Contemporary British Society and Culture

Course information


Contemporary British Society and Culture


Daniel Nyikos

Course code





Auditorium Maximum


Tuesday 10:00

Course description

Short description

The objectives of this course are to explore the culture as well as the society, politics and current issues of Britain and to familiarize students with the most important cultural markers that they might encounter when translating or interpreting. The lectures will cover the geography of Britain, politics and government, the legal system, international relations, the British economy, education in Britain, the media, religion, arts and entertainment. Please use lecture notes as well as the textbooks provided to prepare for the final exam.

The course will focus particularly on the 20th and 21st centuries, though we will also use historical and cultural material from before this time to better understand Britain as it exists today.



Week 1: Introduction, a general introduction to the study of culture and society.

Week 2: British civilization: History, layers, and language.

Week 3: The political system: Legislation, jurisdiction, constitution, and the monarchy

Week 4: Multicultural Britain: The class system, migration, and minorities.

Week 5: Religion and state religion

Week 6: The education system

Week 7: Cultural life: The arts, museums, and theatre

Week 8: No class.

Week 9: The media: paper media, the BBC, digital media

Week 10: Popular culture: The study of pop culture from the Birmingham School

Week 11: Pop culture and music

Week 12: Pop culture and the movies

Week 13: Synthesis: Britain as a contemporary cultural field

Week 14: Review for exam


Fall 2018


Requirements to get the grade


Reading list


Suggested reading list

Higgins, Michael, Clarissa Smith, and John Storey, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010).

John Oakland, British Civilization: An Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 2002).