History - Britain - British Culture.pdf

August 26, 2017 | Author: ANA SIERRA | Category: United Kingdom, Multiculturalism, Essays, Conservative Party (Uk), London
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Course Code SS1801





To provide the opportunity for students to develop an understanding and appreciation of key aspects of contemporary British culture and society, within an historical context To introduce students to key cultural and historical sites in England and to encourage students to visit additional sites independently and to view such places in an informed and critical way. To encourage students to make informed, critical comparisons between what they observe and learn of British society and culture and their own home societies and cultures To provide the inspiration and methodologies to pursue an understanding of other cultures, languages and ideas.

LEARNING OUTCOMES On completion of the course students should: i. Know and understand some of the main historical antecedents of key aspects in British culture and society ii. be familiar with some of the major social, political, economic and cultural issues in contemporary Britain iii. be able to compare and contrast their home culture and society with British culture and society. iv. Research cultural institutions independently and write findings clearly, interestingly and critically, using basic academic referencing

TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES The course is delivered through a multidisciplinary programme consisting of: i. ii. iii.

Formal lectures/workshop sessions - sometimes integrated with field activities; Excursions/tours led by members of the Kingston Faculty or contracted professionals Self-guided visits to other sites of historic and cultural interest in the London area.

Date Friday 5 July

Monday 8 July

Time 10001100

Place JG Building

11001200 0900




15301630 0930


10151100 11151215 1400 0845


HAMPTON COURT PALACE Fieldtrip The Magnificence of the British Monarchy- Henry VIII and his Court Discussion : The Monarchy- For and Against The British System of Government Discussion: British Political system Class and Education in Britain


The Media- a tabloid society?

1000 110011301330 PM 0815



Wed 10 July

Wed. 17 July Friday 19 July

Monday 22 July Wed 24 July

Friday 2 Aug


Seething Wells


Seething Wells

AM 1400

Wed 31 July

Parr Boats Landing Hampton Court Palace

Lecture Introduction What is Britain? British National Identity The Monarchy

1930 0945

Greenwich Visitor Centre Globe Theatre Seething Wells







Independent London Visit (1) OXFORD Fieldtrip Coach leaves at 0900 Discussion session : Class: Education & the Media Theatre Lecture Independent London Visit (2) STONEHENGE & BATH Fieldtrip Coach leaves at 0830 Independent London visit (3) GREENWICH Fieldtrip Walking tour ‘Henry VI’ SOUTHALL GURDWARA fieldtrip Coach leaves at 1000 Multi-cultural Britain Britain and the World: from Empire to European Union Summary and Revision: Cinema and National Identity Final test

Lecturer Matthew Cunningham

Irene Luna



MC MC Patsy Trench





GENERAL READING No prior reading is required and there is no recommended up-to-date text for this course. However, texts listed below by McDowall, O’Driscoll and Oakland are suitable for those wanting a general text. The others are better for reference, using particular articles as needed. Addison, P. & Jones, H., 2005, A Companion to Contemporary Britain Malden, MASS: Blackwell Carnevali, F & Strange, J-M (ed.), 2007, 20th Century Britain, Economic, Social and Cultural Change, Harlow: Longman Christopher, D. P., 2006, British Culture: An Introduction, London: Routledge Higgins, M., et al, 2010, The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press McDowall, D., 1999, Britain in Close-Up: An In-depth Study of Contemporary Britain, Harlow: Longman O’Driscoll, J., 1995, Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Oakland, J., 1998, British Civilization, London: Routledge FIELDTRIPS Kingston and Surbiton town centres: Walking tours to familiarise the students with their local environment, amenities and transport system. http://www.kingston.gov.uk/leisure/tourism.htm Hampton Court Palace: One of Henry VIII’s favourite palaces, which clearly demonstrates the magnificence of his reign. http://www.hrp.org.uk/webcode/hampton_home.asp Oxford: with a walking tour of the ancient heart of the city, giving an introduction to the architecture, history and way of life in Britain’s oldest university. http://www.oxford.gov.uk/ http://www.ox.ac.uk/

Stonehenge & Bath: A visit to Stonehenge, a world heritage site, and then a visit to Bath where the Roman Baths and outstanding Georgian architecture can be seen. http://exn.ca/mysticplaces/stonehenge.asp http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/

Greenwich: Includes a visit to the Old Royal Observatory, the Royal Naval College and the Queen’s House designed by Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones respectively. http://www.greenwichwhs.org.uk/places/index.asp

Globe Theatre: A visit to watch a play performed in the round in the replica of Shakespeare’s original theatre. You will be a “groundling”. http://shakespearesglobe.org/navigation/frameset.htm Southall Gurdwara: This fieldtrip allows us to see the largest and newest Sikh temples outside India. It gives a real insight into the religion of one of the most important South Asian communities in Britain. http://www.sgsss.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurdwara_Sri_Guru_Singh_Sabha

ASSESSMENT Deadline Mon 15 July

Assessment Hampton Court Palace fieldtrip essay

Length 800 words*

Weighting 15%

Mon 22 July

Oxford fieldtrip essay

800 words*


Fri 26 July

Stonehenge or Bath Essay Fieldtrip essay

800 words*


Mon 29 July

Greenwich or Globe Theatre

800 words*

Fri 2 August

Southall fieldtrip essay

800 words*


Fri 19 July

Independent fieldtrip essay

1, 500 words


Fri 2 August

Final test

1. MCQ 2. essay



2 x Fieldtrips Papers = 20% each (40% overall) Independent Fieldtrip paper = 30% Final Test = 30% The fieldtrip papers and Independent fieldtrip paper should be submitted via Studyspace. In case of emergency, you may email the work to me directly, to arrive on the same day.

ATTENDANCE You are expected to attend all lecture sessions and group trips. Up to a maximum of 20% will be deducted from the final overall grade for non-excused absences from lectures and fieldtrips. This will be at the rate of 3% for each unexcused absence.

1. TWO FIELDTRIP ESSAYS (20% each, 40% overall) 800 words A) Write a short essay on how the group visits listed below have increased your knowledge and understanding of British society and national culture. Due date: Mon 15 July Mon 22 July Wed 26 July Mon 29 July Fri 2 August

if you select Hampton Court Palace if you select Oxford if you select Stonehenge or Bath if you select Greenwich/Globe if you select Southall

You should write about an aspect of the visit that impressed you and developed your understanding of British life and culture. You are encouraged to be creative in your approach to the essay and its presentation. The article may be illustrated and laid out as you wish, although illustration must take up no more than half the space. The best articles will blend some personal response with informed insight. You need to do some research for the article, perhaps from guide books, the Library, or the internet. Sources, including internet sources, should be listed in a bibliography at the end, and any direct quotations should also be referenced. Hopefully you should find the articles a good record of your trips and useful to send back to the States to keep people informed of what you are doing. You can only write an essay on a visit that you have actually attended. The only exception to this is if you have an absence excused on medical grounds.

2. INDEPENDENT FIELDTRIP PAPER (30%) 800 words due Friday 19 July Write an essay on somewhere you have visited independently. It must be within the UK and should be somewhere that has contributed to your understanding of British life and culture. This may include museums or galleries but is not confined to them, and may include cultural or sporting events, theatre visits etc. However, this should not be a review of a performance but rather should reflect on what the setting or context told you about British culture. In writing on any topic you should consider its context, you should consider its history, its strengths and weaknesses, its audience, and methods of display. It should be obvious that you have actually been to the place and have engaged with it, i.e. not just a straight factual description. You may write about a theatre, for instance, its history, significance but you may not do a theatre review. Thus, an essay on the National Theatre (its history, place in national culture, sources of funding etc.) based on a visit you made, would be entirely appropriate, but not a review of the actual play you saw. If you are in any doubt, please ask me.

3. FINAL TEST (30%) Friday 2 August, One and a half hours, 2.00-3.30pm This test will consist of two parts: A: a multiple choice section (10%) covering topics covered in the field-trips and in the lectures. B: Write short essays (20%) (approx. 2-3 sides A4) on TW0 of the following questions: 1. Is there such a thing as a British national identity?

2. Should the monarchy be abolished if Britain is to modernise itself?

3. Does the British Prime Minister have too much power?

4. Is Britain still a society dominated by class divisions?

5. Is Britain truly multi-cultural?

6. What are the legacies of empire that you see in Britain today?

7. Can Britain be said to have a distinctive cinema of its own today?

8. 'Every nation gets the newspaper industry it deserves'. Is the success of the tabloid press in Britain a reflection of the low standards of popular taste?

9. What are the most distinctive qualities of English theatre today?

10. Is Britain too dependent on the United States in foreign policy?



An overview of the course format, lecture and fieldtrip schedule and an explanation of how you will be assessed. We will then move on to ask if Britain, which comprises four separate nations, has a united national identity? How has this identity been formed historically, especially in the world wars of the twentieth century, and how has this identity been fractured since 1945? We will finish this session with a discussion of the monarchy and its reception by the British people. Discussion: What characteristics do you associate with Britain and Britons? Where did your images come from? Do they match up to reality? Is there a united national identity? Discussion: What are the powers of the monarch? What are the arguments for and against the British monarchy? Suggested Reading: Calder, A., 1991, The Myth of the Blitz, London: Pimlico (Intro. & Conc.) Colley, L., 1992, Britons. Forging the Nation 1707-1837, New Haven: Yale Coxall, B. et al, 2003, Contemporary British Politics, Basingstoke: Macmillan 4thedn. Kumar, K., 2003, The Making of English National Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (ch. 1 ‘English or British?’) Norton, P., 1998, ‘The Crown' in Jones, Bill, et al. ed., Politics in the UK, London: Prentice Hall, 3rd edn O’Driscoll, J., 2009, Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (chapter. 1 ‘ Country and People’) Richards, J., 1997, Films and British National Identity: From Dickens to Dad’s Army, Manchester: Manchester University Press (ch. 1 ‘National Identity’) Websites: royal.gov.uk, the monarchy’s site is excellent and has lots of information 2. MONDAY 8TH JULY


In this session we will address the historical processes by which Britain arrived at its current democratic system. We will question how democratic the present system is in practice, the nature of the main political parties, and pressures for reform. Discussion: Britain is very proud of its democratic heritage, but does the system need reforming now to make it more modern and more genuinely democratic? In what ways do the two major political parties, New Labour and Conservative differ? Jones, Bill, et al. ed., Coxall, Bill et al.

Politics UK (London: Prentice Hall, 5th. edn. 2004) Contemporary British Politics (Macmillan 4th edn. 2003)

Websites: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/key%20issues/Full%20doc.p df [excellent for information on the new Parliament 2010] www.parliament.uk/hophome.htm is the site for Parliament and is excellent www.charter88.org.uk for proposals for a written constitution for Britain Political parties: www.labour.org.uk The Labour Party website www.conservative-party.org.uk The Conservative Party website 3. WEDNESDY 10TH JULY


Class has traditionally been an obsession of the British, but are we changing and becoming more egalitarian in our attitudes? We will also look at the structure and evolution of the English education system, with a particular emphasis on the role of class in determining educational opportunity. In the second half of the class we concentrate on the diverse British press and the system of public service broadcasting which has been dominant here since the 1920s and has at its core the renowned BBC. Can this system last? Discussion: Why is class so important to the British? What are the strengths and weaknesses of its education system? Discussion: Is the popularity of tabloids like The Sun a sign of dumbing down of British culture? Is British television ‘the least bad television in the world’? Suggested Reading: Adonis, A, & Pollard, S. A., 1998, Class Act. The Myth of Britain's Classless Society, London: Penguin (chapter 2) Barnet, S., 1998, 'Dumbing Down or Reaching Out: Is it Tabloidisation Wot Done It?', in Seaton J. (ed.) Politics and the Media: Harlots and Prerogatives at the Turn of the Millennium, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 75-90 Calvocoressi, P., The British Experience 1945-75, London: Penguin, 1979 Lowe, R, 1997, Schooling and Social Change 1964-1990, London: Routledge (ch.1 'The Power of the Past') Curran, J. and Seaton, J. Power Without Responsibility. The Press and Broadcasting in Britain (Routledge, 1991) McDowall, D., 1999, Britain in Close-Up: An In-depth Study of Contemporary Britain, Harlow: Longman (chapter. 11 ‘Educating the Nation’) McNair, B., 1999, News and journalism in the UK, London: Routledge Sanderson, M., 'Education and Social Mobility" in Johnson, P. (ed.) 1994, 20th Century Britain, Harlow (chapter 21) Sparks, C. , 1999, ‘The Press’ in J. Stokes & A. Reading, The Media in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan Taylor, S.J., 1991, Shock! Horror! The Tabloids in Action, London: Bantam Watson, K., ‘Education and opportunity’ in Carnevali, F & Strange, J-M (eds.), 2007, 20th Century Britain, Economic, Social and Cultural Change, Harlow: Longman, 2ndedn (ch. 23) Williams, K., 2009, Get me a Murder a Day. A History of MassCommunications in

Britain, London: Bloomsbury Education Websites: http://www.jrf.org.uk/JosephRowntree Foundation (on poverty) www.dfee.gov.ukDepartment of Education and Employment www.hefce.ac.ukUK higher education system- see ‘The nature of higher education’ www.isis.org.uk on private schools http://www.britishcouncil.org/usa-education-uk-system.htm an overview Media Websites: www.guardian.co.uk www.the-times.co.uk; www.independent.co.uk; www.telegraph.co.uk www.thesun.co.uk



Examines what makes theatre such a distinctive form of the arts. Looks at the different types of theatre in Britain: West End, subsidized and fringe. Traces the development of theatre in Britain, with special emphasis on the Shakespearean period. Provides a background for the play that students will be attending. Discussion: What makes theatre a special experience? What is special about British theatre? Suggested Reading: Billington, M.,2007, State of the Nation. British Theatre since 1945, London: Faber and Faber Brook, P., 1990,The Empty Space, London: Penguin Edgar D., (ed.) 1999, ‘Playwrights on Playwriting’, State of Play,no. 1 London: Faber and Faber Kustow, M., 2001,Theatre@risk,London: Methuen Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guidebook, Spinney Publications Trussler, S.,1994, The Cambridge History of the British Theatre, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Websites: www.shakespeares-globe.org www.nationaltheatre.org.uk www.whatsonstage.com www.fringetheatre.org.uk www.officiallondontheatre.com



The development of twentieth century Britain through a consideration of the patterns of inward migration, economic change and government policy in the years following the Second World War. We also explore Britain’s changing position in relation to Empire, Commonwealth, Europe and the USA. Discussion: Is Britain truly multicultural? How do we compare with your own country? Discussion: Do you agree with Dean Acheson that Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role [in the world]? Suggested Reading: Addison, P. & Jones, H., (eds) 2005, A Companion to Contemporary Britain, Oxford: Blackwell (ch. 27 ‘The End of Empire’, ch. 28 ‘The Anglo-American Special Relationship’, ch.29 ‘Britain and Europe’) Adonis. A & Pollard, S. 1998 A Class Act: the Myth of Britain’s Classless Society, London: Penguin, 1998, (ch. 9 ‘Race’ copies will be given out in class) Commission for Racial Equality, 1996, Roots of the Future: Ethnic Diversity in the Making of Britain, London, CRE Marshall, P.J. (ed.) 1996, Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Panayi, P. 2007, ‘Immigration, Multiculturalism and racism’ in Carnevali, F & Strange, J-M (eds.) 20th Century Britain, Economic, Social and Cultural Change, Harlow: Longman, 2ndedn. (ch. 16) Phillips, T., 1999, Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Cultural Britain, London: HarperCollins Reynolds, D., 2000, Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Powers in the 20th Century, Harlow: Longman Solomos, J., 2003, Race and Racism in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Fisher, Michael et. Al. A South-Asian History of Britain, chs. 7 & 8 Spencer, I.,1997, British Immigration Policy Since 1939: The Making of Multi-Cultural Britain Websites: http://www.ligali.org/statistics.htmOrganization for African equality www.cre.gov.uk Commission for Racial Equality 6. FRIDAY 2ND AUGUST


We examine the British contribution to cinema, focusing especially on the importance of having a national cinema in the face of the global dominance of Hollywood. See section on assessment for details about the final test. Discussion: Is there a distinctive British cinema? Can it avoid being dominated by Hollywood?

Suggested Reading: Thompson, K. & Bordwell, D., 1994 Film History, New York: McGraw Hill Hill, J., 1999, 'Cinema' in Jane Stokes & Anna Reading (eds.) The Media in Britain; current debates and developments, (Macmillan 1999) Hill, J., ‘British Cinema as National Cinema: Production, Audience and Representation’ in Turner, G. (ed.) The Film Cultures Reader, London, Routledge: 2002) Street, S., 2009, British National Cinema, London and New York: Routledge

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