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Unit information: Europe's Age of Revolutions (Level I Lecture Response Unit) in 2018/19

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Unit name Europe's Age of Revolutions (Level I Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST20098
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sheldon
Open unit status Not open




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


‘There is only one serious matter in Europe and that is revolution’ wrote the Austrian statesman von Metternich in 1832. Many Europeans agreed and much of the history of the ‘long nineteenth century’ may be understood as a contest between the supporters and enemies of the principles of the French revolution of 1789. This unit examines the challenge of revolution and the reactions of established order through a study of the social and political contours of Europe’s age of revolution. Students will engage with the main events of the period – 1789, 1830, 1848 and 1870-71 as well as its political inventions and major structural features. The focus of the unit will be the comparative study of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary movements in Britain, France, Italy and Germany. We will also examine sources for the history of this period ranging from works of political theory through to studies of art and iconography.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. summarise and explain the major revolutionary movements of the period 1770-1871;
  2. demonstrate familiarity with the main currents of historiography surrounding the movements;
  3. research and present a written argument about revolutionary movements in this period at a standard appropriate to level I;
  4. discuss and apply theoretical models of revolutionary change.

Teaching details


1 x two-hour interactive lecture

1 x one-hour workshop

Assessment Details

One 3000 word summative essay (50%) and one two-hour exam (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

J. Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850 (2000)

K.M. Baker and D. Edelstein eds., Scripting Revolution (2015)

D. Armitage and S. Subrahmanyam eds., The Age of Revolutions in Global Context (2010)

R. Evans, The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 (2016)

E. Hobsbawm, How to Change the World (2011)

W. Doyle, Origins of the French Revolution (1999)