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School of History

HST6752 - Pacific Encounters: Science, Sex and Empire from Captain Cook to Pearl Harbor

Module code: HST6752

Credits: 60
Semester: YEAR

This module spans the history of European engagement with the Pacific world. The first semester traces key eighteenth-century voyages, examining in detail the first cross-cultural encounters between Pacific peoples and European sailors. The first half of the second semester explores the worlds of whalers, missionaries, soldiers and settlers, showing how Pacific peoples confronted (and adapted to) the challenges of European intrusion. The module then turns to the twentieth century, placing the Pacific at the heart of modern 'science' (and scientific racism); as a theatre of global conflict in the Second World War; and as the first frontier in the battle against climate change. Students will have access to a wealth of primary sources, including voyage journals, logbooks and Admiralty records; scientific and missionary correspondence; and a wide range of artworks and artefacts. Two field trips to museum collections will expose new critiques of Britain’s role in the plunder and preservation of sacred objects, and the role of public commemoration 250 years since Cook first set sail. This module MUST be taken in conjunction with HST6700 History Research Dissertation.

Assessment: Essay 1 12.5%, Essay 2 12.5%, Exam 25%, Dissertation 50% Museum Review 1 (1000 words) 10%, Essay 1 (2500 words) 30%, Museum Review 2 (1000 words) 10%, Essay 2 (3500 words) 50%
Level: 6

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