Revolutions in History, 1776-1919: How to Change the World

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
10 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V140 Modern History,
BA V144 Modern History (Including Foundation Year),
BA V148 Modern History (Including Placement Year),
BA V149 Modern History (Including Year Abroad),
BA L903 Global Studies,
BA L904 Global Studies (including year abroad),
BA L905 Global Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA L908 Global Studies (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will study key revolutions from across global history, from the American and French revolutions of the late eighteenth century, to the revolutions in Haiti, Japan, and China, and finishing with the Russian Revolution and the failed German revolution of 1918.

The module will allow students to study some of the biggest turning points in world history, and to understand how and why the world changed at these moments.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To help students understand:

  • How radical political change occurs.

  • What constitutes a revolution.

  • What causes revolutions to take place.

  • Who is involved in revolutionary activity.

  • Why revolutions succeed or fail.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Students will be able to demonstrate an awareness of the major global revolutions of the 1776-1918 period.

  2. Students will be able to use primary sources to explain aspects of the history of revolution.

  3. Students will be able to make use of increasingly complex historical literature to explain global revolutions.

  4. Students will be able to compare revolutions in different countries and periods.

Module information

Revolutions are cornerstones of history. Radical political change often required the violent overthrow of existing systems of politics and government. This modules studies major revolutions to ask: What counts as a revolution? Who makes revolutions happen? Why do revolutions succeed or fail? How has the world been changed by revolutions?

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction to Revolutions.

  • America, 1776.

  • France, 1789.

  • Haiti, 1791.

  • Europe, 1848.

  • Japan, 1868.

  • Mexico, 1910.

  • China, 1910.

  • Russia, 1917.

  • Germany, 1918.

  • Why Revolutions succeed or Fail.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 50-minute lecture per week.
  • One 50-minute seminar per week.

All Module information will be available via Moodle. Key readings will be digitised an available on Talis Aspire.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Formative Essay (1000 words)    0% 
Coursework   Essay (2000 words)    100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Kelley, email:
History UG Administrators:



External examiner

Dr Ingeborg Dornan
Brunel University London
Reader in History
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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