The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST 5504 Special Topic in Modern World History: The Industrial Revolution & its Impacts

Term 2, 2014-2015

Lecturer:Prof. Ian Morley
Phone: (852) 3943-7116 
Office: Room 129, Fung King Hey Building 

Tutor: Ms Ng Yee Ka, Abby

Lecture Time: Thursday, 12.30 pm to 2.15 pm

Classroom:  To be confirmed

Tutorial Time:  2.30 pm to 3.15 pm

Classroom:  To be confirmed

Class Language: English

Course Description

The module intends to provide a survey of the origins and transformations of industrial society over the last two centuries or so, a period of time within which industrial nation states have reached new heights of power and acquired the dominant share of the world’s wealth – a wealth once dominated by Westerners but increasingly challenged in recent years by the rise of, for example, South East Asian nations. This comparative studies programme shall allow students to obtain a critical understanding of the nature of industrial society through fostering a multidisciplinary approach to industrialisation and many of the changes in society it helped to establish. The course will give students the opportunity to consider the ideas and the conditions in Europe and elsewhere that produced industrial change, capitalism and democracy – processes that the West considered then and still considers today as desirable for itself and other parts of the world. The curriculum gives particular focus to pre-industrial Europe and its economy, industrial Britain, urbanisation and its effects upon social classes, public health, housing and ways of living. The course is designed to build skills such as thinking critically, well-constructed writing and the clear presenting of oral arguments. In so doing students will be expected to critically engage with a range of academic disciplines such as History (social and economic, cultural and urban), Social Studies, Economics and Geography, so as to answer questions such as:

  • In what ways did industrialisation fundamentally change societies?
  • What factors accounted for the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?
  • How did patterns of urbanisation change as a consequence of industrial growth?
  • How did social class relations shift due to industrial progress?
  • How did industrial changes affect the role of women or children in the work place?
  • What demographic changes have occurred since industrialisation began?
  • Were the First and Second Industrial Revolutions the same or were they different?
  • How did rural developments affect the rise of industry in Europe’s past?
  • What is the relationship between cities and the countryside both before and after the onset of industrial growth?
  • What dangers arise from industrial and urban transition? Are these dangers universal?