Empire in the city: the British empire and the making of urban space in Glasgow, 1707-2014 HIST4295

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

Short Description

How does empire shape a city? That's the question this course sets out to answer, taking the city of Glasgow and the British empire as its case study. More than simply trying to teach a history of Glasgow, the course is also focused on the practical skills required to research it. A series of online mini-lectures will introduce the imperial history of a range of different sites and spaces in the city: from public buildings to private homes, from parks and gardens to docks and factories. We'll explore the history of these places more deeply in our weekly seminars. And we'll focus on how to research them in a series of practical sessions, and the Q&A that accompanies each mini-lecture. Practical sessions will include a city walk and visits to three heritage collections within the city.


 1-hour introductory session (online); 10 x 1-hour seminars (in person); 8 prerecorded place-based mini-lectures + Q&A (online; asynchronous; adding up to 4 hours); Five hours of on-site sessions, such as a city walk (up to 2 hours) and/or three one-hour sessions at heritage collections in the city (eg the Mitchell Library, UofG Archives, and UofG Library map room).

This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this year are available in My Campus.

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





Written assignment - Authored Walk (3,000-words) - 60%

Report - Research Processes (1,500-word) - 40%


Students will be given clear guidelines for the authored walk, including the minimum number of sites it is required to cover and minimum requirements for inclusion of textual and visual primary source material. 


Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 a critical understanding of the history of the city of Glasgow and its relationship to the British Empire.

■ analyse the physical environment of the city today as a product of that history.

■ Provide students with the opportunity to carry out their own research on the history of specific sites and spaces in the city. 

■ enhance students' comparative analytical ability.

■ develop key transferable skills in research and communication.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ identify the key political, social, cultural, and economic changes in the life of Glasgow across the period, placing the city's transformation in the context of its relationship to the British Empire

■ interpret the material transformation of urban space in the city as a physical manifestation of these changes, relating the physical environment of the city today to its imperial history.

■ independently locate relevant primary materials relating to the subject, both online and in physical archives, placing them in dialogue with the relevant secondary literature

■ make critical comparisons with cities elsewhere in the world.

■ document their research and present their findings effectively in textual, visual, and oral communication, incorporating different kinds of substantiating evidence.

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.