The module explores attitudes to empire and imperial expansion between the 18th and the 19th century. It will cover debates on empire in Europe and will focus first on Enlightenment attitudes (from Diderot, Herder, Raynal to Adam Smith and Edmund Burke), and then on nineteenth century writers, from Benjamin Constant, to Sismondi, Cattaneo, Mill and Tocqueville. By so doing, the module will discuss at the relationship between ideas of freedom civilisation, culture, international trade and Empire, and will provide an analysis of the meanings of concepts of Empire.
The core module `Global Connections, Local Contexts' provides the intellectual spine to the MA Global History. It explores the challenges and potential of global history. The time period covered ranges from early modern to contemporary, and the course is divided into four closely integrated blocks: theoretical approaches to global history; the global history of ideas; power, knowledge and resistance and regional case-studies. The conjoining of `connections' and `contexts' denotes the fact that this MA Global History does not merely try to cover an extended chronological range of world history; rather, it is linked by showing how transnational concepts are applied, absorbed, and transformed in particular localities. There is an emphasis on how ideas and theories `travel' and how they change in doing so, how cultural forms in general and concepts of power, knowledge and resistance in particular are understood from different perspectives (metropolitan and colonial) and how historically grounded comparisons can meaningfully be made.
On the eve of the Egyptian Revolution of 1919-1921, the anti-colonial nationalist Saad Zaghloul solemnly reminded his imperial overlords: 'we are going ahead and no-one can stop our march.' Nationalists like Zaghloul challenged ageing Empires the world over - and with some success. By the end of the last century, the territories under European rule had shrunk to a fraction of the size they were before 1914. This module explores some of the key themes involved in decolonization including imperialism and nationalism; social and cultural change in colonial societies as well as debates surrounding terms such as 'post-colonialism' and 'independence.' It takes a comparative perspective on decolonization, enabling students to see transnational connections between independence movements as well as their similarities and differences.