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Course Description
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Cosmopolis: London as a World City 1LIB4XX
University of Westminster
London, England

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Sociology, Liberal Arts 200 English 4 50 N/A


Post-war London; economic, social, cultural change since the 1960s; the London economy; local government from London County Council (LCC) to the Greater London Authority (GLA); housing, transport, crime, class and ethnicity. Field walks around central and other areas of London demonstrating material delivered in lectures.


The module aims to allow students to explore the development of modern London from the perspective of the main social science disciplines. It aims to provide an overview of the history of London from the 1960s and enables students to gain an understanding of the economic, cultural and socio-geographical factors which have made the modern metropolis.
In addition, it aims to engage with the contemporary issues of crime, class, ethnicity,
transport, housing and cultural life, and what is now truly a world city. London is, in effect, a Cosmopolis.


By the end of the module students are expected to be able to:
· show knowledge and understanding of the main economic, political and societal
trends in London since the 1960s;
· make use of concepts as aids to understanding and communication;
· utilise and interpret simple statistical data;
· use evidence and argument to reach and support reasonable conclusions;
· communicate effectively in written English, using recognised academic apparatus;
· demonstrate the ability to work as part of a small team by producing a group
presentation, using electronic communication tools, to a good standard.

The module addresses a number of key issues which are treated thematically including:
London as an economic centre; London's politics from the LCC to the GLA; the development of London's community and cultural life; London's challenges - crime, transport, terrorism; the iconography London as a world city.


The module is delivered via lectures and seminars. Lectures last for approximately one-anda-half hours and give the essential framework for the module by providing key knowledge and interpretation upon which students are expected to build with their own reading.
Seminars allow informal student-led discussion of the issues raised in lectures, opportunities for supervised group work and are also used to allow practise in the key skills of interpretation and analysis of primary sources.


Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and
understanding of the various elements of the module. In addition, it is intended to allow
students to demonstrate the key skills of literacy and ability to argue a case, of
interpretation and analysis, of synthesis and evaluation of evidence and the use of sources including simple statistical data. Students will also demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively as part of a small team in making a group presentation using information and communication technology.

The assessment scheme breaks down as follows:
· a group presentation (20 minutes) on the development since the 1960s of an area of
London chosen by students and approved by the module leader 30%
· an extended essay (2,500 words) 70%

In the group presentation, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· select a suitable area of London for analysis (to be agreed with the Module Leader);
· describe and illustrate the physical development of the area since the 1960s;
· describe and illustrate (with relevant statistics) the major social and economic
characteristics of the area;
· describe the major economic and social problems facing the area, and make tentative
suggestions for improvements;
· work as part of a small group;
· use appropriate information and communication technology.
A group mark is given for the presentation on completion of a log book handed in on the
day of the presentation signed by all members of the group.
In the essay for coursework, students are expected to demonstrate that they can:
· understand the question set;
· select, utilise and synthesise appropriate secondary sources;
· formulate and structure an essay which directly addresses and answers the question set
and which is based upon accumulated knowledge and developed understanding;
· use appropriate academic conventions and apparatus, including a notation system and
· communicate in good written English using appropriate information and communication
Criteria for grading oral assessed work includes the following:
· the breadth and depth of demonstrated knowledge and understanding;
· demonstrated ability to work co-operatively;
· the extent and sophistication of use of information and communication technology in
support of the presentation;
· the fluency and professionalism of the presenting technique;
· the extent of imagination and originality of thinking;
· timekeeping;
· the use of relevant historical evidence to sustain logical and reasonable conclusions.
Criteria for grading written assessed work include the following:
· the breadth and depth of demonstrated knowledge and understanding;
· the coherence and persuasiveness of sustained argument;
· the absence of unsubstantiated generalisation;
· the extent and sophistication of use and synthesis of secondary sources;
· the accuracy, fluency and appropriateness of written English;
· the clarity and consistency of use of academic apparatus;
· the extent of imagination and originality of thinking;
· the use of relevant evidence to sustain logical and reasonable conclusions.


Essential Reading
Porter, Roy; London: a Social History (2000)
White, Jerry; London in the Twentieth Century (2001)
Further Reading
Akhtar, Miriam,
Humphries, Steve;
The Fifties and Sixties: A Lifestyle Revolution (2001)
Aldgate, Anthony, (eds.); Windows on the Sixties: Exploring Key Texts of Media and Culture (2000)
Cairncross, Alec; The British Economy since 1945 (1992)
Clapson, Mark; Invincible Green Suburbs, Brave New Towns: Social Change and
Urban Growth in Postwar England (1998)
Chambers, Ian; Popular Culture: The Metropolitan Experience (1986)
Davis, John; Youth and the Condition of Britain: Images of Adolescent Conflict
Fielding, Steven; The Labour Governments 1964-1970: Vol.1: Labour and Cultural
Change (2003)
Fryer, Peter; Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (1985)
Gardiner, Juliet; From the Bomb to the Beatles: The Changing Face of Post-War
Britain (1999)
Garnett, Mark; From Anger to Apathy: The British Experience since 1975 (2007)
Golbourne, Harry; Race Relations in Britain since 1945 (1998)
Government Office for London London Facts and Figures (1995)
Green, Jonathan; All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counter-Culture (1998)
Herbert, M.; London: More by Fortune Than Design (1998)
Hoggart, K. and Green, D.R. (eds.); London: A New Metropolitan Geography (1991)
Hylton, Stuart; Magical History Tour: The 1960s Revisited (2000)
Levy, Shawn; Ready, Steady, Go! Swinging London and the Invention of Cool
Marr, Andrew; A History of Modern Britain (2007)
Marwick, Arthur; British Society since 1945 (1982)
Masters, Brian; The Swinging Sixties (1986)
Phillips, Mike and Phillips, Charlie; Notting Hill in the Sixties (1997)
Rowbotham, Sheila; Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties (2000)
Saint, Andrew; Politics and the people of London :the London County Council
1889-1965 (1989)
Sandbrook, Dominic; Never Had It So Good, A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles
White Heat, A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (2006)
Sheppard, Francis; London, A History (1998)
Simme, J.; Planning London (1994)
Tomlinson, Jim; The Politics of Decline: Understanding Post-War Britain (2000)
Wilson, A. N.; London: A Short History (2005)
Periodical references
Students are encouraged to make use of periodicals such as History Today, The London
Journal as well as more academic journals such as Urban History. Articles may be located via Infolinx on the library website at
WWW references There exists a number of more or less useful websites regarding the module on the Internet.
Naturally, particular caution should be exercised when using such material.

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