Race + Immigration in Twentieth Century Britain A (Sources)

Department of History, School of History and Cultures

College of Arts and Law


Code 23456

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1

Module description

This module examines the social and political history of immigration in twentieth-century Britain. It looks at the international pressures and incentives which drove immigration, and at British responses to the changing make-up of the nation. The module focuses on primary-source-based case studies of the reception and integration of distinct immigrant communities including east European Jews, refugees from Nazism, European volunteer workers and Commonwealth immigrants from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. At every stage, it questions the extent to which ideas of racial difference have shaped immigrant experiences and analyses the ways in which changing social and expert thinking on race during the century has guided political and social constructions of host-minority relations. The module also engages with contrasting historiographical approaches to the history of immigration and with contemporary debates about Britishness and asylum/immigration policy, questioning how the nation’s recent immigration history has shaped the way that we approach issues of identity and inclusion/exclusion in modern society.