The Cold War and the Remaking of British Citizenship, 1945-89

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
29 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module will explore how the cold war shaped the concept and practice of citizenship in Britain after 1945, allowing students to analyse how the conflict led to new understandings of the citizen's relationship with the state and the wider community.

The experience of total war transformed the relationship between citizen and state in twentieth-century Britain. The first and second world wars saw a massive expansion of state power into everyday life: men and women were mobilised to serve in the armed forces and as workers in the domestic war economy.

Alongside increases in the 'obligations' placed on citizens there was also an expansion of 'rights', from the expansion of the franchise from 1918 to the implementation of the welfare state after 1945. The cold war also had a profound impact on British citizenship. The state compelled young men to serve in the military until the early 1960s; it stigmatised members of the Communist Party of Great Britain, declaring communists to be unthinking agents of an enemy power.

Cold war citizenship was not simply a top-down affair imposed by the state, however. Ordinary people articulated their own visions of citizenship based on resistance to the cold war orthodoxy, whether as Marxists or peace activists.

Module aims

Students will explore the central importance of the cold war in understanding domestic British history and ways of historicising citizenship in post-1945 Britain that emphasise its cultural and social aspects.

Module learning outcomes

Students will gain a good understanding of English/British politics and government between 1500-1700.

Module information

General reading list:
M. J. Braddick, State Formation in Early Modern England c.1550-1700 (2000).
Susan Brigden, New Worlds, Lost Worlds. The Rule of the Tudors 1485-1603 (2000).
Patrick Collinson (ed.), The Sixteenth Century, 1485-1603 (2001).
Steven G. Ellis with Christopher Maginn, The Making of the British Isles. The State of Britain and Ireland 1450-1660 (2007).
S. J. Gunn, Early Tudor Government 1485-1558 (1995).
John Guy, Tudor England (1988).
Mark Kishlansky, A Monarchy Transformed. Britain 1603-1714 (1996).
Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England, 1547-1603 (1990, 2001).
Peter Marshall, Reformation England 1480-1642 (2003).
John Morrill (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart England (1996).
Conrad Russell, The Crisis of Parliaments. English History 1509-1660 (1971).

Learning and teaching methods

1 x 2 hour seminar per week


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework 5,000 Word Extended Essay 22/04/2020

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Matthew Grant
Graduate Administrator, Department of History, Telephone: 01206 872190



External examiner

Dr Paul Corthorn
Queen's University Belfast
Senior Lecturer in Modern British History
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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