Program in British Studies
2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Lecture

Friday, December 5, 2008 • 3:00 PM

NEW CAMPUS CLUB 20TH AND UNIVERSITY BOULEVARD


Lecture

Friday, November 21, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

In recent years economists have assessed the great depression in the last three decades of the nineteenth century as the 'first globalization boom' rather than as an era of depression. This work of scholarly revision does not fit well with the full documentary record of the time. Why is it that people thought they were depressed if in fact they were not? Or, who was depressed and who was not? What did depression mean for Britain and the British Empire? How does financial turbulence then comp


Lecture

Friday, November 14, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Dean Acheson was one of the most important, accomplished, and consequential diplomats in American history. He played a decisive part in the conceptualization and creation of a new, American-dominated world order in the wake of the Second World War. He assumed an equally critical role in the development of an overall strategy for containing the Soviet challenge while simultaneously rebuilding the military, economic, social, and political strength of the West. But his relationship with the Brit


Lecture

Friday, November 7, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The Orange Order is a mass-member association dedicated to upholding Protestantism and the British connection. Formed in 1795 in the north of Ireland, it soon spread to Britain and the colonies. Though outwardly religious in nature, it has always functioned as a secular institution of British-Protestant ethnicity and Unionist politics. In the last half century, the Orange Order has been buffeted by social and political change. Yet the Order's decline does not reflect any waning of 'ethnic' Un


Lecture

Friday, October 31, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

When did 'the Sixties' emerge as a concept rather than as a series of events? Four essential trends or ideas must be taken into account. When asked to provide a hint about the nature of the concept itself, without tipping his hand too much, Sir Brian Harrison said that this must be the difference between an Oxford and a Texas lecture. In Oxford the audience comes to find out. So, come to discover the antecedents of the 1960s or remain forever in blissful ignorance-unless you catch the record


Lecture

Friday, October 24, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Winston Churchill's commitment to the cause of Zionism was one of the constant loyalties of his long career-or was it? His attachment to Zionism was something all Israelis and friends of Israel can cite with pride-or was it? On closer examination, the story of Churchill and Zionism is not as simple as Churchillian (and Zionist) enthusiasts have sometimes suggested, and the terms in which he did express his support for a Jewish state were not only anachronistic at the time but may indirectly ex


Lecture

Friday, October 17, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

What were the causes and consequences of the end of the Cold War? The perspectives of the school of historians of International Relations at Oxford provide the key to understanding the complex nature of the post-Cold War era. Paradoxically, the historians who came closest to foreseeing the end of the Cold War were those who made few if any claims to a 'scientific' approach. Their idea of forecasting was based, at the very most, on John Stuart Mill's modest concept of 'a certain order of possi


Lecture

Friday, October 10, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

At first sight the scientific theme of botany may seem to be a rather exotic subject in the context of the British Raj, but in fact it played a major part in late-eighteenth century Romantic British culture. The relations in India between British botanists and Indian botanical illustrators convey an intricate and surprising array of influences that challenge the claim, offered by Indian as well as European historians of science-and especially postcolonial theorists-that the work of botanizing I


Lecture

Friday, October 3, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Arthur Conan Doyle's newly published letters make clear that he wanted to be remembered as a champion of spiritualism and as a historical novelist, though it is Sherlock Holmes who continues to capture the public imagination. But recent biographies and critical studies have presented a more rounded view of Conan Doyle, his beliefs as well as his work, which reveals both imagination and style. His medical training played a critical part in his career by enabling him to follow a logical progress


Lecture

Friday, September 26, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

On October 1-4, The Actors From the London Stage will perform The Winter's Tale in Austin and Winedale. John Rumrich will provide some of the background and context by presenting the case for Robert Greene.

A leading light of English literature in his own time, the sixteenth-century author Robert Greene is now best remembered for his characterization of the young Shakespeare as an 'upstart crow'. But the connection with the bard is actually much closer: Shakespeare's The Winter's Ta


Lecture

Friday, September 19, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The active political career of Julian Amery, the notoriously right-wing Member of Parliament, spanned the end of Empire and the transformation in British domestic politics. A politician of immense energy and drive as well as considerable intellectual ability, he held passionate views on Britain's place in the world, which he championed through both overt and covert means. Paradoxically he also held pronounced and consistent liberal views on British involvement in Europe, capital punishment, an


Lecture

Friday, September 12, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

John Kerr is a lawyer and novelist who lives in San Antonio. His recent novel Cardigan Bay is set in Ireland and Wales as well as England, and deals with the love affair of an American woman and a British army officer against the background of Irish neutrality and the IRA. The intricate plot includes the failed assassination of Hitler in 1944.

Based on scrupulous research, the book demonstrates a commitment to factual accuracy in its portrayal of wartime London and the planning of t


Lecture

Friday, September 5, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

On 14 July 1958, Iraq began its transformation from a British colonial creation and client state to a fundamental and enduring component of the American presence in the Middle East. The July revolution not only damaged American confidence in Britain's ability to manage regional affairs in the Middle East but also convinced President Eisenhower that the events in Iraq constituted a highly complex interaction of political, economic, and social forces into which decision-makers in Washington had l


Lecture

Friday, August 29, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The recent publication of Letters of Ted Hughes, edited by Christopher Reid (Faber & Faber 2007), provides an opportunity to discuss the poetry of both Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath as well as to gain perspective on Sylvia's suicide and the subsequent controversy about the reasons.


Lecture

Friday, April 25, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Charles Darwin purported to solve the mechanism of evolution in The Origin of Species through his concept of 'natural selection'. Many natural philosophers and scientists of the 1860s and 1870s, both English and French, agreed with the general principles of natural selection but remained undecided about its ramifications for humans. Science came into direct conflict with faith. George Henslow, an English botanist, and Armand de Quatrefages, a French anthropologist, responded by attempting to re


Lecture

Friday, April 18, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

In the period following the First World War, the voices of imperialism and anti-imperialism in Britain ranged across the political spectrum. The role Britain should play in India was the subject of much of this debate, which was taking place as the Indian national movement gathered momentum and intensified. The timing is significant. The impact of currents in Britain would be felt as changing policy in India. The question is how the debate in England can be situated in the political and econo


Lecture

Friday, April 11, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The evidence of Lord Mountbatten's part in the division of India continues to unfold, and with it the worldwide repercussions of the partition. Mountbatten played upon the fears of both Nehru and Jinnah as well as of the Americans that the Soviet Union not only might expand its influence on the subcontinent but also might establish control over the oil of the Middle East. When Mountbatten learned that the Indian National Congress would not join in the 'Great Game' against the Russians, he sett


Lecture

Friday, April 4, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries marked a new and important departure in Western inquiry into the phenomena of harmony, causality, and chance. The unprecedented dramatic financial crises of the 1720s, among them the South Sea Bubble, drove some Englishmen to reconsider questions of randomness and chance, human agency versus divine providence. Social, theological and scientific developments of the time enhanced the revolution in ideas. These advances in thought eventually became imp


Lecture

Friday, March 28, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The nineteenth century witnessed the development of different approaches to scholarship. The rather abstruse notion of 'philology' gave birth to the modern academic disciplines that we group together today as the 'humanities' and the 'social sciences'. These include not only disciplines with fairly obvious literary and historical roots, such as classics and comparative literature, but also, for instance, anthropology, art history, and religion. In view of their common origins in the nineteenth


Lecture

Friday, March 21, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The events of September 11 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 generated a considerable debate about the nature of American power in the world at the start of the twenty-first century. Participants gravitated towards one of two positions: one declared that the United States was an empire that stood in a long tradition reaching back to Great Britain and beyond even to Rome; the other held that the United States was not an empire and that analogies with previous imperial powers were mistaken, not le


Lecture

Friday, March 7, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The colonial period is easily the most coherent and self-confident field in the broader study of American History. Yet this historiography has not been characterized by consensus. The first practitioners of early American history debated whether the colonies were a proto-nation or if they were entirely shaped by their status as units within the first British Empire. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, further criticism came from Ethnohistory, Gender, and the New Cultural History. Bringing the d


Lecture

Friday, February 29, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The dissolution of the British Empire and its European counterparts coincided with the main events of the Cold War. Yet the relationship between the superpower conflict and the independence of the Third World should not be taken for granted. Fundamental questions of modernity, identity, and nationhood-questions that defined decolonization and are associated with the Cold War-in fact long predated it. The Cold War would superimpose a strategic and ideological struggle onto the Third World's batt


Lecture

Friday, February 22, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Founded in 1920, and closely connected with the Council on Foreign Relations, London's Royal Institute of International Affairs (based at Chatham House), is widely regarded as part of what has been described by Henry Fairlie, A.J.P. Taylor and others as the British 'Establishment'. The late Professor Elie Kedourie accused it of promoting a 'Chatham House Version' of events, notably of Middle Eastern history. What is the overall assessment of Chatham House's record? Is there an element of cons


Lecture

Friday, February 15, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The quest for a common 'Western' identity to orient the global policies of the western democracies is a hallmark of our time, revealing both a heightened sense of common 'civilizational' traits and an awareness that resemblances can be deceiving. Strategic tensions are evident from clashes over Iraq, the frustrated process of 'building Europe' in the European Union, and Britain's irresolute attempts to serve as a hinge between the two sides of the Atlantic.

Equally significant, if les


Lecture

Friday, February 8, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The last decade of British rule in Palestine was characterized by Britain reorienting from Zionist to Arab interests. Britain feared Indian protests against anything that might be viewed as infringing on the rights of Arab Palestinians. Indian Muslims supported Palestinian Muslims; Indian non-Muslims identified with Arabs through a common bond of anti-colonialism. One contentious issue was the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish States. The Zionists who would create the State of Isra


Lecture

Friday, February 1, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Every book has its own story. Every research project has a genesis and evolution. Robert Hardgrave's A Portrait of the Hindus: Balthazar Solvyns and the European Image of India, 1760-1824, published three years ago, completed a project that had its inception in a chance encounter in 1966. The search for Solvyns combined detective work, the serendipity of hours in libraries and archives, and discovery. How did the parts of the project come together? What was involved in telling a complex and e


Lecture

Friday, January 25, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

Oscar Wilde and the late Victorians are often seen as stiff, formal, and inauthentic. Yet this very artificiality lies at the heart of their attempts to define what it meant to be both British and modern, and to connect traditional ideas about race, gender, and culture with contemporary realities. Though Oscar Wilde might have seemed superficial or shallow in character, in fact he was a profoundly Victorian figure.


Lecture

Friday, January 18, 2008 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Henry Morton Stanley was not only the greatest of the Victorian explorers but also the first to traverse Africa and to crack the system of the Nile, Zambezi, and Congo rivers. He played a part in the creation of the notorious Congo Free State of Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Yet his life and his contribution to history have remained controversial until Tim Jeal's magisterial work, which holds a place of its own in recent biographical writing.