HIST 1123 Introduction to British History since 1660


Daniel Stephen, Ph.D.
Email: daniel.stephen@colorado.edu


In less than three weeks from the start of the semester Scots will go to the polls to vote on whether Scotland should remain constitutionally linked to the United Kingdom, or whether Scotland will become an independent nation.  Regardless of the outcome of this referendum (most pollsters think the Scots will just say “naw” to independence) the fact that the large, populous, and prestigious nation of Scotland is considering independence following three hundred years of mostly successful union with England points to the contrary and contentious nature of national identity in the twenty-first century.  Consider how, for example, citizens of Ukraine have recently become torn between loyalty to the European Union or “mother Russia,” or how some (though a minority) of citizens of the European Union have, in recent EU elections, put forward questions of sovereignty and nationhood that ten years ago most observers thought were, if not quite dead and buried, successfully accommodated within political institutions, and were a rapidly receding part of Europe’s past.

This course will examine questions of national identity by charting the paths of Britain and its empire from the Restoration (1660) to the end of Tony Blair’s premiership (June, 2007).  We will explore questions of how, when, and why Welsh, Scottish, English, and Irish nations combined into a single political union, and the union was challenged during the twentieth century.  We will interrogate history to examine how notions of nationhood and identity have changed through commercial, scientific, and industrial revolutions, political reform, empire building and world wars, changing ideas of manhood and womanhood, the growth of secularism, and the rapid-paced cultural and economic globalization of recent decades.


  1. Susan Kent, A New History of Britain Since 1688: Four Nations and an Empire  (Oxford University Press, 2016)  0199846502
  1. Ronald Schechter and Liz Clarke, Mendoza the Jew: Boxing, Manliness, and Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2013) 019933409

Books may be purchased from the University of Colorado bookstore located in the Boulder campus University Memorial Center, or through other commercial outlets, or borrowed through the university library or a public library.


10 short weekly essays (five points apiece, cumulatively worth fifty percent of course grade), four multiple choice quizzes (cumulatively worth ten percent of course grade), one book review (ten percent of course grade), two discussions worth five points apiece (ten percent of course grade), and a final exam (twenty percent of course grade).

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8:00am to 5:00pm


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University of Colorado Boulder
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Boulder, Colorado