Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Political Culture in Modern Britain, Europe and the Usa
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2-hour seminars.
Workload Breakdown 20 hours seminars 2 hours tutorials 178 hours independent study and essay preparation = 200 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 work essay  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 work essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1  2,500/3,000 work essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2  2,500/3,000 work essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate a critical understanding of relevant themes and approaches in the history of political culture in modern Europe from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Evaluate intelligently the existing historical literature, its evolution and the key problems currently addressed by historians in this field.

Marshal and understand the use of appropriate evidence in formulating historical arguments regarding the development of political culture in Europe.

Demonstrate through written work an ability to integrate methodological themes into their own research.

Brief description

Academic rationale of the proposal:

This module provides students with an introduction to the study of political cultures in Europe (including Britain) and the USA in the modern period. It forms the core module for the new MA in Modern History which targets those postgraduate students who wish to study modern history without necessarily specialising in either Britain or Europe (as our present PGT provision in this field demands), and that utilises the department'r full range of expertise in the field of modern history, including (for the first time at PGT level) American history.

Brief Description:

The core module of the MA focuses on political cultures as they evolved in Europe and the US from the late eighteenth century. We will explore this history in four principal and interrelated ways: (i) by examining the emergence of new organisations of civil society, state systems and understandings of the public sphere from the nineteenth-century onwards, (ii) by analysing the means whereby twentieth-century 'open' and 'closed' systems of government evolved, were challenged and defended, (iii) by considering the roles performed by the media in maintaining and undermining these systems of government, and (iv) by considering the roles of ritual, performance, representation and memory in the construction of political identities.

Seminar topics (indicative):
1. Introduction: what is political culture?
2. The Enlightenment, the public sphere and the coffee houses
3. State and civil society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
4. Marx, class and political allegiance
5. Politics and the people
6. Mass media, political culture and the `degeneration? of the public sphere
7. Region and nation in political culture
8. Reputations: heroes, commemoration and political culture
9. History, memory and historical cultures
10. Conclusions

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number None
Communication Through seminar discussion and essay writing. Only the latter is formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance By guided reflection during seminars and feedback sessions following submission of written work
Information Technology Through data retrieval exercises for research purposes and word-processing for essay writing purposes
Personal Development and Career planning Through furthering understanding of the discipline of modern history and the opportunities for research that it offers, along with the transferable skills which will be developed.
Problem solving Demonstrating an understanding of key themes in political culture, and how these approaches can be applied to the history of modern Europe and the USA. Assessed through the essays.
Research skills By learning how to identify appropriate primary and secondary sources and utilising that material in their work Assessed through the essays.
Subject Specific Skills Developing knowledge of, and familiarity with, historiographical approaches to the study of historical problems relating to modern history.
Team work Such skills will be developed through seminar work


This module is at CQFW Level 7