Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

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HIST 273/3.0 New Imperialism

Instructor: Dr. Eugene Michail

Course Description

Until few decades ago European empires dominated the whole of the globe, from India to the Middle East and from China to Africa. New Imperialism, as their rule came to be known, was the first truly globalised moment in history. Today’s world is to a large extent the product of those empires. But what facilitated their rapid rise? How did the imperial centres manage the vast territories under their control? And how did the colonised people receive and resist foreign domination? To answer these questions is to understand the history of modern day globalization.

HIST 273 examines through an interdisciplinary approach three key themes: the ROOTS of European imperialism, its rise and appeal; the EXPERIENCE of the empire both for the metropolitan imperial public and the colonised people; and the RESISTANCE against the empires, focusing on the anti-colonial critique and the ensuing collapse of the old empires. It finishes with a survey of the afterlives of imperialism from the Cold War to the humanitarian wars of the last two decades. 

Expected Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course successful students will be able to: 

  • know the history of European imperialism and of the wider relations between the West and the rest of the world in the last two hundred years
  • engage critically with all main contemporary debates on imperialism and its legacy 
  • use methods from cultural and political theory, postcolonial studies and literary analysis. 
  • engage in primary source research and analysis
  • construct a research plan, engage closely with its different phases and publicly present their findings in a reflective manner
Field Studies

There are two field trips in the course:

  • a visit to the Catty Sark vessel and the Maritime Museum where we will visit an exhibition on the British East India Company
  • and a walking tour of the imperial centre of London, including the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Primary Research Expectations

Students will be in constant engagement with different types of primary research, through:

  • the field trips: students are instructed on how to transform from passive observers to critical thinkers, evaluating and analysing, reflecting on how their identities affect their experiences and vice versa.
  • documentary sources: all seminar sessions use primary sources (newspapers, songs, TV programmes) that students are asked to engage critically with.
  • a research project: students will engage in a research project that requires engagement with primary sources  

Because of the small size of our teaching groups, attendance and participation counts for at least 20% of the final mark. The rest of the assessment will take place through a combination of the following:

  • one essay
  • one research project that will develop throughout the length of the course, including short reviews and a final presentation
  • reports (max 500 words) on primary research (eg archives and interviews) and other research tasks (eg terminologies and definitions, reflections on class discussions) 

There are no exams at the end.