Imperialism and Decolonisation 1850-2000 module (HY21004)

Learn about imperialism and its effect from the mid-nineteenth century and explore the unfolding process of decolonisation in the twentieth century

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Colonial rule, and decolonisation dominate modern world history.

Colonised societies in Asia in Africa were fundamentally altered by the experience. Imperial nations experienced a similar level of transformation, albeit in a different way.

Within a few decades, centuries of imperial rule fell apart globally. Yet while the former empires no longer exist, their legacy continues to this day. Their partitioning of people and territory altered the path of the world.

The new nation states that emerged had independence, but other colonial baggage remained. The shadow of imperial rule affects their internal politics, and the modern world to this day.

Decolonisation remains within living history. Legacies and myths of the dismantling of the empire remain part of family stories. In many ways decolonisation has not ended, and today's world remains affected by the shadows of empire.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • focus on several examples of imperialism from the mid-nineteenth century onward
  • learn about different imperial ideologies and structures of colonial control
  • examine the origins of contemporary decolonisation, in the aftermath of World War 1
  • explore accelerated global decolonisation following World War 2 and Indian independence
  • focus on a range of topics including race, culture, anti-colonial nationalism
  • analyse the influence of the Cold War, and the challenges of white minority rule
  • study the activities of liberation movements in the colonies

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • assess the demise of colonial rule and how it was achieved
  • describe the variances in the processes of decolonisation
  • explain the deep, enduring and perceptible impacts imperialism had on the modern world
  • understand the basis of the political and economic impression left on former colonies
  • recognise the deep ingrained psychological impacts of imperialism / western racism
  • understand the continued influence on the composition and leadership of international organisations

Assignments / assessment

  • essay 2,000 words (50%)
  • exam (50%)

Teaching methods / timetable

  • lectures
  • workshops