Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.
Where was Britain? From the inception of Britain's first empire in the Atlantic world through the era of mass migration of South Asians and Africans to Britain after the Second World War, British identity was formed not only by local and metropolitan circumstances, but also by its contact with the rest of the globe. In this seminar, we will investigate the ways in which Britain has constructed its identity in opposition to external powers. We will focus on Britain's imperial interactions with India, Africa, and the Pacific in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but will also consider Britain's historical relationship to Continental Europe, North America, and the Far East. We will consider the ways in which ideas about race, gender, and nation were formed through Britain's contact with the world beyond its shores. The seminar will thus touch on broader themes of globalization and imperialism through this case study of the global parameters of British history.
This capstone seminar will include readings from primary and secondary sources. Our readings will include \Equiano's autobiography, the journals of Watkin Tench from his early Australian explorations, texts by British missionaries in Africa and liberal reformers in India, writings on British racial science by Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and Rudyard Kipling, writings on anticolonial nationalism by M.K. Gandhi, and memoirs of emigration to Britain by Hanif Kureishi.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
We will have weekly discussions of the readings, as well as library sessions to introduce students to potential sources in the field. Students will also make formal presentations about their research.
Class assignments and grading
One paper, based on primary and secondary sources (15-20 pages); oral presentation on research topic; prospectus and bibliography
Assignments listed above, plus participation in discussions