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Level 4

4AAH1008 World History 1870s - 2000s

Credit value: 30 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Vincent Hiribarren
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (100%)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 1-hour lectures (weekly); 20 x 1-hour seminars (weekly)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

Single semester version for Study Abroad students

  • 4AAH1108 World History I
  • 4AAH1208 World History II

Single semester versions of the module are available to study abroad students only.


Assessment: 4AAH1108 & 4AAH120: Coursework (100%), comprising: 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each).

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

World History is a way of thinking about, approaching and doing history, as well as a way of understanding the history of the world. Though diversely understood, studied, and presented, its core concerns are comparison, interconnections, and exchange across borders—challenging more traditional nation-state based histories or histories centred on Europe and the West. This first-year module is an introduction to World History.

Starting in 1870, a moment that some historians think of as “a world connecting” in ways significantly different from the early modern period (Rosenberg et al, 2012), the module takes students through developments and events of global importance or relevance in the next century and a half. Three strands will particularly stand out:

  • Globalisation and its history: the expanding, uneven and contested processes of economic, technological, social, cultural and intellectual integration of the globe since the 1870s; space-time compression; local formulations of global horizons and imaginings, global consciousness, and global governance.
  • Imperialism and its consequences: emancipations and decolonisations; the formation of and resistance to racialised global orders; the persistence of unequal relations in global politics.
  • Histories that do not take Europe and the West as an epicentre, but rather offer de-centred and diverse perspectives on everyday life across the globe and on world historical processes and events (world wars and revolutions, 1960s protest movements, the Cold War, consumerism, poverty, political ideologies and alternative futures.

"World History 1870s - 2000s" therefore asks students to think thematically and transversally; to detect connections and contrasts between events and phenomena across the globe; to think beyond dominant Western-centred narratives; and to consider multiple possibilities of periodising the last hundred and fifty years - in short, to develop "a world historical imagination".

Suggested Introductory Reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books not mandatory. 
However, we recommend reading part of Rosenberg et al (2012) and Bentley et al (2011) ahead of term 1, and Iriye (2014) ahead of term 2. This will help you familiarise yourself with World History as an approach, and give you background knowledge on regions or histories you are less familiar with.

Semester one
Rosenberg, Emily S, ed., A World Connecting: 1870 - 1945, (Cambridge, MA; London: Belknap, 2012)

Bentley, Jerry H, ed., The Oxford Handbook of World History, (Oxford: OUP, 2011)

Pomeranz, Kenneth, and McNeill, John, eds., The Cambridge World History, Volume 7: Production, Destruction and Connection, 1750 - present, (Cambrdige: CUP, 2015)

Semester two
Iriye, Akira, Global Interdependence: The World after 1945, (Cambridge: HUP, 2014)

Westad, Odd Arne, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of our Times, 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

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