CONN 304

The Invention of Britishness: History and Literature

This course addresses the question what it means to be British through historical and literary texts. Beginning with the premise that Britishness is not innate, static or in any way permanent, but 'invented' and constantly constructed and deconstructed, this course traces the development of British national identity from its origins in the eighteenth century to the present. Students read both historical and literary works that elucidate the changing meaning of 'Britishness' as the state expanded and collided with its counterparts on the British Isles and its imperial holdings in other countries. The course examines the formation of 'racial' identities as they intersect with class and gender identities.