boltanski & Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism (2005)
- Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010)
- Pierre Rosanvallon, Counter- Democracy: Politics in an Age of Distrust (2008)
- John Gillingham, European Integration 1950-2003: superstate or new market economy? (2005)
- David Priestland, Merchant, Soldier, Sage: A New History of Power (2012)
- Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (2000)
- David Harvey, A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism (2005)
- Justin Vaisse, Neo-conservatism: the biography of a movement (2010)
- David Runciman, The Politics of Good Intentions: History, Fear and Hypocrisy in the New World Order (2010)
- Gerard Dumenil & Dominique Levy, The Crisis of Neoliberalism (2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and 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 and historiographical 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 4,000 words
KeywordsUncertain World 1970s
Course organiserDr Stephen Rainbird
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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