The British Empire and Its Legacies, 1750-2010

Module code: AE1015

Module co-ordinator: Dr Lucy Faire

The British Empire had, and continues to have, a profound effect on the course of British history since the mid-18th century, not least in the political issues surrounding it. In this module we will analyse how and why Britain acquired, defended and administered its Empire, and its 20th century withdrawal. We will also consider the impact that the British Empire had on society and culture ‘back home’.

You will look at subjects as diverse as the slave trade, famine and migration, the 1857 Indian up-rising, anti-imperialism, and the architecture of the Empire. We will examine something of the experience of those who lived in the colonies and we will consider some of the ‘legacies’ which exert an influence on British society today. 

Topics covered

  • Ideas of ‘Empire’
  • Slavery and the abolition of the slave trade
  • Convicts and transportation
  • British India
  • Emigration and starvation: mass crisis in mid-19th century Ireland
  • Britain and Africa
  • Experience of emigration and everyday life in the white-settler colonies
  • The Boy Scout movement and education for Empire
  • Repatriates of Empire
  • Anti-imperialism
  • The architecture of Empire




  • Essay 1, 2,000 words
  • Analysis of a historical document, 1,000-1,500 words
  • Essay 2, 2,000-2,500 words