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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL105
Level: HE1 Module Co-ordinator: DYSON PT Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability

Year Long

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Coursework - Essay (1500 words)
Essay (1500 words)
Formal exam (2 hrs)
Qualifying Condition(s) 
  • 50% attendance at tutorials/seminars is required to take the final exam

Module Overview

This module provides students with an overview of key historical events in the 20th century. In so doing, it allows students to assess key trends in national and international politics.



Module Aims

The overall aim of this module is to: 

  • Introduce students to major political, economic, social and cultural processes and events (national as well as international) which have shaped international relations since the end of the nineteenth century. 
  • To provide a historical complement to relevant parts of module POL101, Introduction to Politics & International Relations. 
  • To introduce students to modes of explanation, interpretation and analysis proper to the study of history.
Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to: 

  • Demonstrate a coherent grasp of the sequence of major international developments since the end of the nineteenth century; 
  • Describe and analyse a range of contemporary historical phenomena, including differing interpretations of causes, effects and significations offered by historians and/or political actors.

Generic Learning Outcomes

Cognitive Skills 

  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources. 
  • Construct reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement. 
  • Manage their own learning self-critically. 
  • Apply theoretical frameworks to policy/empirical analysis.

Transferable skills 

  • Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing. 
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organization and time-management.
  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals. 
  • Use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information.
Module Content

The order of the module is by broad chronological divisions within which the approach is problem-centred and thematic.

  • Introduction: overview of international history since the end of the nineteenth century.
  • The balance of power system in its evolving geopolitical and economic environment. 
  • Causes and consequences of World War I: costs and benefits of total war. 
  • The global economy in the inter-war years: from reconstruction to depression. 
  • Liberal internationalism (1): principles, instruments and the failure of collective security. 
  • Fascism, ethnic nationalism and communism as factors of destabilisation in Europe and Asia. 
  • Causes and consequences of World War II. 
  • Economic models and development: forms of capitalism versus forms of state socialism. 
  • Liberal internationalism (2): the UN and other multilateral institutions. 
  • Decolonisation, new states and postcolonial relations. 
  • The Cold War, the Superpowers and their spheres of political, economic and military influence. 
  • End of the Cold War: interaction of internal and external conditions. 
  • Global trends in the post-Cold War period: a provisional analysis.
Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures, seminars, viewing and discussion of documentary films, prescribed reading, independent learning.

Selected Texts/Journals

Hobsbawm, E. (1994) Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914-91. London: Michael Joseph.

James, H. (2003) Europe Reborn: A History, 1914-2000. Harlow: Longman.

Keylor, W. (2001) The Twentieth Century World: An International History, 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keylor, W. (2003) A World of Nations: The International Order since 1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lowe, J. & Pearce, R. (eds.) (2001) Rivalry and Accord: International Relations, 1870-1914. Hodder Arnold.

Vinen, R. (2002) A History in Fragments. Europe in the Twentieth Century, 2nd ed. London: Abacus.

Williamson, D. (2003) War and Peace: International Relations, 1919-39, 2nd ed. Hodder Arnold.

Young, J. & Kent, J. (2004) International Relations since 1945: A Global History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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