• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, History, International Affairs, European Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Nicholas Brown
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

The modern world has been shaped by the clash of empires. From economic systems to religion and culture, our world is a product of centuries of conflict, rivalry and strategic cooperation between groups seeking to expand or protect their power. In Europe and the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the past 600 years have seen radical historical transformations as empires rose and fell. This course explores the dynamics driving imperial expansion and conflict since the late Crusades, and the legacies these processes left behind them. It places the complex and always contested ‘rise of the West’ in a global frame, from the Spanish conquest of the Americas to the Cold War and beyond. In doing so, it explores the techniques and technologies that enabled imperial growth, the ideologies that legitimated it, the resistance of many who fought against it, and associated movements of populations and international relations. It examines the role of imperial culture and politics in shaping societies and identities and analyses the impact of imperial exchanges in transforming institutions, environments and modes of life.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of major transitions, processes and developments in the modern history of empires
  2. Utilise case studies of important periods and themes to explore broader issues in the history of empires
  3. Critically reflect upon the range of documentary resources and historical interpretations considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate strong research, writing and analytical skills
  5. Present, discuss and evaluate historical material in oral form.

Indicative Assessment

1,000 word document exercise (20%). LO: 2, 3, 4

2,500 word essay (40%). LO: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tutorial presentation (10 min) (5%) LO: 3, 4

Tutorial participation (5%) LO: 5

Final Examination (3 hours) (30%): LO: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Two 1 hour lectures and a 1 hour tutorial per week for 13 weeks. Students are expected to undertake a further 7 hours of independent study each week over the semester (total 130 hours).

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires and World History: Power and the Politics of Difference, Princeton, 2010

Each week's compulsory reading will comprise a selection of documentary sources (averaging 30 pages) and secondary sources (20 pages), both be made available in e-bricks.

Assumed Knowledge





Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3179 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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