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HIS3232 : Civil Rights and Armalites Northern Ireland since 1969

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sarah Campbell
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The Northern Ireland conflict, or the ‘troubles’ first broke out in 1969 and have proved to be one of the most intractable conflicts in Europe since the Second World War. In proportion to its size, it is argued that Northern Ireland is the most heavily researched area on earth, but what caused a war of this scale to break out in Ireland, and what perpetuated it for over 35 years, with a death toll of over 3,500 people? At the heart of the conflict are a tangle of interrelated questions. Who should govern Northern Ireland and what should the constitutional position be? How can social and economic inequalities, especially in the field of employment and housing, be remedied? How can the state accommodate religious and cultural differences relating to education, the Irish language and the broad spread of cultural expression? How can political disputes be conducted and resolved without resorting to violence? How can security and order be justly and inclusively administered in a deeply divided society? This module will study the political, religious, social and cultural history of the region since 1969 and, using primary source documents and oral histories, will investigate and dispel the myths that surround some of the debates. It will focus on the move towards conflict resolution on the island and in Britain, examining the roles of both the Dublin and London governments during the conflict and peace process.

The aims of this module are:
-To enable students to study the conflict in Northern Ireland in-depth and analyse the different interpretations of its causes and longevity;
-To enable students to engage with both primary source documents from the period, oral testimony collected since, and the major historiographical debates concerning the conflict;
-To introduce students to recent historical research and to guide them in the analysis of primary documents and texts;
-To give students the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of a short period in Anglo-Irish relations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only. Actual subjects may differ from those listed.

Seminar 1: The ‘Irish Question’ – Perspectives on the Conflict
Seminar 2: The origins of the ‘Troubles’
Seminar 3: From Civil Rights to Armalites – Dissent into violence
Seminar 4: The new Opposition – ‘New’ Nationalism?
Seminar 5: Direct Rule and the power-sharing experiment, 1972-1974
Seminar 6: The Limits of British Politics – ‘Ulsterisation’ and the Hunger Strikes
Seminar 7: The Anglo-Irish Agreement
Seminar 8: Thinking outside the (ballot) box – the origins of the Peace Process
Seminar 9: From Ceasefire to Good Friday Agreement
Seminar 10: Endgame? Implementing the Agreement
Seminar 11: Memory and the ‘Troubles’
Seminar 12: Drop in Session

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists