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Study information

Living Through the Global: Colonial Migrants and the British Empire from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

Module titleLiving Through the Global: Colonial Migrants and the British Empire from the Eighteenth Century to the Present
Module codeHIH2016A
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Gajendra Singh (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will introduce you to the social and cultural impacts of the British Empire from the late eighteenth century to the present. The creation of Britain’s global web of Empire necessitated the creation of the globalised Imperial subject – both governing and governed by Empire – and the development of transnational and diasporic communities. These globalised subjects ranged from the white settler to the victims of forced labour, the emergence of the ‘hybridised’ colonised elite, and non-white communities in Britain today. This module will allow you to analyse the worlds of the colonial and postcolonial migrant.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • Introduce you to the history of the British Empire through the lived experience of those that were involved in its creation, governance, operation and decline
  • Explore the recent social and cultural turn in the history-writing of Empire
  • Focus upon the lived, global experiences of those involved and impacted by Britain’s global web of Empire – from convict to slave, missionary to postcolonial migrant
  • Develop your skills in researching, interpreting and analysing both primary and secondary sources

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the social and cultural histories of the British Empire
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates in postcolonial and post-Orientalist history writing
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and to collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of the period
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary
  • 6. Interpret primary sources
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance
  • 12. Produce to a deadline a coherent argument

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Intellectualising the Imperial: From Voltaire to (Niall) Ferguson
  • The Bible and the Bullet: The White Settler
  • Travel-Writing and Empire
  • Empire on Display
  • Colonial Convicts/Colonial Soldiers
  • Coercive Labour
  • Disciplining the Body: Sex and Empire
  • Exiled at Home: The Emergence of Colonised Elites
  • From Marx to Marcus Garvey: Black Radicalism
  • ‘They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun’: The Rise of the Postcolonial Diaspora
  • Writing the ‘Post’ in Postcolonialism

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1010 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching20Seminars
Guided independent study 1010 x 1-hour workshops
Guided independent study 260Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment plan1000 words1-12Written and oral, as appropriate

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment703000 words1-12Oral and Written
Group Presentation3030 minute live, group presentation, + supporting materials; also evidenced by reflective coversheets1-12Oral and Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written assignment (3000 words)Written assignment (3000 words)1-12Referral/Deferral period
Presentation750-word-equivalent recorded presentation with other materials as standard; if not possible, then 750-word script for presentation with other materials as standard1-12Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment consists of a 3000 word essay, as in the original assessment, but replaces participation in the presentation with a 750 word written script that could be delivered in such a presentation. The re-assessment consists of a 3000-word essay or written assignment, as in the original assessment, but replaces participation in the group presentation with an individual presentation equivalent to an individual’s contribution, to be recorded and submitted with all supporting materials as for the original assessment; failing this, students should submit aa written script that could be delivered in such a presentation (and which is the 750 words) along with all supporting materials as for the original assessment.equivalent of 10 minutes of speech.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Christopher A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World: Global Connections and Comparisons, 1780-1914 , (London: Blackwell, 2004).
  • Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness , (London: Verso, 1993).
  • Antoinette Burton, Empire in Question: Reading, Writing and Teaching British Imperialism , (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2011).
  • Brent Hayes Edwards, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation and the Rise of Black Internationalism , (Cambridge, Mass. And London: Harvard University Press, 2003).
  • Linda Colley, The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History , (London: Harper Press, 2007).
  • Vijay Prashad, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity , (Boston: Beacon, 2001).
  • David Arnold, The Tropics and the Travelling Gaze: India, Landscape and Science, 1800-1856 , (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006).
  • Robert J.C. Young, Colonial Desire: Hybridity in Theory, Culture and Race , (London: Routledge, 1995).
  • Joya Chatterjee and David Washbrook (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the South Asian Diaspora , (London: Routledge, 2013).
  • Pankaj Mishra, From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia , (London: Penguin, 2013).
  • Bill Schwarz, The White Man’s World , (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient , (London: Bloomsbury, 1992).
  • Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia , (London: Faber and Faber, 1990).
Credit value30
Module ECTS


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