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HISTORY 2MM3 Britain1800-2000

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Stephen Heathorn

Email: heaths@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 621

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24850


Office Hours: Weds. 10 - 11:20 am

Course Objectives:

i. Course Description

This course is a largely thematic exploration of the history of Britain from the period of the industrial revolution and French revolutionary wars (c.1780) through until the late 20th Century. Political, social, cultural and some economic themes, will all receive attention, as will the relationship between metropolitan Britain and the empire/commonwealth.

ii. Learning Objectives

The measured objectives of this course are: 1) the acquisition and demonstration of an understanding of the subject content of the course, including the ability to synthesize ideas, interpretations and factual information derived from the books, the specialized readings, and the lectures; 2) demonstration of the ability to produce insightful, articulate, and error-free formal written work of substance; 3) the development of critical reading and discussion skills through the analysis of various primary documents and academic readings, and the active participation in tutorial discussions and debates.

iii. Course Structure

This course is a combined lecture/tutorial course. Students are expected to attend lectures, twice a week and also participate in nine tutorial meetings spaced-out over the course of the term. Lectures will cover themes and topics and will answer specific questions rather than provide a single narrative; a short general background reading from the textbooks is listed for each week’s lectures. This reading will help to put the lectures in context, and should be completed by every student before they attend the lectures.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Text:  Stephanie Barczewski, John Eglin, Stephen Heathorn, Michael Silvestri, Michelle Tusan, Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World (Routledge, 2015). 

Recommended Text:  Susan Kingsley Kent, A New History of Britain Since 1688 (Oxford, 2017).

Method of Assessment:

Participation in 9 Tutorials:                                   14.5%   (held weekly)

Tutorial ‘Passports’ -- 7 @ 1.5% each:                 10.5%   (best 7 of 9, spaced over the term)

Essay Proposal, 500 words + bibliography:           7%       (Due 13 February, 2017)

Online Midterm Test:                                              8%       (Due 2 March, 2017)                                 

3500 word research paper:                                   30%      (Due 30 March, 2017)

Final Exam:                                                           30%      (In final exam period)

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Students should be aware that many course components are time-sensitive. Acceptance of a late assignment is entirely at the discretion of the instructor and, except in exceptional instances, a penalty will be imposed (3% per day). With a documented excuse the late penalty may be reduced or waived. However there will be NO reduction of penalty for any of the following: the pressure of other course demands, volunteer work, vacations, athletics, theatre arts, etc. You need to work your extra-curricular activities around the demands of this course, not the reverse.

No assignment will be accepted once all the others have been graded and returned. Extensions or other accommodations will only be considered if your instructor receives the appropriate documentation. For minor/short term illness, the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) constitutes appropriate documentation.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Weds. 4 Jan.  Course Introduction


Week of Mon. Jan. 9:  Context & Background

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 1-44

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 3-50.

No Tutorial this week


Week of Jan. 16: Britain in the 18th Century World

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 45-68

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 51-80.

No Tutorial this week


Week of Jan. 23: Commerce, Industry, Empire

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 69-124

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 81-138.

First Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Jan. 30: Victorian Britain

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 125-152.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 139-206, 239-268.

Second Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Feb. 6: Victoria’s Empire

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 153-173.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 207-238, 269-302.

Third Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Feb. 13: Challenges of the Fin de Siècle

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 1-44

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 303-328.

Fourth Tutorial – reading on A2L

Research Paper Prospectus Due, by midnight Mon. Feb. 13 – upload to A2L dropbox


Week of 20 February – Reading Week


Week of Feb. 27: Britain and the First World War

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 200-225.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 329-360.

Fifth Tutorial – reading on A2L

Online midterm within 24 hour period prior to Midnight Mar 2.


Week of Mar. 6: The Interwar Years

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 226-251.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 361-392.

Sixth Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Mar. 13: Britain and the Second World War

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 252-279.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 393-416.

Seventh Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Mar. 20: Building the Welfare State

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 280-298.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 416-424.

Eighth Tutorial – reading on A2L


Week of Mar. 27: The Postwar Empire and its Dissolution

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 299-317.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 425-443.

Ninth (last) Tutorial – reading on A2L

Research Paper Due Thurs. Mar. 30 by midnight – upload to A2L dropbox


Week of Apr. 3.: Thatcherism and beyond

Required Reading:  Barczewski, pp. 318-358.

Recommended Reading: Kingsley Kent, pp. 443-480.


Research papers will be returned by email prior to the final exam.


Date TBA (between 11 and 27 April)  FINAL EXAM

Other Course Information:

NOTE: attendance at lectures is not a luxury in this course, and the textbook does not substitute for lecture material: in short, students should not expect to do well on the examination unless they attend lectures and do the required reading. Access to tutorial readings will be found on A2L.