Skip to main content

Unit information: Themes in the History of Colonialism in 2021/22

Unit name Themes in the History of Colonialism
Unit code HISTM0017
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rob Skinner
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit provides a critical introduction to many of the core themes and questions faced by historians of colonialism. It asks students to consider the nature of colonial history and the types of philosophical and other issues that its study provokes. The unit introduces students to a range of competing theories of colonialism and also provides students with the opportunity to apply these abstract theoretical literatures and problems to specific historical case studies. The case studies are deliberately chosen to introduce students to a range of stimulating and often new historical literatures that they are unlikely to have had the opportunity to study at undergraduate level.

Intended learning outcomes

1) To give students a detailed understanding of how the history of colonialism has developed in the modern era and of some of the major contemporary debates in the field.

2) To improve students’ ability to argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively).

3) To be able to display high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control.

4) To develop the ability of students to evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking.

5) To foster student’s capacity to take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature.

6) To be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise.

7) To develop students’ capacity for independent research.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including group seminar-style discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

This unit is assessed by one 5,000 word essay (worth 100% of the unit mark) which assesses ILOs 1-7.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISTM0017).