X429 • 3 semester units in History
Explore the complicated relationship between Great Britain, Ireland and France between the detonation of the French Revolution and the final defeat and exile of Napoleon Bonaparte. Over the course of three weeks, carefully trace and demystify the events of the 1790s in France, using a mixture of documentary evidence, discussion and instruction. A set of documents to help do this in electronic format are available before the course begins, and if you are interested in optimising them forKiindle, Word or PDF, you should email the International Studies Department in Oxford.
Once the French Revolution, and the British response, have been clarified in the first week, you study the careers of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington, as well as focus on European matters such as the peninsular war, the rise of Prussia, and the Austrian and Russian empires. This week of study involves a little more character-based history as well as diplomatic, naval and military history. Historical documents are supplemented by the use of maps, and, where permitting, PowerPoint presentations.
During the final week of the course, you then look to the end of Napoleon’s Empire, Waterloo, and the impact of the period on Britain and France, as well as a day on US-Canada relations and the effect of the wars on the Americas in general. Time permitting, you may also look at the way in which the period fits into the intellectual encounter of Europe and the near east, as well as its impact on art and popular culture.
It should be emphasised that Scottish and Irish history form part of the study, and that England is considered in the context of an emergent naval and industrial power.
Stratfield Saye and Apsley House
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
National Army Museum
British Museum (exhibitions permitting)
Alternative (in case of museum closure): London Museum of Freemasonry
It should be emphasised that the following reading is suggested, not prescribed, and that you do not need to bring heavy books. Both Kindle and iPads now support page numbering (essential for footnotes) and you have access to libraries within Oxford. All of the following books are available on amazon.com and other such sites.
Linda Colley, Britons
Christopher Hibbert, The French Revolution
Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity; Robespierre and the French Revolution
Andrew Roberts, Napoleon and Wellington
Simon Schama, Citizens
Jeremy Black, Waterloo
Roy Adkins, The War for All the Oceans
Peter Snow, To War With Wellington
Charles Esdaile, Napoleonís Wars
You are expected to write one paper of 1,500 to 2,000 words and to deliver one oral presentation.
15% course participation
25% in-class presentation
60% final paper
Martin Meenagh, M.A., Ph.D., Balliol College, Oxford, has taught extensively for colleges of University of Oxford and has lectured at the University of Chicago; the Newberry Library; the Kessel Institute in Mankato, Minn.; and Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. He currently lives and teaches in London and Bath, England.