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Unit information: War and Society in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name War and Society
Unit code HIST10045
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mr. Bjerstrom
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores the relationship between war and society across time, introducing students to a range of different wars and conflicts - including inter-state, civil and asymmetric warfare. Through a series of lectures and source-focused seminars, this unit investigates the ways in which societies shape war and conflict, and helps students to understand the dynamics of this relationship over time as well as draw comparisons across different time periods. It will explore themes such as the intellectual, social, religious and/or political frameworks which shape warfare; the practice and technologies of warfare; methods of communication and information-sharing in wartime; the militarization of gender; identity construction (of self, other, victim, nation, the enemy) in wartime; and the legacy of warfare and memory practices and cultures.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes in the history of warfare and its interactions with society
  2. Discuss and evaluate the historiographical debates that surround the topic
  3. Understand and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  4. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level C.

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details

1 x 3000-word Essay (50%) [ILOs 1-5]; 1 x Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-5]

Reading and References

Miguel A. Centeno and Elaine Enriquez, War and Society (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016)  Matthew Hughes and William J. Philpott (eds.) Palgrave Advances in Modern Military History (Basingstoke, 2006)  Timothy Ashplant, Graham Dawson, Michael Roper. Commemorating War: The Politics of Memory (London: Transaction, 2009)  Joanna Bourke, An intimate history of killing: face-to-face killing in twentieth-century warfare (New York: Basic Books, 1999)  Susan R. Grayzel, At home and under fire: air raids and culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)