Fall 2015 - HIST 339 C100

The British Empire and Commonwealth (4)

Class Number: 5868

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Oct 22, 2015
    Thu, 11:55–11:55 p.m.

    Dec 15, 2015
    Tue, 8:30–11:00 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



This course provides an outline history of the British Empire, its rise and decline, and discusses the origin and significance of the Commonwealth. In addition there is a detailed account of the 'Westminster Model' of parliamentary democracy, on which the political institutions of many Commonwealth nations are based.


In this course, we will be studying the (rapid) expansion and (even more rapid) contraction of the British Empire from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. Although often presented as an organic, unified corporation loyal to one monarch, the Empire encompassed a multitude of societies, each harbouring a different political, economic, and cultural relationship to Great Britain. Hence, our focus will be on how various groups – colonial administrators, indigenous communities, migrants, missionaries, consumers, men, women, children, and so on – experienced life under the Empire. What historical factors shaped their experience? And how did they express this experience? You will answer these questions by critically analyzing a range of primary sources dealing with the British Empire over a 250-year period. In addition, we will examine how historians have approached the very controversial subject of British imperial history in different ways, and will weigh in on a few of the major debates that have shaped the field.


  • Online Discussion Participation 15%
  • Map Quiz 5%
  • Online Take-home Mid-Term Exam 20%
  • Debate Assignments 17%
  • Primary Source Analyses 18%
  • Final Exam 25%



The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (2nd ed.), Levine.
ISBN: 9781408269206

Forgotten Armies - Britian's Asian Empire & the War with Japan (2005), Harper & Bayly.
ISBN: 9780140293319

Centre for Online and Distance Education Notes:

Additional Course Fee: $40

Students requiring accommodation as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities.

Students are responsible for following all exam policies and procedures (e.g., missing an exam due to illness) available here.

This course outline was accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check your course details in your online delivery method.  Unless noted differently above, all courses are delivered inCanvas and you will have access starting the first day of classes. 

Required Readings will be listed on the course outline approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of class. 

For further inquiries or assistance Contact Us.

Registrar Notes:

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