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POL1046 : Order and Disorder: The Shaping of the 21st Century

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Megan Armstrong
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       To introduce students to key political ideas, movements, and events which have contributed to the shaping of the 21st century
•       To introduce debates over the differing interpretations of political history
•       To deepen and broaden students’ awareness of historical context
•       To equip students with factual and conceptual knowledge which will promote their ongoing study of contemporary politics

Outline Of Syllabus

Will the 21st century witness a ‘clash of civilizations’? Or is history leading towards ever increasing forms of liberal democracy? Structured around the concepts of order and disorder in the international system, this module introduces students to key ideas and events of 20th century history. It focuses on those events which have led to the most dramatic changes in politics at the national and international levels and which have helped to shape the 21st century. The module provides a solid foundation for future studies in Politics and reinforces an element of progression in the programme. The module goes beyond merely discussing history by focusing on the relevance of historical events and their interpretations for contemporary politics. By presenting the material in an engaging fashion, the module seeks to enhance student motivation and encourage them to expand their knowledge of historical context through independent study.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PIP lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1129:00129:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities93:0027:00Guided questions/tasks based on readings. Preparation for seminars in small study groups.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP seminars
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide students with an introduction to key ideas, movements and events, which have helped shape the 21st century. The lectures are delivered in two formats - an online asynchronous lecture that introduces students to key concepts and historical information, and an in-person lecture. The use of online lectures allows students to engage with and process key theories and concepts before attending the in person lecture, and at their own pace.

Seminars will allow students to follow up these ideas and issues by asking questions and debating amongst themselves; students will be guided through preparation for seminars through both questions and tasks to help them get maximum benefit from the readings, and through working together in small study groups. They provide the context for students to articulate their knowledge and understanding and to help them prepare for written assessment. The weekly feedback hour will allow students to ask questions and get guidance from the module leader.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25850 words (Summative and formative feedback given).
Essay1M753 x 850 words submitted as one document
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

For each topic covered an essay question will be set and released at the start of teaching. Students must choose 4/11 topics to write an essay outline to include a summary of their key argument, supporting evidence and a bibliography. Four outlines are expected with a word count of 850 words for each one. This assessment will ensure that students engage more deeply with a number of topics rather than just one for an essay. It will reinforce library and research / essay writing skills taught on other semester 1 modules and in induction.

The first outline must be handed in at the end of the fourth teaching week to check engagement and offer feedback. Crucially, staff on the module will provide formative & summative feedback on the first outline for each student. They will also be available during office hours and the weekly Q&A to discuss the outlines. Examples will also be provided on Canvas.

Reading Lists