Please note that this module was available
until 2012, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.
Tutor: Professor Mathew Thomson
This undergraduate final-year Special Subject module offers students who have previously taken options in modern British history, Gender and History, and War and Society in the Twentieth Century an opportunity to explore some of the themes opened up in those courses in greater depth. It also complements the advanced option 'Madness and Society (HI383)'. But there is no requirement for you to have taken any of these options, and the teaching will not assume that you have done so.
The module examines the cultural history of Britain and the Great War, with particular emphasis on five interrelated themes: experience, identity, psyche, memory, and representation. Adopting one of the most recent representations as its starting point - Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy - the module acts as a kind of archaeological investigation of the novels’ main themes, excavating and putting to scrutiny the historical records upon which her interpretation of the war rests. Themes which will be explored include: the experience of trench warfare; the mental breakdown of ‘shell-shocked’ troops and their treatment; the experience of war poets and artists and their attempts to represent this; the relationship between the Western Front and the Home Front; and the impact of the war on identity, sexuality and gender relations. Although the primary focus is on the 'regeneration' of men and women in the war years, an exploration of identity, memory and representation is also necessarily extended beyond 1918 right up to the present.