HIS4230 – Introduction to International History: readings and perspectives

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will introduce graduate students to diverse perspectives and recent approaches to international history, defined to include diplomatic history, transnational history, critical imperial history and other bodies of work focused on the contemporary world. Students will respond in writing to assigned readings, building their skills at discerning and assessing historical interpretations, and will meet to discuss the readings. This is a readings seminar rather than a research seminar. It will emphasize published scholarship and it will give students a sense of the “state of the field” in key areas of research.

Learning outcome

After taking this course, a student will have acquired knowledge about:

  • how relevant questions are framed and expressed based on the status of research in the field of international history;
  • central research debates in the field of international history;
  • how historians conduct debate over research and interpretive issues in the field of international history; and
  • archives, sources and other materials relevant for the study of international history.


After taking this course, a student will be able to:

  • initiate and participate in discussions of texts and research in international history;
  • read different types of academic texts in a critical and independent manner;
  • comment on and discuss remarks from other students;
  • work with others in small groups;
  • present about one’s own and others’ work to an entire class;
  • give feedback on others’ work.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good ability to read and understand English is required for this course


The seminar will meet 10 times for two hours at each meeting, for a total of twenty classroom hours. It also will include an introductory session and a midway research and writing workshop, where students and staff will work on developing appropriate research questions, research plans and writing plans.

General topics for course units will include the following areas: the era of world war; the Cold War; human rights history; international aid history; and the contemporary Middle East. The list of readings is set at approx. 650 pages to allow for a discussion of all texts of the curriculum in class. The students will find literature in addition to this, in order to write their papers.

  • The learning outcome of this course depends on active student participation. To this end, students need to attend prepared and participate in class. Different types of activities will require participation throughout the semester. Specific information about mandatory activities will be announced at the first meeting and published on Canvas. Absence of up to two seminars can be approved by agreement with the teacher(s).

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance if you're sick etc.

Resources and information will be provided via Canvas

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Graded work will consist of a “mappe” or portfolio, consisting of a) an individual essay of approximately 8-10 pages (18,000-22,000 characters), with a theme chosen by the student under supervision, and b) two minor seminar presentations, to be further published in Canvas. Information of required readings and other preparations will be given in class.

Students may submit written materials in English or Norwegian, but should also be prepared to read English publications and to speak English in the seminars.

The portfolio is to be submitted in Inspera.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2021

Autumn 2019


Spring 2021

Autumn 2019

Teaching language