Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Wars of Empire: From Settlement to Decolonisation
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 6 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Evaluate concepts and theories used by scholars to explain key developments in European imperialism.
2. Discuss the key factors that drove the process of imperial expansion.
3. Discuss the role of the European empires in the two world wars
4. Evaluate how the world wars contributed to and promoted the decolonisation process.

Brief description

This module provides the platform for a comprehensive understanding and analysis of the growth, heyday and decline of the British Empire, through the twin lenses of European imperialism and conflict. The course will consider themes of race, culture and warfare to understand why the British Empire developed as it did, how it affected the largest conflicts in history, and why it collapsed in the second half of the twentieth century. The British Empire will be treated in depth, but placed alongside other European imperial endeavours, particularly the French Empire, Belgian Empire, and the belated German and Italian imperial ventures. The question of America as an imperial nation will also be examined.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. It is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Settlement & Expansion: How were imperial territories gained? What were the drivers of imperial expansion? In what ways did conflict inform the shape of empire?

Part 2: Empire & the Era of Total War: In what ways were the two world wars ‘imperial wars’ for the major combatants, especially Britain? How did the empire change the way that ‘total war’ was fought and won? What were the battlefields and consequences of war beyond Europe?

Part 3: End of Empire & Decolonisation: How did war undermine the imperial project? In what ways did armed conflict shape the decolonisation process for European empires?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their written assessments in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding how to answer assessed essay questions.
Information Technology Students will enhance their proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, seminars and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others. Moreover, the written work requires students to write clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the preparation of two assessed pieces of written work will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and formulate an answer to the problem; reason logically; construct theoretical arguments; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles and online sources.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 5