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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

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
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
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


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.

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

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

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

Andrew Vincent (2009). Modern Political Ideologies. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. .

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


Assessment Strategy

The links between assessment methods and learning outcomes are as follows: The one-page proposal ('interim report') gives you the opportunity to test, and receive feedback on, ideas for your subsequent report. The one-page proposal ('interim report') and report asks you to take an idea or an ideology with which you are familiar (from one of your 'Cases and Contexts' modules, for example) and discuss some of the ways in which it helps to explain broader historical events and circumstances. The one-page proposal ('interim report') and report – and feedback on these – help to prepare you for your essay.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 40%
Timed Assignment 35%
Worksheet 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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