History and Social Change


This module will introduce students to a sociological understanding of the processes of social change within European history. It will trace the dynamic interplay of politics, science, technology, economy, art, culture and ideas that has defined the epochs of classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity and capitalist modernity.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with : a broad introduction to the sociological understanding of European history.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Outline the key social, economic, cultural and ideological characteristics of the epochs (classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity, capitalist modernity) that have defined European history.

2.  Explain how different conceptualisations of what it is to be a person in society have changed over time.

3.  Describe the sociological approach towards understanding historical change.

4.  Identify key moments of historical transition and the processes that were significant in bringing about such change.

5.  Illustrate basic foundational knowledge of the historical basis of contemporary culture and society.

6.  Discuss questions about the trajectory of human history in a reflective sociologically informed manner.

Indicative Content

1 Lectures

Lectures will be divided into four distinct sections that cover the following historical epochs: classical antiquity, feudalism, early modernity and capitalist modernity. Lectures will cover the social structure, economy, politics, science, technology, ideas and culture of the historical epoch concerned and the processes of historical change that led to its breakdown and supersession by another type of socio- political formation.

2 Tutorials

Tutorials will be of a traditional format centred around the discussion of readings from the core texts, related videos and library exercises - they will also offer guidance regarding the assessment requirements.

3 Introduction and Conclusion

In the first week there will be an Introduction to the Module and a lecture that focuses on the question 'What is history ?'. In the final week there will be an exam revision session.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching will be delivered through the traditional format of a combination of lectures and tutorials. Lectures are designed stimulate student historical sociological imagination and to prompt independent follow-up study and reading for discussion based tutorials. It is recommended that students read for a minimum of 6 hours per week to ensure full engagement with the module content. Attendance at lectures and tutorials is mandatory and registers will be taken. Students will use information technology to access module information and lecture slides which will be posted after each block of lectures is completed on the Blackboard interface. Both new and old graduate attributes are facilitated through the delivery of this module but only if students engage in a fully committed manner. Such attributes are evidenced through the assessment process, student feedback, classroom discussions and the way in which the knowledge learned through this module contributes to student progression and attainment.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 30
Independent 134

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.