Spring 2018 - HIST 339 C100

The British Empire and Commonwealth (4)

Class Number: 3309

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 13, 2018
    Fri, 12:00–2:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six 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%


Please refer to Canvas for midterm take-home exam date/time.
The final exam is scheduled on campus.



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.
ISBN: 9780140293319

Centre for Online and Distance Education Notes:

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

Required Readings listed on the course outlines are the responsibility of the student to purchase. Textbooks are available for purchase at the SFU Bookstore on the Burnaby campus or online through the Bookstore's website.

All CODE courses have an Additional Course Fee of $40

If applicable, please refer to Canvas for the most updated Take Home Midterm/Final exam times. Exams are scheduled to be written on the SFU Burnaby campus at the noted time and date (unless noted as a take-home exam).

Students are responsible for following all Exam Policies and Procedures (e.g., missing an exam due to illness).

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.

*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: http://www.sfu.ca/students/financialaid/international/us-loans/federal-direct-loan.html


Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html