Instructor: Duncan White
Meeting time: Monday, 1-3
This course considers the way England was transformed through the demise of its Empire after the Second World War through to the present day. From the birth of the welfare state to the rise of Thatcherism, from post-colonial migration to multicultural Britain, from the Swinging Sixties to punk rock and riots, we will track these radical political, social and cultural changes through novels, poetry, theater, film, pop music, photography, fashion, food and sport. We will explore the way Britain sought to retain its influence in the world, through its involvement in the Cold War, its relations with the Commonwealth, and its continuing ‘special relationship’ with the United States, even as what being English or British began to change in meaning. As well as reading literary works by Philip Larkin, Jean Rhys, JG Ballard, Salman Rushdie, China Miéville, and Zadie Smith, we will consider the nation’s popular culture, from The Beatles to The Sex Pistols, from James Bond to J.K. Rowling.