Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 22 Hours. 1 x 2 hour seminar per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,000 words  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

By the end of this course students will:

  • have been introduced to the way in which general issues of philosophy and method relate to the specific context of International History
  • have appropriate training in the use of a broad range of historical source materials
  • be able to demonstrate a familiarity with different schools of historical thought
  • be able to apply research design skills to the specific field of international history

Brief description

The module examines some of the key historiographical debates about the first half of the twentieth century, and looks in depth at some of the sources that have been central to these debates.


ESRC Postgraduate Training Guidelines state that `Students in the field of International History will require specialised training in the philosophy of history, the main historiographical trends of the twentieth century, and case study analysis and archival research?. The main aim of this module is to provide this specialised training. It links to the subject specific research training provided in IPM2120 by exploring the issues of philosophy and method within the context of International History. It examines the relationship between the historian and the writing of history by concentrating upon some of the most contentious historiographical debates of the first half of the twentieth century. While each of the seminars is self-standing, common themes will emerge in each: the impact of total war upon the course of twentieth century history; the role of historical sources and the meaning of historical 'facts'; the relationship between the international and the national; the role of structure and the impact of the individual in history; and finally, the relevance of looking at history from above and below.

The course aims to provide specialised training in the critical use of various kinds of historical source materials. These will be broadly conceived and will include: archival sources; memoir literature; oral history and transcripts; film, literature, and other media; and quantitative social and economic data.


The course begins with a discussion of generic issues in the philosophy of history, and of how these issues impinge on the study of international history specifically. Thereafter, it reviews a number of critical debates, including the origins of WWI, appeasement, Nazi foreign policy and the holocaust. Topics are discussed in pairs, and in the second of each pair the focus is upon a set of sources relevant to that topic.

Transferable skills

Throughout the course, students will practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management skills. In seminars, students will enhance listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as oral presentational skills. Essay writing will encourage students to practice independent research skills, including data collection and retrieval, writing, IT and time management. The examination tests these skills under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS Credits


This module is at CQFW Level 7