Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Making of the Modern World: International History since 1789
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Discuss concepts such as 'causation', 'sources', 'evidence', 'historical argument' and 'historiography'
2. Evaluate and assess historical debates about the nature of power in 19th and 20th century international relations
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the reasons for the domination of international society by European powers in the 19th Century
4. Discuss the changes in the international balance of power in the context of debates about the origins of the two world wars
5. Explain and evaluate the globalisation of the balance of power and the rise of non-European powers
6. Analyse and discuss historiographical debates about the origins and conduct of the Cold War
7. Analyse and discuss historiographical debates about the emergence of anti-colonial movements and the decline of European imperialism
8. Discuss ideas about the managing of international society and the changing roles of international organisations in 19th and 20th century international relations

Brief description

The module explores broad trends and patterns in 19th and 20th century international history. The module is divided into four thematic sections exploring different aspects of international history under the wide-ranging framework of 'the making of the modern world'. The first looks at general trends and historiographical developments pertinent to the study of International History. The second explores different concepts and manifestations of power and the notion of the balance of power. A third section explores interactions between the western and non-western worlds and a final section looks at changing ideas about order and the management of international society.


The module aims to introduce first year students to 'big' issues, trends and debates in global politics and the study of International History. It will lay the foundation for Honours-level study of International History. Students will be provided with a grounding in subject-specific techniques and approaches which will also contribute to the general development of scholarly and employability skills.



Section 1: History and Historiography
1. 'Not the End of History': 21st Century Perspectives on the Making of the Modern World
2. Making History: Historiography in the 20th Century
3. What is International History?
Section 2: Sinews of Power
4. Prometheus Unbound: Technology and International History
5. Industry and Empire: Capitalism and the Rise of the West
6. Warfare and the Nation-State in the 19th Century
7. The Concert of Europe and the 19th Century Balance of Power
8. An American Century? The Globalisation of the Balance of Power
Section 3: Revolution and Change in the Non-Western World
9. Ending Empire; Understanding Decolonization
10. The Triumph and Tragedy of the Third World
11. Revolution and the Islamic World since 1979
12. The Rise of the Non-Western World
Section 4: Ideology and the Evolution of International Society
13. Revolution, Nationalism and Liberalism in the 19th Century
14. Democracy and the Totalitarian Challenge
15. The United Nations and International Society after 1945
16. New World Orders? Globalization and the post-Cold War world

1. Sources and Skills for International History
2. The Expansion of the West: Understanding European Imperialism
3. The Balance of Power: from the 19th Century to the Great War
4. The Balance of Power: from World War II to the Global Cold War
5. The Revolt against the West: anti-Colonial movements before 1945
6. Revolution and Independence: the Rise of the Non-Western World
7. Order and International Society in the 20th Century
8. Ideas and Ideology in International History

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication 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. 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 both the convenor and fellow students alike. 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 (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work electronically through the Blackboard VLE. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web. Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning This 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 statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing 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 project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and preparation for seminar discussions 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 estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
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 Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. Blackboard facilities such as the message boards and forums will also be used and students will be encouraged to contribute their comments to the entries.


This module is at CQFW Level 4