HENB01154U CANCELED English - Elective 4, topic 4: The British Empire through British Eyes, 1880-2000

Volume 2015/2016

This course introduces students to Britain's imperial experience in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the vantage point of Britain itself. Recent years have seen an escalating debate about the extent of imperial influence in British culture, politics and society. Some have maintained that the effects of ruling the largest empire in world history permeated British life in almost every respect, from art to entertainment, leisure, social attitudes, consumption habits, education, youth culture, migratory patterns and much else besides. Others have insisted that the image of a Britain historically "steeped in empire" is a gross exaggeration, and that the vast majority of the population remained indifferent to (indeed entirely ignorant of) the colonial world beyond Britain's shores. The course will consider the arguments and the evidence for both sides of this proposition, ranging from the "high imperialism" of the late nineteenth century to the protracted decline of British imperial rule after the Second World War. It will also consider some of the (allegedly) enduring legacies of empire in contemporary Britain, which in some respects mirrors the historical argument over the domestic impact of the imperial past.


Alongside secondary literature, we will examine a range of primary source material – such as paintings, history books, posters, newspapers, public opinion reports, movies, speeches - to assess how the British saw their empire.

-Dane Kennedy. Britain and Empire 1880-1945 (Harlow, 2002).

-TBA Other sources and texts examining weekly topics will be uploaded on Absalon.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment