19th Century Europe image

This course will cover a broad range of interconnected topics over 20 weeks by the end of which you will be able to recognise and discuss some of the most interesting and influential events and developments of 19th century Europe.

Our starting point will be the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, events which reverberated throughout the rest of the century. We will explore some of the developing political philosophies which contributed to this period of upheaval in Europe, some of which are still the subject of debate today. The implications of these shifting political and social ideologies will also be considered in relation to the revolutions of 1830 and 1848.

An investigation into the growth of imperialism and nationalism will be key to understanding this period, and we will examine the origins and development of some of the major European nations that we recognise today. We will also explore the reasons behind the rise (and fall) of Europe’s global empires, and focus on the impact that Britain’s empire had on its population and those who were colonised.

We will also concentrate on Britain to explore other major changes which occurred in this period, including the changes to industry, economy, welfare and population enacted by agricultural changes and the Industrial Revolution. The last five weeks of the course will focus on aspects of the cultural history of Europe in the 19th century: we will examine major changes, trends and movements in art, architecture, public heritage and perhaps even music and literature.

Not just a series of lectures, you will be asked to contribute to group discussions, prepare short presentations, complete multiple-choice quizzes, and similar tasks. Our discussions will be stimulated by literary and archival sources, images of historic objects, photographs and video clips. Visits to local institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum could be included, subject to interest. You will be encouraged to complete some independent reading in order to contribute to discussions and understand the background of certain topics we will cover.

Imperial College undergraduates and postgraduates may, if they wish, acquire 2 ECTS credits after successfully completing their Evening Class. To qualify, a student must attend the classes regularly and pass a test at the end of the second term. Students will be invited to apply in the second term to take the test.

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed directly to the course tutor, Dr Nicola Pickering, n.pickering@imperial.ac.uk.