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Unit information: Community, Nation and Empire (Level H Reflective History Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Community, Nation and Empire (Level H Reflective History Unit)
Unit code HIST30047
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lewis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The ability to reflect about the nature of History as a discipline and the ability to reflect on one’s own academic development are important attributes of the historian. This unit will offer students the opportunity to engage in this reflective practice by studying how historians have written about the formation of human communities. We will analyse some pioneering historical studies and influential theoretical writings about identity, and explore communities whose members mostly knew one another, but also less intimate, national communities. Are nations a relatively new phenomenon, emerging in the eighteenth century at the earliest, and involving only an ‘imagined’, or hegemonic, sense of community? Or do they have deeper historical roots? Were empires actually better at building communities from diverse groups of peoples than nation-states have been? Was it really possible for people to feel themselves to be members of imperial communities? Finally, we will ask whether there are historical precedents for transnational communities, a pressing contemporary concern in today’s ‘globalising’ world.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

1) have developed a deep knowledge of the formation of local, national and imperial communities in the past

2) have gained a heightened understanding of the particular and unique skills that historians acquire and of the way in which they apply those skills to a specific task

3) have enhanced their awareness of how their skills might be applied more generally to other contexts

4) have further developed their ability to evaluate critically the views of others, and to develop their own interpretations which they can substantiate appropriately

5) have demonstrated their ability to express their views with an acuity appropriate to level H, and to do so under time restrictions

Teaching Information

One 1-hour introductory session followed by five 2-hour classes.

Assessment Information

24-hour seen written examination (summative, 100%) will assess ILOs 1-5

Reading and References

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism (London, 1983)

Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca, 1983)

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French village, 1294-1324 (London, 1978)

David Warren Sabean, Power in the Blood: popular culture and village discourse in early modern Germany (Cambridge, 1984)

Daniel Gorman, Imperial Citizenship: empire and the question of belonging (Manchester, 2006)

Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments: colonial and postcolonial histories (Princeton NJ, 1993)