Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Britain and World Politics from Global Empire to Brexit: the Diplomacy of Decline:
Academic Year
Semester 1
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  1500 Words  40%
Semester Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2500 Words  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the key concepts and traditions of nineteenth and twentieth century British diplomacy in the context of Empire, foreign relations and defence

2. Critically analyse the ideological, political and economic factors that underpinned British imperial strategy before WW1

3. Critically evaluate the impact of the two world wars on British power and overseas policy.

4. Develop a sophisticated understanding of historical debates about British decline within the broader context of British foreign policy

Brief description

The module provides a broad historical and historiographical analysis of Britain's changing world role from the 19th to 21st century. It places particular emphasis on explaining the global expansion of British imperialism up to the period of the First World War, and, subsequently, analyzing and understanding the waning of British power and influence after 1919. Specifically, it focuses upon the driving ideological, political and economic forces behind British imperialism, the impact of the two world wars on Britain'r international role, processes of decolonization and the struggle to define Britain's international role in the post-1945 era. In this latter context it explores Britain'r web of post-imperial relationships with Europe, the United States and the Commonwealth, and engages with late-20th century debates about British decline.


The module seeks to provide students with a detailed and sophisticated historical understanding of Britain's world role. It aims to promote a deeper understanding of the complex legacies of British imperialism and of the changing ways in British influence and overseas policy have been constructed and formulated in an age of declining British power.


The debate about British “decline”

The ideas and realities behind British imperialism

British power and diplomacy in the 19th century world

Britain, the Great War, and the peace settlement

Britain and the Second World War

Understanding British decolonization

Britain and the USA since 1945

Britain and Europe since 1945

British diplomacy from Thatcher to the 21st century

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. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their essays 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 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 prepare for assessed seminar participation and 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 in word-processed format and to submit coursework 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 two essays 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 6