European and World History (FHS)

European and World History is a second foundation stone of the Final Honour School: a choice of nineteen periods is available, and each student may study one of these. The papers differ from those available in the Preliminary Examination in several important respects. First, the whole of European history from the rise and fall of the later Roman Empire to the Cold War is covered, across fourteen periods. Second, in many of these periods, and increasingly from the sixteenth century onwards, it is possible to study the interaction of European with extra-European history; by the late twentieth century, European history is also necessarily world history. Third, there are three papers devoted specifically to American history, and one devoted to the wider world in the nineteenth century, studied as far as possible from a local rather than a Eurocentric perspective.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

This paper provides an introduction to some cutting edge developments in world history by focusing on the history of empires in the period before the West dominated the globe. Students therefore have the opportunity to explore pre-modern societies outside of the West on their own terms and in all their cultural diversity.

This was the period that saw the first real seaborne empires launched from Europe following Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in 1498. The oceanic exploits of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and then British that followed, therefore form one focus of the course. However, the heart of the paper lies in Asia, with the great territorial empires that sprawled across the Eurasian landmass: the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals, and the realms of China, Japan and Southeast Asia. (There is also an opportunity to study the New World and Atlantic Africa).

Students will reflect on the methods the ruling elites of these vast new states used for governing disparate regions, how their plans were made and undone by demographic and economic expansion or the implacable force of climate change, and what ideologies and forms of justification they devised. Did it follow, for example, that imperial centres would conceive of the peoples on their borders as barbarians, or even racially inferior? How could they harness or defuse the explosive potential of religious fervour or the movements of missionaries? What inspired the rebellions against them? The other major thematic concern is the extent to which the whole world participated in an ‘early modern’ age: can we identify this period as the first genuine phase of globalization? Can we trace similar changes in administrative innovation, commercial growth, or even newly emancipated forms of intellectual life across such different societies? If we can identify some common developments, how then can we explain the fact that by the end of the period the great agrarian empires suddenly seemed vulnerable? If it is possible to consider the Portuguese as mere waterborne parasites in 1500, by 1800 the British were more like locusts devouring large chunks of India.

The question of a global ‘early modernity’ represents one of the most controversial areas of modern historiographical debate, with significant implications for the return of grand narrative and visions of the long term. The course also represents an introduction to doing comparative history in a systematic way, and should help students prepare for the Disciplines paper in finals. The other main method of world history is also introduced: with connected history, historians have become more imaginative in tracing the ways in which far-flung societies were interconnected in sometimes unexpected ways, through the circulation of millenarian ideas associated with kingship among a number of Islamic realms, or the political consequences of the dissemination of firearms. Understanding encounters across cultural divides is part of this: how should one interpret Jesuit reports from the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, or Persian ambassadors writing about their encounter with Theravada Buddhism in the royal city of Ayudhya?

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The period from the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 to the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989 forms a divided unity. Often referred to as Europe’s short 20th century, it was marked by two world wars and the cold war. The First World War led to unprecedented policies of state and social mobilization, and ended in revolution, civil wars and large-scale acts of ethnic cleansing. The collapse of the multinational empires of central and eastern Europe was accompanied by experiments at reshaping the nation state in line with competing authoritarian and democratic ideologies, while repeated economic crises challenged both national and European orders. This culminated in the overlapping military, political and ideological conflicts of the period that we term the Second World War, but which in fact encompassed a wide range of discrete conflicts from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s, and which brought about the massive reshaping of the Continent, and its division into two selfcontained entities. If the first half of this period (1914-45) was marked by instability and violent extremism culminating in genocide, the second half (1945-89) was remarkable for its relative stability and, especially in Western Europe, affluence. Political protesters in 1968 consciously adopted different methods from those of the earlier period, just as the economic crises in the 1970s were resolved in quite different ways from those of the 1920s and 30s. When Central and Eastern Europe were swept by popular revolutions in 1989, they did not follow the same course as the revolutions of 1917-21.

This paper covers twentieth century from the Great Depression and lead-up to the Second World War to the Second Iraq War. It explores the period of mid-century global conflict, the Cold War and the post-Cold War era from 1989 that is still unfolding.

The centre of gravity is outside Europe and in a sense there is no centre to the perspective taken by the paper at all. It combines multiple perspectives, that of the post-colonial alongside the ex-colonial world, of the communist alongside the non-communist world, of the developing world alongside the developed world. It is not an ‘area studies’ paper exploring discrete regions; rather it approaches key issues and themes in twentieth-century history as global problems with regional and local manifestations. It will include North America and Europe (and the UK) to the extent that these too were impacted upon or ‘entangled’ in global processes, for example in those of decolonization, globalization and environmentalism.

The paper will be divided into three parts: A. Wars and Geopolitics, c. 1930-c.1989; B. Global Disorders, c. 1989-2003; C. Global Cross-currents across the whole period.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

The outline for this paper is currently unavailable. It will be added to the page in the coming weeks.

Teaching: 7 tutorials over one or two terms, with submitted essays or essay plans for discussion, or 7 classes

Assessment: A 3-hour written examination takes place at the end of the Trinity Term. This accounts for one seventh of the overall mark.

Please note that the options listed above are illustrative and may be subject to change.

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