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.

Violence and the Colonial Encounter HIST5157

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This offering explores violence as a constant, transformative feature of modern colonial encounters. The course is structured around temporally and spatially diffuse case studies, ranging from nineteenth-century warfare in settler borderlands, to colonial genocides in Africa and Eastern Europe, to the amorphous technological frontiers of the twenty-first century. It challenges participants to think about how violence was (is) imagined, performed, and experienced in colonial zones, and to situate the broader phenomenon of colonial violence in global comparative / connected contexts. Students will be exposed to dynamic contemporary scholarship on these topics, including texts from military history, imperial history, settler colonial studies, historical sociology, cultural anthropology, genocide studies, and borderlands studies.  


10x2 hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





Research Essay (3,500 words) - 60%

Primary Source Analysis (1,500 words) - 20%

Primary Source Presentation (15 min) - 20%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Analyse the significance of colonial violence from the early nineteenth century to the present

■ Consider and assess methodological approaches to colonial violence from a variety of academic disciplines

■ Hone their abilities as historians by evaluating and critiquing primary and secondary source documentation on weekly topics of study

■ Construct nuanced written and oral arguments about the nature of violence in diverse colonial environments

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Assess and compare instances of colonial violence from across the globe

■ Conduct in-depth analysis of a primary source connected to course themes

■ Identify and evaluate key debates on historical and contemporary colonial violence in the scholarly literature

■ Synthesize topical research and construct historical arguments in written form

■ Present research findings to peers

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.