Core and optional courses
Core and optional courses
Theory and Reality in Western Warfare
The core course aims to cover a selection of some of the key thinkers on the practice of western warfare over a broad chronological span from the late Roman period to the twentieth century, and to assess how far and with what success such ideas were put into practice in actual warfare.
Specifically, by the end of this core course the student should:
- Be knowledgeable of the some of the most important theoretical developments in western warfare, and how these different theories fared when they were put in practice
- Be able to understand and evaluate historical ideas on western warfare from a number of different periods, nations, and historical perspectives
- Be able to integrate his/her own thoughts with primary source material, secondary source material, and information gathered from instructor presentations, to create informed, interesting and persuasive presentations
- Be able to write essays consistent with work at the post-graduate level.
The core course is mandatory for all students in the first term and will be class-taught. It will meet twice per week (on Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-5pm); each week the class will focus on one specific subject. During the first meeting of the week the leading instructor will give a presentation on a particular subject, while the second meeting will be based around student presentations on the same subject.
Topics covered in the course may include:
- Vegetius and the nature of medieval warfare
- Jomini and Warfare in the American Civil War
- Moltke and the War of German Unification
- Small wars and Colonial warfare
- Early Modern Warfare: The Historiographical Debate
Each student will be assessed through their performance in one essay and two oral seminar presentations and papers. Overall, the mark in the core course will compose one-third of the student's final mark for the MLitt.
Whether the great fortified crags of Edinburgh, Stirling or Dumbarton, or the numerous ruined or still inhabited tower-houses visible across the country, the castle has long formed one of the most striking features of Scotland’s landscape. This course traces the evolution of the castle from its introduction by the Franco-Norman knights serving the twelfth century kings of Scots, asking what it was that made the castle distinctive form earlier forms of defence and power centres. It continues through to the First War of Independence (1296-1328), when many of the country’s finest fortifications, constructed in a period of comparative peace during the thirteenth century, were deliberately ruined to prevent them being used as bases for English occupation, to the later Middle Ages and into the sixteenth century, when distinctive forms of fortified lordly residences developed, above all the tower house. Much recent historiography has sought to downplay the military aspects of the castle, stressing instead the primacy of residential functions and design. Equally, the importance is increasingly being recognized of studying castles not in isolation but within their wider landscapes. This course will examine these debates and apply them to the study of castles in Scotland, a land where geographical and political factors led to marked regional divergence in their forms and purposes. It will also seek to place their evolution within the wider context of the military, political and social influences from Europe, not least France, with which Scotland had long enjoyed the ‘Auld Alliance’ against England. In so doing, the course utilizes a range of historical and archaeological evidence.
The Wars of Decolonization and the Making of the Global Cold War - Dr Mathilde von Bulow
This course investigates the history of refugees and statelessness across the world since the start of the twentieth century, taking an interdisciplinary approach to understand how population displacement has related to conflict, nationalism, state formation, and the development of international institutions.