MA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Remaking Modern British History

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST65041
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course introduces graduate students to some of the key approaches adopted by historians of modern Britain and the major debates generated by these approaches. The course will open by using the Royal Historical Society's report on 'Race, Ethnicity and Equality' (2018) to inform a discussion of students' experiences of British History and debates about the decolonization of curricula. Weekly seminars will then examine a series of key texts and approaches, including ‘history from below’, 'new imperial' and 'new political' histories, the rise of women’s history, gender history, and histories of sexuality, and approaches to the 'four nations', race and national identity..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.  


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.

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 wide-ranging understanding of a variety of approaches, including methodological approaches, utilised in the production of historical scholarship.

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

  • 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

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, 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;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a high level.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

  • written feedback on book review and on essay
  • oral feedback in context of class discussion
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

James Vernon, Modern Britain: 1750 to the Present (Cambridge, 2017) Core Text  

Royal History Society report, 'Race, Ethnicity & Equality' (2018)  

Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven and London, 1992)  

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

David Edgerton, The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History (London, 2018)  

Catherine Hall and Keith McClelland, Race, Nation and Empire. Making Histories, 1750 to the Present (Manchester, 2010)  

Kennetta Hammond Perry, London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford, 2016)  

Jon Lawrence, Electing Our Masters: The Hustings in British Politics from Hogarth to Blair (Oxford, 2009).  

Sonya O. Rose, Which People's War?: National Identity and Citizenship in Wartime Britain (Oxford, 2003)  

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

Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics, and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (3rd edition, London, 2012)  


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jack Webb Unit coordinator

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