Course Title: The Making—and Unmaking—of the United Kingdom: 1283 to the Present
Fee: $38 minus $6 if registered by Jan. 15
Dates: Wednesdays, January 29, February 5 & 12
Time: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Mercer Community Center, 2648 Margaret St., Mercer
The objective of this course is to survey the long and complicated history of the multinational state known as the United Kingdom. Today the country is much in the news because of the ongoing political crisis caused by “Brexit”—its 2016 vote to leave the European Union. In fact, the crisis caused by Brexit has been building for a very long time: its roots lie in the distant past—in the English Crown’s conquest, over a period of some 500 years, of its nearest neighbors Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Only since the end of that period of conquest in 1801 has the “United Kingdom” as we know it even existed.
Today the future of that multinational state is not assured. For not only did these three conquered countries “make” the United Kingdom, they may yet prove to be the unmaking of it. Committed and well-organized nationalist, independence-demanding movements challenging the very existence of the UK have developed over time in all three countries—and are still growing and active today. Understanding these historical complexities is essential, for only then can we make sense of the current precarious predicament of the first Western nation to develop a representative form of government and one of our oldest and closest allies. Continue reading