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HIS3220 : British Foreign Policy since Suez

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Farr
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 40 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module analysis British foreign policy since the Suez Crisis of 1956.

The module aims to explain British foreign policy since the Suez crisis of 1956, after which point Britain’s reduced global status was finally undeniable, and the country was infamously accused of having “lost an empire, but not yet found a role”. It considers Churchill’s conception of Britain at the centre of three concentric circles – the US, Europe, and Commonwealth – and the determinants of foreign policy, both external and internal. Case studies - often ongoing - will serve as a means of assessing whether British foreign policy was tied to coherent national interests, or was prone to “delusions of grandeur".

Continues through until the present (including events that have yet to take place), such as Britain's response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the AUKUS treaty with the US and Australia, the October 2023 crisis in Gaza, and the general election of 2024.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide to the topics covered; actual topics may differ from those listed: the UK-US ‘special relationship’; European integration and disintegration; decolonisation; ‘East of Suez’; the Cold War; the Falklands; Gulf War; Iraq; ‘Liberal Interventionism’; aid and overseas development; the Foreign Office and central government. Students will be able to choose what to write about for the module assessment.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1671:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Independent learning and wide and varied reading are at the heart of this module.

For Seminars and Lectures, students are expected to develop critical reading and note-taking in an independent and effective manner. A significant part of the teaching will test the development of primary source analysis with an emphasis on contemporary history, and ongoing events.

Lectures will introduce student to the broader historical sense and seminars will develop this with an emphasis on contemporary events.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M201000 word essay - Feedback prepare for essay 2.
Essay1A803000 word research essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. The essays test knowledge outcomes and develop skills in research, reading and writing.

Essay 1 will provide an opportunity for students to master the norms and vocabulary of foreign policy. Feedback will assist in the writing of the research essay.

Research essay will provide scope to analyse in depth a subject of interest to the student.

Students can choose freely between a wide range of subjects and questions.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists