Empire: The Controversies of British Imperialism

Originally posted on the Imperial and Global Forum – the blog of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the History Department, University of Exeter.

Marc-William Palen

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Exeter’s Centre for Imperial and Global History launches a new, free online course.

We are delighted to announce that, starting in January 2015, we will be running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the history of the British Empire.

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. 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.

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.” You can follow him on Twitter @RichardToye.

You can start to explore the British Empire and find out more about the Centre for Imperial and Global History by following @ExeterCIGH on Twitter. Use the hashtag #FLEmpire to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

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

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.

To sign up via the FutureLearn site, please click here.


Dr Marc-William Palen, Lecturer in Imperial History at the University of Exeter and is editor of the Imperial & Global Forum, the blog for the Centre for Imperial and Global History.

Find out more by visiting the Centre for Imperial and Global History on their blog or follow on Twitter @ExeterCIGH #FLEmpire.

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