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MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
War, Culture and Conflict

Unit code HIST61041
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


In any year the specific content will depend on the availability of members of the team of tutors assigned to this course. The current scope is as follows:
1. Introduction to theories of collective memory and their application to the remembrance of war.
2. The Soldier's War: the experience of combat.
3. Gender and the experience of war.
4. Diaries of war and the problem of privacy.
5. The collective memory of war and political movements.
6. War memorials and commemorative ritual
7. Film and the popular memory of modern war in Britain.
8. Remembering the saturation bombing of Germany in WW2.
9. Cultures of the bomb in the Cold War era.
10. Museum representations of war.
11. Representations of war and im/mobility.


The course aims to provide an intellectual framework for the study of the cultural history of war. It aims to teach students the difference between military history and the cultural history of war, which is focused on the meanings and materiality of war as they impacted on people in specific social settings and at particular historical moments.

Teaching and learning methods

12 x 3-hour workshops combining short lectures and student-led discussion and presentations, and including classroom use of images, material objects, films and texts.
Week by week guide to sessions, including questions to address while reading, reading lists, PDFs and library links to essential reading. The essay will be submitted online via Turnitin on BB.
Videos and weblinks available through Blackboard

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Differentiate between military history and the cultural history of war;
  • Understand the varied meanings of the collective memory of war;
  • Be cognizant of historical approaches to the impacts of war and of popular responses to violent conflict across time and across the globe.

Intellectual skills

Intellectual skills:

  • Participate in informed debate, and conduct independent research using both secondary material and archival sources, in relation to questions relating to war, culture and history;
  • Formulate a research question based on scholarly literature at the forefront of the discipline and adopt an appropriate method for addressing and answering that question;
  • To develop analytical skills which can be applied to primary or secondary material;
  • To synthesize in a meaningful and incisive manner a wealth of information gathered and analysed through independent research.

Practical skills

Practical skills:

  • Perform bibliographical searches, utilise databases, conduct interviews, and identify texts, visual evidence and material objects, relevant to the cultural history of war;
  • Present complex ideas in coherent and accessible form in oral, visual and written format;
  • Identify, analyse and apply a wide range of data;
  • Formulate and design a range of proposals; identify appropriate intellectual, methodological and resource toolkit for successful completion of proposal;
  • Manage a sustained program of regular weekly work;
  • Present ideas fluently in writing and orally;
  • Gain experience in problem solving, leadership and teamwork. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transferable skills and personal qualities:

  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing about issues relating to the cultural and social impacts of violent conflict;
  • Organise own learning through self-management and work to deadlines;
  • Using ICT for research and presentation purposes;
  • Demonstrate the ability to work in a group context and show leadership;
  • Identify, analyse and apply a wide range of data to formulate and solve problems;
  • Ability to bring analytical and research skills to bear on the formulation and design of proposals.

Assessment methods

1. Source analysis, 1500 words (20%)

2. Essay, 4500 words (80%)

Recommended reading

Ashplant, T.G., Graham Dawson and Michael Roper (eds), The Politics of War, Memory and Commemoration, Routledge, 2000
Boyer P.S. By the bomb's early light: American thought and culture at the dawn of the atomic age (1994)

Bourke, Joanna, An Intimate History of Killing. Face to Face Killing in 20th Century Warfare (London, 1999)

Eley, G. 'Finding the People's War: Film, British Collective Memory, and World War II' American Historical Review 106:3, (2001) pp. 818-838.

Evans M. and K. Lunn, War and memory in the twentieth century (1997).

Lloyd, David (1998), Battlefield Tourism: Pilgrimage and the Commemoration of the Great War in Britain, Australia and Canada, 1919-1939, Oxford: Berg

Moeller, Robert G. 'Bombing War in Germany, 2005-1940: Back to the Future?' Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History. Ed. Yuki Tanaka and Marilyn B. Young. New York: New Press, 2009. 46-76.

Seraphim, Franziska, War Memory and Social Politics in Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006)

Winter, Jay and Sivan, E., eds., War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (1999)

Zahra, Tara (2009), 'Lost children: displacement, family, and nation in postwar Europe', Journal of Modern History, 81, no. 1, 45-85

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 267

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Tunstall Allcock Unit coordinator

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