- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Mark Roodhouse
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: I
- Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
- See module specification for other years: 2021-22
According to Sellars and Yeatman, authors of spoof history 1066 and All That, ‘English’ history ended when America replaced Britain as ‘Top Nation’ in 1918. For them the national story after the First World War was a forgettable tale of decline and fall. Contemporary historians echoed this ‘declinism’ in their accounts of the period. All agreed that the years since 1870 have been a time of dizzying change. Technological and economic change associated with the development of industrial capitalism propelled the ‘workshop of the world’ and its ‘first industrial nation’ into a ‘modern era’ characterized by industrialization, urbanization, ‘modernity’, and ‘mass society’ – at least that is how some have come to see it. While few dispute the pace and extent of change, historians continue to struggle to understand its causes, consequences, and significance. In recent years historians have turned away from an earlier narrative of imperial and economic decline offset by rising living standards and a more inclusive notion of citizenship. An agreed overarching narrative has yet to emerge, although this is not for want of trying. There are many tales to tell that challenge or complement a story of comfortable decline, including ‘the short life of social democracy’ (or ‘the long life of market culture’), neo-corporatism, and governmentality amongst others. This module explores all of these tales as we survey, in turn, the major trends in the economic, political, and cultural and social history of the United Kingdom since 1870.
|Autumn Term 2022-23
The aims of this module are:
Students who complete this module successfully will:
This 20-credit module consists of sixteen twice weekly lectures delivered in weeks 2-9, plus one round-up session in week 10 and eight 90 minute discussion groups.
Seminar topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:
Briefing: Why study Modern Britain?
Free Trade and Greater Britain
War and Peace
The British Disease: Decline and Declinism
Reconstruction - and Reconstructionism?
Leaps into the Dark: Democratisation in Britain
War, Labour and Realignment
Road to and from 1945
Thatcher and after
Class Systems and Class Identity
Gender and Region in Social Identity
Listening and Viewing
Recreation and the Mass Market
The Death and Legacies of Christian Britain
A Globalised Britain?
Debriefing: Reflections on Britain’s Long Twentieth Century
|% of module mark
2,000 word essay
Students will be required to write a 2,000-word procedural essay for formative assessment, due in either week 5 or week 7 of the autumn term. They will then complete a 2,000-word essay for summative assessment, due in week 1 of the spring term.
|% of module mark
2,000 word essay
Following their formative assessment task, students will typically receive written feedback that will include comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission.
Work will be returned to students in their discussion groups and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural work with their tutor (or module convenor) during student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.
For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.
For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:
Carnevali, Francesca and Julie-Marie Strange, eds. Twentieth-century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change, 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2007.
Thane, Pat. Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain, 1900 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Vernon, James. Modern Britain: 1750 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.