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BA History and Russian

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914

Course unit fact file
Unit code HIST10311
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course introduces students to European history from c.1750 to c.1914 to discover how and why the lives of Europeans were shaped by states, nations, and empires in the modern era. The course will serve as a thematic introduction to the study of modern history at degree level. Most states claim to embody a nation, and most people claim to belong to a nation. But it was not always so –European states, nations, and empires in their modern manifestations were created over the course of the long nineteenth century, with important implications for our contemporary world. Between 1750 and 1914, European states, nations, and empires were crucial sites for the reorganisation of social and political life – including key categories of race, class, and gender – at home and abroad as they became engines of global expansion and imperial domination. This course will therefore introduce students to a new approach towards European history that studies Europe as part of the wider world. 


This module is only available to students on History-owned programmes; and History joint honours programmes owned by other subject areas. Available to students on an Erasmus programme.


The course aims to:  

1) provide a thematic survey of the modern history of Europe in its global context;  

2) introduce students to some important theoretical approaches to major themes in the study of modern history; 

3) practise weekly reading skills; 

4) encourage students to explore diverse ways of understanding change and continuity in the history of Europe over time and think about questions of domination, power and inequality 

5) practise taking notes on relevant information from lectures and seminars 


Teaching and learning methods

 2 x 1 hour lectures, 1 x 1 hour seminar per week and 1 x course unit office hour per week.


All the support materials for the course will be on BB, and the portfolio pieces and the essay will be submitted and returned via this medium.


Further weekly meeting times will be scheduled with the lecturers on the course for drop-in sessions.


Knowledge and understanding

  • Be familiar with some of the main theoretical approaches that have shaped the historiography of nation and state in modern Europe;

  • Have critically examined these approaches in examining a number of historical case-studies; 

  • Be confident in using a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the multi-dimensional meanings and impacts of modernity, nationalism and imperialism. 

Intellectual skills

  • Students will apply a range of theoretical approaches to a range of empirical case studies, to demonstrate their ability to bring the qualities of one to bear on the other.  

  • They will regularly practise how to extract arguments from academic writing. 

Practical skills

  • Students will learn how to prioritise tasks,  
  • detect academic arguments in historical writing,  
  • conduct weekly reading,  
  • and write with brevity and precision.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Clear, brief writing.

  • Regular reading and thorough preparation for seminars.

  • Confidence in presenting opinions orally and in writing.

Employability skills

As a first-year History course unit, the course provides expert training in analysis and critical reasoning and the range of forms of written assessment develop important transferable skills in communication and presentation; argument and debate; teamwork; research and time management.

Assessment methods

Literature review (Summative) 30%

Essay Plan (Summative) 70%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback in seminars and office hours (one-to-one feedback)


Written feedback on Turnitin on portfolio pieces and essay



Recommended reading

Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 2014) 

C.A. Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914 (Oxford, 2004). 

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference (Princeton, 2010). 

Richard J. Evans, The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 (London, 2016). 

Holly Case, The Age of Questions (Princeton, 2018). 

Alan Forrest and Matthias Middell (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the French Revolution in World History (London, 2015). 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jean-Marc Dreyfus Unit coordinator

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