History Dissertation Topics


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Example History Dissertation Topic 1:

A consequence of municipal inaction: working-class housing conditions in the West Midlands 1840 – 1926.

Topic Description :It is suggested in this dissertation that local authorities of the West Midlands were the predominant factor in determining the affordability and quality of housing for working-class residents. The need for housing for the poorest inhabitants of West Midlands was subject to the political will and ability of these local authorities. This dissertation will begin by charting how local Government Acts through 1880 to 1890 were rife with self-improvement initiatives of municipal authorities at the expense of the residents. It will then follow the change of arenas- from local to national- and the results that followed this shift during the 1920s. An assessment of the significance of reports, such as those provided by the Garden City Movement and Tudor Walters, based on the quality of housing provided will conclude the dissertation.


Example History Dissertation Topic 2:

How secure was English Protestantism in the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign?

Topic Description :Levin (2002:22) is of the opinion that English Christians in 1558 endured the fourth religious upheaval in their lifetime because of the accession of Elizabeth. Doran (1994:7) on the other hand notes how Elizabeth openly expressed Protestantism earlier on during her reign. A renowned protestant, Dr. William Bell suffered ejection from Cambridge during Mary’s reign and later got an invitation from Elizabeth to St Paul’s Cross. This preferential treatment was in sharp contrast to the arrest of the Bishop of Chichester who was preaching at the same venue the following Sunday. These two authors form the genesis for this dissertation, which delves into the impact Elizabeth’s reign had on Protestantism in the first fifteen years, as well as the question of how secure this new religion was in the context of an administration on the brink of extinction.


Example History Dissertation Topic 3:

The changing roles and tastes within French formal gardening in the 17th and 18th centuries

Topic Description :Gardens serve the core purpose of giving aesthetic pleasure to spectators. This is according to the author of ‘Traite du jardinageselon les raisons de la nature et d'art’, Jacques Boyceau de La Barauderie. French gardens evolved during the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries from amusement during formal strolls into living architecture to be enjoyed outdoors. Gardens would be put to versatile use such as theatre with the most notable use being ‘the little farm’ that was established to mark changes in the political realm in Versailles. This dissertation tracks the change in expectations of the elite from France with respect to their gardens.


Example History Dissertation Topic 4:

An analysis of the factors that best explain the growth and movement of population within the East Midlands region c.1801 and 1914

Topic Description :Increases in population from 1801 to 1911 were noted as

  • Derbyshire: 208,557 from 130,081

  • Nottinghamshire: 161,142 from 140,350

  • Lincolnshire: 563,960 from 476,553

  • Leicestershire: 683,423 from 604,098

It was noted that the rise in numbers after every census was at either par with national growth figures, or higher. It is however noted that the percentage rise in population every ten years between 1801 and 1911 was not consistent. The fact that population movement happened between cities in different counties, from these counties to other parts of the country and also from these counties to other countries overseas, the growth in population is most intriguing. The reasons behind these differences are addressed in this dissertation.



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Example History Dissertation Topic 5:

How important was migration to the development and growth of urban centres in the period 1700 – 1801?

Topic Description :The period between 1700 and 1800 marked a threefold increase in the total population of urban England from 5.5% to 16.5%, with the exception of London.
A large portion of the rural workforce was made available for non-agrarian work because of the 47% growth in agricultural productivity. This meant that not all born in the countryside would end up serving in agricultural tasks, unlike in the past. The opportunities presented by this development resulted in the rise of projections for increased industrial production. This increase did not result in the desertion of the villages of England for the urban centres because industrialization did not bring about an increase in urbanization in this period. The elemental trends that influenced the happenings of this period are analysed in this dissertation.

Example History Dissertation Topic 6:

The politics of theatre attendance in 18th century Paris.

Topic Description :The revolution of 1789 in France caused the fall of the Ancienne regime. This paved way for the Chapelier Law of 1791 in which freedom of expression and speech was guaranteed to French theatre. This dissertation examines the role played by theatres before and after the revolution. It seeks to explain the reasons behind theatre attendance in the years preceding the revolution and the ploy employed by the ousted regime in its attempt at suppressing dissidents. It will also touch on the role of theatre in the popular culture that followed the revolution. This is dissertation would be particularly well suited to those looking to the insight found in the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau.

Example History Dissertation Topic 7:

The changing face of London’s East End: An analysis of census returns 1851 – 1901

Topic Description :Enumerators’ reports and census returns enable historians to look back at the situations that surrounded their predecessors. When coupled with different government reports and fresh accounts of the ‘life of the London', they form a powerful tool for gaining unique insight. This dissertation examines how the face of London's east end underwent changes in the closing half of Victoria's reign. The IHR is leading the charge with its centre for Metropolitan studies in shining a light on life in the capital. It has become a topic, which has increasingly generated interest in the recent past.

Example History Dissertation Topic 8:

Divided by race: A primary source investigation into the first modern race riots of England: Nottingham, 1958

Topic Description :History and sociology often interface where issues of identity in a community often arise. Historical urban studies are the banner under which numerous academic publications of great importance are coming forth at an increasing pace. The well-documented Notting Hill riots are right alongside the arrival of Afro-Caribbean people into the United Kingdom from the late 1950s to the 60s as notable events. The Nottingham riots overshadowed the dominant thoughts in the minds of citizens of the nation at the time by being the first race riot city in the UK. Archives that were released recently have been used with primary research to break new grounds in this study.

Example History Dissertation Topic 9:

The Carolingian Renaissance: A reassessment

Topic Description :Often regarded by some as a revival in the cultural and intellectual facets of Europe, the Carolingian Renaissance is an occurrence that has divided school of thought. It took place in the late eighth century and continued into the mid-ninth century. It is suggested by some that the Carolingian Renaissance was a poor attempt at recreating the culture of the Roman Empire that produced cultural effects that lasted only a short while. The third school of thought questions the use of the word Renaissance to refer to this period in Carolingian history on the basis that a number of reforms during this period were focused on matters of an ecclesiastical and legal nature. This dissertation scrutinizes the three contested points of view to offer a deeper interpretation.

Example History Dissertation Topic 10:

The Battle of Vienna: A turning point in the Ottoman-Habsburg wars?

Topic Description :A war that raged on for three centuries is at the centre of academic debates as to whether victory was achieved by the combined efforts of the Holy Roman Empire forces and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces. Further debate sparks speculations about whether the battle between the Habsburg and Ottoman empires were a turning point in the centuries-old war or was it more proof of the rot in the Ottoman Empire. The battle was a crowning moment for the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth forces whose efforts were vital to the struggle for victory. This dissertation further analyses the difference in opinion in academia as well as the importance of the battle and to trace the effect the contribution of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had in the context of history in a much broader sense.

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