Questions to prepare for the seminar:
- What is your national identity, and what does this mean to you? Do you even identify with a particular nation or is your primary identity framed by something else entirely, such as ethnicity, region, gender, class or sexuality?
- What does the 2016 EU referendum (and subsequent events) tell us about national identity in Britain?
- Historically, what processes have turned populations into nations and how might this have changed in the twentieth and twenty first century?
- Why did the Britishness of British history come to be regarded by historians as increasingly problematic in the final decades of the twentieth century?
- Linda Colley, ‘Britishness and Otherness’ Journal of British Studies, 31:4 (1992), 309-29.
- Satnam Virdee and Brenda McGeever, 'Racism, Crisis, Brexit', Ethnic and Racial Studies, 41:10 (2018), 1802-19.
- For short reflections on Brexit immediately after the event: Bhambra, Gurminder K. July 2016. ‘Brexit, Class and British ‘National’ Identity’, Discover Society http://discoversociety.org/2016/07/05/viewpoint-brexit-class-and-british-national-identity/
Shilliam, Robbie. July 2016. ‘Racism, Multiculturalism and Brexit’, Robbie Shilliam Blog,https://robbieshilliam.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/racism-multiculturalism-and-brexit/
Will Davies, ‘Thoughts on the Political Economy of Brexit’, Political Economy Research Centre Blog, http://www.perc.org.uk/project_posts/thoughts-on-the-sociology-of-brexit/
- For the forging of populations into nations there is a vast literature, for instance: B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (1983); E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (1990); A. Smith, National Identity (1991); Peter Mandler, ‘What is “National Identity”? Definition and Application in Modern British Historiography’, Modern Intellectual History, 3 (2006), 271-97
- On ‘Britain’ as an historical problem: D. Cannadine, ‘British History as a “New Subject”: Politics, Perspectives and Prospects’, in Grant & Stringer (eds), Uniting the Kingdom (1995); D. Cannadine, ‘British History: Past Present - and Future?’, Past & Present, 119 (1988); J.G.A. Pocock, ‘British History: A Plea for a New Subject’, Journal of Modern History, 47 (1975); K. Robbins, ‘National Identity and History: Past, Present and Future’, History, 245 (1990); A. Burton, ‘Who Needs the Nation?: Interrogating “British” History’, Journal of Historical Sociology, 10 (1997), 227-48.
- For a national history which addresses the problematic nature of the nation in British history: K. Robbins, Great Britain: Identities, Institutions and the Idea of Britishness (1998); and focusing on a shorter period: R. Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 (2002).
- You might want to consider how successfully these issues are handled in what was one of the first attempts to write the history of twentieth-century Britain as a whole: P. Clarke, Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990 (1996).