Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

HIST1151 World Histories: Contact, Conflict and Culture from Ancient to Modern

Module Overview

Historians have many different ways of viewing the past: we do not just pick up facts like sweets from a jar. Instead, we craft different stories based on the sources we choose to examine, the approaches we choose to take and the way that our training, our beliefs and our identities shape our interaction with the past. In this history department, we have historians working on periods from the ancient world to the contemporary moment, covering the whole world (and beyond!) and working on themes like envionment, technology and the material world; artistic, intellectual and cultural life; race, gender and the promise of a civil society; and big topics like faith, power, empire (and after), conflict, tolerance, prejudice and migration. This course will introduce you to some of these topics and themes, show you some periods and regions that you might not have encountered before, and introduce you to some of the stories that we find especially interesting and important.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • how historians use different historical approaches to construct different interpretations of the past
  • How politics, economy and culture interrelate in past and present societies
  • How different world regions have influenced and affected each other
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Think critically about the practice of history
  • Understand how major interpretations of past societies evolve
  • Identify and evaluate different historical interpretations of past events
  • Understand the interplay between historical sources and interpretations of them
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use a range of perspectives in problem-solving
  • Critically analyse a diverse range of source material
  • Organise and structure material to write and present confidently
  • Participate actively in group discussions and debate
  • Communicate a coherent and convincing argument


This module will help you to think about different ways to approach the study of the past, and will also introduce you to the research that is being done in the history department at the University of Southampton. It will showcase the specialisms of our academics, from the ancient period to the contemporary. We will explore histories from across the world, exploring different geographic regions and the rise and fall of empires, nations and international alliances and organisations. The module will take a variety of different approaches -- social, cultural, political, economic -- to show the different stories we can tell about the past through the research that we are doing here at Southampton. The course is split into three sections, which will take a variety of different approaches to the study of the past, showing alternate chronologies from the ancient world to the contemporary moment. There will also be a focus on historiography, exploring different conceptions of what history is for, how our contemporary context shapes the historical research that we undertake, and how the study of the past can inform our approach to the world today. You will also explore relevant primary sources, the same primary sources that the historians lecturing on the course use in their own research, to think about how we develop our knowledge of the past and what skills we need to conduct primary research.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Introductory sessions, including an introduction to library resources, an essay tips and presentation skills session, and a short introduction to the study of history and historiography - Lectures which will 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 Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your ideas on a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument. Such discussions will also allow you to reflect on the historiography and on broader attitudes towards the period in question.

Completion of assessment task64
Preparation for scheduled sessions200
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

J.M. Brown (1995). Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy. 

Robert Bartlett (1993). The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350. 

Fred Donner (2010). Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam. 

Daniel K. Richter (2001). Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America. 

Julia Smith (2007). Europe after Rome. 

Ulinka Rublack (ed)  (2012). A Concise Companion to History. 

James VanderKam (2001). An introduction to early Judaism. 

James Lehning (2013). European Colonialism since 1700. 

Richard Reid (2009). A History of Modern Africa. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Article 25%
Critical review 35%
Presentation 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings