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.

Empires and Colonies in the Atlantic World, 1640-1763 HIST4197

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will investigate how these new empires were conceived, built, and challenged. It will look at whether or not European powers initially set out to build empires, what they hoped they might get out of connecting disparate beachheads around the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and how they sought to manage those beachheads once they had grown into flourishing businesses and societies.


This course will be offered at least twice weekly via lectures and/or seminars and taught as scheduled in MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes 

Excluded Courses



Assessment: One essay (1500-2000 words in length) represents 20%; one oral seminar paper (800 words) equal to 6%; seminar contribution represents 4%; 1 x 120minutes duration exam in April/May diet represents 70%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of the History honours programme, to which this course contributes, are:

To develop the intellectual interests and analytical skills you acquired during your first two years;

To offer you the opportunity to study previously unfamiliar methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options;

To offer you the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing, as well as basic IT awareness;

To introduce complex historical debates and interpretations, to develop skills in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from lecturers' current research, and

To encourage the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

Demonstrate an understanding of the imperial connections linking various corners of the Atlantic basin and how they developed during the early modern period;

Recognize the processes of state formation and creolization at work in the Atlantic world and the ways in which they have impacted contemporary politics and culture;

Compare the cultural and political innovations of various different European imperial systems and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses;

Reconstruct political culture from metropolitan, colonial, and subaltern perspectives simultaneously.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.