School of History

HST6322 - The British Empire in Political Thought from the Eighteenth Century to the Twentieth Century

Module code: HST6322

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Professor Georgios Varouxakis

This QMUL Model module examines the reflections and utterances of a number of important political thinkers on colonies and empire in general and on the British Empire in particular during the period of nearly three centuries that saw the rise, apogee and demise of the greatest modern imperial formation. All sorts of divergent views on colonies and empire and attitudes towards the British Empire will be studied through many different writings. While the broader political and intellectual context will constantly be at the background, and the debates among politicians discussed, the main focus of the course will be on the distinct contributions of political thinkers or 'intellectuals' such as Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, J. R. Seeley, Auguste Comte, Frederic Harrison and other British Comtists, and Alfred Zimmern. Students will engage with the particularly controversial issues related to the British Empire and its role in the world from a sophisticated, critical, and historically-informed point of view.

Assessment: Essay (2,000 words) [50%] and Exam [50%]
Level: 6