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Daniel Szechi

Chapter 1 . Britain’s lost revolution and the historians This is a book about a lost moment in British, and especially Scots, history. Students and lay readers interested in the past can be forgiven for surveying the massive annual output of the history-writing industry and the miles of works sitting on library bookshelves and coming to the conclusion that there are no more stories to tell and nothing significant still to learn. Everything seems to have been covered. Professional historians (myself included) inadvertantly feed this fundamental misapprehension

in Britain’s lost revolution?
A round of cheap diversions?
Author: Robert James

This book examines the relationship between class and culture in 1930s Britain. Focusing on the reading and cinema-going tastes of the working classes, it combines historical analysis with a close textual reading of visual and written sources to appraise the role of popular leisure in this decade. Drawing on original research, the book adds to our knowledge of working-class leisure pursuits in this contentious period.

Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and the cultification of light entertainment
Leon Hunt

3885 Cult British TV Comedy:Layout 1 14/12/12 07:52 Page 36 2 Britain’s top light entertainer and singer: Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and the cultification of light entertainment We want to be treated as mainstream comics doing bog standard entertainment. (Bob Mortimer, quoted by Viner 1995: 5) Personally I think of it as family fun. It should be liked by everyone, from the very young to the very old. (Harry Hill on his Channel 4 series, quoted by Williams 1997: 29) Whatever constitutes ‘post-alternative comedy’ is widely taken to begin with Vic Reeves and

in Cult British TV comedy
Abstract only
Law, race and empire
Author: Nadine El-Enany

(B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as post-colonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

Creativity, experimentation and innovation
Paul Newland and Brian Hoyle

and artists painted pictures’ and that films ‘could be personal creative statements […] by Bergman, by Fellini’. 11 Secondly, art films tend to be structured around psychological problems and intellectual themes, or what Neale called ‘the interiorisation of dramatic conflict’, 12 as opposed to classical Hollywood’s preference for following the actions of goal-orientated characters. The third related characteristic is art cinema’s approach to narrative. As Peter Greenaway, one of the doyens of contemporary British and European art cinema, provocatively put it

in British art cinema
Migration in the last gasp of empire
Kathleen Paul

One of the markers by which the 1997 Blair administration may come to be known is that it witnessed the search for a new British identity. Politicians and journalists alike appear to be in the midst of a debate about how the inhabitants of the various nations which constitute the United Kingdom should define themselves in the light of devolution and the subsequent openings of a

in British culture and the end of empire
Tony Kushner

1 Britishness, entry and exclusion Introduction ‘Barrier, bridge and gateway to the world’: this is the subtitle of historian and former diplomat, Peter Unwin’s history of the English Channel.1 The twoness identified by Unwin – consisting of entry and exclusion, opportunity and danger – will be, as highlighted, at the heart of this study. In his thoughtful overview, Unwin notes in passing that such duality relating to the Channel’s meanings extends to the reception of migrants and refugees, the subject matter here. On the one hand it stands for ‘the sea as

in The battle of Britishness

How did the end of empire affect the projection of British identities overseas? British decolonisation is conventionally understood in terms of the liquidation of the colonial empire in the decades after the Second World War. But it also entailed simultaneous transformations to the self-representation of peoples and cultures all over the world, variously described as British, symbolised by the eclipse of the idea of ‘Greater Britain’. Originally coined by Charles Dilke’s 1868 travelogue of the same name, Greater Britain enjoyed widespread currency throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before falling into disuse from the 1930s. But Greater British modes of thought, feeling and action persisted into the second half of the twentieth century, becoming embroiled in the global upheavals of imperial decline. Over a remarkably short time span, the ideas, assumptions and networks that had sustained an uneven and imperfectly imagined British world dissolved under the weight of the empire’s precipitate demise. Although these patterns and perspectives have been explored across a range of specific local and national contexts, this collection is the first to examine the wider mesh of interlocking British subjectivities that unravelled at empire’s end.

Bill Jones

Some countries have tended to avoid too much contact with the rest of the world – China for example until very recently – but Britain has long favoured an outward-looking stance and has sought to play a major role both militarily and diplomatically. Key national interests Britain’s national interests have been conditioned by a lack of plentiful natural resources and an island status that delivers a close relationship with the sea. Integrity of frontiers The English Channel was formed over 200,000 years ago and is 350 miles long by a width varying from

in British politics today
Societies, cultures and ideologies

Migrations of people, ideas, beliefs and cultures have closely shaped relations between the nations of the British and Irish Isles. In part this was the result of Anglo-imperialism, which expanded from a heartland around London and the South of England, first, then through the ‘Celtic fringe’, creating hybrid peoples who were both Irish and British, before spreading across the globe. At times, Catholics of both islands were exiled from this narrative of nation-building. Political pressures, economic opportunities, a spirit of adventure and sometimes force, spurred the creation of multiple diasporas from the British and Irish Isles. This book brings together a range of leading scholars who explore the origins, varieties and extent of these diasporas.

Wherever Britons and the Irish went, they created new identities as neo-Britons, neo-Angles, neo-Irish, neo-Scots: persons who were colonials, new nationals, and yet still linked to their old country and home nations. British and Irish emigrants also perpetuated elements of their distinctive national cultures in music, literature, saints’ days and broader, diffuse interactions with fellow nationals.

These especially commissioned essays explore processes of diaspora-formation from the English Catholic exiles of the sixteenth century, through the ‘Wild Geese’, Jacobites, traders and servants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the modern colonising diasporas associated with the modern age of mass migration.