Empire: British Imperialism and Colonialism

Course NameEmpire: British Imperialism and Colonialism
Course CodeHIS329 / HIS529
DescriptionThis course offers an in-depth introduction to the British Empire and British imperialism from the early modern period until the 20th century, including its legacy down to contemporary times. The course charts the story of the British Empire, encompassing its uncertain and incoherent beginnings; the development an Atlantic world commercial and geopolitical system based on slavery; the shock of the American Revolution; the opening up of a ‘Second Empire’ in Asia and the southern hemisphere; the British transition from preeminent slave traders to global abolitionists; the Victorian imperial mission and its consequences; and the Empire’s twilight years in the era of the two world wars. The course is keenly interested in exploring the historiography of the Empire. It requires students to read and reflect critically on the key questions and answers generated by historians and the debates which these contributions have inspired. Having completed the course, the student will have an enriched appreciation of the complexity and significance of the British Empire.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students will be able to:
– Comprehend the broad chronological progression of the British Empire, from origins to its extinction;
– Appreciate the complexity of the Empire, from temporal, geographical, cultural etc. perspectives;
– Identify the major historiographical controversies relating to the history of the British Empire;
– Appreciate and be able to discuss the various characteristics, merits and weaknesses of the seminal contributions to the historiography of the British Empire;
– Offer evaluations on historiographical debates and puzzles based on careful analysis and critical thinking;
– Demonstrate the ability to condense a wide variety of reading into a cogent presentation of a significant historical problem for the benefit of class of peers.
SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS
PrerequisitesHIS103 / HIS600