Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
History and Historiography and the Global Cold War
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 3 Hours. 1 x 3 hour film seminar
Seminars / Tutorials 18 Hours. 9 x 2 hour weekly seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essays: 2 x 3,000 word essays (70%)  70%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   1 x 90 minute examination (30%)  30%
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
  • have practised the necessary skills to make critical use of them;
  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of the more significant historiographical debates of the period;
  • be able to account for fluctuations in historical interpretation over time; and
  • be able to demonstrate a familiarity with different schools of historical thought.

Brief description

The module provides an introduction to a range of thematic concerns and methodological issues central to the work of Cold War historians. It encourages students to consider post-1945 international history through the conceptual framework of a 'global Cold War', a political and ideological power struggle which while superficially reflecting a superpower-dominated, bi-polar international system, was fought out by a multiplicity of actors from every continent of the world and which led to the politicization and militarization of cultures and societies in ways that went beyond even the total wars of the first half of the twentieth century. Within this framework, the module explores the global dimensions of the Cold War struggle and encourages students to reconceptualise the Cold War as part of contemporary international history.


The primary aims of the module are (i) to serve as an introduction to Cold War historiography and (ii) to provide specialist training in the use of historical sources. The module seeks to develop understanding of the relationship between the historian and the writing of history by concentrating upon some of the key historiographical debates pertaining to the Cold War and seeks to promote the ability of students to respond to and make effective critical use of primary and secondary source materials.

Transferable skills

Throughout the course, students will practise 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 practise independent research skills, including data collection and retrieval, writing, IT and time management. The examination tests these skills under time constraint conditions.

15 ECTS Credits

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Odd Arne Westad (2005) The Global Cold War CUO Primo search
Recommended Text
Crockatt, Richard (1995) The Fifty Years War. The United States and the Soviet Union in World Politics, 1941-1991 Routledge Primo search Gaddis, John Lewis. (1997) We now know : rethinking Cold War history /John Lewis Gaddis. Primo search Halle, Louis Joseph (1991.) The Cold War as history :with a new epilogue on the ending of the Cold War /Louis J. Halle. Primo search Hanhimaki, Jussi M. (Sept. 2004) The Cold War:A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts Primo search Hanhimaki, Jussi M. (Aug. 2003) The Cold War:A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts Primo search Keylor, William R. (April 2001) The Twentieth-Century World:An International History Primo search Larres, Klaus & Lane, Ann (eds.) (2001.) The Cold War :the essential readings /edited by Klaus Larres and Ann Lane. Primo search Odd Arne Westad (ed) (2000.) Reviewing the Cold War :approaches, interpretations, and theory /Nobel Symposium ; edited by Odd Arne Westad. Introduction Chs. 1-2 Primo search Reynolds, David (2000.) One world divisible :a global history since 1945 /David Reynolds. Primo search Young, John & Kent, John (2004) International Relations Since 1945: A Global History Oxford: OUP Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7