Module HXH-1012:
Modern Politics in Action

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Nikolaos Papadogiannis

Overall aims and purpose

This module addresses politics since the eruption of World War I. It explores whether the world was shaken by conflicting ideologies in the first half of the 20th century, which was followed by an ideological anti-climax or “the end of ideology” since the 1950s. The module aims to familiarise students with diverse ideologies, such as Liberalism, Communism, Social Democracy, Fascism and National Socialism. It acquaints students with politics in action, namely how and to what extent ideologies have shaped collective action and institutional change. It takes a global perspective, addressing Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Course content

An indicative list of the topics that the module will cover is the following: World War 1 The Russian Revolution Stalinism Nazi Germany Fascist Italy The Spanish Civil War World War 2 The Cold War Decolonisation Europeanisation: from the EEC to Brexit Global protest around 1968 Terrorism Humanitarianism The nationalist revival and the breakup of Yugoslavia

The module seminars will delve into specific types of historical sources, such as oral testimonies and photographs. Students will reflect on their potential and shortcomings for the study of modern politics.

Welsh-medium seminars will also be available on a similar range of topics.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

D+ (48%) Work is marked D+ if it: shows evidence of acceptable amounts of reading, but does not go much beyond what was referenced in lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers much of the necessary ground but fails to discuss one or a few vital aspects of a topic; deploys relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole, or sustains a clear argument only for the greater part of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points, but sometimes fails to do so, or shows difficulty in weighing evidence, or chooses unreliable evidence; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but without devoting sustained discussion to this; is for the most part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious problems in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but occasionally misunderstands their appropriate use or makes mistakes in their presentation. D (45%) Work is marked D if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based partly on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers some of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only some parts of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical or inappropriate evidence; shows some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is often correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation. D- (42%) Work is marked D- if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based largely on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers parts of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some potentially relevant material but fails to bring it together into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only parts of the piece; occasionally deploys evidence to back some individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical, or inappropriate evidence; may show some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is in part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.

good

B+ (68%) Work will receive a B+ mark if it is consistently strong in: covering the necessary ground in depth and detail; advancing a well structured, relevant, and focused argument; analysis and deployment of an appropriate range of historical evidence and consideration of possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate. B (65%) Work will receive a B mark if it: is clear that it is based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in depth and detail; advances a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate. B- (62%) Work will receive a B- mark if it: is clearly based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in some depth and detail; advances a properly-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.

excellent

A+ (87%) At this level, first-class work will also have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail, but will further deploy the evidence consistently accurately and give indications of deploying unexpected primary and secondary sources. It will habitually demonstrate a particularly acute and critical awareness of the historiography, including conceptual approaches, and give a particularly impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical or archaeological debate. It will show a particularly sophisticated approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. It will be original work. The standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently first-class work. In essays standards of presentation will be very high. A (80%) At this level, first-class work will have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail. It will usually also demonstrate an acute awareness of historiography, and give an impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical or 2 of 5 30 Mar 2017 archaeological debate. It may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. In essays and dissertations standards of presentation will be high. A- (74%) A first-class mark at this level is often earned simply by demonstrating one or more of the features of a good upper-second essay to a peculiar degree, for example presenting a particularly strong organization of argument, strong focus, wide range of reading, engagement with the historiography, depth of understanding, an unobjectionable style, and strong presentation.

C- to C+

C+ (58%) Work will receive a C+ mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains partially superficial; covers the important aspects of the relevant field, but in some places lacks depth; advances a coherent and relevant argument; employs some evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only a few or no mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient. C (55%) Work will receive a C mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains superficial; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth; advances a coherent and largely relevant argument; employs some limited evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only limited mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, contain some mistakes or be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient. C- (52%) Work will receive a C- mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but little knowledge of in-depth studies (for first-year work the student may not have read beyond a few standard works; at second or third year the student may not have read a good selection of journal articles and specialist monographs); covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth or misses a significant area (for second- and third-year work this may mean that it fails to deploy the historical details found in specialist literature); advances a coherent, and sometimes relevant argument, but drifts away from tackling the task in hand (for example, by ordering the argument in an illogical way, becoming distracted by tangential material, or lapsing into narrative of only partial pertinence); usually employs evidence to back its points, but occasionally fails to do so or deploys an insufficient range; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways, but may fail to get to the heart of the central scholarly debate or fully understand a key point (in second- and third-year work this may extend to a failure to discuss important subtleties or ambiguities in the evidence, or to a lack of awareness of the current state of historical debate); is reasonably well presented and contains appropriate references and bibliography, but makes some mistakes in presentation or appropriate use.

Learning outcomes

    1. Communicate ideas clearly and lucidly in seminar discussions.
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of some of the major events, concepts and problems relating to modern politics
    1. Develop and reinforce foundational study skills taught across Year 1 e.g. using reading lists, applying scholarly apparatus, reflecting on feedback
    1. Differentiate between ‘academic’ and ‘public’ history
    1. Construct historical arguments by utilising a range of sources as evidence in assessed work (summative) and in seminar debates.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
INDIVIDUAL BLOG Podcast

For this assignment, you will be required to produce an ‘Open Educational Resource’ as a vodcast/podcast: it will probably take the form of a Powerpoint with narration, explaining one of the topics identified in the module handbook at the beginning of the module. The purpose of this is to familiarise you with the concept of public history. Public history, in very broad terms, means the way history is applied to a public audience, and it is an increasingly important form of communication for historians.

30
EXAM Exam

The students are expected to demonstrate knowledge they have acquired as well as to construct historical arguments in relation to the module. There will be two sets of questions: one linked to the lectures and one to the seminars.

40
Written assignment, including essay Book review

Students are expected to review a book linked to the module. It is up to them which book to choose as long as it is associated with the module. They are expected to accurately summarise the content of the book as well as to critically engage with what reviewers of this book have written in scholarly journals.

30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study

Although the teaching methods utilised in this module will provide you with a strong foundation in the topic, it also requires you to be proactive in terms of reading extensively around subjects, preparing for classes, writing assignments and responding to feedback.

166
Tutorial

There will be 2 drop-in sessions, where you can discuss with the course leader any thoughts of yours on how to structure and what to include in your podcast and your book review.

4
Lecture

The lectures will provide you with knowledge and understanding of the key themes and issues related to this module. They will also provide an overview of the historiography and access to primary sources

20
Seminar

During the seminars you will critically reflect on various scholarly approaches to modern politics. You will also familiarise yourselves with primary sources used by historians who examine modern politics.

10

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
  • understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
  • being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
  • being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
  • producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
  • planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
  • marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
  • presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
  • preparing effective written communications for different readerships
  • making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
  • making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
  • making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
  • collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
  • appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
  • critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions

Resources

Resource implications for students

No

Reading list

  1. Mark Mazower, Dark Continent. Europe's Twentieth Century (1998)
  2. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (1994)
  3. O.A. Westad, The Global Cold War (2007)
  4. Stephen Lee, European Dictatorships 1918-1945 (1987)
  5. Carole Fink, Detlef Junker, 1968: The World Transformed (1998)
  6. Sabrina Ramet, The three Yugoslavias. State-building and legitimation, 1918-2005 (2006)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: