HIST 2502A: Modern Britain
Fall 2024

Instructor: Danielle Kinsey

Description: This lecture course surveys the history of the United Kingdom from the Napoleonic Wars to Brexit. Material in the course will be organized chronologically (ie/ we’ll start around 1800 and slowly make our way to the present), discussing key political, social, cultural, military, and economic transformations that occurred along the way. The main questions we’ll examine pertain to “modern Britain,”: what, when, where, and why was it and who was thought to be included and excluded from British national belonging. Themes in the course will be: changes and continuities in everyday life; the centrality of empire to the making of modern Britain; tensions between England and other nations within the UK (esp. Ireland, Scotland, Wales); transformations in liberalism; and the UK’s international relationships, including with continental Europe and the United States. The course will foreground cultural and identarian issues and as such we’ll often discuss the histories of class, race, gender, sexuality, and religious difference.

Format: This is a 0.5 credit lecture course that will be delivered face-to-face in the classroom. Students will be expected to attend lectures twice per week – these lectures will not be recorded.

Evaluation: Each lecture will contain keywords that students should take notes on. Most lectures will also have a large group discussion element on a source that students will be expected to have read prior to coming to class. The reading load will be about 30 pages or less per week of an academic journal article or primary source, which is about 2-3 hours of reading per week in addition to attending lectures. There will be an in-class midterm and an in-person final exam (to be scheduled by the registrar) that will assess the student’s knowledge of some of the keywords from lecture and, likely, some of the assigned readings as well. In addition, there will be one or two summative written research-and-analysis assignments that, together, will amount to about 10 pages (double-spaced) of writing.

Readings for the course will be made available online; there will be no textbook to purchase.