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The British Story 1780-1985

First Year Module

Module Leader: Dr Harvey Osborne

This course will explore the history of Britain 1780-1985 highlighting social, cultural and political change over this extended period.  It will chart a period encompassing Britain’s transformation in the nineteenth-century into the world’s leading industrial power with an extensive overseas Empire, through to the late twentieth-century and the attendant experiences of industrial decline, imperial retreat, cultural and social flux.  Themes and topics for examination include industrialisation and urbanisation, the rise of mass democracy, relations with Ireland, the impact of war and the rise and decline of Britain as an imperial power.  The module will also examine the impact of rising affluence, consumerism and new technologies and will explore how Britons have defined themselves during this extended period through the making and remaking of identities based on class, gender, race, empire and nation.

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars, plus tutorial support.  Supporting resources will also be made available online.  The exact format of each session will depend upon the nature of the subject and the material to be used, although seminar type sessions will always involve active student participation and involvement in handling and interpreting source material.  Teaching and learning strategies for this module are calculated to support the achievement of the stated learning outcomes.

Introductory reading

J.Black and D.M.Macraild, Nineteenth-Century Britain, (Basingstoke, 2003) 941.081

D.Benson, Affluence and Authority: A Social History of Twentieth-Century Britain, (London, 2005) 941.082

D.Cannadine, Victorious century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906, (London, 2017) 941.08

E.Evans, The Forging of the Modern State, Early Industrial Britain, 1783-1870, 3rd ed., (Harlow, 2001) 941.073

E.J.Evans, The shaping of modern Britain: identity, industry and Empire, 1780-1914, (Harlow: Longman, 2011) 941.07

M.Pugh, State and Society: A social and political history of Britain since 1870, 5th ed. (London, 2017) 941.082

M.Rosen, The Transformation of British Life, 1950-2000 – A Social History, (Manchester, MUP, 2003) 941.085