History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

HIST 322: Modern Britain

HIST 322-001: Modern Britain
(Spring 2017)

Robinson B228

Section Information for Spring 2017

This course examines Britain from the later 18th Century to the Interwar period in the 20th Century. We will explore how Britain’s “uniqueness” in fact laid the foundations for many fundamental aspects of Western modernity.  Britain is often considered the home of many modern firsts: political upheavals that ushered in a continuous parliamentary system; the first nation to industrialize; the birthplace of bourgeois Victorian culture; the place where the modern city first shocked the world and transformed the land; the hub of an Empire that stretched round the globe. Not all firsts could be presented as triumphal: Britain also, arguably, first experienced the modern strains of an aging industrial infrastructure; competition and the loss of its status as the major global superpower; disruptive divisions rooted in class, gender, regional and ethnic differences; and disillusion with the fruits of progress. All of these processes were both specifically British and at the same time quintessentially modern. 

This course will examine the issues listed above while always approaching history from a range of perspectives—Britain’s geo-political role will inform our work, but so will the social histories of the family, leisure and sexuality; we will examine changing economic structures and conditions as well as the intellectual and political currents that sought to give meaning to a changing world; social conflict and political movements and the powerful forces resisting change. Readings will include documents and texts from the period alongside more recent historical interpretations. Assignments will require you to synthesize, analyze and interpret information through both short papers and a take-home midterm and final.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

History of Britain from mid-18th century to present. Focuses on social, political, and economic transformations of industrialization; culture of 19th-century industrial society; problems of late 19th-century economic competition and imperialism; creation of welfare state; and experience of post-World War II political, social, and economic realignments.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes.

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