[skip to content]

Department of Politics and International Studies

Introduction to Global History

Course Code:
153400084
Unit value:
1
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Full Year

Introduction to Global History provides students with a broad understanding of the development of the modern world system. Beginning with 1492 and the discovery of the Americas by Columbus, the course emphasises what was happening outside Europe as a more integrated system of economic, military, political and social linkages developed on a world scale. This reverses the usual optic in which everything is viewed from the perspective of Europe (and latterly the United States) outwards. We ask, for example, what was happening in the Mughal, Mongol, Chinese and Ottoman empires in 1648, the date of the Peace of Westphalia in Europe from which traditional accounts of International Relations mark the beginning of the modern global system. The course begins by asking what we might mean by ‘global history,’ then considers issues including trade and exploration, slavery, colonialism and revolution, moving through the world wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War in the non-Western as well as Western worlds, the creation of a global economic system and the impact of 9/11 and the return of ‘Indian Ocean politics’ with the rise of India and China to the prominence they enjoyed at the very beginning of modern history.

Course topics will include
1. WHAT IS GLOBAL HISTORY?
2. THE WORLD IN 1492
3. TRADE AND EXPLORATION
4. ENCOUNTERING DIFFERENCE
5. SLAVERY AS A GLOBAL SYSTEM
6. THE GREAT DIVERGENCE
7. THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS
8. EUROPEAN EMPIRE
9. THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF WORLD WAR 1
10. THE MAKING OF THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST
11. WORLD WAR II AND ITS REVOLUTIONARY EFFECTS
12. DECOLONISATION
13. COLD WAR IN THE CORE
14. COLD WAR IN THE PERIPHERY
15. LIBERAL INTERNATIONALISM
16. THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER AFTER 1945
17. NEOLIBERALISM AND GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
18. POST-1989 NEW WORLD ORDER
19. THE WORLD AFTER 9/11
20. THE FUTURE OF THE GLOBAL SYSTEM

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this course a student should be able to 

  • Identify and appraise different perspectives on the development of the modern world system
  • Identify and appraise concepts in International Relations relevant to the understanding of the politics of global history
  • Analyse critically historical accounts of the development of the modern world system
  • Conceptualise and prepare in written form arguments based on the analysis of different accounts of global history as they relate to international politics
  • Develop specific research skills in areas of international politics and world history
  • Identify core puzzles within the theory and practice of international normative politics, create a basic research design with case study to address them, develop this design in consultation with unit lecturers, undertake the research, and write up the results in a 3,000-word assessed coursework essay

Method of assessment

Assessment is 60% unseen examination, 30% coursework and 10% seminar presentation.  The coursework may be resubmitted.