Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, we will be prioritising face to face teaching as part of a blended learning approach that builds on the lessons learned over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Teaching will vary between online and on-campus delivery through the year, and you should read guidance from the academic department for details of how this will work for a particular module. You can find out more about the University’s overall response to Coronavirus at:

HI153-30 Making of the Modern World

Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Sarah Hodges
Credit value
Module duration
23 weeks
80% coursework, 20% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The module contextualises later modern history by providing a framework in which major historical processes of the later modern era are studied on a world-wide scale.

Module web page

Module aims

'Making of the Modern World' is the first-year core module for all full-time History single honours and joint degree students. It may also be taken as an option by part-time students, visiting students, and students from other departments. The module is only available as a 30 CATS version. The module moves away from a Eurocentric and narrative focus and provides more scope for historical approaches based on, among other things, culture, identity and environmental history. The central focus of the module is the rise of the modern, its diffusion and resistance to it. Central features are the Enlightenment, the rise of democracy, industrialisation, imperialism and political and cultural revolution.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Winter Term:
Week 1: Introduction: What makes the modern world?
Week 2: The Enlightenment in Global Perspective
Week 3: Revolutions in the Atlantic World
Week 4: The Industrial Revolution
Week 5: Wealth, Poverty and Inequality in the Modern World
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Science, Nature and the Environment in the Modern World
Week 8: Liberalism and Nationalism
Week 9: Challenges to Liberalism: Socialism, Communism and Fascism
Week 10: Colonizing and Decolonizing the World

Spring Term:
Week 1: War and Violence and the Making of Modernity
Week 2: The Modernity of Genocide?
Week 3: Identities: Class and Urbanity
Week 4: Identities: Gender and Sexuality
Week 5: Identities: Race, Nation, and Citizenship
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Consumer Society and Popular Culture
Week 8: Religion and the Questioning of Science
Week 9: History and Memory in the Modern World
Week 10: Dividing and Uniting the World: Slicing up Time and Space

Summer Term:
Week 1: The Post-War World: Post-Colonialism and Post-Modernism
Week 2: The Contemporary World in Historical Perspective
Week 3: Revision, Exam Preparation, and Outlook into Year 2

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Identify a range of theoretical frameworks, conceptual approaches and historiographical debates.
  • Gain a broad understanding of the historical processes of the later modern era and of associated terminologies in global perspective.
  • Identify and critically engage with related primary sources including official documents, statistics, memoirs, oral history, film, music, painting, architecture, radio, television, museums, memorials, monuments.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work effectively with others and recognise factors that affect team performance.
  • Devise a well-defined focus for essay and project tasks, collect relevant data from a variety of sources and communicate results in an effective fashion.
Indicative reading list
  • Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolutions.
  • E.P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism”, Past & Present, 38 (1967).
  • Bruce Podobnik, Global Energy Shifts.
  • Niall Ferguson, Civilization: Six Killer Apps of Western Power.
  • Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism.
  • Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes.
  • Stephen Howe, Empire: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved.
  • Christian Bayly, The Birth of the Modern World.
  • Callum Brown, Postmodernity for Historians.

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

See learning outcomes.

Transferable skills

See learning outcomes.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 42 sessions of 1 hour (14%)
Seminars 21 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Tutorials 2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Practical classes 3 sessions of 2 hours (2%)
Private study 229 hours (76%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

History modules require students to undertake extensive independent research and reading to prepare for seminars and assessments. As a rough guide, students will be expected to read and prepare to comment on three substantial texts (articles or book chapters) for each seminar taking approximately 3 hours. Each assessment requires independent research, reading around 6-10 texts and writing and presenting the outcomes of this preparation in an essay, review, presentation or other related task.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D3
Weighting Study time
1500 word essay 20%
Group presentation 20%
Representing history project 40%
7 day take-home assessment 20%
Feedback on assessment

Written comments and oral feedback will be provided for all assignments.

Past exam papers for HI153


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UENA-VQ32 Undergraduate English and History
  • Year 1 of UFRA-R1VA Undergraduate French and History
  • Year 1 of UGEA-R2V1 Undergraduate German and History
  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4V1 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and History
  • UPDA-Y302 Undergraduate Historical Studies
    • Year 2 of Y302 Historical Studies
    • Year 7 of Y302 Historical Studies
  • Year 1 of UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
  • UPDA-Y306 Undergraduate History (Part-Time)
    • Year 1 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 4 of Y306 History (Part Time)
  • Year 1 of UIPA-V1L8 Undergraduate History and Global Sustainable Development
  • Year 1 of UITA-R3V2 Undergraduate History and Italian
  • Year 1 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 1 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
  • Year 1 of UHIA-VL13 Undergraduate History and Sociology
  • UPDA-Y305 Undergraduate Humanities
    • Year 7 of Y305 Humanities
    • Year 8 of Y305 Humanities

This module is Core optional for:

  • UPDA-T201 Undergraduate European Studies
    • Year 1 of T201 European Studies
    • Year 1 of T202 European Studies with Italian
  • UPDA-Y302 Undergraduate Historical Studies
    • Year 1 of Y302 Historical Studies
    • Year 4 of Y302 Historical Studies
  • Year 1 of UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
  • UPDA-Y306 Undergraduate History (Part-Time)
    • Year 1 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 2 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 3 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 4 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 5 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 6 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 7 of Y306 History (Part Time)
    • Year 8 of Y306 History (Part Time)
  • UPDA-Y305 Undergraduate Humanities
    • Year 1 of Y305 Humanities
    • Year 2 of Y305 Humanities
    • Year 3 of Y305 Humanities
    • Year 4 of Y305 Humanities

This module is Option list B for:

  • USOA-L301 BA in Sociology
    • Year 1 of L305 Sociology with Specialism in Cultural Studies
    • Year 1 of L303 Sociology with Specialism in Gender Studies
    • Year 1 of L304 Sociology with Specialism in Research Methods
    • Year 1 of L302 Sociology with Specialism in Social Policy

This module is Option list G for:

  • Year 1 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics