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Contemporary History of the British Isles

Code: 106283 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504212 English Studies FB 1 2
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Gennadi Kneper

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
english (eng)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


In order to take this subject, students need to be able to speak and write in English with a C1 level (CEFR).


Objectives and Contextualisation

In this subject, students will have the opportunity to learn about and analyze British and Irish history from 1945 to the present. The subject covers fundamental historical events, as well as social and cultural relations and interactions, including the gender perspective, in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Commonwealth. It includes lectures, reading historical texts, class discussions, writing reviews, and drafting analytical papers. All activity deadlines are indicated in the subject's schedule and must be strictly adhered to.


  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values. 
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and critical concepts to analysing the literature, culture and history of English-speaking countries.
  • Make changes to methods and processes in the area of knowledge in order to provide innovative responses to society's needs and demands. 
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Take sex- or gender-based inequalities into consideration when operating within one's own area of knowledge. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse a situation and identify its points for improvement.
  2. Analyse the sex- or gender-based inequalities and the gender biases present in one's own area of knowledge.
  3. Critically analyse the principles, values and procedures that govern the exercise of the profession.
  4. Critically comment on a text in a basic way.
  5. Draw conclusions from the reading of an essay.
  6. Identify situations in which a change or improvement is needed.
  7. Identify the main periods in the contemporary history of the English-speaking world, with particular attention to the history of Britain from 1945 to the present day.
  8. Identify the principal forms of sex- or gender-based inequality and discrimination present in society.
  9. Make clear summaries of information or ideas.
  10. Produce organised presentations.
  11. Propose new methods or well-founded alternative solutions.
  12. Propose projects and actions in accordance with the principles of ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights, diversity and democratic values.
  13. Recognise the principal ideas of a text.


1. The decline of the British Empire after the Second World War

2. Construction and consolidation of the British welfare state

3. The Conservative Reaction: Conservative Party Britain

4. From the 1960s to the crisis: the Labour hegemony

5. Decolonization, Commonwealth and neo-imperialism

6. One island, two Irelands: the Republic of Ireland (1948) and the Ulster conflict

7. The neoliberal reaction: the era of Margaret Thatcher

8. The end of the Cold War, European integration and Brexit


The methodology will include:

· Lectures

· Text comments

· Debates

· Preparation of written assignments

· Self-study

· Reading of specialized bibliography

· Oral presentations

· Seminars

· Tutorships

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures 50 2 1, 4, 7, 8, 6, 12, 13
Self-study 55 2.2 3, 2, 1, 10, 5, 9, 7, 8, 13
Seminars and tutorships 25 1 3, 2, 10, 9, 8, 11, 12


The information on assessment activities and their weighting is merely a guide. The subject’s lecturer will provide full information when teaching begins.

Oral presentation – 20%

This part of the evaluation will consist of a presentation of one of the compulsory reading texts for the session. The presentation will have a maximum duration of 15 minutes and should include a Powerpoint in order to present additional graphic material and delve into one or more aspects of the subject matter.

Skeleton research paper – 30%

The skeleton research paper gives students the opportunity to outline the structure of a possible academic article on one of the topics covered in the class. The proposal is supposed to include a cover with the title, a table of contents, an introductory text of approximately one page, as well as a bibliography with at least ten books or academic articles.

Written tests – 50%

There will be two written tests, each of them worth 25% of the final grade. In the written tests, students will have to answer a series of questions to demonstrate their ability to explain and contextualize historical topics and give their qualified opinion on past events.


When publishing final grades, prior to recording them on students’ transcripts, the lecturer will provide written notification of a date and time for reviewing assessment activities. Students will be able to arrange reviewing with the lecturer.

Missed/failed assessment activities

Students may compensate for assessment activities they have failed or missed, provided that those they have actually performed account for 66.6% (two thirds) of thesubject’s final mark, and that they have a weighted average grade of at least 3.5. Under no circumstances may an assessment activityworth 100% of the final mark be retaken or compensated for. The lecturer will inform students of the procedure involved, in writing, when publishing final grades, prior to recording them on transcripts. The lecturer may set one assignment per failed or missed assessment activity or a single assignment to cover a number of such activities.

Classification as “non-assessable”

If students’ performance in assessment activities accounts for only 25% or less of the subject’s final grade, their work will be classified as “non-assessable” on their transcript.

Misconduct in assessment activities

Students who engage in misconduct (plagiarism, copying, personation, etc.) in an assessment activity will receive a “0” as a grade for this activity. In the case of misconduct in more than one assessment activity, the students involved will be given a final grade of “0” for the subject. Students may not retake assessment activities in which they are found to have engaged in misconduct. Plagiarism is understood as presenting all or part of an author’s work, whether published in print or in digital format, as one’s own, i. e. without citing it. Copying is understood as reproducing all or a substantial part of another student’s work. If it is impossible to determine who of two students has copied the work of the other, both will be penalized.


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Oral presentation 20% 4 0.16 2, 4, 10, 5, 9, 7, 8, 13
Written assignments 30% 6 0.24 3, 2, 1, 9, 7, 8, 6, 11, 12
Written exams 50% 10 0.4 3, 2, 1, 9, 7, 8


Beckett, Andy. When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. https://books.google.es/books?id=-NURERF4hb8C&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Deacon, David and Dominic Wring. “The UK Independence Party, Populism and the British News Media: Competition, Collaboration or Containment?” European Journal of Communication 31, no. 2 (2016): 169–184.

Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Hayton, Richard. “The UK Independence Party and the Politics of Englishness.” Political Studies Review 14, no. 3 (2016): 400–410.

Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Extremes, 19141991. London: Abacus, 1995.

Judt, Tony. Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945. New York: The Penguin Press, 2005.

Marr, Andrew. A History of Modern Britain. London: Pan Books, 2009.

Pimlott, Ben. The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy (Diamond Jubilee Edition). London: HarperCollins, 2012. https://books.google.es/books?id=eNHriNq-89QC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Reitan, Earl A. The Thatcher Revolution: Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, and the Transformation of Modern Britain, 1979–2001. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

Robinson, Emily, Camilla Schofield, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, NatalieThomlinson. ‘Telling Stories about Post-war Britain: Popular Individualism and the “Crisis” of the 1970s’. Twentieth Century British History 28, no. 2 (2017): 268–304.

Rycroft, Simon. Swinging City: A Cultural Geography of London 1950–1974. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2012.

Robinson, Emily, Camilla Schofield, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Natalie Thomlinson. ‘Telling Stories about Post-war Britain: Popular Individualism and the “Crisis” of the 1970s’. Twentieth Century British History 28, no. 2 (2017): 268–304.

Snyder, Joseph M. “The Fabianisation of the British Empire: Post-War Colonial Summer Conferences and Community Development in Kenya, 1948–1956,” Britain and the World 13, no. 1 (2020): 69–89.

Taylor, A. J. P. English History, 1914–1945. London: Penguin Books, 1970. https://books.google.es/books?id=9WuASzFGqsMC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Vickers, Rhiannon. The Labour Party and the World, Volume 1: The Evolution of Labour’s Foreign Policy, 1900–51. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003. 


Internet access