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.

The Age of Empire: Conquest and Colonialism in the 19th century and beyond HIST4235

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course aims to provide students with a thorough knowledge and understanding of modern European colonialism and imperialism as it developed in Africa and Asia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By relying on case studies drawn predominantly though not exclusively from the British and French colonial empires, by drawing comparisons and by adopting a thematic approach that will explore socio-economic, political, cultural as well as gendered factors, students will be encouraged to think critically about the motives for and nature as well as impact of European colonial rule in the modern era.


Two one-hour sessions per week, normally including 15 lectures and 5 seminars as scheduled on MyCampus.  This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on 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





Examination (120 minutes duration) - 60%

Essay (2,000 words) - 25%

Seminar presentation with visual aid - 10%

Seminar contribution - 5%

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

This course aims to:


■ develop the intellectual interests and analytical skills acquired by them during their first two years;

■ be aware of previously unfamiliar methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options;

■ develop skills in historical computing, as well as basic IT awareness;

■ familiarise with complex historical debates and interpretations, skill in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from lecturers' current research;

■ develop transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving team work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ explain and interpret the underlying forces that shaped modern colonialism and imperialism;

■ engage critically with the key debates and theories within the historiography of modern colonialism and imperialism;

■ think critically about the subject matter making use of primary as well as secondary sources;

■ select, synthesise and apply information from a range of sources in order construct coherent and independent historical arguments in oral and written forms.

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.