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The University of Southampton

HIST1188 Clash of Superpowers: United States versus China

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • what great power competition involves
  • China and the USA’s competing visions of a global order
  • the historical origins of the key drivers of tension between the two superpowers


In this module you will explore the competing visions of a global order promoted by the U.S. government and the Chinese Communist Party. You will consider diverse case studies including: contrasting economic and ideological models; views on security and sovereignty; the regulation of cyberspace; technological competition and the new arms races; engagement with supranational bodies such as the UN and WHO, and the dramatically divergent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will facilitate our understanding of the historical origins of the core drivers behind these superpowers’ intense rivalry, and what can be done to prevent these tensions escalating into World War III.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The current intention is to deliver teaching for this module online. If circumstances allow, some form of blended delivery methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, or individual tutorials may be introduced if it is safe for all concerned to do so. However, delivery will remain entirely online if face to face teaching is not possible or advisable.

Independent Study276
Total study time300



MethodPercentage contribution
Timed Assignment 50%
Written assignment 50%
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