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History of the British Isles

Course Code: HIST 2206
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

HIST 2206, History of the British Isles, surveys the political, social, cultural, economic, and intellectual development of the countries of the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – from Celtic Britain to the present day. Major themes include: the British Iron Age; the Roman province of Britannia; the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms; the Scandinavian frontier; Norman Britain; the expansion of the Tudor state and religious reforms; Stuart absolutism, civil war, constitutional monarchy and the creation of a United Kingdom; Britain’s emergence as an imperial power; industrial revolution and the social, political and cultural reforms of the Victorian era; nation, race, gender, citizens, subjects and modernity in the Imperial state; the Irish question; World War and the modern welfare state; de-colonization, de-industrialization and devolution; Britain, Ireland and the European Union.

Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Specific content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics. 

  1. Celtic worlds and the British Iron Age
  2. Roman and Anglo-Saxon Britain; Scandinavian migration
  3. The Normans: France, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  4. The Tudor state, religious change and Ireland’s first partition
  5. Stuart Absolutism, Commonwealth, or Constitutional Monarchy?
  6. Britain’s overseas enterprise and the expansion of Empire
  7. Industrial revolution and social upheaval
  8. Victorian Britain: Industrial consolidation, social and political reform
  9. Imperialism, the metropole and global networks of power
  10. Crises: World Wars, social challenges, and economic depression
  11. A New Britain: Decolonization, deindustrialization and domestic reinvention
  12. Changing political and economic landscapes
  13. Immigration, identity and the fault lines of modern British society
  14. Britain, Ireland and Europe in the Twenty-First Century

Methods of Instruction

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

  • Participation, In-Class Work: 10%
  • Seminar Presentations: 10%
  • Primary Source Analyses: 15%
  • Historiographic Essay or Book Review: 15%
  • Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: 10%
  • Research Paper: 20%
  • Final Summative Assignment or Final Exam 20%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

course prerequisites

One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.