Empire: The Controversies of British Imperialism

The British Empire continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians. Find out why and join the debate.

About The Course

The British Empire was the largest empire ever seen. It ruled over a quarter of the world’s population and paved the way for today’s global economy. But British imperialism isn’t without controversy, and it continues to cause enormous disagreement among historians today.

Explore the British Empire through six controversial themes

This free online course will help you understand why. Over six weeks, we’ll explore the British Empire through six themes - money, violence, race, religion, gender and sex, and propaganda. You’ll get to hear the stories of the fascinating individuals who contributed to both its rise and fall.

Along the way, you’ll be able to debate the questions these themes raise - with both course educators and learners from around the world - and draw your own conclusions.

Learn with experts in imperial history

Experts from the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter will be your guides. The Centre brings together the strong research expertise of the University’s eminent imperial historians. It comprises one of the largest groups of imperial and global historians currently working in the UK.

The lead educator for this course is Richard Toye - Professor of Modern History and author of several acclaimed books, including “Churchill’s Empire: the World That Made Him and the World He Made.” Richard has provide a taste of this course in his blog post: Why is the British Empire still so controversial?

You can start to explore the Empire and find out more about the Centre for Imperial and Global History on its blog, Imperial & Global Forum, or by following @ExeterCIGH on Twitter.

This course will also give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Recommended Background

This course is intended for anyone with an interest in imperial history. It doesn’t require any reading before you start or previous experience of studying the subject.