What is the course about?
This course looks at the rise and fall of empires in the period 1900-1940. It will include an examination of empires
that existed mainly in continental Europe before the First World War and at those that encompassed large parts of
the rest of the world.
Note: Break week - no class on 27th February.
What will we cover?
We will begin by looking at the state of the world in 1900 and those empires that were growing and those that were
declining at this time. We will discuss why several European empires collapsed during or soon after the First World
War. We will need to look back at some points to the nineteenth century to discover the longer term causes of
their rise and fall. We will also examine the rise of the United States as a colonial power in the early part of the twentieth century and the decline of China as an imperial power. We will then consider factors leading to the expansion of some European empires and the rise of others (not only in Europe) in the inter-war period.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Discuss some aspects of the nature of imperialism in the twentieth century
- Pinpoint some of the reasons some empires grew while others declined
- Identify major turning points in the history of imperialism 1900- 1940
- Suggest how technological, political and cultural factors, as well as the First World War, affected the growth of
some empires and the decline of others.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an `introductory` course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good
grasp of English to keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning,
if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our history and current affairs
courses, intellectual curiosity and an open mind are more important than specific previous knowledge.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
There will be Illustrated lectures with maps and images. You will be given handouts showing the chronology of key
events and developments. We will also look at relevant texts from the period (in translation where appropriate). There
will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and join in discussions.
You will not need to do any preparation for the classes, but you will be given a book list in case you wish to take
your studies further.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will find a notebook (or electronic device) useful if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
For other courses on European or World History, please visit both of these sections under 'history' on the college website: www.citylit.ac.uk.