War, empire and society: Scotland c 1870-1922

On this page


Module code


This module will cover the following topics:

  • The Scottish military experience and empire (The Scottish Soldier / Scotland and the Boer War / The Royal Navy and Scotland)
  • Scotland and the Great War (Men and Women’s experience of service / War and the Home Front / Memorialising the War)
  • A Scottish Empire? (Scotland and the Imperial Economy / Emigration and Empire / Writing the Empire)
  • War, Empire and Scottish Society (The church, missionaries and empire / Civic imperialism: the city and empire / Internal colonialism? The Highlands and empire)


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Essay - 4,000 words (55%)
  • Assessed tasks - 2 essays of c. 1,000 words each (30%)
  • Module journal - c. 500 words every 2 weeks (15%)

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will have:

  • An understanding of the imperial and military events of the Victorian and Edwardian eras;
  • Knowledge of the Scottish role within these;
  • Knowledge of how war and empire impacted upon Scottish society;
  • An appreciation of how war and empire have shaped Scottish national identity;
  • Knowledge of how Scotland’s relationship with empire varied across time and place
  • A conceptual framework within which to place Scotland’s military history
  • An ability to discern between myth and reality in assessing Scotland’s military and imperial history


This module will:

  • Provide students with an understanding of how war and empire shaped Scottish society in the Victorian and Edwardian eras
  • Develop understanding of the role played by Scots in spreading and maintaining the British Empire
  • Develop understanding of Scotland’s role in the First World War
  • Enable students to engage with the main debates surrounding Scotland’s military identity
  • Challenge students to think critically about the factors that have shaped Scottish national identity


Dr Craig Gauld


All teaching will be carried out via the VLE.  

This flexible distance learning module requires c.15 hours per week of study for approximately 15 weeks.