Civilisation britannique


Great-Britain and Europe: Competing Histories

This course will examine the narratives of two conflicting histories of Great Britain, that of the British Isles being "a World by Itself", and the continental version of British history that emphasizes strong ties with continental Europe. The "Let's take back control" motto of the Brexiteers has revived a nationalist belief in British greatness and independence and a strong willingness to break all ties with the European Union.  Brexit has an unprecedented impact on how British people perceive their national history, their connection with continental Europe and thus their national identity. In the light of Linda Colley's argument in Britons: Forging the Nation (1707 - 1837), this course will approach the issue of Britain's troubled relationship to Europe, spanning the period from the Restoration to UK's entry in the E.E.C., by using a variety of material (pamphlets, travel writings, engravings, propaganda films …) to show how representations, imaginings, perceptions and identities are intricately linked. The course and classes will cover aspects ranging from religious and political differences to military cooperations and cultural ties, in an attempt to show that Britain's relationship to Europe was forged as much through conflicts and rivalries as through cooperations and friendships.


Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflection on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983)

Black, Jeremy. Britain and Europe. A Short History (2019)

Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (2005)

Simms, Brendan. Britain's Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation (2016)