The University of Southampton

HIST1150 World Ideologies: The Ideas that Made the World

Module Overview

Ideas are fundamental to human societies and culture. Some, though, are identified by the term ‘ideology’, which indicates that they are all-embracing, and form the basis for an entire worldview, or a means of understanding the patterns of life and society. Ideologies can become the basis for much of an individual's identity, and as such are forces of great power and historical importance. Understanding ideologies thus provides a key means for understanding the minds of historical individuals, or, beyond the individual, much of the basis for politics and political organisation. Indeed, ideologies can give the ideas and moral authorisation for some to try to control or to transform politics, society and culture, and are highly influential in bringing about historical change.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to major ideologies that have impacted on diverse historical contexts • Introduce you to how major ideologies have affected historians' reconstructions of the past • Question how ideas and intellectual change influence societies across time and place

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A range of prominent ideologies with worldwide historical impact, including political, religious, social and economic ideological systems of thought
  • Debates on the significance and impact of ideologies in specific historical contexts
  • How ideologies effect historical change
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Give oral presentations and actively take part in discussion
  • Engage in independent study and research
  • Use a range of perspectives in problem-solving
  • Organise and structure material to write and present confidently
  • Participate actively in group discussions and debate
  • Communicate a coherent and convincing argument in both oral and written formats
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand how major interpretations of past societies evolve
  • Identify and evaluate how ideas affect historical interpretations of past events
  • Understand the interplay between historical sources and interpretations of them
  • Analyse the relationship between ideologies and their diverse political, social and cultural settings
  • Analyse the relevance of ideologies to modern contemporary historical debates
  • Critically analyse a range of primary and secondary material on ideological themes


This module is designed to introduce you to some key ideologies and to allow consideration of how ideologies have influenced societies and shaped history. The greater part of the module is built around week-long investigations of specific ideologies, selected for their long- term impact and global influence. These include examples such as Multiculturalism, Marxism and Imperialism. For each ideology, you will hear a broad, introductory lecture which will explain the basics of each ideology and highlight different historical case studies associated with them. This will be followed by a more specific lecture which will engage with the key texts for each ideology, and which will link to the seminar. The seminar will involve you in discussion about a seminal text related to the ideology and its impact. The aim of the seminar will be for you to bring together themes from the lecture and relate them to the text, and to discuss the effect of the ideas under discussion.

Special Features

• Wide-ranging introduction to historical ideologies • Emphasis on links between ideologies and host societies • Provides a broad basis and background for future modules

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • One-hour lectures which aim to introduce a topic, key primary sources and the main features of the historiography in relation to it. • Seminars focusing on the detailed reading and analysis of primary sources, accompanied by discussion of the implications of these documents and how they connect with the principal historiography and wider perceptions of the period in question. • Opportunity for individual essay consultations with seminar tutors and feedback on essay plans Learning activities include: • Analysis of selected key readings in the historiography • Preparatory reading and individual study • Individual participation in seminars and group work on seminar themes • Group presentations at the end of the module

Preparation for scheduled sessions200
Completion of assessment task64
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Ian S. Markham with Christy Lohr, (eds) (2009). World Religions: A Reader. 

Sandra Kemp and Judith Squires (eds) (1997). Feminisms. 

S. Knott and B. Taylor (eds) (2005). Women, Gender and Enlightenment (esp. K. Soper, ‘Feminism and Enlightenment Legacies’, pp.705–15). 

Iain Hampsher-Monk (1993). A History of Modern Political Thought: Major political thinkers from Hobbes to Marx. 

Michael Rosen and Jonathan Wolff (eds) (1999). Political Thought. 

Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge (1985). The future of religion: secularization, revival and cult formation. 

S. H. Rigby (1997). Marxism and history: A critical introduction. 

Paul Schumaker (ed.) (2010). The Political Theory Reader. 

Mark Smith (1990). The early history of God: Yahweh and the other deities in ancient Israel. 

S. Scheffler (1997). Liberalism, Nationalism, Egalitarianism. The Morality of Nationalism. ,0 , pp. 0.

C. Taylor and A. Gutmann (eds) (1992). Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition (esp. essay by Taylor, ‘The Politics of Recognition’). 

Andrew Vincent (2009). Modern Political Ideologies. 

John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (eds) (1994). Nationalism. 


Assessment Strategy

The links between assessment methods and learning outcome are as follows: The essays will be written in response to questions asking you to look at one of the seminal texts for each block in relation to key debates, and will relate to themes raised in seminar discussion. The source commentary will ask you to examine an extract from a seminal text, and draw attention to its meaning and how it has been read in different contexts and periods. The final assessment will comprise a group oral presentation, in which five or six students will offer a ten-minute presentation looking at a major theme comparatively between the various ideologies (for example: 'How do ideologies change?', 'How do ideologies interact with social structures?'). This will allow you to practise your formal presentational skills (as opposed to your skills in discussion and debate exercised through the seminars), and to provide an opportunity to ask questions cutting across the period blocks. Groups for these presentations will be assigned by your seminar tutor.


MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1000 words) 20%
Essay  (2000 words) 30%
Essay  (2000 words) 30%
Group presentation 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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