Layers of Empire: Cultural Memory and the Global Present in London and the United Kingdom
During the summer term 2023 at the BYU London Centre, we will study the ways that social history, cultural memory, and the diverse cosmopolitanism of contemporary London contribute to British identity. Together we will survey the political, social, literary, and religious layers that combine to form British identity, from antiquity to the present, focusing on how historical commemoration and ongoing demographic change continue to shape what it means to be British. We will think critically together about the ways in which a nation reckons with its imperial past. We will consider past and present tensions on the British Isles, with focus on conflicts between England and Ireland, and England and Scotland. We will also treat the city of London as a uniquely cosmopolitan space that, observed closely, reveals a broader history of social change and continuing globalization.
In addition to encountering London through iconic spaces for which the city is well known, students will also encounter the new London as they serve in wards and branches throughout the city, visit markets and restaurants, religious and government buildings, and other cultural sites. Our studies will include outside trips to Liverpool, Preston, the Lake District, York, Oxford, Dover, and Canterbury—in addition to visits to Dublin, Republic of Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland. A visit to Edinburgh, Scotland during the world-renowned Fringe Festival will conclude our program!
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