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Unit information: The British World (Level H Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name The British World (Level H Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST30033
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Hilary Carey
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

During the second half of the nineteenth century, 'explosive colonisation' transformed Britain's hitherto modest outposts in North America and Australasia, creating ‘New Britains’ in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. This course examines this process and its consequences, looking at the economic, demographic, cultural and sentimental connections that created and sustained the British world. Drawing on a wealth of recent historical writing and readily available primary material, we may consider topics such as the particular role played by women in building this new order, the subordinate and precarious position of indigenous peoples and non-whites, the role of sports and the mass media in promoting national and imperial identities, and the function discharged by the monarchy in providing a focus for imperial loyalties. We may also discuss why South Africa never fitted comfortably into the British world, why attempts to unite the British world economically and constitutionally largely failed, and how and why the British world unravelled in the 1950s and 1960s.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed: (1) a broad understanding of the development of the ‘British world’ in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; (2) the ability to analyse and generalise about how and why this world evolved in the way that it did; (3) the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general issues and arguments; (4) the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically, and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching Information

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Information

One summative coursework essay of 3000 words (50%) and one unseen examination of two hours (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

James Belich, Replenishing the Earth: the settler revolution and the rise of the Angloworld (Oxford, 2009)

Gary B. Magee and Andrew S. Thompson, Empire and Globalisation: networks of people, goods and capital in the British world, c. 1850-1914 (Cambridge, 2010)

Phillip Buckner and R. Douglas Francis (eds.), Rediscovering the British World (Calgary, 2005)

Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich (eds.), The British World: diaspora, culture and identity (London, 2003), also published as a special issue of the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 31/2 (May 2003)

Richard Jebb, Studies in Colonial Nationalism (London, 1905) (available free online at