History MA/MA(SocSci)

The Rise and Fall of an Empire: France and Algeria, c.1830-1962 (SS) HIST4242

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

In this special subject, students will explore the complex relationship between France and Algeria from conquest in 1830 through colonisation and decolonisation by 1962. Drawing on a range of primary sources, students will consider the causes, consequences, and legacy of French rule in Algeria within a wider historical and conceptual framework that will familiarize them with theories of colonialism, republicanism, nationalism, and Islamism, modes of resistance and repression, notions of race and racism, as well as intellectual currents such as Orientalism.


Three hours per week over 20 weeks 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.

Excluded Courses





Two x 120 minute Examinations - 30% each

Two x 2,500 word Essays (one in each semester) - 10% each

Student group led seminar including a short presentation (max.15 minutes per group member) accompanied by materials as advised in course instructions - individual mark 20%

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 will provide the opportunity to:

■  Prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills which will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.

■  Familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (whether written, visual or other).

■  Ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised.

■  Develop professional and practical skills such as the selection, sifting, and synthesis of information from a wide range of primary and secondary sources or the use of IT to search for and access historical sources and information.

■  Develop transferable skills including oral and written communication, the ability both to lead a group and to work as part of a group, respect for the reasoned views of others, and the ability to manage and take responsibility for one's own learning.

■  Encourage students to develop the confidence, imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research, or in any sphere of employment where these qualities are valuable.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Identify and explain the political, social, economic, cultural and intellectual forces that shaped and transformed the Franco-Algerian relationship between c.1830 and 1962;

■ Identify and engage with the main theories, concepts, and tropes that underpin the study of French colonialism, especially in Algeria;

■ Be able to distinguish between, and evaluate, different types of evidence relevant to different aspects of the subject;

■ Understand and assess multiple interpretations of complex historical debates relating to the complex relationship between Algeria and France;

■ Present such understanding in clear and concise prose in exams, coursework essays or seminar papers as well as in verbal arguments in seminars, incorporating a range 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.