Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Remaking Modern British History

Unit code HIST60041
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by History
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course locates the history of modern Britain with the historiography of the period. The course content therefore follows the key trends in historiographical approaches to Modern Britain. Weekly seminars therefore address topics such as:

  • History from below
  • Four Nations History
  • The Cultural Turn
  • Technopolitical History
  • Women’s History
  • Gender History
  • Histories of sexuality
  • New imperial history
  • National Identities


This course aims to train students to engage critically with the historiography of modern Britain and to situate their own work and that of others within different historical traditions, cultural and political contexts and in terms of methodology.

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly 3-hour student-centred workshop/seminar .

The course will be supported by Blackboard. This will be used to provide relevant course materials. Assignments will be submitted online via Turnitin on BB.

Videos and weblinks available via Blackboard.

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the historiography of modern Britain, and a critical awareness of current developments in the field;
  • Show a comprehensive understanding a variety of approaches, including methodological approaches, utilised in the production of historical scholarship.

Intellectual skills

Intellectual skills:

  • Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in modern British history;
  • Develop a critical and analytical approach to primary source materials;
  • Identify and evaluate key concepts and theoretical models underpinning different approaches to the past.

Practical skills

Practical skills:

  • Synthesise large amounts of material, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • Produce well-written, concise and analytically precise reports and reviews;
  • Compile specialist bibliographies;
  • Develop confidence in oral presentation and discussion of complex ideas.

Assessment methods

Book review, 1000 words (20%)

Essay, 5000 words (80%)

Recommended reading

Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (Yale, 1992)

E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (London, 1963) 

Sheila Rowbotham, Hidden From History: 300 Years of Women's Oppression and the Fight Against It (London, 1973)

L. Davidoff & C. Hall, Family Fortunes. Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (London, 1987)

Patrick Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City (London, 2003)

Bill Schwartz, The White Man’s World: Memories of Empire (Oxford, 2011)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 267

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Frank Mort Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This course introduces graduate students to some key approaches in the historiography of modern Britain. It explores how the advent of 'history from below', the 'new' imperial, political and religious histories, and the rise of women's history, gender history, the histories of sexuality and race along with the 'cultural turn' and the 'four nations' approach have influenced the ways in which historians have written about the British past. The course encourages students to engage critically with historical scholarship and to explore both the methodologies and the cultural and political contexts of historical writing. In so doing, it provides a platform for students' own historical research and enables them to situate their work within wider historiographical contexts.

Pre-requisite units: None

Co-requisite units: None

Available as a free choice: Yes

Return to course details