CANG 9172/ 9272 Britain and the
Commonwealth: A Complicated Legacy
Instructor: Caroline Boreham
The Commonwealth is an association of 56 nations, the vast majority of which were formerly British colonies. Emerging at a time of rapid decolonisation following the Second World War, the Commonwealth was described by Queen Elizabeth II as a “brotherhood” of equal nations during her 1957 Christmas Speech. However, Britain’s colonial history with these now-sovereign states makes the ties that bind them much more complicated than this evocation of kinship would suggest. Described by some as the “British Empire 2.0” and others as an “irrelevant” organisation, the Commonwealth is an important prism through which to analyse Britain’s colonial history and the aftermath it has had on the present, both “at home” and abroad. In this course, we will learn about some key moments in the Commonwealth’s modern history and will study contemporary issues and debates relating to the organisation.
In this course, students will learn to analyse and contextualize a variety of documents (news reports/ articles, charters, podcasts, archival footage, etc.). They will also learn to nuance their written and spoken English in order to respond to the material and their own peers. As there is a discussion component to this course, students will be expected to contribute actively in class.
Ongoing Assessment (oral presentation, written assignment, smaller assignments) (50%); Final Exam (50%)