Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Economic & Social History 1A: Economic and Social History in Global Contexts, ca. 1750-1914 ESH1001

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Economic and Social History 1A introduces students to economic and social history in global perspective. It assumes little or no prior knowledge of the discipline. Although the course content and assessment aim to support progression in the subject, Economic and Social History 1A has also been designed to appeal as a stand-alone course.


Economic and Social History 1A covers the period from ca. 1750 to the First World War, an age that saw the emergence of industrialisation, the rise of modern European global empires, and what has been considered as the first wave of globalisation. The first block of the course examines Glasgow's history and its connections with the wider world forged through slavery, empire, and globalisation. Subsequent blocks of the course allow students to integrate study of key historical questions and themes with consideration of different world regions, which may include Europe, East Asia and South Asia, Africa, and North and South America.


Highlights include 1-2 collaborative practical workshops ("Virtual Collections Classrooms") using unique historical business records from Central Africa and/or South Asia held in the Scottish Business Archives. Students will also develop their own contribution to a "Glasgow Map," working individually to identify and interpret primary sources (museum objects, statues, or landmarks in the built environment of Glasgow) linked with the themes of the course.


Lectures: three lectures per week, including 1 or 2 "Virtual Collections Classrooms" (10 weeks in total)

Tutorials: one 1-hour tutorial per week (10 in total, timeslots scheduled throughout the week).

Provision for a reading week: week 5 or 6.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





■ One written analysis of a site, object, or landmark in Glasgow related to the time period and themes of the course ("Glasgow Map" activity) (1000 words+/- 10%) = 30%

■ One primary source analysis (1000 words+/- 10%) = 30%

■ One essay engaging secondary literature (1600 words +/- 10%) = 40%

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce participants to key debates, analytical categories, and approaches useful for understanding global economic and social change from around 1750 through to the First World War by:

1. Introducing students to changing historical explanations of the origins of economic growth and economic inequality ("The Great Divergence" and "The Rise of the West" debates); the relationships among social and economic change; and the entwined processes of imperialism and globalisation.

2. Distinguishing between historical evidence ("primary sources") and literature ("secondary literature").

3. Teaching students to recognise critical analysis in literature and develop their own skills in critical analysis.

4. Fostering practical skills involved in historical enquiry and research, focusing on original interpretation of primary sources in connection with relevant secondary literature. 

5. Developing students' skills in academic reflection, writing, and debate as well as team working and discussion.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the scope and defining features of economic and social change in different world regions from around 1750 to 1914, drawing connections between local developments and global themes.

2. Work with a critical understanding of key concepts and terminology in economic and social history in global context. 

3. Critically analyse historical evidence ("primary sources") and literature ("secondary literature").

4. Draw on a range of sources of information in making judgements about the relationships among social and economic change in global contexts and in assessing alternative explanations of key events. 

5. Identify and analyse themes such as class, race/ethnicity, and sex/gender in discussions of economic and social change. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completion of summative assessment