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The Rise of Nations & Nationalism in Europe, 1789-1918 - HIS00058C

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jasper Heinzen
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To give an intensive introduction to an unfamiliar period and/or approach to the study of history;
  • To offer experience in the use of primary source materials;
  • To develop skills in analysing historiography; and
  • To develop core skills such as: bibliographical search techniques; source analysis; essay writing; giving presentations; and, undertaking independent research.

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Acquire an insight into historical study of an unfamiliar period and/or approach to the study of history through intensive study of an aspect of the period and/or an approach to it;
  • Gain experience of analysing primary source materials;
  • Be able to evaluate an historical explanation;
  • Have practiced core skills identified in the Autumn Term Making Histories module, including historical analysis, note-taking, essay writing, presenting to groups, and leading discussions in seminars: and,
  • Have delivered advanced level historical work in essays, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the module topics.

Module content

The nineteenth century is often called the ‘age of nationalism’. Between 1789 and 1918 most of the states found on today’s map of Europe came into being by revolution, secession or war. This course will explore the reasons for the shift from a Europe dominated by composite monarchies and multi-ethnic empires to nation-states, and asks how the proliferation of nationalism transformed societies along the way. Focusing especially on the dramatic ruptures that accompanied the emergence of nation-states, the module will compare similarities as well as differences in the way nations came about, the criteria applied to define nationhood, the actors behind the national project, and the governing systems adopted to rule nations. In this context we will consider themes such as the new discourse of citizenship introduced by the French Revolution, the interplay between ethnic and civic markers of identity, national mobilisation ‘from below’ compared to ‘above’, and the simultaneous processes of nation building and globalisation.

Seminars will cover a broad range of theoretical texts, country studies, and contemporary evidence from the nineteenth century. In so doing, we will explore a wide selection of textual and audio-visual source material.

Teaching Programme:
Teaching will be in weekly 2-hour seminars taught over eight weeks. Each week students will do reading and preparation in order to be able to contribute to discussion.

The provisional outline for the module is as follows:

  1. The origins of nations
  2. Eastern and Western Europe: exemplars of ethnic and civic nationalism respectively?
  3. Modern concepts of citizenship
  4. Unitary and federal nations
  5. Socialising institutions of the nation
  6. The modern nation, an invented tradition? Uses and abuses of the past in the service of nation-building
  7. Nationalism and modernisation
  8. Nations and their ‘others’: dealing with minorities and dissent


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 2000 Words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

During the autumn term students will be tasked with finding and researching their own primary source or sources in pairs or small groups, on which they will give a group presentation for formative assessment in one or more sessions during weeks 4-7.

Students will then submit 2,000-word assessed essay for summative assessment in week 10.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 2000 Words
N/A 100

Module feedback

The formative assessment is a group presentation and verbal feedback will be provided by the tutor in class followed by a written summary to each student within 10 working days. Students will have a 15 minute one-to-one tutorial to discuss the formative assessment and prepare for the summative assessment. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement on Assessment.

Indicative reading

You might like to look at the following:

Bayly, C. A. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Hutchinson, John, and Anthony D. Smith, eds. Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students