Summer 2016 - HIST 339 C100

The British Empire and Commonwealth (4)

Class Number: 4733

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 17, 2016
    12:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    AQ 3153, Burnaby

  • 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 (2013, 2nd ed.), Levine.
ISBN: 9781408269206

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

This book is no longer available in print version and cannot be purchased at the SFU Bookstore; details will be provided on the first day of classes in Canvas.

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.

Any Required Reading listed above is the responsibility of the student to purchase.

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, such as Canvas.

All CODE Courses are delivered through Canvas unless noted otherwise on the course outline.

*Important Note for U.S. citizens: Effective Summer 2016, as per the U.S. Department of Education, programs offered in whole or in part through telecommunications, otherwise known as distance education or correspondence are ineligible for Federal Direct Loans. This also includes scenarios where students who take distance education courses outside of their loan period and pay for them with their own funding, and attempt to apply for future Federal Direct Loans. 

For more information about US Direct Loans please visit and to read our FAQ on distance education courses, please go here:


Registrar Notes:

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.

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site contains information on what is meant by academic dishonesty and where you can find resources to help with your studies.  There is also a section on tutoring.