Imperial Britain: Maker of the Modern World?

History 280C

Fall 2012
Day & Time: 
Tu 2-5P
  • Note new room.
  • This course will examine why imperial Britain's history was long seen as a model for how the modern world was made. Each week it will, accordingly, focus on familiar historical processes – the demographic revolution, the modern family form, urbanization and secularization, the industrial revolution, the creation of modern economic practices, the creation of national and imperial state structures, the emergence of civil society and representative politics, the invention of modern cultural institutions - and their treatment by the big theorists of modernity. It will ask how, where and even when Britain became modern. Drawing upon a selection of canonical and more recent works, we will consider how historians' answers to these questions have changed, and whether British history still matters now that we have provincialized its peculiar path to modernity. The class is designed for all those considering Britain as a first or second field in their qualifying exams. It is also open to all those whose own field has been shaped, historically or historiographically, by the imperial British model of modernity.


Course Books

Parties and People by Ross McKibbin Oxford . ISBN: 0199605173 Required