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The Contemporary World


There are no classes currently available for registration.


On The Contemporary World short course we offer you an introduction to the major themes of contemporary global history from the First World War to the present. We look at how the twentieth century was an age of total war, mass movements such as Communism, Fascism and Nazism, and genocide. It witnessed the collapse of empires and the rise of nation states in post-colonial societies.

We examine how the Cold War divided the globe between the competing ideological systems. We then look at how the world economy was globalised, and mass international migration broke down the old cultural boundaries of nation, race and religion.

We plan to cover the following content:

The Age of Total War (1914-1945)

  • Introduction: World War I and the Contemporary World
  • World War I and the Foundation of the International System
  • Communism
  • Mass Culture
  • Tensions of Empire
  • The World in Depression
  • Fascism
  • Democracy in Crisis
  • World War II
  • Holocaust and Genocide

The Age of the Cold War (1945-the present)

  • Introduction: World War II and the Contemporary World
  • Welfare States
  • Origins of the Cold War
  • Decolonisation and Development
  • The Cold War goes Global
  • The World Economy and Globalisation
  • 1960s Social Movements
  • Race, Migration and Multi-Culturalism
  • The End of the Cold War and its Legacies
  • The Politics of Religion

Assessment of this course is via a 500-word summary of a scholarly article (20%), a 1000-word book review (20%), a 1500-word essay (20%) and a three-hour examination (40%).

This can be taken as a standalone short course or as a part of:

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.