Instructor: Dr Barbara Holler
A survey of the ‘New Imperialism’ of the late 19th and 20th centuries. The course examines the origins and course of European expansion in Africa and Asia, justifications for and theories of empire, and the 20th century decolonization process. It will conclude with reflection on the New Imperialism from the vantage point of ‘globalization’.
Available in Summer 2018.
PREREQUISITE Level 2 or above.
Until few decades ago European empires dominated the whole of the globe, from India to the Middle East and from China to Africa. New Imperialism, as their rule came to be known, was the first truly globalised moment in history. Today’s world is to a large extent the product of those empires. But what facilitated their rapid rise? How did the imperial centres manage the vast territories under their control? And how did the colonised people receive and resist foreign domination? To answer these questions is to understand the history of modern day globalization.
HIST 273 examines through an interdisciplinary approach three key themes: the ROOTS of European imperialism, its rise and appeal; the EXPERIENCE of the empire both for the metropolitan imperial public and the colonised people; and the RESISTANCE against the empires, focusing on the anti-colonial critique and the ensuing collapse of the old empires. It finishes with a survey of the afterlives of imperialism from the Cold War to the humanitarian wars of the last two decades.
By the end of the course successful students will be able to:
- know the history of European imperialism and of the wider relations between the West and the rest of the world in the last two hundred years
- engage critically with all main contemporary debates on imperialism and its legacy
- use methods from cultural and political theory, postcolonial studies and literary analysis.
- engage in primary source research and analysis
- construct a research plan, engage closely with its different phases and publicly present their findings in a reflective manner
Experiential learning opportunities
There are two ELOs in the course:
- a visit to the Catty Sark vessel and the Maritime Museum where we will visit an exhibition on the British East India Company
- and a walking tour of the imperial centre of London, including the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Because of the small size of our teaching groups, attendance and participation counts for at least 20% of the final mark. The rest of the assessment will take place through a combination of the following:
- one essay
- one research project that will develop throughout the length of the course, including short reviews and a final presentation
- reports (max 500 words) on primary research (eg archives and interviews) and other research tasks (eg terminologies and definitions, reflections on class discussions)
There are no exams at the end.