Summer 2015 - HIST 339 C100

The British Empire and Commonwealth (4)

Class Number: 3576

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Jun 25, 2015
    Thu, 11:55–11:55 p.m.

    Aug 18, 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%
  • Primary Source Analyses 18%
  • Debate Exercise 17%
  • Online Take-Home Mid-Term Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 25%


Delivery Method: Canvas

Starting on the first day of classes, students are able to log in.


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.



Additional Course Fee: $40

All Required Readings listed below are not provided by the Distance Education Office (CODE).


The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (2nd Ed.), Levine

ISBN: 9781408269206

Forgotten Armies - Britian's Asian Empire & the War with Japan, Harper & Bayly

ISBN: 9780140293319

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.