The City in History

Module code: HS7251

Module co-ordinator: Roey Sweet

Module Outline

This module provides students with a foundation in the study of the urban past. How has the idea of a town or city developed across the medieval and modern periods? How have relationships of power, such as colonial rule, affected the ways people interacted in urban places over time? In what ways have towns and cities been shaped by their rural hinterlands and by environmental factors such as famines and floods? By investigating questions like these students will be introduced to the key concepts – space, power, network, environment - through which historians and others aim to understand the urban past. In the process students will begin to appreciate how towns have grown and diversified over the past 500 years and the specific historical forms they have taken across time and place. By the end of the module students should also have gained a clear sense of the making of the historic environments which we value today. For the weekly seminars, they will be expected to have read some of the classic accounts of urban history and to come prepared to discuss and debate them.


  • 30 one-hour seminars
  • Two one-hour tutorials


  • Essays, two at 3,500 words (50% each)