Embers of Empire
The Receding Frontiers of Post-Imperial Britain
Embers of Empire is a project comprising the disciplines of English, History and Linguistics embarking on a major collaborative study of the end of empire and the idea of ‘Britain’. Specifically, we propose to explore the putative relationship between the dynamics of global decolonisation and the widely debated ‘break-up of Britain’ since the Second World War.
The project examines the as yet unquestioned assumption that the end of empire has led to a crisis of British identity. By uniting linguistic and historical research traditions and by looking at Britishness on a global scale, the project aims to open up the study both in terms of scope and methodology. It explores the relationship between coercive and discursive practices at empire’s end which became central to the controversies that prized open the imagined unity of global Britishness.
World History Workshop
Implosion of Empire
This course turns the mirror of decolonisation – a term normally used to understand the emergence of new independent nation states across Asia and Africa in the mid-twentieth century – back on to Britain itself. It explores the extent to which Britain went through a process of “decolonisation” towards a downsized conception of the nation for a post-imperial world, prompting an overhaul of some of the major assumptions and ideas that had shaped British culture and society for more than a century.