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Cultural History of the British Isles

Code: 106284 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504212 English Studies FB 1 1
2504380 English and Catalan Studies OB 2 1
2504386 English and Spanish Studies OB 2 1
2504393 English and French Studies OB 2 1
2504394 English and Classics Studies OB 2 1


Nicholas John Edwards

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
english (eng)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:

External teachers

Christina Howes
Nicholas John Edwards


There are no specific requirements for this subject BUT a level of C1 English is essential. 

Students should be able to understand and follow theoretical discussions of historical and cultural texts.

They should also be able to interact with native speakers and express their ideas and opinions without effort.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The subject History and Culture of the British Isles provides an introduction to the main events and figures of British and Irish history and culture.  The main purpose of this subject is to prepare students to understand British and Irish society, which will help them to follow the remaining subjects in their degree.

After taking this subject students will be able to

  • Show that they have understood a variety of  texts
  • Use the historical and cultural resources of any library
  • Express an informed critique of any cultural or historical text they may read.


    English Studies
  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values. 
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and critical concepts to analysing the literature, culture and history of English-speaking countries.
  • Demonstrate skills to develop professionally in the fields of linguistic applications, teaching and literary and cultural management in English.
  • Demonstrate skills to work autonomously and in teams to fulfil the planned objectives.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Understand and produce written and spoken academic texts in English at an advanced proficient-user level (C1).
  • Use current philological methodologies to interpret literary texts in English and their cultural and historical context.
  • Use digital tools and specific documentary sources for the collection and organisation of information.
  • Use written and spoken English for academic and professional purposes, related to the study of linguistics, the philosophy of language, history, English culture and literature.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Actively participate in forums on the online learning platform.
  2. Apply acquired concepts and methods to professional situations simulated in the classroom through problem solving and case simulation
  3. Carry out bibliographic searches of secondary sources related to current culture and society in English and their textual representation, using digital technologies (catalogues and databases).
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of compulsory texts on the cultural history of the British Isles and the United States.
  5. Demonstrate full comprehension of, and recognise implicit meaning in, a wide range of literary, audio-visual and essayistic texts related to aspects of current culture and society in English.
  6. Distinguish principal ideas from secondary ideas and synthesise literary, audiovisual and essayistic texts related to current culture and society in the English language, and their textual representation.
  7. Express oneself in English, orally and in writing, in a formal register and using appropriate terminology in relation to the study of the cultural history of the British Isles and the United States.
  8. Locate specialised and academic information and select this according to its relevance.
  9. Plan work effectively, individually or in groups, in order to fulfil the planned objectives.
  10. Produce written and oral academic discourse with a fluency and accuracy appropriate to a proficient-user level (C1).
  11. Weigh up the impact of any long- or short-term difficulty, harm or discrimination that could be caused to certain persons or groups by the actions or projects.


This course is an introduction to the main historical and cultural events of Britain and Ireland from the early Celts to the present day, although the emphasis is on the modern and contemporary era. Among the topics discussed are:

  • The country (people, geography, infrastructures, communications, cultural practices)
  • The people (the early invasions, immigration, ethnic groups, identities)
  • The evolution of the institutions of the British Isles (Parliament, the Monarchy, the Church)
  • The formation of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Ireland (history, relations with England, its mythology)
  • Medieval Britain
  • Early Modern Britain
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • The Expansion of the British Empire
  • The 19th century and social reforms
  • The 20th century upto the end of World War II


The teaching methodolgy is based on:

  • Guided activities 
  • Supervised activities 
  • Autonomous activities 
  • Assessed activities 

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures, readings and debates in class, group seminars 34 1.36 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11
Type: Supervised      
Participation in Moodle forums, individual tutoring 15 0.6 4, 5, 7, 1, 10
Type: Autonomous      
Personal study, individual reading of texts, use of bibliographical resources 40 1.6 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11


Assessment for this course is based on the following:

  • Academic Paper = 30%
  • Exam = 50%
  • Group project = 15%
  • Participation in forums, attendance and participation = 5%


  • This subject follows the system of continuous assessment.
  • All the exercises are COMPULSORY.
  • All students are required to: study the compulsory book for this subject, watch the recommended films, and contextualize the suggested texts for this course. Any indication that a student has not completed his/her work in this respect will affect his/her assessment in a negative way.
  • An exam not taken by the student will count as a 0 in that part.
  • Students have the right to review their exercises (including reassessment) with their teacher in a personal tutorial on the set dates.
  • The minimum pass mark for the whole subject is 5. Students are not obliged to pass each component in order to pass the course as long as they get a global 5 or above.
  • The student’s command of English (C1) will be taken into account when marking all exercises and for the final mark. In fact, "English" will count 25% of all the exercises. 
  • The minimum mark for passing the course is 5. It is not obligatory to pass every component.


On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.


  • Re-assessment for this subject requires a content-synthesis test, for which the following conditions are applicable
  1. The student must previously have submitted a minimum of two-thirds of the course-assessment items, that is the exam and the academic paper. 
  2. The student must previously have obtained anaverage overall grade equal to or higher than 3.5.
  3. The maximum grade than can be obtained through re-assessment is 5


Students will obtain a “Not assessed/Not submitted” course grade unless they have submitted more than 40% of the assessment items.

VERY IMPORTANT: Plagiarism in any of the exercises will automatically lead to FAILING (0/10) the exercise, which cannot be reassessed. If the student plagiarizes a second time, s/he will fail the course. PLAGIARISM means copying a text (and this includes a single sentence) from unidentified sources and pretending it is part of one's own production (THIS INCLUDES COPYING SENTENCES OR FRAGMENTS FROM THE INTERNET, WHICH ARE INCLUDED WITHOUT ANY CHANGES TO THE TEXT THAT IS PRESENTED AS ONE'S OWN) and it is a serious academic offence. Students must learn to respect others' intellectual property and to always identify the sources they use. It is absolutely necessary for students to become entirely responsible for the originality and authenticity of their texts.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Academic Paper 30% 10 0.4 5, 6, 7, 8, 1, 9, 10, 11
Exam 50% 10 0.4 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11
Group project 15% 20 0.8 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 8, 9, 11
Participation in Moodle forums, attendance and class participation 5% 21 0.84 2, 4, 6, 7, 3, 8, 1, 10


Obligatory textbook:

Grant, R.G. et al., History of Britain and Ireland. the Definitive Visual Guide. London: Dorling Kindersley, 2013.

Secondary reading:

Ackroyd, Peter A History of England - Volumes I-V, London: Pan, 2012-2019.

Black, Jeremy, A History of the British Isles, London: Palgrave, 2012. 3rd edition

Bogdanor, Vernon, Devolution in the United Kingdom, Oxford:  OUP, 2001.

Dargie, Richard, A History of Britain.  London: Arcturus, 2007

Duffy, Séan et al, Atlas of Irish History, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2000.

Ferguson, Niall, Empire. How Britain Made the Modern World, London: Penguin, 2004.

Gilbert, Martin, The Routledge Atlas of British History, 4th edition, London: Routledge, 2007.

Lacey, Robert, GreatTales from English History, London: Little, Brown, 2003.

Lang, Sean, British History for Dummies, John Wiley & Sons, 2004

Oakland, John, British Civilization , 7th edition, London: Routledge, 2010.

Mulholland, Marc, Northern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction,  Oxford UP, 2003.

Paseta,Senia, Modern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford Paperbacks,2003.

Strong, Roy, The Story of Britain, Pimlico, 1998.

Podcasts (available on various platforms)

The Rest is History

BBC History Extra

Dan Snow's History Hit

BBC In Our Time

Not Just the Tudors

Gone Medieval


Simon Schama -A History of Britain (BBC)

Andrew Marr - The Making of Modern Britain (BBC)

Feargal Keane - The Story of Ireland (BBC)

Neil Oliver - A History of Scotland (BBC)

Huw Edwards - A History of Wales(BBC)







No specific software will be used.