BA Courses

For more information on any of these courses please check:


First year courses:

  • Sixteenth-Century England (course leader/developer/sole lecturer)

This is a social, political, religious and cultural history of sixteenth-century England in its European context. The first half of the course will give a ‘top-down’ approach, covering the traditional territory of the political and religious history of sixteenth-century England, and examining this in the context of the rich historiography and primary sources that exist for the period.

We consider the Reformation in Europe, and how that manifested itself in England under Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and examine the material and cultural context of politics and religion in this period. We then focus on social and cultural history, examining lives at both the top and bottom of society. We cover themes such as popular culture and rebellion, witchcraft, crime and punishment, masculinity and patriarchy.

The course is designed to bring together several approaches to the study of early modern history – political, religious, social, and cultural – and to try to approach the study of the country in a rounded way, looking at the lives of both the elites and the ordinary people who made up the population of England.

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  • Britain and the Wider World (team-taught)

Britain & the Wider World introduces students to the history of Britain from the end of the Roman Empire to the 1980s. The aim of this course is to analyze key events and developments in the history of the British Isles to explain why British history has been so unique, but to do so by highlighting the depths of Britain’s involvement with Europe and the wider world, rather than telling a simplistic Whiggish story of Britain’s ‘rise to greatness’ and subsequent decline.

The course also highlights the double-edged nature of that involvement across the world, and raises the question of how well Britain has adapted to its reduced status in the aftermath of decolonization. Overall, therefore, the course seeks to strike a balance between domestic and international concerns, and to enable students to understand the complexity and richness of British history over more than 1500 years.

Second year course:

  • History, Heritage, and Memory (team-taught)

For this course, I teach lectures and seminars that focus on public history. What are the differences between academic and public history? What are the roles of exhibitions, museums, and heritage as part of our common and share history? What are the benefits and pitfalls of historical fiction?


Final year courses:

  • Early Modern History: Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Early modern world (course leader/developer/sole lecturer)

This course explores encounters between Europeans and the wider world during the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century period of discovery, conquest, and colonization. An exploration of the mentalities that accompanied and justified early-modern European expansion is crucial to understanding the age. We consider multiple cultural and interracial encounters, studying the narratives about and attitudes towards them, and the ways of negotiating cultural difference. 

We concentrate first on the Spanish encounters with the Mexíca and the Maya: the motivations of the conquistadors, native American accounts, and the efforts of missionaries. We then explore the English in North America, considering early sixteenth-century texts like Hariot and Ralegh, but also later seventeenth-century accounts of settlement and the relations between the settlers and native peoples, including European captivity narratives. We then examine travel writing about the ‘Orient’, and the attempts to trade, convert, and colonize in Asia. We consider the Jesuit missions to China and Japan, and the Europeans in Mughal India, prior to the formal conquest of India by the British East India Company. Above all, this course takes as its subject the cross-cultural encounters between different peoples, and the often-problematic

narratives about such moments, where propaganda, self-justification, rhetoric, and self-fashioning all played their part in the construction of ideas. This course was first created by Professor Suzannah Lipscomb. It was then fully designed, developed, and written by Dr Estelle Paranque.

  • Power and Politics (team-taught)

This course is designed to offer an opportunity for students to consider history thematically through investigating a series of conceptual issues in history, and then applying them to case studies. Students will be required to write a dissertation of 7,000 words on some aspect relating to this course – giving them a broad spectrum of choice for this piece of coursework.

The first half will consider issues surrounding the history of power and politics conceptually, looking at various ways of conceptualising power and economics, including Bourdieu’s work on symbolical capital, freedom and hierarchy. The second half provides a number of empirical case studies that will aid students in thinking about how to operationalise analytical concepts in their own work.

In preparation for their dissertation, students will specifically be further trained in digital literacy and research skills, building on those skills they have acquired over the preceding years. Time will be spent with them considering the various online and offline research resources available for studying different periods of history, both as a group, in a seminar-style lecture, and individually, in tutorials, in response to their specific research challenge.