Skip navigation

Enter your details to receive an email with a link to a downloadable PDF of this course and to receive the latest news and information from Northumbria University

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here


In studying for a degree in History and American Studies, you will gain an understanding of the factors that have shaped and changed the modern world. The programme is global in its nature, but you will acquire a particularly deep understanding of US history, politics, culture and society.

The two components of this Joint Honours programme complement and reinforce one another. The History side of the programme offers significant breadth, with content ranging from late-medieval Spain, Tudor England and eighteenth-century Asia to Europe in the ‘age of extremes’ and the contemporary USA. Meanwhile, the American Studies part of the course means that your grasp of US history will be complemented by insights from other disciplines. By engaging with film, literature, music and politics, you will approach the American experience from different perspectives.

This dynamic and diverse course will provide you with a rich understanding of the past while enabling you to engage with present-day issues and challenges.

In studying for a degree in History and American Studies, you will gain an understanding of the factors that have shaped and changed the modern world. The programme is global in its nature, but you will acquire a particularly deep understanding of US history, politics, culture and society.

The two components of this Joint Honours programme complement and reinforce one another. The History side of the programme offers significant breadth, with content ranging from late-medieval Spain, Tudor England and eighteenth-century Asia to Europe in the ‘age of extremes’ and the contemporary USA. Meanwhile, the American Studies part of the course means that your grasp of US history will be complemented by insights from other disciplines. By engaging with film, literature, music and politics, you will approach the American experience from different perspectives.

This dynamic and diverse course will provide you with a rich understanding of the past while enabling you to engage with present-day issues and challenges.

Course Information


Level of Study

Mode of Study
3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad


City Campus, Northumbria University


September 2020

Department / Humanities

Our Department of Humanities includes the subject areas of History, English Literature, English Language and Linguistics, Creative Writing and American Studies.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

In your first year, your History core modules will introduce you to different time periods, places and themes, while also building up the skills that will allow you to flourish in your studies. In your American Studies modules ‘From Sea to Shining Sea’, ‘Introduction to American Studies’ and ‘Contemporary America’, you will receive a grounding in the methods and approaches that make up American Studies.

In your second and third year, you will shape your degree by selecting from a variety of options. We offer a wide range of different History options and for American Studies you will be able to pick from modules that explore the American experience from different angles, including Literature, Film, Politics and History. By undertaking specialist study led by experts, you will build up your research skills, which will culminate in your final-year dissertation. As a preparation for this, you will write an American Studies Extended Essay in your second year.

The degree programme has clear connections to present-day issues: conflict and society; global links; environmental change; debates about race and gender equality; the power of culture and the media. These themes are at the heart of our History programme, with a range of options covering such aspects. The themes are also reflected in our American Studies staff, who teach on subjects such as the US Civil War, US foreign policy, the American environment, African American civil rights, the counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area and the media’s role in US presidential politics.

Teaching will be in a variety of formats, including lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will have the opportunity to work alongside your fellow students in group exercises and discussions.

In your second year, you will have the option to study abroad for a semester or a full year on an exchange programme, for instance with one of our North American partner institutions. You will also have the opportunity to turn your degree into a four-year programme, with an additional placement year in industry or on a study abroad exchange programme.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Our course is taught by leading scholars in the fields of History and American Studies. The enthusiasm, experience and expertise of our academic staff will ensure that your student journey is both intellectually challenging and enjoyable.

Over the past decade, Northumbria University has made major investments to boost the number of academics working in History and Academic Studies. As a result, we are able to offer teaching and expert guidance on a wide range of topics. The quality of our staff’s work was acknowledged in the last UK-wide research evaluation (REF 2014), when our research publications in the Humanities were ranked within the country’s top 20.

Members of our academic staff play an active role in the British Association for American Studies, which promotes and supports the academic study of the Americas. They are also involved in editing academic journals such as French History. Major funding bodies such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust have supported the work of our academics, who are also strongly engaged in working media and collaboration with external partners.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Technology is built in to all of our courses, and will help you to connect and enjoy your learning experience. Our staff are continually experimenting with new ways of facilitating interaction, including the use of mobile technology and social media. Moreover, you will have the option of generating online content to communicate findings from your project work, for instance as part of our ‘Your Graduate Future’ module.

We offer a range of virtual learning platforms that will provide you with access to course materials, as well as an opportunity to engage with your learning community.

The University Library boasts around half a million books, with nearly 843,000 electronic books. It is open 24/7, which means that you will have constant access to everything you need to support you during your studies. Further facilities are available for students at the Institute for the Humanities, in the University’s Lipman Building, including a resource room, specialist computing equipment and interview rooms.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

At Northumbria, we offer research-led teaching. Our staff are active researchers in their fields, drawing on their own specific expertise to develop original and cutting-edge modules.

The course will allow you to develop your independent research skills from the outset. In Year 1, you will receive guidance and support from staff to help you develop your own research questions through special tasks in both the ‘Making History’ and ‘Introduction to American Studies’ modules.

In Year 2, you will produce a longer piece of independent research in the American Studies Extended Essay, as well as doing as having the opportunity to design a group project in the ‘Your Graduate Future’ module. In your final year, you will embark on your most sustained research project, the dissertation. The dissertation will allow you to formulate a sophisticated answer to a complex research problem, and you will receive expert supervision from an expert member of our academic team.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

A degree in History and American Studies will provide you with a range of competencies and skills that will put you in strong position to enter a variety of professions. From the outset, you will be encouraged to plan and think about future employment and/or further study.

In the second year, you will have the opportunity to take ‘Your Graduate Future’. This module allows you to collaborate with others on a group project in the first part of the module, followed by a work placement in the second half. Moreover, you will receive a programme of talks from Careers Service, guest speakers and alumni, alerting you to career opportunities and the ways you can prepare for them. Alternatively, you can develop an extra career edge by learning a new language or developing your existing language skills through our ‘Unilang’ programme.

You have the option to study abroad, either as a semester-long exchange in your second year or by taking an optional year abroad. Studying abroad demonstrates a range of valuable attributes – most notably self-confidence, autonomy and cultural awareness – to prospective employers.  Furthermore, you will have the chance to undertake a placement year, which will provide you with an invaluable learning experience through hands-on work in a real working environment.

At Northumbria, we regularly collaborate with external partners, from museums to schools. You will have opportunities to work alongside our partners and gain invaluable work experience and opportunities.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Our programme is designed to prepare you for the future: as someone who can think critically, communicate clearly and work effectively with others. You will learn to combine excellent research skills with the ability to analyse texts, to assess evidence and to weigh up different arguments. You will develop an understanding not only of the cultural, social and political dynamics of past societies and contemporary America, but of the modern world more generally. Your degree will enable you to become a valued contributor to the community and the wider world in which you live.

The versatile set of skills that you will develop through your studies is key to unlocking your success after graduation. Graduates from both our courses in both History and American Studies have gone onto careers in the civil service, journalism, teaching, advertising, marketing, PR and law.

Book an Open Day / Experience History and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Entry Requirements 2020/21

Standard Entry

120 UCAS Tariff points
From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas or the International Baccalaureate

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator:

Subject Requirements:
There are no specific subject requirements for this course

GCSE Requirements:
Students will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4 or C, or the equivalent.

Additional Requirements:
There are no additional requirements for this course

International Qualifications:
We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match those shown above. If you have taken qualifications outside the UK you can find out how your qualifications compare by visiting our country page

English Language Requirements:
International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit

Fees and Funding 2020/21 Entry

UK/EU Fee in Year 1**: TBC

Undergraduate fees are set by Government and are subject to annual review. Once these have been approved we will update fees/funding information for UK and EU students.

International Fee in Year 1: TBC

Scholarships for 2020/2021 entry have not been announced. Please visit the 2019/2020 international scholarship page for the 2019/2020 scholarship offer.




20/21 fees and funding information has not been confirmed. 19/20 information is listed below.

Click here for UK and EU undergraduate funding and scholarships information.

Click here for International undergraduate funding and scholarships information.

Click here for UK/EU undergraduate tuition fee information**.

Click here for International undergraduate tuition fee information.

Click here for additional costs which may be involved while studying.

Click here for information on fee liability.

If you'd like to receive news and information from us in the future about the course or finance then please complete the below form

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

Modules Overview


Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers a practical and historical introduction to American Studies as a distinct, multifaceted, and evolving discipline, while also allowing you to acquire and practice key learning, research, and communication skills which will be of use throughout your university career and beyond. The module is content driven, with readings and themes drawn from across the entire range of American history, literature, politics, and popular culture, but particular emphasis will be placed on helping you to understand and master the basic tools and protocols of academic scholarship, thereby helping you to make the transition from school to university level work.
The skills which this module will help you to develop will include finding, reading and evaluating various kinds of primary and secondary sources; understanding the ways in which scholarship advances through constructive criticism and debate; correct referencing; finding an effective academic writing style; making oral presentations; and designing, researching and writing an independent research project.

More information

AM4002 -

Contemporary America (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to key aspects of contemporary US culture, history, and politics. Chronologically the course focuses on the period from 1992 to the present; in disciplinary terms it embraces economics, film, history, international relations, literature, music, performance, politics, sexuality, and visual culture; thematically, the module emphasizes the importance of racial, ethnic, gender, class and religious identities, consumerism and globalization, domestic and international configurations of US political, social, economic, and cultural power, and the politics of cultural representation in the media and popular culture. Adopting a variegated, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the module enable you to combine an enhanced empirical knowledge of the contemporary US to useful interpretive frameworks such as postmodernism, queer theory, and globalization theory. The module is organized around a mixture of broad thematic surveys (e.g. Major Trends in Contemporary US Literature) and narrower case studies (e.g. The Challenges of Post-9/11 Literature).

More information

HI4005 -

From Sea to Shining Sea: US History from 1776 to 2008 (Core,20 Credits)

This module will provide you with an overview of the social, political and cultural development of the United States from revolutionary period to the present day. Within a broad chronological framework, this module will introduce you to key themes within modern American history: race, gender, ethnicity, class, regionalism, the media, and foreign policy. Topics include the American Constitution, Jacksonian America, the antebellum and Civil War period, Reconstruction, the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War. You will have the opportunity to consider the major controversies in American history, key concepts, and the nation’s transformation from a colony to a superpower.

More information

HI4006 -

Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe 1200-1720 (Core,20 Credits)

You will be introduced to the history of late medieval and early modern Europe from 1200 to 1720, and to a variety of topics including the interaction between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, the growing power of the monarchies of England, France, and Spain, and the development of print culture. You will engage with broader themes in medieval and early modern history, such as rural and urban society, the economy, religion, gender, culture, warfare and state formation, and voyages of discovery, and follow these comparatively across period and place. You will also learn about the different types of source material used by historians of this period of European history, such as medieval court records, state documents, popular literature, and visual images.

More information

HI4007 -

Making History (Core,20 Credits)

History is not only characterised by knowledge and understanding of past developments, but also by a broad range of skills and methods that are directly applicable to academic research. Within this wider context, this module will give you a firm grounding in the skills and methods needed for the study of history, introducing you to a range of source materials from a broad chronological spectrum. In so doing, the module explores traditions in criticism and explains the ways in which sources can be read and utilised. The module is structured along four ‘core skills’ blocks (Studying & Presenting History, Approaches to History, Researching & Interpreting History, and Feedback and Careers) which progress logically from each other and provide students with ample opportunities to engage with how historians make history. The first block introduces you to the study of History, specifically the questions of what a historian does, why society values historians, and the key skills of historians. The block also develops skills in three areas: (1) writing history; (2) reading history; (3) presenting history. The second block examines key approaches to the study of the past and allows you to demonstrate the skills gained in block one. Block three concentrates on how to find primary sources, how to read them, and how to deploy them in written work. The final block introduces you to careers in and beyond History, and asks you to reflect on your progress over the year. You will develop a critical capacity to scrutinize sources and interpretations of the past.

More information

HI4008 -

Cultures, Structures and Ideas: Making Sense of Historical Concepts (Core,20 Credits)

This module deals with major historical concepts and questions, and it allows you to study how these took (or changed) shape in different periods and parts of the world. In Semester 1, the emphasis is on the themes of empire and civilisation. You will investigate features that may have been shared by different empires and you will consider how different empires sought to rule over diverse populations. There is a direct connection to the theme of civilisation, as empires often claimed to be acting as ‘civilising’ forces. The module allows you to question such claims and to consider cultural interactions more generally.

In Semester 2, you will get to analyse and discuss a range of primary texts that will introduce you particular ideas and their historical contexts. You will, for instance, encounter key works in the history of political thought and will thus get to analyse arguments about the meaning of the state, the nature of government and the necessity for political change. Yet, the focus goes beyond politics, as you will discuss ideas about culture and society, covering themes such as medical knowledge and the role of religion in society.

The module enables you to study historical phenomena and ideas from the ancient world to present day, with a geographical scope that encompasses Europe, the USA, sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab World and China.

More information

AD5012 -

Humanities Study Abroad (40 credit) (Optional,40 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 40 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

AM5001 -

The San Francisco Bay Area (Explorations in American Studies II) (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce students to the concept of ‘place’ within an American Studies framework. It explores a particular geographical site (for example, a neighbourhood, a city, or a state) in North America, or a geographically bounded zone which incorporates part of North America (for example, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean), from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The module provides students with a nuanced understanding of the ‘place’ in question and of its broader significance within the American Experience. It encourages students to analyse and engage with the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies. The specific case study may change in any given year but the aims, outcomes and outline structure of the module will remain the same. Indicative topics include: the San Francisco Bay Area; the South; the Rust Belt; Harlem; the Mississippi River; the Atlantic World.

More information

AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

The American Studies Extended Essay is designed as an opportunity for you to apply and build on the skills you have acquired in Level Four core modules and prepare yourself for the demands of the American Studies Dissertation in Level Six. It is an exercise in independent research and is intended to be a piece of work that utilises an interdisciplinary approach to a selection of primary and secondary sources. Extended Essay topics will be developed in conjunction with an appropriate subject specialist.

More information

EL5006 -

Poetry: Tradition and Experiment (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will focus on key moments in the development of poetic theory and practice, from the early modern period to the present day. In this module you will examine poems as sites at which tradition and experiment collide and intertwine. Through the close analysis of a small number of individual poems by ground-breaking poets, you will develop your understanding of the dynamic relationship between poetic form and content. In doing so, you will reflect upon and interrogate the complex ways in which poetic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about nation, class, race, and gender. You will consider how the evolution of poetry and poetics coalesces with questions of aesthetics and ideology.

More information

EL5008 -

Tragedy (Optional,20 Credits)

What was or is tragedy? When and why did tragic drama begin to be written and performed? How have later writers of tragedy built on or surpassed early forms of tragedy? What did or does tragedy tell us about the world we live in? This module addresses these questions, with a survey of tragic drama from the classical past, through the early modern period, to the twentieth century. You will learn to contextualise each tragedy in relation to the conflicts and strains of the period in which it was made and consumed, while also thinking about the relations between writing, gender, religion, and politics, issues of literary influence, and the function of art in times of crisis, past and present.

Building on your work correlating Shakespearean tragedy and modern drama at Level 4 (Titus Andronicus and Blasted), and prefiguring your extended writing work for the dissertation and on drama-based modules such as Marlowe in Context at Level 6, this module will develop your understanding of the dramatic genre of tragedy. This will involve looking at tragedy’s earliest forms, the early modern revival and revision of such forms, and modern reworkings of the genre and its concerns.

More information

HI5004 -

Affluence and Anxiety: The US from 1920 to 1960 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will study the ways historians and other researchers have studied US history and culture from the 1920s to through the 1950s. You will assess and analyse the major developments in the United States, including, but not limited to: the 1920s economic boom, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” and American society and culture in flux. The course will cover this period of profound change by examining the role of the US as an emerging global super power and the critical social and political transformations that altered the nation over the past 90 years. Major historiographical interpretations will be emphasized as well. The United States’ involvement in world affairs and the tension between international engagement and isolationism will also be stressed. Primary and secondary source readings, along with classroom activities, will help you to critically engage this key era of American development and develop the interpretive skills of a historian.

More information

HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Optional,20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

More information

HI5009 -

Your Graduate Future (Optional,20 Credits)

This module aims to ensure that you will be equipped with employability-related skills appropriate to graduates of History and associated degrees. The module adapts to your interests, whether you choose to pursue postgraduate study, enter the job market seeking graduate level employment, or establish your own enterprise. One of the purposes of Your Graduate Future is to raise your awareness of the wide range of possibilities, and to equip you with the knowledge, the skills and the experiences that may enable you to respond effectively to future opportunities. In semester 1 you will attend lectures and participate in seminars that will present the intricacies of contemporary job seeking in different sectors. These will include guest lectures. You will then work with a group of your peers on an outward-looking project that will enable you to display your specific skills, to establish and nurture internal and external contacts, and to express your interests in a public outcome of your choice. In semester 2, you will develop your CV and further explore your evolving skillsets by means of engaging on your choice of work experience, volunteering, enterprise planning or a placement abroad. These will take the shape of supported independent activities. Assessment consists of a group project with a public outcome, an individual report reflecting on the scholarly basis of your project and your assessment of the process, and a placement report (at the end of semester 2).

More information

HI5014 -

From Reconstruction to Reunification: Europe, 1945-1991 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn about the problems that Europe faced at the end of the Second World War and the factors that led to the economic boom of the post-war years. These developments will be placed in the context of the struggle between the rival socio-political ideologies of liberalism and communism and the emergence of new social movements in Europe between 1945 and 1991. The module deals with the era of extended military and political confrontation between the main rival socio-political systems which defeated fascism and the eruption onto the world stage of 'new social forces' such as feminism and Third-World nationalism. It covers the key developments in European politics and society as well as Europe's relationship with the wider world during the period.

More information

HI5020 -

Inquisition and Discovery: Myths and Realities of Late Medieval Spain (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will acquire in-depth knowledge about the Spanish late medieval period, with all of its captivating myths and influential realities. You will become critically familiar with exciting passages of universal history, including the end of the Reconquest (with the rise of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Jews and Muslims), the discovery of America, often referred to as an “encounter” of civilisations, and the development of the modern world from an Iberian perspective. You will explore the concepts of religious persecution and clash of civilisations, establishing the links between the political role of the Catholic Church and the development of a “new” continent in America from 1492. Moreover, you will gain an expert understanding of coexistence and conflict between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Spain, and between indigenous civilisations and conquistadores in the New World. You will learn about Spain’s Christian and Imperial mandates and about the discovery of America and the development of the New World by using a wide range of translated primary sources, which will include, amongst many others, the archives of the Spanish Inquisition and Christopher Columbus’s logbooks and letters. You will also be able to evaluate the role of propaganda (Black Legend and White Legend) when assessing your own perceptions about the key events that took place in the late medieval Hispanic world, and how these changed universal history forever.

More information

HI5022 -

The Holocaust (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn about the Holocaust in its full global, historical context. You will engage with the major historiographical debates surrounding the Shoah. Crucially, throughout the module, there will be a dual focus on the Holocaust’s perpetrators and its victims. The breadth of this focus ensures that the module will be interdisciplinary and you will learn how to navigate historical, literary and sociological perspectives on the Holocaust and its memory.

More information

HI5025 -

Imperial Britain: The Empire in British Politics, Society and Culture, 1783-1982 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module looks at how the possession of empire shaped British culture and society from the abolition of slavery through to the Falklands conflict of 1982. Over this period the Empire saw bouts of expansion and contraction, but at its peak in the early twentieth century the empire covered around 25% of the earth’s land surface and encompassed around 458 million people, or one-fifth of the world’s population. But how did British people ‘at home’ engage with this empire? What do they know about it, how did it shape their lives, and how was the empire taught, marketed and publicised? These are just some of the questions that we shall ask in this module.

In recent years’ historians have bitterly debated the extent to which the empire impacted on British society, politics and culture. Some have said that the empire was a class act and that 80% of the population were kept in ignorance of it. On the other side of the debate are those that say that empire was everywhere in British culture; indeed, empire was so familiar that people hardly had to mention it. This module looks at the ways in which empire shaped political debate, social lives, and British culture. In addition to covering major political debates and incidents – such as the abolition of slavery, the Boer War and the Falklands conflict of 1982 – the module will also look at how empire shaped national and gender identities in mainland Britain. Dramatic moments when the empire did actually ‘come home’ will be analysed: this will involve a study of the onset of immigration with the arrival of the first West Indian communities on the Empire Windrush in 1948.

More information

HI5027 -

Enlightenment to Empire: France in an Age of Revolution, 1715-1815 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will explore French history during a century of revolutionary political and cultural change, from the death of the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV in 1715 to the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo. You will assess and analyse how, in the space of less than one hundred years, France transformed itself from the quasi-feudal society of the ‘Old Regime’ to a republic built on the revolutionary principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. You will examine key aspects of this transformation, such as the Enlightenment and the influence of its ideas, the nature of Old Regime society, the origins of the Revolution of 1789, the so-called ‘Reign of Terror’, and the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte. In addition, you will evaluate gender and race in these events by studying the role of women in the French Revolution and the impact of revolutionary ideas in France’s colonies. Throughout the module, you will also assess the varied and sometimes conflicting historiographical approaches to the French Revolution. Learning about France in the age of revolution will enable you to think critically about the relationship between different forces of change – political, economic, social and cultural – during historical periods of upheaval and transformation.

More information

HI5032 -

Land of Rivers, Land of Coal: Making and Breaking Industrial North-East England, 1770-1990 (Optional,20 Credits)

By the 1880s, the River Tyne estuary was the largest coal exporter and the largest centre of ship repair in the world. The tonnage of the port’s vessels exceeded even that of the River Thames, accounting for an incredible one ninth of the UK’s total shipping tonnage. Yet, astonishingly, only a century later, in 1980, the MV Lindo was the last ship to receive coal from Dunston Staiths. This module makes sense of historical discontinuity, contextualising the dramatic and fast-paced making and breaking of the region’s industrialisation. You will follow the awe-inspiring story of how north-east England utilised its fortunate natural resources, notably its navigable rivers and voluminous coal deposits, to become a powerful and influential driver of wider industrialisation both nationally and internationally. You will analyse in depth how a closer engagement with key elements of the natural environment enabled north-easterners to develop their trade and industry successfully and to invent globally game-changing scientific and engineering innovations, notably George Stephenson’s locomotive (1814). Organised thematically, and introducing you to the sub-discipline of environmental history, the module focuses on a different natural resource each week (stone; lead; peat; rivers; coal; fish; salt; steam; and iron), to reconnect the region’s dramatic story of the making and breaking of its industrial might to key elements of its natural environment. Consequently, you will understand in depth the large extent to which the region’s industrialisation was underpinned by a closer, rather than a remoter, relationship between humans and the environment.

More information

HI5033 -

Civilians and the Second World War (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, you will learn about the civilian experiences of total warfare during the period of the Second World War (bearing in mind that exact dates of conflict and occupation vary from nation to nation). The class will take an international comparative approach, examining civilian experiences not just on the British ‘Home Front’ but also experiences in America, Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union as well the states under enemy occupation. The module will take a thematic rather than nation based approach to this area of study. Topics including bombardment, childhood, gender, work and labour, domestic life, internment, occupation, collaboration and resistance will all be explored internationally and comparatively. You will engage with a broad range of historical debates and concepts as well as engaging with a wide variety of primary materials including state propaganda, film, radio broadcasts, oral testimony, diaries, memoirs and archival material. This will equip you to think critically about both historiography and primary sources.

More information

HI5035 -

Divisive Pasts: Legacies of Conflict and Oppression in the 20th and 21st Centuries (Optional,20 Credits)

This module concerns the ongoing force and power of history: how the past shapes the politics of the present and is deployed in contemporary political conflicts and challenges. It fuses history with politics and culture and will require you to think expansively about differing ways that nation-states negotiate a troubled and/or violent past. The module covers five case studies of countries which have dealt in differing ways with the legacy of conflict: modern South Africa (1994-), post-Franco Spain (1975-), Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement (1998-), post-Second World War Germany (1945-), and Brazil since the end of the military dictatorship (1985-).

Each case study receives two weeks’ focus in lectures and seminars, granting the basics in understanding each example and the ways in which the violence and divisions of the past might be overcome (or not). It will help you consider themes of memory and the divergent ways in which history is commemorated or simply ignored. Similarly, you will consider the efficacy and value of ‘Truth Commissions’ – the contribution of an ‘honest broker’ (or outside perspective) – along with the ways in which debates and disputes at the past take place through culture or literature. Overall, this module will develop your interdisciplinary skills in combining history, politics and culture with the ongoing vibrancy of the past; how it can be understood and interpreted differently, and whether the official political sphere helps or hinders in the process.

More information

HI5036 -

On Her Own Account: Being an Independent Woman in Britain, 1800-1920 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to combine a critical analysis of the existing historiography with your own research to challenge contemporary understandings of what it meant to be a woman in Britain during the ‘long’ nineteenth century. Beginning with a close examination of the legal status of married and unmarried women in Britain (noting the separate legal systems that existed for Scotland and Ireland), you will identify the opportunities that should have been available to women. You will then use sources including census returns, maps, probate records, trade directories, advertisements, court records, newspapers and BMD records to construct a series of case studies of women and places. In doing so, you will demonstrate (1) the extent to which women did exercise their political, social, economic and cultural agency; (2) how their socio-economic and marital status affected these opportunities; and (3) how these opportunities changed over the course of the period.

You will also identify the limitations that women (particularly women of colour and women of lower economic status) faced before and after 1920, and consider how these limitations have been represented by the historiography. In addition to this, you will consider more broadly how the historiography of women’s history in modern Britain has developed, and how this has shaped our understanding of the past.

More information

HI5037 -

Globalising Worlds: Objects, People and Ideas 1600 - 1800 (Optional,20 Credits)

We all live in a globalised world: we get our Italian coffee from an American chain, wear Japanese-designed clothing that was made in India, keep pets that originated in South America or Australia, travel across the world for holidays, and keep in touch via communications equipment that was produced in China (with material from African mines). We know Brazilian football stars and Caribbean dances. What happens in one corner of the world affects us all, be that linked to investment, industrial production and trade, or to diseases, wars and natural disasters.

We often think of this as a modern phenomenon, or at least as something that only rose in the age of empire, steamboats and railways. This module helps you uncover earlier global connections. What would it have been like to consume goods such as Chinese tea, American cocoa and tobacco or Oriental coffee when they first arrived in Europe? When did Indian and Thai curries start to include the newly-discovered South American ingredients of chilli peppers and peanuts? How did people find out about exciting new foods, fashions, animals and medicines from the other side of the globe? What was it like to be forced to travel huge distances across the Ocean to end up a slave in the Caribbean or a prisoner in Australia? How did religious ideas or political beliefs spread across the world? And how did the global connections of the early modern world shape our world today? This module will help you answer these questions.

More information

HI5038 -

Early Modern Monarchies: Power and Representation, 1500–1750 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will familiarise you with different aspects of monarchical rule in the early modern period. In particular, it will explore the history of royal courts between c. 1500 and 1750, ranging from England to Poland-Lithuania and covering dynasties such as the Valois and Bourbons, Habsburgs, Tudors and Stuarts, Jagiellonians, Vasas and Wettins. We will look at court intrigue, favourites and faction politics, gender, representation and political agency, ceremony, entertainments, fashion and royal palaces, and diplomacy as means of transnational contacts between royal courts. We will study various European concepts – including kingship and queenship, chivalry, divine right, ritual, and patronage – and consider how these were adapted to suit different styles of monarchies and courts. We will also think about the ways in which European royal houses were a connected network of cultural and political exchange.

You will learn about how early modern royal courts accommodated the needs of different political systems, for example absolute, elective, and parliamentary monarchy, while retaining key characteristics of European royal culture. We will tackle questions about representation in early modern politics and the day-to-day life at these centres of power by applying the most recent approaches from social, political and cultural history, including elements of archaeology, art history, gender history, and history of emotions. The module is organised thematically, but we will think about the degree of change between c. 1500 and 1750, as royal courts adapted to dynastic change and adopted emerging trends, such as the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Enlightenment.

More information

HI5039 -

At Home in America: Society, Politics and Environment in the Home, 1860 to the present (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will consider the wider social, political and environmental factors that shaped where, how, and in what type of home Americans have lived since 1860. Within the module, you will look at the forces that transformed and challenged the boundaries of the American home---from debates about poverty and social welfare, to economic policies surrounding homeownership, the mechanisms of racial segregation, new sex and gender roles as well as the rise of domestic consumption and its impact on the environment. The module will introduce you to a range of American homes, from the suburban and model homes of the American dream to the tenement flats, trailer parks and make-shift homes of ‘skid row’ – which tell a different story about what it means to be ‘at home in America’.

The module will complicate definitions and understandings of the American home---revealing its contested meanings, construction, and lived experience across different races, genders and classes. In asking these questions the module shall probe how far being ‘at home in America’ has depended upon changing understandings of the home, and its relationship to American identity. Through the module, you will learn about developments in politics and policy as well as broader social, cultural and environmental transformations since 1860. The module will open you up to a broad range of material in American history, from key social policies such as the Federal Housing Act, to broader social changes including the gender revolution accelerated by new domestic technologies, for instance the washing machine. The module will be broadly chronological, but subjects will also be approached though key themes that span decades.

More information

HI5040 -

Dictatorship and Development: Central America, 1912–1996 (Optional,20 Credits)

The tiny countries of Central America form a narrow land bridge between the continents of North and South America. For centuries a quiet

backwater, the region gained international importance in the twentieth century, thanks to the United States’ growing interest in its ‘backyard’ to

the south.

In this module, you will explore Central America’s tumultuous twentieth century via a variety of primary sources. You will use US military

archives to explore the US occupation of Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, and discover how historians have used oral history to rescue

memories of the El Salvadoran massacre of 1932. In the second half of the course, you will look at how ideas about development intersected

with U.S. informal empire in the region, using CIA and State Department documents to uncover the roots of the civil wars which wracked the

isthmus in the 1980s. Finally, you will learn about the controversy surrounding Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir of the Guatemalan civil war, and

consider how historians navigate conflicting documents and imperfect, contested memories to create credible accounts of past events.

More information

HI5041 -

Taking the King’s Shilling: Ireland and the British Army, 1815–1945 (Optional,20 Credits)

The British Army’s long running military operation in Northern Ireland during the Troubles is well known. But the army’s influence on Ireland and vice versa is part of a much older and fascinating story. While the army was regarded by many Irish nationalists before 1922 as part of the state apparatus that held Ireland in subjection, at its highpoint in the 1840s, 50 per cent of the British Army was Irish born. As well as considering their participation in global and imperial conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars through to World War Two, you will explore in this module how the presence of army veterans in Ireland had a significant impact on the island at key moments during the turbulent history of the Anglo-Irish union. That even when independent Ireland remained neutral during the Second World War, more than 50,000 men and women from southern Ireland volunteered for the British Army demonstrates the institution’s on-going importance. In this module you will learn about the personal, economic, and political motivations of Irish soldiers, as well the experiences of Irish people who served in the army and how their service shaped their family’s lives. You will also gain an understanding of the different ways that Irish soldiers were viewed as ‘good’ and ‘brave’ soldiers from perspectives shaped by contemporary thinking about race, identity, and nationalism. This module is organised in a chronological way, but you will also explore themes that span decades, such as martial race discourses, the ‘Stage Irishman’, and the British monarchy.

More information

IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US foreign policy towards the Middle East or international cooperation in the war against the Islamic State.

More information

MI5013 -

Hollywood Cinema (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will encourage students to explore key aesthetic, economic, ideological and historical issues in relation to Hollywood cinema. These include analysing the formation of the studio system in the late teens and how this led to Hollywood becoming a global, dominant force; how Hollywood representations can be linked to broader ideologies; how aesthetics and representations are influenced by censorship; and how Hollywood has changed historically in relation to social factors. The latter will lead to an understanding of periodisation (such as classical and post-classical Hollywood); of technical innovations and their impacts (such as the introduction of sound and colour); the changing nature of stardom; the increasing acceptance of Hollywood as an art form; and how Hollywood has absorbed international trends and personnel. An indicative syllabus is as follows:

1. Archival Research on Hollywood Cinema
2. The Studio System
3. Sound and Music
4. Censorship
5. The B Movie
6. Politics and Hollywood
7. Stardom
8. Indiewood
9. Gender and Hollywood
10. High Concept Filmmaking and the Blockbuster
11. Global Hollywood

More information

ML5001 -

Unilang - Languages for all - Level 5 Placeholder (Optional,20 Credits)

The 20-credit yearlong Unilang modules (stages 1 – 5 depending on language) aim to encourage a positive attitude to language learning and to develop and practise the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing introducing the basic/increasingly complex grammatical structures and vocabulary of the spoken and written language (depending on stage) and developing your ability to respond appropriately in the foreign language in spoken and written form in simple and increasingly complex everyday situations.

These modules also introduce you to the country and the culture of the country. In doing this, Unilang modules are intended to encourage and support international mobility; to enhance employability at home and abroad; to improve communication skills in the foreign language as well as English; to improve cultural awareness and, at the higher stages, to encourage access to foreign sources.

More information

AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Work Placement Year module is a 120 credit year-long module available on degree courses which include a work placement year, taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6 (the length of the placement(s) will be determined by your programme but it can be no less than 30 weeks. You will undertake a guided work placement at a host organisation. This is a Pass/Fail module and so does not contribute to classification. When taken and passed, however, the Placement Year is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Work Placement Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Work Placement Year)”. The learning and teaching on your placement will be recorded in the work placement agreement signed by the placement provider, the student, and the University.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

More information

AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Study Abroad Year module is a full year 120 credit module which is available on degree courses which include a study abroad year which is taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6. You will undertake a year of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be dependent on the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. It will not count towards your final degree classification but, if you pass, it is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Study Abroad Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Study Abroad Year)”.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

More information

AM6003 -

States of Nature: An Environmental History of the Americas (Explorations in American Studies III) (Core,20 Credits)

Focusing on North and South America, this module examines the interaction between humans and the environment throughout history. We will discuss the ways in which various peoples experienced their environment: how they attempted to change it, how they were limited by it, and how they thought about nature. In doing so, we will consider historical change at several levels:

1. Material and ecological: the physical changes that humans in the American have wrought over the past 10,000 years.

2. Social and political: the connection between peoples’ use of the environment and the way in which American societies developed.

3. Intellectual and ideological: how individuals and societies have understood nature at various points throughout history and how this understanding has shaped their actions.

You will find out about the relationship between humans and nature in the period before European expansion in the Americas and, following on from this, you will consider the ecological impact of European colonialism. The module content covers human activities such as farming and mining, but also the impact of floods, hurricanes and climate change. You will consider the spread of cities, the role of their hinterlands and the creation of national parks. In the final sections of the module, you will examine the manifold impacts of consumer culture (including waste and pollution) as well as the rise of environmentalist movements that were critical of humans’ ecological footprint.

More information

EL6004 -

Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities (Optional,20 Credits)

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory.

Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

More information

EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your understanding of postwar American literary culture in its broader social, political, and
economic contexts. Mid-century America was a time of profound contradictions: while US citizens lived under the shadow the bomb, many experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and access to new material comforts. We will explore how national paranoia
about the spread of communism and the nuclear arms race sat alongside – and fed into – the postwar image of the American ‘good life’, an image of suburban conformity underpinned by the growth of advertising and consumer culture. We will consider how postwar fiction and poetry challenges this demand for conformity in both content and form: through its complex representations of the American cold war experience and its innovative narrative and poetic strategies. The texts on this module offer insights into postwar attitudes towards a diverse range of topics, including national and international politics, work, leisure, and domesticity, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.

More information

EL6051 -

Contemporary Genre Fiction (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores contemporary (post-millennial) genres of fiction with an emphasis on their innovativeness, contemporaneity and their interaction with socio-cultural developments of the new millennium. You will engage with cutting edge texts to study their innovations in and interactions with the contemporary world. Module content will focus on theorizing relationships between audiences, genres and critics and will encourage you to view yourself as part of the process of re-defining contemporary genres in terms of themes, cultural contexts and theoretical models. Genres under discussion will include: millennial text, 9/11 literature, digital writings, post-apocalyptic, crunch lit, the new erotica, Nordic noir and Brexit literature. Module teaching will explore innovations in genres of the contemporary period, consider the challenges of new technologies and media, and examine the political, economic and cultural contexts of contemporary genres. Taking in a broad range of theoretical approaches – including late modernism, postmodernism, globalisation and post 9/11 theory – the module will critically engage with the extent to which C21 genre fictions actively shape our understanding of twenty-first century society.

More information

HI6003 -

The Golden State: California (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores how California has developed as both a place and an idea in the American imagination, focusing on the transformative period from the 1840s to the 1960s. While historical, our approach will also be interdisciplinary, reflecting the ways in which cultural constructions and popular representations played a crucial role in California’s development. Visual culture and novels, advertisements, film, and music, will all be consulted at different points as key elements in the Golden State’s formation. Learning about the different ways in which we can see, understand and explain the development of California and the California Dream – including topics such as the Gold Rush, early Hollywood, and Japanese internment during the Second World War – will provide you with a better range of tools to understand region and identity in the United States. It will equip you to think critically about academic literature, primary sources, and historical interpretation.

More information

HI6006 -

The Black Panther Party (Optional,20 Credits)

The module examines the history and significance of the Black Panther Party (BPP), a radical protest group formed in Oakland, California in 1966. It locates the BPP within its intellectual, political, geographical, and social context, giving students the opportunity to engage with important texts that influenced the BPP while also considering the BPP’s contribution to ideas about political struggle. The module details the history of the BPP from formation until its decline into irrelevance in the late 1970s, spending considerable time focusing on key individuals such as Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver, the FBI repression which resulted in the deaths of numerous BPP members, gender relations in the Party, and the BPP’s political and intellectual development. Students may start the module thinking that the BPP simply represented a violent response to African American oppression dominated by guns, leather jackets and Afro haircuts but they will end the module with a nuanced understanding of the profound contribution of the BPP to American history.

More information

HI6007 -

Civil War and Reconstruction (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the causes, events, and results of the U.S. Civil War, a war which took over 620,000 lives; the bloodiest in American history. The Civil War and its aftermath are considered the dividing line between early and modern US history. The War ended the South’s dominance of American politics. It also led to three major constitutional amendments which ended slavery, defined American citizenship, and provided for African American votes respectively which still have implications in American life in the 21st century. The course begins in 1850 by looking at American sectionalism and how and why that caused the founding of the Republican party and the eventual secession of eleven southern states. It then examines the military aspects of the war and explores its social, political, economic, and diplomatic effects. The end of the term will be spent on the political and social aspects of the post-War period known as ‘Reconstruction.’ It will explain how American national identity became redefined during this tumultuous time, especially in popular memory around public commemorations, art, literature and film. You will also analyse the controversial historiography of this period throughout the semester.

More information

HI6010 -

Women, Crime and Subversion in Early Modern Europe (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn how different scholars have conceptualised and written about women, crime and subversion from 1400 to 1800. You will assess and analyse why and how tensions in the early modern period meant that authorities across Europe directed their attention upon women in specific ways. The influence of the Protestant reformation is examined in terms of its impact upon female behaviour. Female criminality and subversive behaviour will be examined through a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, including feminist and gender theories. Key concepts at the fore of this module include witchcraft, petty treason, infanticide, female piracy, prostitution, adultery and fornication, lesbianism, the crime of cross-dressing, and women’s strategies in European court systems. You will move beyond areas classified as criminal to behaviour considered as subversive and deviant, such as domestic disorder. You will utilize a wide range of primary sources including court records, the Old Bailey legal records, assize court records and female testimonies from across Europe which will equip you to think critically about academic literature, primary sources and historical interpretation.

More information

HI6014 -

Revolution and the Russian Empire 1860-1924 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn about the impact of the Russian Revolution across the Russian Empire. We will examine the nineteenth century origins of revolutionary and nationalist movements, and trace their development through the 1905 revolution, the ‘Duma Period’, and the First World War. We will try to understand the impact of the war and the 1917 revolutions across the empire; in Russia’s cities, in the provinces, and in the newly independent nation states on the empire’s periphery. We will also look at the wars and civil wars that took place across Russia and the border states in the years 1918-21, and the independence or reincorporation of the breakaway republics. The revolutions of 1917 have divided historians into fiercely opposed political and ideological camps. We will look at the ways in which historians have constructed their opposing views on the subject, and the ways that established arguments have changed over the course of the twentieth century.

More information

HI6015 -

Where Have All the Good Times Gone? Crisis and Change in Western Europe, 1965-1987 (Optional,20 Credits)

The module covers a period of massive upheavals. Economic growth, the vibrancy of pop culture and the rise of student radicalism mean that the 1960s are widely perceived as an era of dynamism and vitality. By contrast, the 1970s seemed to be a time of ‘diminished expectations’ (Tony Judt). Economic stagnation went together with social tensions; meanwhile, radical activists were disappointed that a wholesale transformation of society and not occurred. You will study these developments and also be able to trace them well into the 1980s. The module familiarises you with the latest research on these three decades.

Four countries are the main focus for this module: West Germany, France, Italy and Britain. Yet, you will also get the chance to study events in other countries (e.g. Spain, Portugal and Greece) and be encouraged to consider broader international patterns (e.g. regarding the Cold War, immigration, youth culture, the international links of political activists, debates about the environment).

The module addresses various crises: from ‘divided memories’ regarding the legacies of war and fascism to youth rebellions; from left-wing terrorism to fears of a nuclear Armageddon. While this may sound bleak, another strand considers more positive changes: an increasing willingness to question authority, the cultural explosion of the Sixties as well as the fall of dictatorships in southern Europe. As a whole, the module familiarises you with a range of important political debates while also drawing attention to films, music and social movements.

More information

HI6019 -

British India, 1757-1857 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn how scholars have understood and represented the transformation of British rule in India from Clive of India’s victory at Plassey in 1757 to the Indian ‘Mutiny’ of 1857. While the module considers the major political transformations between these years—notably the emergence of the East India Company as a tax-gathering, sovereign ruler of territory—it also attends to changes in the spheres of cultural and social history, notably British perceptions of Indians, the transformation of home life in British India, and inter-racial relations. The nature and extent of these transformations has, of course, generated considerable (and often angry) disagreement among historians. The module will give you a sophisticated understanding of the oftentimes heated historiographical debates which have been generated by old questions about—for example—the nature of British rule, the relationship between Britons and non-Europeans, and the origins of the great event of the mid-nineteenth century, the 1857 ‘Mutiny’. You will assess how British and Company rule came about and what the long-term legacies of empire in India were. You will also be asked to do assessments that will equip you to think critically about academic literature, primary sources and historical interpretation.

More information

HI6020 -

'Europe's Greatest Killer: The Black Death, Ethnic Cleansing and Biological Warfare in the Late Medieval World' (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn how Europe was hit by a mass outbreak of plague known as the Black Death in the mid-fourteenth century. Waves of plague continued to strike Europe every 10-15 years until the disease disappeared in the eighteenth century. Its effects were devastating and it impacted on almost every aspect of European society. Plague was closely linked to war and famine, and the combined effects of all three frequently led to periods of crisis and discord in Europe. It begins by examining the use of plague as a weapon of biological warfare and its subsequent spread around Europe. A deep-seated fear that plague was being deliberately spread emerged throughout Europe. In particular, Jews were accused of deliberately poisoning wells with the plague virus and their communities across Europe were exterminated as a result. In addition, witches, lepers, prostitutes and minority ethnic groups were also persecuted for spreading plague. After considering the social tensions unleashed by the appearance of the Black Death, the module will move on to examine the ways in which European societies sought to cope with the disease, including developments in public health, sanitation and medicine. It will examine the ways in which different European states responded to plague (especially England, France and Italy), as well comparing and contrasting Christian and Muslim reactions.

More information

HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Core,40 Credits)

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to work on a sustained piece of research of your own (guided) choice and to present that research in an organised and coherent form in a major piece of writing. The module will teach you how to function as an independent researcher, learner and writer. The dissertation represents the culmination of your studies as a Joint Honours student. You will apply the skills developed in your earlier studies to a discrete body of primary sources, working upon a clearly defined topic. In designing and implementing your research project, you will draw on insights and approaches from both of the disciplines that from part of your degree. The dissertation will develop your research skills and allow you to work independently, drawing on the advice and guidance of a designated supervisor.

More information

HI6025 -

Northern Ireland: The 'Troubles' and the Search for Peace (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the origins, evolution and dynamics of one of Europe’s most recent – and deadly – intra-state conflicts. The ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, 1968-98, was marked by their persistence and seeming intractability. With the paramilitary ceasefires in the 1990s, a new era opened; but difficulties remain in moving from a mere absence of violence to a genuine peace. You will examine the dynamics of violence and its impact on the politics and culture of Northern Ireland over a fifty year period, and the significant challenges posed to peace since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

More information

HI6027 -

Barricades and Boulevards: Revolution, Culture, and Urban Life in Nineteenth-century Paris (Optional,20 Credits)

This module examines the political, social and cultural history of Paris between 1815 and 1900. You will study different aspects of the history of nineteenth-century Paris – revolution, urban development, popular culture, and artistic life – through a range of primary sources, including contemporary artistic and literary representations of the city. You will assess and analyse the relationship between the city of Paris and political change during this period, with a particular focus on urban insurrection and revolution. You will also explore artistic movements such as Romanticism and Impressionism, as well as the rise of leisure and consumer culture and the urban development of the city, especially during the Second Empire (1852-1870). Throughout the module, you will investigate wider historical debates about urbanisation and the growth of the nineteenth-century European city. In looking at the history of nineteenth-century Paris – the ‘capital of the nineteenth century’, as the German theorist Walter Benjamin described it – from a range of perspectives, this module will enhance your knowledge and understanding of cultural and social approaches to history, and develop your ability to use interdisciplinary methodologies in your study of the past.

More information

HI6030 -

Law and Order USA: Police, Prisons, and Protest in Modern America (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

More information

HI6031 -

Recording the Past: Making Your Own History Documentary (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will appeal to anyone interested in telling stories. It will help you think about how your existing historical skills can be applied beyond university, while equipping you with experience of project management, team building, and working with a range of non-university stakeholders. This module gives students the opportunity to make their own short audio documentary. Students pitch, script, record, and edit their own documentaries using audio equipment and free, open-source, cross-platform audio software. Students will be given a broad theme (such as the 1970s and the Northeast of England) and will then generate a proposal and ‘pitch’ this to the class. Following selection, groups will then work on developing a script and identifying interviewees. Teams will produce their documentaries by dividing up the production responsibilities, so that students gain not only experience of teamwork but also of making a specific contribution to the project. Across the semester, the class will progress through the stages of pre- and post-production together week-by-week. Portable recording equipment will be made available and students will be (i) instructed on using industry-standard audio equipment; (ii) classes on ethics and oral history techniques; (ii) training on how to use editing software. At the same time, the class will both engage with relevant literature and listen to a range of audio documentary in order to better understand creative and production issues. The emphasis in this module will be both on the finished documentary but also on the process involved and the skills acquired along the way.

[250] words]

More information

HI6033 -

The Art of Power: Tudor Court Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will take an interdisciplinary approach to Tudor history, investigating how and why courtly arts were important to the construction and projection of political power in Tudor England.

You will learn about the distinctive political and religious context of each monarch’s reign from Henry VII to Elizabeth I and explore a range of courtly arts such as portraiture, drama and spectacle, poetry and literary, and music and dance. You will analyse the influence of arts and entertainments that were grand and public, and also those that were private and intimate. You will consider questions such as: why was artistic patronage important for the Tudor monarchy? What influence did age and gender have on royal image-making? How could the arts become tools of governance or play a role in diplomatic manoeuvres? To what extent were monarchs in control of their royal image? How could courtiers and noblemen manipulate courtly arts for their own ends?

Throughout the module you will engage with current research in a range of disciplines including political history, Reformation history, art history, English literature, gender studies and music. Moreover you will develop skills in interpreting and evaluating visual, textual and musical sources in light of their historical context. (No musical literacy is required).

More information

HI6034 -

Big Business in Asia? The European East India Companies, 1600–1800 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will study the different European East India Companies: the English and Dutch, but also the Portuguese, French, Swedish, Danish, Flemish, and German, Austrian, and Italian efforts. You will learn how these first ‘modern multinationals’ functioned as shareholder companies back in Europe and how they operated in China, Japan, India, and Indonesia; how they tried to fit in to a centuries-old cosmopolitan trading culture in the Indian Ocean world, dealt with the authorities in China and Japan who considered them little more than troublemaking barbarians, and how they tried to come up with products and payments of interest to all of these by developing networks that spanned the globe. You will investigate the problems European traders on the ground faced trying to source goods that would be fashionable in Europe, Africa, and the Americas respectively, but also the trouble directors and investors back home had in controlling these traders. You will analyse how Europeans abroad cooperated and fought both with each other and with local rulers, how trade and imperial rule intertwined and were contested, and how European attempts at Christianisation, military and economic control were received, both in Asia and in Europe. So this module features treasure-chests and shipwrecks, fashion, smuggling, violence and murder, attempts at world-domination, bankruptcies, fraud and tax-evasion on an epic scale, but all crowned by a good-old (or rather new) cup of tea.

More information

HI6035 -

The Politics of the Environment in Modern Britain (Optional,20 Credits)

On this module you will learn about why the exploitation of Britain’s natural environment became a source of political contention after 1945. You will consider how the consumerism, new technologies and late industrial capitalism that underpinned post-war affluence in Britain was based on an increasingly complex global system that exploited natural resources with ever-greater intensity. You will, for instance, reflect on the following questions: What was the ‘Second Agricultural Revolution’ and why was it so controversial? Was coal, oil, nuclear or gas the best way of securing a reliable source of energy? What was the environmental impact of new leisure cultures? In Britain, intensive use of natural resources led to increased pollution, the transformation of the countryside and a collapse in biodiversity. It was very difficult to strike a balance between the needs and demands of citizen-consumers, the rights private property-owners, and the environmental consequences of improved standards of living. You will learn about the emergence of a new environmental politics in Britain and how this was a response to local, national and international concerns. In particular, by looking at the development of theories of climate change, you will be able to contextualise historically the environmental challenges of today and develop a greater understanding of why it is so difficult to agree on how to respond to our growing environmental crisis. This module will also encourage you to engage with the ‘more-than-human’ aspects of recent historiography and consider how these have changed the way we think about history and politics itself.

More information

HI6036 -

Holocaust Testimony and Cultural Memory (Optional,20 Credits)

Dori Laub and Shoshana Felman have claimed that the twentieth century was an ‘era of testimony’. This module addresses the ways survivors have attempted to bear witness to the Holocaust, the catastrophe at that century’s centre, and the cultural responses to that witness. We will consider how the tools and concepts of cultural analysis both speak to and are challenged by testimony, and how culture continues to work on the problem of representing the Holocaust. The course aims to enable students to consider the continuing impact of the Holocaust on the lives of its surviving witnesses and their children and how literature and films bear witness to it. To this end, the module draws on a variety of sources: video testimony, courtroom testimony, memoirs, diaries, different literary genres (novels, short stories, poems and graphic novels) and films.

More information

IR6008 -

Terrorism (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module I will analyse how ideas of terrorism have evolved throughout the twentieth century. This module offers me an opportunity to study in some depth the modern terrorism phenomenon and the methods currently being undertaken to counter it. I will focus essentially on two questions: what, exactly, is terrorism and what can be done about it?

More information

MI6005 -

Popular Music on Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:
1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One.
10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al.
11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

More information

MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn to understand how the term ‘cult’ has been applied to film and television programmes in different ways, and how the concept has developed across history. The module will enable you to critically examine the ways that cult has been theorised both in relation to films and television programmes, and some of the key differences between cult television and cult film. You will understand how cult can be applied to both films, the reception of films, as well as how it has increasingly infiltrated marketing discourses. Case studies on the module include midnight movies, authorship and cult, fandom, telefantasy, censorship and controversy, exploitation cinema and global cult cinema.

More information

MI6009 -

The Modern American Horror Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The modern period in American horror cinema is generally seen as beginning in 1968 with the release of Night of the Living Dead. This module explores the wide range of American horror films produced since that date. It identifies key themes, formats and cycles, and it engages with the relation of the horror genre to changes in the American film industry and to broader social and historical change. It also explores the aesthetic innovations and challenges offered by new forms of horror. In taking the module, you will acquire an understanding of the critical and cultural issues raised by this important area of American culture and you will develop your own insights into such iconic films as The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (both versions), Carrie, Halloween, Silence of the Lambs, Candyman and Hostel, among others.

More information

Any Questions?

Our admissions team will be happy to help. They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901.

Contact Details for Applicants:

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

Your Learning Experience find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions -
Fees and Funding -
Admissions Policy -
Admissions Complaints Policy -

Order your prospectus

If you're a UK/EU student and would like to know more about our courses, you can order a copy of our prospectus here.

Get a downloadable PDF of this course and updates from Humanities

Enter your details to receive an email with a link to a downloadable PDF of this course and to receive the latest news and information from Northumbria University

* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here


Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.


Virtual Tour

Get an insight into life at Northumbria at the click of a button! Come and explore our videos and 360 panoramas to immerse yourself in our campuses and get a feel for what it is like studying here using our interactive virtual tour.

Back to top