Taught course

MA History, Power and Identity

University of Essex · Department of History

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Entry requirements

Please visit www.essex.ac.uk for entry requirements to all our courses

Months of entry


Course content

What does it mean to be powerful or powerless? Across different times and places, how have people and groups used or abused power, and how have they gained or lost it? In a world threatened by the rise of far-right groups, invigorated by mass protests such as Black Lives Matter or #MeToo, and rocked by political, economic, and cultural crisis, this MA traces the historical roots of some of today’s most urgent fights for power.

We look at the ways and means by which power has operated in the past to consider who has power, why it might be shared, and how it is resisted. We examine different sites of power, from bodies to institutions, and its multiple workings, from slavery and torture to consumer decisions and food sustainability. The struggle for power can be reflected in racism, sexism, and homophobia – attacks on people’s identities to reinforce the dominance of one group or ideology. Yet those identities are also sources of pleasure, celebration, and resistance, whether through conflict or cooperation. Power can also be shared within communities, whether to bolster the dominant group or to provide more social equity.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    23 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

PG Admissions