HENB01484U English - Elective Subject, topic 4: The UK and the US: Contemporary British and American History, Politics, and Society

Volume 2022/2023



This course focusses on the contemporary history, politics and society of the UK and the US. The UK and the US: Contemporary British and American History, Politics, and Society divides into two concurrent and complementary expert sessions on the UK and the US, where relevant comparative approaches will be used.


Component 1: Issues in Contemporary American History, Politics, and Society (Goddard)

“Issues in Contemporary American History, Politics, and Society” focuses on American politics and society in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential elections. What fundamental political concepts unite and divide Americans? How adept has the U.S. political system been recently, in terms of accommodating the unconventional or reverting to the norm? Has democracy in America been imperiled by polarization and personality politics? Answering the questions above requires knowledge of the US political system, how it works and how that system interacts with wider American culture outside of Washington, D.C. Drawing on history and social issues, the U.S. course also explores the issues, preoccupations, and dreams that the nation addresses. Which issues excite American passions, political and social? How salient are race, ethnicity, gender, and class in contemporary America. How accessible is the American dream of mobility in an age of blinding and increasing diversity. Does the dream of personal equality and opportunity still draw breath? The component will foreground the present while using the period from 1970 onwards as context.


Issues in Contemporary British History, Politics and Society (Ebbesen)

“Issues in Contemporary British History, Politics and Society” focuses on political and social divisions in the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the Scottish Independence and Brexit referenda. What is the impact of Brexit on each of the "UK4" (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)? Could Wales and Northern Ireland follow Scotland towards independence? Does the present crisis of the Union actually reflect different political values rather than a deeper sense of historic nationhood)? How did the UK go from a "shopkeeper's daughter" (Thatcher) to the Eton/Oxford crowd (Cameron/Johnson) in the late 20th and 21st century? Answering these questions will have us examining the British political system and the impact of "First past the post" on voting in Britain, the distinct histories of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales since the 1970s, the complicated issues of race and nationality in post-imperial Britain, and the vast economic differences between the North and the South. Issues of gender in politics compared regionally will also be addressed.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • Total
  • 409,5
Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment


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