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HIST241 War and the Modern World

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Through a series of case studies we explore how war has transformed the modern world. Themes include imperialism and colonial wars, war and nationalism, genocide, and war and memory.

This paper examines the changing nature of warfare and its economic, political and cultural consequences in Western and non-Western societies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We aim to understand why the period from about 1850 to 2000 was the most belligerent in human history.

Paper title War and the Modern World
Paper code HIST241
Subject History
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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One 100-level HIST paper or 54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Alex Trapeznik
Lecturers: Dr Miranda Johnson
Professor Angela McCarthy
Associate Professor John Stenhouse
Associate Professor Alex Trapeznik


Highly Recommended: Charles Townshend, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern War(New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Roger Chickering et al., eds, The Cambridge History of War Volume 4: War and the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) eBook.

Additional sources will be made available to students via Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will gain

  • An historical understanding of how and why warfare has shaped economic, political and cultural life in the modern world
  • They will also learn how to engage critically with secondary literature and assess diverse historical interpretations

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 9-13, 15-22
Thursday 14:00-14:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 11, 15-16, 20-21
A2 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 11, 15-16, 20-21
A3 Friday 11:00-11:50 11, 15-16, 20-21