History | Britain's Road to Modernity
H210 | 27282 | Wahrman

Above class carries Culture Studies credit
Above class open to undergraduates only

This course surveys cultural, social, political and economic
developments over 150 years of British history, at the period where
Great Britain and the British Empire occupied a much more central
global position than today. This period is often seen as
encompassing key beginnings of western modernity: during the long
eighteenth century the British devised what they (and many others)
believed was the first modern, non-absolutist political
constitution; they experienced the first commercial and then
industrial revolution in the modern world; and they developed the
first modern print culture, including mass press and the new novel.
But not all is rosy. On the other hand, they also developed one of
the bloodiest legal codes in the west; their elite was deeply
implicated in slavery; their working classes experienced an
unprecedented deterioration in the quality of their lives; and they
did whatever they could to subjugate the rest of the world to their
needs  thus occasioning, among other things, the first modern
revolution, as the American colonies broke away. The course will
examine these various paradoxical developments, through both
lectures and small-group discussions in class.