While studying a History course at BGU, you will explore a range of fascinating topics spanning a number of historical eras, in a variety of local, national and global contexts; from pirates in the early modern Atlantic World to civil rights campaigners in the 1960s. As well as learning about the people in the past on this undergraduate degree, you will investigate how people today engage with history and consider how the past can be brought alive.
Mode of study
Bishop Grosseteste University
Connect with the History team
About this course
Our specialism in social and cultural history marks us out as different to History courses elsewhere. Here at BGU you are encouraged to study the past with empathy and see the past from different, sometimes challenging perspectives.
Here at BGU in Lincoln, won’t just study history through documents, you’ll learn through placements and site visits to archives and museums. Throughout the course you will explore a range of fascinating topics spanning a number of historical eras, in a wide variety of local, national and global contexts. You’ll analyse data, images and texts, construct arguments and engage in original historical research. You will also look at how history is encountered within the community and take a work-based placement at a school, archive, museum or other site that fits your career goals and direction.
This undergraduate degree will help to build your skills as a historian, from introductory subjects in your first year through to an independent, research-based dissertation in your final year. As well as learning about people in the past, you will investigate how people today engage with history and consider how the past can be brought alive.
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What you will study
As a student on this course, you may study some or all of the modules listed below.
This module provides a general introduction to the history of British libraries, museums and archives from their origin in the collecting activities of elite individuals in the early modern period to the ultimate establishment of state-supported public institutions from the mid-18th century and the involvement of non-elite experts and collectors to the present day. The establishment of the British Museum (and Library) will act as a chronological focal point on the module as you will consider its historical significance and legacy in national and global history. The module takes a broadly chronological approach to establish the importance of politics, economics and identities (social, cultural, genderand national) as a rationale for the collection and preservation of books, objects and archival documents in Britain. The module will enhance your knowledge of the general history of library, archive and museum collections, develop your ability to locate and engage with these collections as historians and will help you to understand the origin and significance of source materials that you will encounter in your further studies.
This module will introduce you to the importance of individual and collective identities in the study of history. Through examining a variety of key theoretical texts and biographically-focused case studies, largely but not exclusively centred on British history, you will learn about different approaches to the history of identity and its utility for modern historical studies. you will gain an understanding of a range of theoretical methodologies related to the practice of social and cultural history that will provide a firm foundation for later studies. At its core, the module will introduce you to the principle sources for, and main theoretical approaches taken in, the study of key, often intersecting, identities within the disciplinary area of history, such as: sexuality, class, politics, religion, race, gender and disability.
On this module you will be introduced to the early modern British Isles, broadly covering the period from the Reformation of the English Church to the 1688 Revolution. The module will consider political, social, military, cultural and economic perspectives on a transformational period in the history of the British Isles. By taking a survey approach the module will support you as you gain a wider understanding of this period of history. Consideration will be given to, variously, social structures and lifecycles, reformation and religious change, the rise of parliament and the state, radical politics and revolutionary change, the impact of print culture, the English Civil War, and the role played by urban, rural and maritime/imperial development as drivers of change. In summary, you will come to understand why the period is referred to as 'early modern', neither wholly medieval or modern. The module will engage you in the excellent digitised resources available for this period and introduce you to the vibrant historiographical and methodological approaches to explaining changes in the early modern British Isles, as appropriate, and you will learn how to apply these to the research and analysis of this period of history.
This module will introduce you to the key events, themes and characters of the US Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War. You will explore different elements of the Civil Rights Movement, including the black, women's and gay rights movements, how these overlapped with the workers' rights struggle and ultimately affected the national political landscape. This module will also enable you to appreciate the impact the war in Vietnam had on American society, culture and politics. You will critically analyse developments on the ground in Vietnam and make links between military conflict and the domestic situation, with a view to understanding the role of American masculinity, national identity and anti-communist ideology during this period. Through this study, you will be able to understand the importance of a changing domestic situation on the perception and prosecution of an overseas war.
This module will survey, through a series of global case studies, the modern phenomenon of ‘democratic dictators’: individual rulers who, from the 19th century onwards, supplanted traditional monarchs and more liberal, democratic regimes with their own highly personalised, authoritarian systems of government that nevertheless retained key elements of democratic practice, from the principle of popular sovereignty to the practice of regular elections/referenda to legitimise their dictatorial regime and frequently violent rise to power. You will be introduced to key theories explaining the relationship between the birth of modern, mass societies, the spread of democratic ideas and practices and the rise of dictatorial regimes and individuals. These theories will be illustrated by historical examples from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, where appropriate. The persistence and adaptation of democratic dictatorship in the present day will be discussed and you will be encouraged in taught sessions and in the written assignment to engage in comparative political histories to assess and explain the phenomena of democratic dictatorship from its early rise in France and Latin America to its 20th century development across the globe.
This module will provide you with an introduction to the First World War focusing on the military, social, and political aspects of the conflict. Emphasis is placed on the global nature of conflict and you will explore how the war developed across different theatres including Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You will consider the outbreak of the war, the advent of ‘total war’, and the changing nature of warfare between 1914 and 1918. The impact of the war on the state and society will be assessed, focusing on opposition to the war, conscientious objection, and political upheaval. You will be introduced to the key historiographical debates concerning the First World War and consult a range of primary material including official documents, personal testimony, and visual sources.
This module introduces you to the study of history at undergraduate level and is a key part of your transition to university. You will gain an initial understanding of the varied nature of the discipline and the range of approaches to it, introducing key areas of theory and practice covered in subsequent modules in history, such as: the significance of schools of historical thought, key source types and popular interpretative approaches. There will be a focus on some of the key critical and practical skills involved in reading, researching and writing history. The use of an engaging case study will contextualise how historians analyse primary sources and how historians engage with the secondary accounts produced by their colleagues. Introductions to information literacy, academic integrity and a range of study skills, such as the reading of academic texts, will be explicitly embedded within the module. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own study skills, learning strategies and approaches. Taught sessions and assessments will encourage your to express your ideas in written and spoken form through discussion, debate and argument. This module is designed to support your progression through subsequent modules in the subject.
On this module you will study late medieval England - in particular the various roles, occupations and classes of people in Late Medieval England. Through a survey approach, you will examine the changing nature of various aspect of late medieval society, such as kingship, the aristocracy, feudalism, gender, education, literature and drama. The module will introduce you to recent historiographical debates surrounding the nature and transformation of kingship in this period as well as the extent and nature of conflict between social groups, particularly in relation to the Baron’s Wars and the War of the Roses. As well as providing opportunity to understand the significance of powerful late medieval women, the module will also look at gender roles in wider society and how these changed. You will also study the changing role of religion, how drama was used to promote religious ideas, the development of literature, learning and the transformation of the medieval landscape. The course will introduce you to this formative period of English history and to key historiographical debates. It will use a variety of methodical approaches to enable you to research, analyse and explain various aspects of this period.
The module will explore the historical evolution of modern British espionage throughout the twentieth century. Through a wide-ranging study of primary sources and secondary literature you will examine the historical contribution of British intelligence services in peace and war. The module will include a critical discussion of the historiographical issues related to the study of intelligence history. The module will focus on a number of case studies drawn from: Britain’s culture of secrecy, the 1911 Official Secrets Act, the growth of MI5 and MI6, codebreaking at Bletchley Park, the Cambridge Five, The Profumo Affair, the role of women, international relations,and the popular culture of espionage.
This module will develop your knowledge, understanding and subject-specific skills related to local and regional history. This will include relevant research methods, including primary source analysis and digital information skills. The module will review the historiography associated with local and regional histories and you will consider a range of perspectives and framings such as the political, social, cultural and economic. A significant focus of the module will be the exploration of the variety of sources available to the historian investigating local history. These will include visual, oral and textual; tangible and intangible; official and private. This activity is normally facilitated by engaging with both physical and digital primary sources. Through practical exercises in the retrieval, synthesis and interpretation of a range of source material you will develop the skills needed to operate successfully in this field.
This module will engage you in a wide-ranging study of the Atlantic World in the early modern period with a particular focus on the 17th and 18th centuries. Through a critical review of secondary texts and a variety of primary source material you will analyse the political, economic, technological, social and cultural history of the Atlantic World, with a particular focus on the ‘Anglophone Atlantic’, its origins, growth and contact with European empires and indigenous peoples in the Americas and Africa. You will engage with historiographical debates concerning the character of the ‘Atlantic World’ with its competing empires and entities and consider whether this is a useful concept for understanding this period of history. Key themes to be explored include: the importance of the trade in goods and the movement of people, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the significance of conflict and co-operation between states, sub-state groups and individuals; the importance of identities and how they changed as a result of the Atlantic experience; and the role of science, knowledge and communication in the Atlantic World.
This module will engage you in a long view of the history of magic, witchcraft and folklore. The module will begin by surveying the complex relationship between religion, health, miracles and magic during the later medieval period. It will then examine the subsequent development across early modern Europe of a culture of witchcraft persecution and prosecution, which will be considered through the lens of fear, often exacerbated by social status and/or gender. You will finally be tasked to evidence, explain and challenge the meta-narrative for the apparent decline in belief in a witch cult from the 18th century onwards. You will critically examine evidence for the persistence of pagan and magical beliefs as well as the development of folklore and fairy stories into the ‘modern’, ‘enlightened’ age. You will be exposed to relevant primary and secondary material in order to engage fully with the case studies and historical sweep of the module, and will be expected to critically explain and defend your interpretations. A parallel strand running throughout will be critical analysis of the trajectory of historiographical debate associated with the history of magic and, in particular, witchcraft and paganism.
This module surveys the major political, social, military, economic and cultural changes that accompanied the period from the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire to the rise of the Vikings. It focuses on the end of Roman rule in the West and the recent debates about cataclysmic collapse before turning attention to the ‘birth’ of early medieval Europe. You will be encouraged to critically review the evidence for political, social, military, economic and cultural change during this period and consider the varied and contested interpretations placed upon such evidence. The module will consider different historiographical and methodological approaches, as appropriate, and you will learn how to apply these to research and analysis of aspects of this period of history. In particular the module will explore the wealth of available evidence that counters the established characterisation of this period of history as the ‘Dark Ages’and particular consideration will be given to the place of Britain within the networks of power, commerce and religion that developed across western Europe at this time. You will examine the violent rise of post-Roman kingdoms as well as the spread of Christianity and Islam. You will look at how trade initially declinedand the role of Vikings in its revival, and will examine the origins of early modern European states and the legacies of Rome into the early medieval period.
This module will explore a range of protest movements from across the British Isles, setting them in their historical context and investigating their origins, scope, membership, activities and outcomes. By examining a chronological span from the first modern protests to contemporary movements, you will develop an understanding of change and continuity in regard to methods of protest, organisational structures and effectiveness. You will work critically with a wide set of historical texts and primary sources, including audio and visual evidence. The module will also take account of interdisciplinary work on the theory and conceptual development of social movements, in particular from sociology and political science, reflecting the nature of existing scholarship on popular protest. The examples utilised within the module will focus on British movements, but where appropriate references to global networks, antecedants and legacies will be explored. A range of movements with different motivations will be examined, such as: Chartism, trade unionism and parliamentary reform campaigns; regional and/or national independence campaigns; Suffrage and Women’s rights; Peace movements; Civil Rights and Anti-racism; LGBTQ+rights; and Environmentalism. Varied methods of protest will be examined, such as: petitions, demonstrations, direct action and the cultivation of cultural movements through music, art and literature.
This module comprises a work-based placement experience or employment related project, combined with a study of the principles and practice of using and applying historical knowledge and training in the public sphere. The taught element of the module will provide you with the necessary skills to identify and apply for potential employment opportunities and develop your knowledge and understanding of application and interview processes. You will also engage in a critical review of the contemporary manifestations of history/military history in public and private sectors. You will be be given the methodological and theoretical tools to account for the complex and often contested nature of academic and public understandings of the past. Additionally, you will be challenged to consider the issues raised when historical knowledge and methods are applied to workplace contexts. The placement element of the module will support you as you apply your acquired knowledge and skills in a real-life context offering a valuable experience to draw on when you present yourself to employers or selectors upon graduation. The module is designed to enable a range of placements and/or projects to be developed which are most suited to your potential future career. Approved placement hosts are often, though not exclusively, positioned within the heritage, armed forces and education sectors. Working with your appointed tutor and placement providor, you will be directed towards an appropriate placement/project enabling you to both meet the learning outcomes and have a valuable experience that captures the challenges and rewards of using historical knowledge and skills in a work-based learning environment.
On this module you will explore modern urban history from the global to the regional and local levels. Content is organised thematically, enabling you to engage with historiographical debates and theoretical approaches to the modern city with case studies drawn from every continent. The chronological focus is on cities of the modern age (broadly post-1800). However, the module will include discussion of pre-modern cities (e.g. ancient Greece and Rome), tracing their lineage into the modern period from bustling Victorian industrial cities, coastal conurbations and imperial ports, to twentieth-century skyscrapers and megacities. You will analyse changes in the form and function of urban spaces and explore the profound demographic, architectural, environmental, social, cultural and political changes that took place in these urban spaces and contributed to the very concept of ‘modernity’. On this module you will gain understanding of the urban sphere beyond Britain, taking a comparative approach to a wide variety of case studies and engaging with recent research by urban historians outside the Anglosphere, including India and China. Close reading and discussion of theoretical texts and historiographical debate will be combined with primary source research in physical and digital formats.
This module will engage you in an in-depth assessment of life in Britain during the twenty-year period between the First and Second World Wars. The overarching theme of the module reflects the perennial historiographical debate on whether these years are best seen through a pessimistic lens of political crisis and economic decline, or more positively via a focus on social opportunity and cultural vibrancy. You will engage in critical discussion of interwar politics, debating issues such as: the rise of the Labour Party, Conservative electoral dominance, the failure of political extremism in the British context and the beginning of the end of Empire. Unemployment and economic challenges will also be covered, alongside the rise of consumerism, home-ownership and the growth of leisure activities. Social and cultural change will be examined through a variety of issues such as the experience of women, the decline of the aristocracy and the impact of the wider world upon Britain: for example, the popularity of American jazz music and cinema. The shadow of war will be akey theme throughout, be it the economic and social consequences of the First World War, or international tensions coming out of it that culminated in the 1930s. You will engage with a range of primary source material, including novels, autobiographies, contemporaneous journalism, oral histories, newsreels and film and wil be expected to engage in and frame their interpretations utilising key, recent historiography.
This module provides you with the opportunity to engage in close, detailed and systematic historical study of a specific theme or topic at an advanced level. Based upon the in-depth critical reading and interpretation of primary and secondary texts, small group teaching will be led by academics whose specialist historical knowledge will be used as a focus for the chosen theme or topic. Seminar and tutorial sessions will explore the chosen subject area through source-based analysis and critical interpretation with, where appropriate, reflection on the contested nature of historiographical debate. The content will include relevant and specific themes or topics that reflect the research specialisms of the academic staff leading each Special Subject group. Normally a range of history and military history topics will be optionally available each academic year that will provide some degree of both thematic and chronological choice. Subject-specific details relating to the syllabus and session structure will be published in advance of delivery via the University’s VLE. The module is designed to support you as you further develop your subject specific research skills at an appropriate level.
During this module you will undertake a wide-ranging critical study of British imperial development during the nineteenth century. The narrative underpinning the module is the increasingly global and expansionist nature of European empires at that time, with Britain in the vanguard of imperialistic, globalising forces. You will examine the impact of British political and military power, money, technology and culture on the peoples, societies and environments it came into contact with. You will likewise analyse the agency of human responses to imperialism through a mixture of adaptation, co-operation and resistance and be introduced to scholarly research on the geographical and environmental signifance of industrialised imperialism. Additionally, the ways in which British society and culture was transformed by the imperial experience will be a crucial point of consideration with its legacies stretching into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You will utilise relevant secondary texts and a variety of primary sources in order to understand the most significant political, economic, technological, social and cultural aspects of the imperial experience and engage directly with classic and recent historiographical debates about the nature of the British Empire, its origins, purpose, meaning and legacies.
On this module, you are required to undertake a research-based project, drawing on academic advice as well as your own interests and intellectual skills, to produce a research-driven, written dissertation of 8-10,000 words. You will conduct your research by addressing self-formulated questions, supported by the critical selection, evaluation and analysis of primary and secondary source material. By these means you will devise and sustain a core argument, and/or solve relevant historical problems, to support the premise of your research question. You will proactively manage the first stage of the development of your dissertation by forming conceptual ideas and related arguments and compile aresearch outline, research question and working, annotated bibliography to summarize both quantitatively and qualitatively the research you plan to undertake. Taught sessions will help you to explore and understand the research methodologies and issues of presentation required for the production of a successful history dissertation. You will then have further individual tutorials spread across both semesters, in which allocated dissertation supervisors closely monitor and advise on the development of appropriate, distinctive, and critical arguments in respect of the chosen subject of study.
This module will explore the political history of the French and Haitian revolutions with a focus on the question of how far these revolutions represented the birth of ‘modernity’? In approaching the topic in this way, you will be encouraged to rethink the political ‘events’, personalities and ideas of the period and key economic, military, social and cultural changes in order to focus on the global significance of these revolutions and thus question more deeply the very concept of ‘modernity’. You will utilise the latest scholarship on figures such as Robespierre, Toussaint Louverture and Napoleon and examine case studies from the Fall of the Bastille to the Haitian Declaration of Independence in order to engage with concepts such human rights, racial and gender identity, terrorism, warfare and political violence, as well as questions of individual liberty, slavery, representative government and the role of the nation state in modern society. You will learn and apply the latest historical methods and approaches to an area that has consistently been one of the most creative (and divisive) in terms of historical theory and in so doing will learn about the role of historiographic debate in driving progress in the historical profession. By the end of the module you will be able to understand and intervene in discussions about the meaning and legacy of two revolutions which are frequently said to stand at the gateway to the modern world.
This module provides you with a critical study of the history of the Cold War ‘conflict’ between the US and its allies, and the Soviet Union during the second half of the 20th century. Through a wide-ranging study, based on primary and secondary sources, the module will review the political, diplomatic and social manifestations of the Cold War. A specific element of the module will focus on the foreign relations between the Soviet Union and the United States of America, examining the historiographical debates that surround the origins and the end of the Cold War. Key features such as Soviet and U.S. foreign policy, ‘proxywars’ and the role of secret intelligence alongside events such as the founding of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Korea and Suez, the Chinese and Cuban Revolutions, Vietnamese and Afghan Wars will be examined. Popular protest movements will also be considered, such as CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and the Anti-War movement. Key actors, episodes, events and crises will be addressed through an international lens encouraging you to take a global historical view on the issue of when, or indeed if, the Cold War ended. The module will consider relevant historiographical and methodological approaches, and you will learn how to apply these to the research and analysis of aspects of this period of history.
This module will examine the history of crime in Britain from Dickensian visions of young offenders, to 20th century gangsters and moral panics from ‘mods and rockers’ to football hooliganism. The module will also cover the development of the modern police force and policing methods, from the parish constable and early detectives through to the professional and volunteer police forces of the twentieth century. Alongside crime and policing, you will explore the history of the criminal justice system, from courtrooms, to transportation, execution and the modern prison. This will include in-depth analysis of the development of the modern state in Britain, as well as the interaction between central and local government in matters of crime, justice and punishment. Through a wide-ranging study of both primary and secondary material you will be challenged to understand and contextualise the histories of crime, justice and punishment. Particular use will be made of online resources such as the Proceedings of the Old Bailey. Historiographic trends in the study of crime and justice, theories of policing and elements of historical criminology will be a key part of the module and you will be expected to position your own research within that wider context, developing your own conclusions and evidenced arguments through in-depth study, discussion and research.
How you will be taught
There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.
You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.
Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.
In History, we believe in utilising assessments that will accurately test your key skills, knowledge and understanding. We select only those assessments that will enable you to learn, improve and progress over the course of the degree programme and which will prepare you for challenges beyond university, such as job interviews, creative presentations, professional exchanges of ideas, report writing and project management. As a result we use a wide combination of different types of history assessment, including written essays, presentations (oral, digital and practical), portfolio submissions (where a combination of smaller pieces of research work are produced) and assessed debates and one-to-one discussions.
History is primarily a written subject and consequently, around half of the assessment of the course is concerned with written communication of complex ideas and the persuasive and explanatory power of the written word. Therefore, the capstone project at the end of the degree course is the Dissertation, which is a longer assessed piece of written work on a topic chosen by the student through collaboration and discussion with their supervisor. It is an exciting and inspiring finish to the undergraduate degree programme and one that enables students to point to their successful demonstration of a range of skills associated with the planning and execution of a complex, written research project.
We have a fantastic track record of supporting you in your studies and assessments through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical workshops and a range of field trips to experience how historical ideas can be communicated outside of the classroom.
Careers & Further study
Studying History at BGU enhances your employability by focusing on highly desirable and transferable critical thinking and analytical skills, professional writing practices and the art of constructing persuasive arguments.
Possible future careers for History graduates include education in the schooling and heritage sectors, marketing, journalism and publishing, law and policing, public policy, information research and management, working as an archivist, librarian or museum curator. History is a highly respected qualification amongst the Top 100 Graduate employers in the finance, commercial, legal and logistics sectors. Successful graduates of this course are also able to continue to study for a PGCE or Master's degrees at BGU and elsewhere.
All History students are guaranteed an interview for a PGCE Primary or Secondary course at BGU & a free place on our 'Preparing for Teaching' courses.
Your tutors will utilise long-established, experienced contacts to take you beyond the classroom on educational visits and work placements in Lincoln and further afield and you will be supported in finding the right placements and gaining the right experience to enable you to apply for a range of future roles.
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