Twentieth-century world history HI2012-05

This course will promote an appreciation and critical understanding of major political developments which have occurred in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America during the ‘long’ twentieth century and develop students’ analytical and written communications skills.


30 Credits

Topics covered

  • What were the major political processes and changes that took place in the non-western world during the ‘long’ twentieth century?
  • How far did trends in one region have an impact on or reflected developments taking place elsewhere?
  • What was the nature of the interaction between western states and people living in the non-western world?

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able:

  • To locate, evaluate and present information drawn from a range of sources in written form by way of online class discussions and written examination answers
  • To compare developments taking place in one part of the non-western world with events elsewhere during the long twentieth century in order to identify difference and similarity of political experience
  • To apply historical insights concerned with continuity and change in order to analyse the significance of the developments that they are studying
  • To assess both the long term and short term significance of the political developments under scrutiny, and to recognise the significance of events during this period for understanding these very important regions of the contemporary world
  • To adapt and apply knowledge to specific contexts
  • To communicate clearly, constructing coherent and fluent arguments, both in online seminar discussion classes and in their final examination


  • Exam (80%)
  • Essay (10%)
  • Reflective journal and forum posts (10%)

Essential reading

  • JK Fairbank, The Great Chinese Revolution 1800-1985
  • J Gray, Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s
  • JD Spence, The Search for Modern China
  • W Beasley, The Modern History of Japan
  • JE Hunter, The Emergence of Modern Japan
  • R Smith, Vietnam and the West
  • G McT Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia
  • J Brown, Modern India: the origins of an Asian democracy
  • S Sarkar, Modern India 1885-1947
  • A Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan
  • M Yapp, The Near East since the First World War
  • R Oliver & A Atmore, Africa since 1800
  • J Monroe, Britain in Tropical Africa, 1880-1960: economic relationship and impact
  • C. Melville, From Nadir Shah to the Islamic Republic (Cambridge History of Iran Vol. 7)
  • T Davenport, South Africa: a modern history
  • M Berger, Under Northern Eyes: Latin American studies and US hegemony in the Americas, 1898-1990
  • TC Wright, Latin America in the era of the Cuban Revolution.