History H477: British Imperialism will be offered at IUPUI in Fall 2014 on Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:15pm.  History majors and minors should note that this course can fulfill European, US, or World area concentrations.

H477 is ideal for students in History, Anthropology, Business, International Studies, Political Science, Africana Studies, American Studies, and SPEA.  In addition to the subject material, students will learn how to create their own podcasts, so those interested in the Digital Humanities will also find the course valuable.


Module Outline

Because the scale of the British empire was so vast, it would be impossible to offer a comprehensive history in a single semester.  Consequently, I have divided this course into three modules.

  1. A Brief Survey: This first module surveys the history of the British Empire between 1500 and the present.  We will rely heavily on Philippa Levine’s textbook The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset to give us a chronological framework for examining British imperialism.  In this module, we will concentrate on developing our basic historical knowledge, sharpening our skills in primary document analysis, and developing our historiographical knowledge.
  2. The Great Divergence and the British Empire: The second module probes the scholarly debate about the “Great Divergence.”  The Great Divergence refers to a substantive economic and technological gap that developed between Europe and the U.S. and much of the rest of the world between 1800 and the present.  Scholars of the Great Divergence seek to explain its causes for many reasons, including addressing global inequity and understanding the mechanisms of development.  We will examine how historians and political scientists have framed the concept and argued about it over the past two decades.  We will pay particular attention to what the concept means for our understanding of the British Empire, generally, and for global socio-political, economic, and environmental systems more generally.
  3. Podcasting Empire: The final module is the culmination of our work throughout the semester.  Students will define a research question from a topic that I assign and will create a 10-15 minute scripted podcast that answers this question.

For a list of books that students should acquire for this course, click here.

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