School of History

HST6386 – Sea Power and Empire: Piracy, Race and Modernity

Module code: HST6386

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Simon Layton

Sea power was essential to the rise of the British Empire and the making of the modern world. From the mid-eighteenth century to the present day, the spectre of 'piracy' haunted those states that sought to project power in a globalising, international order premised on notions of 'civilisation' on the one hand, and merciless state-violence on the other. This module begins by examining how the British encountered (and transformed) seafaring communities in Asia—in Indian, Arabian, Southeast Asian and Chinese waters—before examining piracy’s postcolonial role in shaping both international law and countercultures of resistance in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Assessment: Source Analysis (1,000 words) [25%] and Essay (3,000 words) [75%]
Level: 6