Britain, its Empire and the World, 1700-2000

History 101.009

Spring 2012
Instructor (text): 
Penelope G. Ismay
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MW 12-2P
  • Note new room.
  • <p>Penny Ismay received her PhD in European history from UC Berkeley with a focus on British history. She is animated by the problems and processes of modernity, especially the special challenges of social cooperation and solidarity in complex societies.</p>

    If history is good to think with, modern British Imperial history is especially so. Just as we are today, eighteenth and nineteenth century Britons were in a moment of great change that involved challenges to every aspect of social, economic and political life. In some cases, British people had control over the changes that then affected their lives. In others, and even at the height of their global, imperial might, Britain and Britons were subject to contingencies they did not anticipate, and forces they could not control. The challenges they faced were not, of course, exactly the same as those we grapple with today. But by researching particular problems in modern British history, we can begin to understand some of the complex dynamics that facilitate or produce change in the world. Whether you have a clearly developed topic or if you have only vague ideas of one, as long as it/they fit into the broad range of modern British Imperial history from the 18th to the 20th centuries, this is the 101 for you. In this course, we will begin with several short readings covering a variety of topics in British history in order to think about different approaches to causality. Considering different ways in which historians explain historical phenomenon will help you turn your topic into a set of discrete, researchable questions. From there, I will help you stick to a strict timeline that will get you from the early stages of identifying archival sources, developing your argument, outlining your paper and writing your final draft. Please feel free to contact me with any questions: