HIS21150 The world economy since 1900

Academic Year 2019/2020

This module adopts a transnational perspective in order to survey the key events of twentieth century history with a view to highlighting the links between modernity, consumption and globalisation. The focus on the main historical junctures provides a point of entry for the examination of the rise of a mass consumer culture and how this process has impacted on the lives of billions of people across the world. The case studies to be examined will include, for instance, the car and fashion industry. The first half of the module examines la Belle Époque, WWI, the interwar years and WWII so as to shed light on the increasing number of ‘choices’
that became available to people and to flag out the manner in which established roles and behaviours were challenged and redefined by the interplay of economic, social, political and cultural factors. The second half of the module focuses on the latter part of the century and explores how governments, mass media, and advertisers presented peacetime mass-consumption driven economy as having the potential to deliver ‘the promise of political as well as economic democracy’ (Cohen, 2004). Most importantly, it draws attention to the inherent shortcomings of globalisation, a process that has yet to prove that it can bring about the end of inequality and exploitation.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of 20th century global economic history
• Demonstrate knowledge of the main events, actors and processes of 20th century global economic history
• Engage in informed discussion and debate on the subject of 20th century global economic history
• Appreciate, analyse and critique the readings relevant to the module
• Prepare and write two assignments to the appropriate level

Indicative Module Content:

The module will cover the following main areas: Week 1: The 'Golden Age' of Capitalism, 1896-1914. Week 2: 'Selling War' - WWI, 1914-1918. Week 3: A New, 'Multinational' World? Industries, Corporations and Societies, 1919-1929. Week 4: The Great Depression and its Aftermath, 1921-1931. Week 5: Two 'Recipes' for Recovery? 1932-1939. Week 6: WWII and Mass Mobilisation, 1939-1945. Week 7: Reconstruction, Economic Boom, Working Classes, 1946-1960. Week 8: Reading Week. Week 9: Decolonisation and the Developing World, 1961-1980. Week 10: Mass Consumption and the 'Consumer Revolution'. Week 11: Globalisation and Consumer Citizenship: Picture Imperfect?. Week 12: Revision.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module combines large-group and small-group teaching, through a weekly lecture and seminar. Weekly lectures provide overviews of weekly topics, with focus upon key historical trends, debates and events. Weekly seminars focus on small-group
active / task-based learning using both secondary and primary sources related to the weekly topic covered in the lecture. From Week 6 onward a selection of the activities described by the students in their Class Activity Proposal will be test run during the weekly seminars.
Autonomous learning is nurtured through required preparatory reading each week, student-led debate and two written assignments. Research, writing and citation skills are incorporated into seminar work during Week 1 to 3. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Attendance: Attendance will be recorded in accordance with the School of History's policy. A signing sheet will be circulated in class. Students must make sure that they have signed it before they leave. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: 650 word Class Activity Proposal Week 4 n/a Graded No


Essay: 2,000 word End of Term essay Week 12 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Participation to the class discussion Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the Class Activity Proposal is given in writing on the returned hard-copy. Feedback on the End-of-Term Assignment will be given by appointment in one-to-one meetings.