Nationalism in the UK in the 20th century
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Mari Wiliam
Overall aims and purpose
The debate surrounding both Scottish independence and Brexit has located nationalism as a highly topical issue in contemporary British politics. However, this is nothing new: during the 20th century various nationalist demands from the United Kingdom’s Celtic ‘fringe’ were subject to controversy, and often tinged with perceptions of extremist ‘nats and nutters’ (Denis Healey). But, 'nationalism', of course, was not limited to Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but was also entwined with British and English identities: be that in the form of imperialism, racism or a patriotic 'Britishness'. In this special subject you will delve into the comparative histories of nationalism in Britain, covering topics ranging from the 1916 Easter Rising to the ‘yes’ votes of the 1997 devolution referenda in Scotland and Wales. The module does this in two ways. Firstly, it explores the different constructs of ‘nationalism’ during this period: from concerns about cultural preservation to the politics of decolonization, Europe, race, devolution and independence. Secondly, it scrutinizes the often contradictory manifestations of nationalism: from the fiery to the more subtle and banal. This straddles the establishment of ‘nationalist’ political parties such as the SNP and Plaid Cymru, to protest groups and organisations that have been simultaneously labelled both 'terrorist' and 'liberationist. It examines the legacy and contested memory of 'nationalism', and its role in the British establishment e.g. the monarchy. The course reflects the recent historiographical focus on ‘four nations history’, and moves beyond providing a traditional political history by exploring the social, cultural and everyday resonances of nationalism for British identities. The primary sources you will study in this course are wide-ranging: from political party archives and speeches, to film, music, oral history interviews, graffiti, tattoos...and food.
Example topics include... 1. The 1916 Easter Rising and its legacy. 2. Jewels and massacres: The British Empire and India. 3. Interwar nationalism in Scotland and Wales 4. The Second World War: Lions, Unicorns and national identity 5. The Stone of Scone and the Tryweryn controversy: symbolism in Scottish and Welsh nationalism. 6. The Crown: Monarchy and Britishness. 7. 'Rivers of Blood': Immigration, multiculturalism and race during the 1950s and 1960s, with a case study of Enoch Powell. 8. 'The rise of nationalism': Devolution discourse from the 1960s-1990s. 9. The Troubles, 'Terrorism' and murals: from Bloody Sunday to the Hunger Strikes 10. 'There ain't no black in the Union Jack': race and the National Front during the 1970s and 1980s. 11. The body and national identity: tattoos, clothes and food.
Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
C- to C+
Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing.
Critically appraise historiographical and inter-disciplinary debates and arguments by evaluating competing historical interpretations.
Analyse individual pieces of historical evidence very closely: setting them in context, judging their qualities as evidence, and explaining their significance.
Critically examine and compare academic interpretations to evaluate various manifestations of nationalism in the UK in the 20th century.
Demonstrate a close engagement with a range of primary sources relating to nationalism and use them in constructing a historical argument.
|ESSAY||2500 word essay||
A c. 2,500 word essay that tackles a module theme, making solid use of historiography/ multi-disciplinary scholarship and incorporating primary sources into the argument. Students will be given the opportunity of discussing a draft in advance with the module convenor.
|EXAM||2 hour equivalent online gobbet exam||
A 2-hour equivalent exam to be completed online/at home within a 24-hour window. Candidates will be expected to analyse one long primary source extract and two shorter gobbet pieces during this time. A range of options studied on the module will be available for analysis. Students will be provided with gobbet interpretation practice throughout the module, with regular feedback provided on drafts.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
20 x 2 hour seminar-style classes will be held on this module over the course of 11 weeks.
Students should engage in independent research for assessed work and complete set work for each seminar class, this involves reading stipulated texts, finding primary sources and immersing themselves in particular topics.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
- understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
- being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
- being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
- producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
- planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
- marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
- demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
- presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
- preparing effective written communications for different readerships
- making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
- making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
- appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
- critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
- engaging with relevant aspects of current agendas such as global perspectives, public engagement, employability, enterprise, and creativity
Resource implications for students
None: materials will be available via BU Library, Blackboard or on freely available digital archives.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/hsh-3045.html
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (2006). Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (2004). John Breuilly (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism (2013). Tom Devine, The Scottish Nation: A Modern History (2012). Keith Robbins, Great Britain: Identities, Institutions and the Idea of Britishness (1998). Anthony D. Smith, Nationalism (2010). Duncan Tanner, Andrew Edwards et al (eds.), Debating nationhood and governance in Britain 1885-1939: Perspectives from the four nations (2006). Paul Ward, Britishness since 1870 (2004).
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- 3QV1: BA History and English Literature year 3 (BA/ELH)
- P3V1: BA Film Studies and History year 3 (BA/FSH)
- V100: BA History year 3 (BA/H)
- V103: BA History and Archaeology year 3 (BA/HA)
- VV41: BA Herit, Archae & Hist year 3 (BA/HAH)
- VV42: BA Heritage, Archaeology & History with International Exp year 4 (BA/HAHIE)
- V1V9: BA History with Archaeology with International Experience year 4 (BA/HAIE)
- V13P: BA History and Archaeology with Placement Year year 4 (BA/HAP)
- V1V4: BA History with Archaeology year 3 (BA/HAR)
- VW23: BA Hanes Cymru a Cherddoriaeth year 3 (BA/HCAC)
- MVX1: BA History/Criminology year 3 (BA/HCR)
- LV11: BA History/Economics year 3 (BA/HEC)
- V10F: BA History [with Foundation Year] year 3 (BA/HF)
- RV11: BA History/French year 4 (BA/HFR)
- V1W6: BA History with Film Studies year 3 (BA/HFS)
- V1W7: BA History with Film Studies with International Experience year 4 (BA/HFSIE)
- RV21: BA History/German year 4 (BA/HG)
- 8B03: BA History (with International Experience) year 4 (BA/HIE)
- RV31: BA History/Italian year 4 (BA/HIT)
- RV32: BA History and Italian (with International Experience) year 3 (BA/HITIE)
- V1P5: BA History with Journalism year 3 (BA/HJ)
- 8S11: BA History with Journalism (with International Experience) year 3 (BA/HJIE)
- VW13: BA History and Music year 3 (BA/HMU)
- VW14: BA History and Music with International Experience year 3 (BA/HMUIE)
- V1PM: BA Hanes gyda Newyddiaduraeth year 3 (BA/HN)
- V10P: BA History with Placement Year year 4 (BA/HP)
- RV41: BA History/Spanish year 4 (BA/HSP)
- LVJ1: BA Cymdeithaseg/Hanes year 3 (BA/HSW)
- V140: BA Modern & Contemporary History year 3 (BA/MCH)
- V130: BA Mediaeval and Early Modern His year 3 (BA/MEMH)
- VV15: BA Medieval & Early Modern History with International Exp year 4 (BA/MEMHIE)
- WV33: Music & Hist & Welsh Hist (IE) year 4 (BA/MHIE)
- VVV1: BA Philosophy and Religion and History year 3 (BA/PRH)
- VVV2: BA Philosophy and Religion and Welsh History year 3 (BA/PRWH)
- LV31: BA Sociology/History year 3 (BA/SH)
- LV41: BA Social Policy/History year 3 (BA/SPH)
- LVK1: BA Polisi Cymdeithasol/Hanes year 3 (BA/SPWH)
- LVL1: BA Pol Cymd/Han Cymru year 3 (BA/SPWWH)
- LVH1: BA Cymdeithaseg/Hanes Cymru year 3 (BA/SWWH)
- QV51: BA Cymraeg/History year 3 (BA/WH)
- VP23: BA Welsh History and Film Studies year 3 (BA/WHFS)
- VV12: BA Welsh History/History year 3 (BA/WHH)
- VW2H: BA Welsh History and Music year 3 (BA/WHMU)
- LVH2: BA Welsh History/Sociology year 3 (BA/WHS)
- QVM2: BA Welsh History/Cymraeg year 3 (BA/WHW)
- V102: MArts History with International Experience year 3 (MARTS/HIE)
- V101: MArts History year 3 (MARTS/HIST)
Optional in courses:
- V104: BA Welsh History and Archaeology year 3 (BA/WHAR)