Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Week 15

Race, Empire and Nation in Post-War Britain: ii) Towards a Multi-Cultural Britain?

I. What was the impact of the end of Empire on national identity in Britain?
II. What were the objectives of Britain’s post-war immigration and race relations policies?
III. How did the relationship between colour and national identity change in the second half of the century?
IV. To what extent did a multi-cultural Britain emerge in the second half of the century?

• On the imperial context: J. Darwin, Britain and Decolonization: The Retreat from Empire in the Post-War World (1988); Stuart Ward (ed.), British Culture and the End of Empire (2001).
• On race in Britain and the end of Empire: Bill Schwarz, White Man’s World (2011); Paul Rich, 'Imperial Decline and the Resurgence of English National Identity, 1918-1979', in T. Kushner & K. Lunn (eds.), Traditions of Intolerance (1989), pp. 33-52; Bill Schwarz, 'Reveries of Race: The Closing of the Imperial Moment', in B. Connekin, F. Mort & C. Waters (eds.), Moments of Modernity, pp. 189-207; C. Waters, '"Dark Strangers" in our Midst: Discourses of Race and Nation in Britain, 1947-1963', Journal of British Studies, 36 (1997); Bill Schwarz, 'The Re-Racialization of England', Race and Class, 38 (1996), 65-78; Paul Rich, Prospero’s Return? Historical Essays on Race, Culture and British Society (1994); Wendy Webster, Imagining Home: Gender, ‘Race’, and National Identity, 1945-1964 (1998); A. Ritschelle, ‘Disturbing the People’s Peace: Patriotism and Respectable Racism in British Reponses to Rhodesian Independence’, in Levine and Grayzel (eds.), Gender, Labour, War and Empire (2009); Elizabeth Buettner, ‘Would you Let your Daughter Marry a Negro? Race and Sex in 1950s Britain’, in Levine and Grayzel, Gender, Labour, War and Empire (2009).
• On postcolonial Britain: Stephen Howe, ‘”Internal Decolonisation”: British Politics since Thatcher as Post-Colonial Trauma’, 20th Century British History, 14 (2003), 286-304.
• On post-war immigration: Tony Kushner, 'Immigration and Race Relations in Postwar Britain' (chapter 23) in Paul Johnson (ed.), 20th Century Britain; C. Holmes ‘Immigration’ in T.R. Gourvish & A. O’Day (eds.), Britain since 1945 (1991), 209-31; Colin Homes, John Bull's Island: Immigrations and British Society, 1870-1971 (1988); C. Holmes, Immigrants and Minorities in British Society; Kathleen Paul, ‘From Subjects to Immigrants: Black Britons and National Identity, 1948-62’, in R. Weight & A. Beach (eds.), The Right to Belong: Citizenship and National Identity in Britain, 1930-1960 (1998), pp. 223-48; Kathleen Paul, ‘”British Subjects” and “British Stock”: Labour’s Postwar Imperialism’, Journal of British Studies, 35 (1995), 233-76; Kathleeen Paul, Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizenship in the Post-War Era (1997); I. Spencer, British Immigration since 1945 (1997); W. Webster, Imagining Home: Gender ‘Race’ and National Identity, 1945-64 (1998); P. Thane, ‘Population Politics in Post-War British Culture’, in B. Connekin, F. Mort & C. Waters (eds.), Moments of Modernity: Reconstructing Britain, 1945-64 (1999); K. Lunn, Race and Labour in Britain, 1830-1980 (1998); Randell Hansen, ‘The Politics of Citizenship in 1940s Britain’, 20th Century British History, 10 (1999), 67-95.
• On the politics of immigration and national identity: S. Brooke, 'The Conservative Party, Immigration and National Identity, 1948-1968', in Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska & Martin Francis (eds.), The Conservative Party and British Society; K. Paul, ‘“British Subjects” and “British Stock”: Labour’s Postwar Imperialism’, Journal of British Studies, 35 (1995), 233-76; M.& T. Phillips, Windrush: The Irrestible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain (1998).
• On the history of Black Britain: P. Fryer, Staying Power: The History Of Black People in Britain (1984); Bill Schwarz, ‘Claudia Jones and the West Indian Gazette: Reflections on the Emergence of Post-Colonial Britain’, Twentieth Century British History, 14 (2003).
• On post-war race relations: Marcus Collins, ‘Pride and Prejudice: West Indian Men in Mid-Twentieth Century Britain’, Journal of British Studies, 40 (2001), 391-418; John Davis, ‘Rents and Race in 1960s London: New Light on Rachmanism’, Twentieth Century British History, 12 (2001), 69-95; Dennis Dean, ‘The Race Relations policy of the First Wilson Government’, 20th Century British History, 11 (2000), 259-83.
• On post-war racism: C. Holmes, A Tolerant Country? Immigrants, Refugees and Minorities in Britain (1991); Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain (1982); Robert Miles & Annie Phizacklea, Whiteman's Country (1984); J. Solomos, Race and Racism in Postwar Britain (1987).
• On race relations: H. Goulbourne, Race Relations in Britain since 1945 (1998).
• For broader reflections on the relationship between race and nation in Britain: P. Gilroy, There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (1987).
• On multi-cultural Britain: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Who Do We Think We Are? Imagining the New Britain (2000); Elizabeth Buettner, "'Going for an Indian': South Asian Restaurants and the Limits of Multiculturalism in Britain." Journal of Modern History 80, (2008), 865-901.