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Contemporary History Summer Course in Oxford Ages 16-18

Oxford Summer School 2020
Also in Cambridge

Part of the BROADENING HORIZONS Programme

Study Contemporary History with our Oxford Summer School 2020. This History summer course takes students through the most important global events and processes which have taken place since the end of the Second World War, from the Cold War to the decolonisation process, the rise of China, the Middle Eastern conflicts, and the response of the international community to the rise of terrorism.

2 or 4 weeks | Available July - August 2020

  • Residential in historic buildings in Oxford
  • An inspiring Contemporary History course taught by experts.
  • Combine this course with other options - tailor your programme
  • A truly international environment - over 150 nationalities in 2019

Course Summary

The course will seek to encourage students to think more like professional historians: students will read original primary sources, and be introduced to the debates which continue to divide historians about the best way in which to interpret events that continue to shape our world today. The class looks at processes which gave rise to major international bodies like the UN and the European Union. It also explores the most significant international conflicts of recent decades such as the Vietnam War and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Special emphasis is placed on the most recent events, including the rise of global terrorism.

Session Format

Each session on this course will consist of brief talks by the tutor, intended to provide students with background information on the subject, and group discussions. This course also uses video material in order to bring the past to life. Asking questions and engaging in debate is very much supported, as this is a world history course, and each student, coming from a different home country and background, will be encourage to bring their own unique insights to this history summer course.

What will you get out of the Contemporary History Summer Course?

In addition to expanding their knowledge of contemporary history, students will learn how to structure a History essay and to collaborate with others in giving a group presentation. This course is focused on identifying themes, drawing connections and engaging in analysis of the past, not just rote learning of facts. As a consequence, it addresses not only the events of the past, but also historiography, or the study of the methodology of historians, in order to consider the factors that motivate different interpretations of and opinions on the past, to assess the value of History of a discipline, and to explain why the past should be studied at all. The course also uses its focus on contemporary History to consider how our view of events is formed as they unfold. In this way we can approach the study of History in a more sophisticated and analytical manner.

The Broadening Horizons Programme

This subject is part of the Broadening Horizons course at Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Oxford summer school.

The Broadening Horizons course, for students aged 16 to 18, is suitable both for those who are trying to decide what to pursue in further education, and for those who simply want to learn about a variety of interesting subjects - 30+ study options are available!

Students choose two morning classes and one afternoon workshop to provide a diverse and stimulating curriculum that is tailored to their needs, allowing them to pursue areas of interest or try out something new. Students studying Broadening Horizons in Oxford get the chance to live and learn in a college of the University of Oxford or in our 17th-century manor house, Yarnton Manor.

Learn more about and apply for the Broadening Horizons Programme in Oxford

Expectations and Pre-requisites

No previous formal study of the subject will be assumed, but students will be expected to contribute opinions and experiences in order to provide the class with a variety of viewpoints and opinions.

Suggested Reading

There is no compulsory reading required prior to the beginning of the course, but if you do want to look at an introductory guide which covers some of the topics, the following books are suitable:

  • Tom Buchanan, Europe’s Troubled Peace, 1945-2000 (2006)
  • Norman Lowe, Mastering Modern World History (2005)
  • John Gaddis, The Cold War (2006)

Choose your options and apply for Broadening Horizons

The Broadening Horizons programme - our flagship Oxford summer course - allows you to combine different subject options to enable a flexible, tailored programme that best suits your academic needs

To view other options, select your choice of options and apply, please visit the main Broadening Horizons Programme page

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