These two weeks are precious and valuable. The whole schedule was well-balanced both study and extracurricular, including visiting the museum and two excursions, which enriches our life and study, making it more valuable and unforgettable.

Luo, UCASS, China

Britain and the Making of the Modern World

For much of the 19th and 20th century Britain was the world’s superpower, and its imperial connections not only left deep traces in America, Africa and Asia, but also in Britain itself. Thus to understand modern British history it is necessary to see it in a global perspective: not only were British politics and economics influenced by imperial considerations, but also most of its wars were global conflicts. Furthermore, British culture – food, fashion and architecture – was, and still is, shaped by its imperial legacy. By combining political, social and military history, this module introduces you to the key developments, ideas, events and people that shaped modern British history.

The module encourages you to explore the interdependency of national and global history in the last two hundred years through different scholarly methods and sources. You learn how global events, like the slave trade, the First World War or the conflict in the Middle East, are linked with British history. You also consider how life in Britain, for wealthy and ordinary people in London, Exeter or Bath, was influenced through global connections.

You will work with varied primary sources and with the rich collections of imperial artefacts at the University’s Cinema Museum and the Exeter Royal Albert Memorial Museum. In this way you will not only study written texts, but you will also have the chance to work with the objects British travellers brought back from all over the world, and to see how Britain’s imperial past influenced its film industry. As well as giving you a different perspective on academic history, this will encourage you to think about how museums present British history and the objects associated with it to the wider public.

Module Title Britain and the Making of the Modern World
Module Code ISS3005
Module Convenor Dr Hao Gao
Credit Value 7.5 ECTS
Scheduled Teaching 24 x 2 hour sessions
Guided Independent Study

Pre Reading before arrival 

Preparatory readings for lectures and seminars

Researching, preparing and delivering a presentation

Researching and completing an assignment

Formative Assessment Commentary Plan – 500 words – Written Feedback
Summative Assessment

Critical Commentary on an extract from a module text – 2000 words – 60% of credit – written feedback

Group Presentation – 20 minutes – 40% of credit – verbal and written feedback

Sample Reading John Darwin, The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World System 1830-1970 (Cambridge, 2009)
Sample Sessions Empire in Popular Culture

Britain Encounters China: Imagination, Material Culture, and War