This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the historical forces that shaped the development of nations and cultures that today form the United Kingdom. It combines a discussion of internal social and political developments with an examination of Britain's changing international and imperial role. Topics include state structures and national identity, political and social reform, the rise of London as a showcase for a socially diverse urban culture, industry and labor, immigration and Empire, the international status of Britain, the production of feminist sexual politics, World Wars and the welfare state, decolonization and its consequences, Americanization and mass consumerism, youth culture and fashion, racial strife and the politics of "Britishness." The course is especially appropriate as background for the study of European history, gender and history, modernity, colonialism and postcolonialism, and theory and history. It emphasizes doing history by introducing students to primary sources, including speeches, letters, census records, novels, and films, that will be contextualized through lectures, debates, and supplementary texts. Students learn how historians define historical questions and shape material into historical narratives, and discover new approaches to using gender, race, sexuality and class as categories for historical analysis of social phenomena such as power, agency, and experience.