HIST 328
The Making and Unmaking of the United Kingdom Spring 2022
Division II

Class Details

England may be a very old country, but the United Kingdom (technically the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is a relatively new concoction, newer in fact than the United States of America. Although James VI of Scotland ascended both the English and Irish thrones as James I in 1603, it was only in 1707 that the Acts of Union united the two separate kingdoms of Scotland and England into one nation, Great Britain. And it was only in 1800 that further Acts of Union brought Ireland into the fold, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This would itself only last until 1922 when, after bloody civil war, Ireland was partitioned, leaving only the northern six counties remaining in the United Kingdom. Largely through discussion, this course will explore the troubled making and unmaking of the United Kingdom since 1689. After considering the meaning of the nation, nationalism, and national identity, it will focus on specific moments in the history of that making and unmaking. Topics will include: the revolution of 1688-89 and subsequent Scottish Highland support for the discredited Jacobites (followers of ousted monarch, James II); Anglo-Scottish commercial interests that fueled the Acts of Union in 1707; the defeat of the Jacobites in the last battle on British soil in 1746; Anglo-Irish relations in the eighteenth century that fueled the creation of the United Kingdom in 1800 against the backdrop of the French Revolution; the nineteenth-century movement for Irish Home Rule, culminating in the Easter Rising in 1916 and the partition of the island; the more recent resurgence of Scottish and Welsh nationalism, leading to the establishment of the Welsh and Scottish parliaments and a referendum on Scottish independence; and, finally, the current dilemma of Northern Ireland. Although primarily a political history of the four nations that comprise the United Kingdom, the course will also focus on the cultural meanings of Britishness in the eighteenth century, the imperial dimensions of national belonging in the nineteenth century, multi-racial attempts to recast Britishness against the backdrop of postwar imperial decline, and recent, right-wing formations of Englishness in the context of the fragmentation of the United Kingdom and Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The Class: Format: seminar; this is primarily a discussion course with the occasional lecture that will frame the material for discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 10-15
Class#: 3663
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: course evaluation will be based on regular attendance and participation in discussion, the preparation of four response papers/discussion agendas, the writing of two 6-8 page interpretive essays, and a final, take-home examination
Prerequisites: no prerequisites, although some familiarity with the contours of modern European history would be useful
Enrollment Preferences: preference given to History majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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