Creating National Histories
Creating National Histories: Europe and China since 1789 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
A grounding in historical knowledge is important for understanding the contexts in which texts, events, and ideas emerge. This module will introduce you to key events in European and Asian History, providing you with an understanding of some foundational moments in the making of the modern world. Through this module, you will develop their awareness of the interconnected nature of national histories. Furthermore, this module will develop your ability to contextualise nation-based events in terms of the development of modern and contemporary culture, mentalities and value systems. The module is structured around five interrelated blocks:
Block One: French Revolutions These lectures will invite students to explore why the French Revolution mattered, and how its legacy still matters over two centuries later. Since 1789, few countries in the world have not experienced a revolution, and in many cases the upheavals in late eighteenth century France have provided inspiration as well as warning. From the Declaration of the Rights of Man, to the Terror and its aftermaths, students will gain an insight into the birth pangs of modernity.
Block Two: From Italian Unification to Fascism These sessions will provide students with an insight into the major historical events that contributed to the unification of Italy in 1861, and to the rise of Fascism in the 1920s. After examining the complex nature of nationalism and nation-building in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Italy, the emphasis will be placed on how narratives of an Italian national identity continued to shape the political debate in the fascist regime under Benito Mussolini.
Block Three: End of Spanish Empire & Spanish Civil War These lectures will examine two key historical events that have shaped Spanish contemporary history. Firstly, the necessary re-assessment of Spanish national identity after the loss of the remaining overseas colonies in the 1898 Spanish-American war. The tensions generated by the end of the empire would eventually result in the military coup of 1936 that led to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which will be the second key historical event to be studied.
Block Four: From National Socialism to the Cold War These sessions will begin by exploring the National Socialist dictatorship in Germany and the events of the Second World War, before assessing their impact on the subsequent shape of the world and examining the divisions of the Cold War. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR mark the end of this period, and the beginning of a new world order. The seminars will examine examples of propaganda from both national socialist Germany and socialist East Germany, and discuss representations and media reports from both sides of the Cold War.
Block Five: Xinhai Revolution – The Founding of the Republic of China and The May Fourth Movement The first lecture in this series will help students to understand and reflect on Chinese civilisation and the Founding of the Republic of China through Chinese Revolution. The second session will explore a massive scale student protest, the May Fourth Movement (1919), which functions as a point of reference for China and is seen as a catalyst for the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.
-threshold -D- to D+ :For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various topics studied, with some understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted. They will demonstrate a some factual knowledge of the key historical events covered in the lecture series, with limited understanding of the implications of these events for the evolution of European and Asian societies and cultures.
-good -C- to B+: For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a sold comprehension of the various topics studied, with clear understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources. They will demonstrate a solid factual knowledge of the key historical events covered in the lecture series, and a good understanding of the implications of these events for the evolution of European and Asian societies and cultures.
-excellent -A- and above: For the award of the highest grade, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the various topics studied, with a nuanced understanding of the correlations and interrelations highlighted, having also analysed and evaluated key sources thoroughly and sensitively. They will demonstrate a firm knowledge of the key historical events covered in the lecture series and have an in-depth understanding of the implications of these events for the evolution of European and Asian societies and cultures.
- Students will be introduced to the skills of critical reading and analysis.
- Students will develop their awareness of the interconnected nature of national histories.
- Students will gain an awareness of historical contexts which will enable them to situate cultural representations studied in second and final year.
- Students will gain introductory knowledge of key historical events and how they impacted the world.