Module Catalogue 2016/17

HIS2117 : Modern Colonial Empires, 1783-1975 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Xavier Guegan
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The late eighteenth century was a period of change and revolution in Europe and America but also the beginning of a new period of conquest; within a few decades Europe ‘ruled’ over most parts of the world. The nineteenth century became thus Europe’s colonial century. However, after two world wars, the ‘height’ of those modern empires ended in a period of rebellion and subsequent ‘decolonization’ over the second-half of the twentieth century.

This module offers a survey of the ‘rise and fall’ of the different European colonial ‘empires’ in late modern history. Students have the opportunity to engage with the aspects and consequences as well as the diverse and changing nature of European – but also American and Japanese as comparison – overseas colonization and imperialism over the last two centuries. Particular emphasis is placed on the complex and varied relationships between the colonizer and the colonized during the period. In addition, students will have the opportunity to understand and participate in current debates on the political, economic, and cultural relationship between European and non-European peoples.

Outline Of Syllabus

Here is an indicative outline:

I] Lectures

1. Introduction to colonial history

Part 1: The expansion of Europe, 1492-1815
2. The first wave of empires
3. Popular sovereignty and political/cultural disturbance

Part 2: The building of global empires
4. Foundations of empires
5. European imperialism – colonial developments (1815-70)
6. Modern imperialism, general aspects (1870-1914)
7. Modern imperialism in Asia and the Pacific
8. European imperialism in Africa
9. The emergence of new imperial powers
10. Legacies of imperialism and long-term developments

Part 3: Nationalism, anti-colonial movements and political identities
11. The First World War and the colonies
12. Asian paths to autonomy
13. Latin American struggles with neo-colonialism
14. Africa under colonial domination

Part 4: The Second World War and the Bipolar World
15. The Second World War and the colonies
16. The Bipolar world and the Third World

Part 5: The end of empires
17. Independence in Asia
18. The Middle-East
19. Decolonization in Africa

Part 6: After Independence
20. Long-term struggles in the post-colonial era

II] Seminars

Part 1
1. Imperialism and colonisation
2. Literature, theatre and music
3. Visual culture
4. Anti-imperialism and anti-colonisation
5. How to comment primary sources

Part 2
6. Colonial and Post-colonial Theories 1
7. Colonial and Post-colonial Theories 2
8. Exam revision / How to write an essay

III] Workshop and Tutorials
Research, archives and primary sources

IV] Film Sessions and Discussions
1. Gunga Din (1939)
2. Pépé le Moko (1937)
3. Battle of Algiers (1966)

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to show evidence of knowledge of the history of colonial empires from the late eighteenth century to the period of decolonisation in the second half of the twentieth century. A particular focus will be the political but also the cultural relationship between the colonizer and the colonized through different colonial empires and world regions.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to develop the following key skills: written, electronic and interpersonal communication, planning and organisation, problem solving, bibliographic initiative, numeracy and computer literacy.
Development of associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained argumentation and appropriate presentation of results.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture13:003:00Film Screening
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture22:004:00Film Screening
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading651:0065:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study331:0033:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.

Seminars and workshops/tutorials offer opportunities to analyse specific themes in detail, to develop interpersonal and presentational skills, to develop teamwork skills, and to show initiative.

Film sessions offer opportunities to analyse visual sources, to develop interpersonal and presentational skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1351A75unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M252000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MResearch and analysis techniques, mock exam, etc.
Oral Presentation1MN/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress.

The exam tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle have the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, they need to discuss it with the module leader. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student wishes to do the same assessment as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence.

Study Abroad students (i.e. non-EU exchange students) are required to complete the normal assessment under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.