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HI5013: Persistent Imperialists - British overseas expansi

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In this module you will learn to think comparatively about processes of historical change, using Britain’s earliest imperial ventures in the Atlantic World, as well as subsequent endeavours in Australasia, as the testing ground. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of how Britain came to attain an Empire in North America, exploring early migration and settlement patterns, but also how the British interacted with indigenous peoples. You will further learn about how Britain, despite defeat in the American Revolution (1776–1783), was able to retain a presence in the Americas, examining, for example, the movement of Loyalists to what became Canada. You will then consider these North American developments in broader global context, exploring how Britain first came to acquire India, the ‘jewel in the crown’, before extending its reach even further to Australia by establishing it as a penal colony.

You will examine these themes through a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, including hands-on primary source work. The concepts of ‘imperialism’ and ‘colonisation’ lie at the heart of the module, and you will be challenged to consider their meaning and significance in the different geographical locations this module focuses on. This will provide you with critical tools to form your own understanding of issues concerning Britain’s global expansion, and how they resonate to this day. Finally, the module will equip you to think critically and develop your own view about academic literature, primary sources, and comparative historical interpretation.

You will be assessed via the following assignments:
• One 2,500 word essay that will span the breadth of the first part of the module.
• One primary source analysis in which you explore a topic you can choose from all module themes through the study of three discrete primary sources. This analysis is to be comprised of
(1) an assessment of the primary sources themselves, i.e. the kind of sources you have chosen, their respective audience, potential source bias and problems (1,500 words), and
(2) an overall commentary on what the sources tell us about the topic within the wider context of existing scholarship (1,000 words).

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