Black lives matter, climate emergency, world inequality, pandemic and Brexit – movements and events dominating our lives in the twenty-first century. But have you ever wondered how power, policy and protest interact to generate these phenomena? How do those three pillars shape our past, govern our present and influence our future? Our joint degree in History and Politics considers the interconnectedness between the two disciplines from the eighteenth century onwards across local, nation and global arenas; it follows ideologies, structures, and personalities from Marxism to environmentalism, governance to globalisation, Stalin to Martin Luther King.

What will I study?

In your first year, you will enjoy a great deal of support, with personal tutoring built into weekly seminars to help you adjust to university study. As you do so the degree takes in the grand sweep of European history from the Enlightenment to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the politicisation of history for public consumption and international institutions and political ideologies in their historical and contemporary context. You’ll develop key skills such as source analysis, data-retrieval, engagement with historiography, political theories, party systems and the machinery of government.

In the second and third years of your degree you will start to specialise in specific belief systems and movements, whether that’s genocide, Britain’s complex relations with Europe, totalitarianism, or political and historical approaches to environmental change. You might focus on a particular moment, cause or political tool like Communism in Eastern Europe or propaganda in World War II or look at the fallout from histories of empire during apartheid and the decolonisation of politics. And you will also have the chance to apply your skills on career-orientated modules which offer placement opportunities and work on live briefs and real-world projects.

What will I get out of my History and Politics degree?

On the degree you will learn to debate like a historian and assess like a political analyst. Your ability to apply your political and historical skills will be showcased in a diverse range of assessments from presentations to research posters, documentary pitches, podcasts, blogs, essays, and reports. So, whether its heritage or policy formation, local government or media industries, NGOs or education you want to pursue, the degree will equip you with honed communication skills, team abilities, critical creative thinking and, as you work between the two disciplines, adaptability and problem solving to make you career ready. Along the way you will immerse yourself in the social and cultural life of the degree. Why not join our student-led Politics and History societies, come along to research events such as for Black History Month or make the most of our career and alumni sessions.

On History and Politics at Leeds Beckett you’ll come to appreciate that the ideological movements, political thinkers, and politicians of today practice historical amnesia at their peril. As Winston Churchill was keenly aware: “The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward.” The course offers the perfect opportunity to do just that; to understand power, policy and protest over time and contemplate how we apply them in our present and future.

Dr Grainne Goodwin

Course Director / Cultural Studies & Humanities

Gráinne’s research focuses on the intersections between colonial encounters (specifically in British India), cultural production and gendered experience in the late-19th century. Her work on critical late-Victorian figures engages with current debates on the relationship between colony and metrople and on colonial networking. Although historically grounded, Gráinne's research is interdisciplinary in approach, utilising and contextualising colonial journalism, novels, business correspondence and print ephemera. This interdisciplinarity is reflected in her most recent project, which uses book history and histories of travel and tourism to analyse Victorian guidebooks and their publishing processes.

Gráinne also edits the Social History Blog - the online resource of the journal Social History - and tweets at @SocHistBlog.

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