The history of twentieth-century Britain is far from over. From 'appeasement' in the 1930s to the first referendum on Britain in Europe, this is a past that does not lie quietly; people have continued to remember and remake it, to claim ownership, to challenge official accounts and to demand re-examination of the evidence in the name of justice. Historians, politicians, the media and the public have all been involved in debating not only 'what actually happened' but also how particular events should be interpreted, where they fit in longer views of British history and what they mean for present-day British society.
This course looks at moments in the history of twentieth-century Britain that were not only controversial in their own time but have continued to trouble us. In each two-week case study, we will look closely in the first week at the event itself through primary sources.. The idea is to involve students actively in researching the material evidence, so that, in the second week, we can bring this understanding to discussing specific moments in which an unquiet past returns. We will explore longer-run social and political legacies – many of which are still felt today. Public enquiries and tribunals, apologies for historical injustice, anniversaries and commemoration and moments of great political change can all allow the past to intrude on the present.
- Module Supervisor: Alix Green