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

Postgraduate Course: British Empires, 1601-1948 (online) (PGHC11415)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the theory and practice of British imperialism between the late Elizabethan period and the mid-twentieth century. The focus is on the degree to which British imperialism changed over time.
Course description This course investigates a wide range of imperial locations and moments - spanning mid-17th century Barbados to mid-20th century India - in search of the practices, values and organizing principles which define British imperialism across time and space. In its pursuit of these characteristics, the course will seek to answer the following questions: was it the case, as some historians have claimed, that the British Empire, even at its early-20th century height, was less a single, coherent entity than a collection of unrelated, and often contradictory, local projects? Was the empire acquired, as J.R. Seeley famously claimed, in a 'fit of absence of mind', or was its development carefully nurtured and directed by interested parties located in the metropole? Was empire-building a consequence or a cause of British economic and geo-political strength? Finally, how did a nation so thoroughly saturated in the culture of liberalism came to develop such an authoritarian and autocratic empire?
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the long history of British imperialism
  2. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship, primary source materials concerning, and conceptual discussions about British imperialism
  3. Demonstrate in forum posts and the final essay, an ability to understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in seminars and in written assessment by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
Reading List
Philippa Levine, The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (2007)

Armitage, David, Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000)

Bayly, C.A. Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World 1780-1830 (1989)

Belich, J. Replenishing the Earth (2011)

Hall, Catherine, (ed), Cultures of Empire: A Reader (2000)

Hyam, Ronald. Britain's Imperial Century, 1815-1914: A Study of Empire and Expansion, 2nd edition (1993)

Jasanoff, Maya, Edge of Empire (2007)

Louis, William Roger, (ed), The Oxford History of the British Empire, 5 volumes (1998-99)

Mackenzie, John M. Imperialism and Popular Culture (1986)

Marshall, P.J. 'Imperial Britain', JI&CH, 23 (1995): 379-94

Pagden, Anthony. Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c. 1500-1800 (1995)

Porter, Bernard. The Absent Minded Imperialists (2009)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsBritish Empires
Course organiserDr Benjamin Weinstein
Tel: (0131 6)50 3762
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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