Britain and the Empire
English is the second most used language among native speakers of any of the world’s languages and the most taught among all speakers. Though no longer the political center of a vast empire, contemporary Britain–with a population of only sixty-two million–boasts the sixth largest economy in the world and a GDP that exceeds that of far larger economic powerhouses such as Brazil, Russia and India.
From the days when Britain and her neighbors were creating the modern nation-state, establishing their empires and bringing into being industrialism, Britain seized a position of leadership. Interaction between the British Empire, the European Great Powers, and, of course the imperial peoples of nearly every race and culture, was fundamental in shaping the modern world. In our own time, there are fifty-four members of the Commonwealth of Nations (the former British Empire) and all are now members of the United Nations.
Though the produce of many national strains, our own political and social roots grew deep in British soil–and our constitution, legal/judicial and social systems are but some evidences. It is worth noting, as well, that Britain is currently America’s sixth largest trading partner and holds larger investments in the United States than any other nation.
We look forward to enquiries from all prospective graduate students interested in the study of any and all aspects of Britain and the Empire/Commonwealth.
Among our undergraduate courses primarily concerned with Britain and the Empire/Commonwealth are:
213 History of England
214 History of England
430 Ireland 1690-1922
431 The Kingdom of Ireland, 1541-1800
432 The Nation of Ireland, 1800 to the Present
435 Tudor England, 1450-1603
436 Stuart England, 1603-1714
437 Eighteenth Century Britain
438 Nineteenth Century England
439 Twentieth Century England
Undergraduate classes dedicated to themes with significant components dealing with the British Isles and the Empire/Commonwealth include (but are not be limited to):
101 Western Civilization to 1660
102 Western Civilization since 1660
104 World History Since 1500
105 History of the United States
220 History of Christianity
234 European Military History, 1630-1900
320 History of the Atlantic World
321 The Age of Revolution in the Atlantic World
326 Caribbean to Emancipation
327 Caribbean since Emancipation
324 European Society in the Industrial Age
331 Medieval Europe, 300 to 1300
332 Renaissance and Reformation Europe, 1300-1600
333 Europe in the Age of Absolutism, 1660-1815
334 History of Europe in the Nineteenth Century
335 Europe 1890-1932
336 Europe Since 1932
337 War and European Society in the Twentieth Century
338 The Rise of the European Middle Class
346 History of South Africa
361 Technology and Engineering in Western Civilization
367 Colonization of North America
368 The Birth of the Republic, 1763-1820
419 European Intellectual History from the High Middle Ages to the 17th Century
420 European Intellectual History from the Enlightenment to 1900
421 European Intellectual History in the Twentieth Century
442 World War II
462 American Foreign Relations to 1913
463 American Foreign Relations since 1913
464 International Developments Since 1918
475 Empire and History
477 Women in Modern European History
481 Seminar in History
The first M.A. in British history was granted at Texas A&M in 1987 and the first Ph.D. in 1993. By 2011 twenty-two M.A.s and twelve Ph.D.s have been completed. Doctoral graduates have to date produced approximately nine published books, and all but one hold academic appointments.
Graduate Courses which deal with British Isles, the Empire/Commonwealth and relevant international themes include:
601 Colonial North America
604 The Age of Jefferson
643 Maritime History and Sea Power
613 Twentieth Century United States Diplomacy
637 Early Middle Ages
638 Medieval Europe
643 Reading Seminar in European History from Renaissance to
644 Reading Seminar in European History from French Revolution to Present
645 Modern Military History
677 Modern Britain
Faculty members primarily in British and Empire studies in this cluster include:
R. J. Q. Adams (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1972) teaches undergraduate and graduate course in the history of Britain in the 20th century. His has published widely in the field, including nine books on the Great War, the politics, society and diplomacy of the inter-war years, British conservatism and the standard biographies of prime ministers Andrew Bonar Law and Arthur James Balfour. He has supervised twenty-one M.A. recipients and twelve Ph.D.s and is University Distinguished Professor of History and Patricia and Bookman Peters Professor of History.
Troy Bickham (D.Phil., University of Oxford, 2001) specializes in the history of Britain and its empire, particularly the Atlantic world, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His first book, Savages within the Empire (2005) explores how encounters and relations with American Indians affected British material, political, intellectual and religious culture in the eighteenth century. His recent book, Making Headlines: The American Revolution as Seen Through the British Press (2008), explores British reactions to the American Revolution, as seen and expressed in the British press. His articles on Britain and its empire have appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly, Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, Eighteenth Century Studies, and Past & Present. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (Great Britain) and holds a Ray A. Rothrock Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts.
David R.C. Hudson (Ph.D., Texas A&M University 1998) studies and teaches British and Irish history - in particular the evolution of historical narratives, and the ways in which these both inform and reflect past and present. Fascinated by Ireland’s position as England’s first overseas colony and (later) an integral part of the United Kingdom, he is the author of The Ireland That We Made: Arthur and Gerald Balfour’s Contribution to the Origins of Modern Ireland. Among his current projects are a comparative study of political change in Ireland and Poland over the last 250 years, and an investigation into the political thought of John Redmond, the last Irish Nationalist leader to sit in the British House of Commons.
(Ph. D. Princeton University, 1981) teaches courses on early modern British
history and on sex and sexuality in history. His research focuses on the
social and cultural history of Restoration and early eighteenth-century
England. He has published two books on aristocratic society and culture in
that era and has also published articles on the operation of local
government and authority and an edition of a late seventeenth-century
magistrate’s notebook. His current research project, “Singular Subjects:
Unmarried Men in England 1650-1750,” focuses on the phenomena and meanings
of bachelorhood and widowerhood, emphasizing the light that the history of
the unmarried man sheds on the history of courtship and marriage, gender and
sexuality, kinship and the family. This study employs sources that include
family correspondence and diaries, sermons and conduct books, financial
accounts and legislation, and poetry, drama, and novels.
Faculty members in other specialties whose work involves British and Empire studies include:
Cynthia Bouton (Ph.D., State Univ. of New York, Binghamton, 1985) is a social and cultural historian focusing on early modern and Revolutionary Europe and the Atlantic. She studies the ways that inequities in access to basic subsistence needs—often linked to status/class, gender, race/ethnicity, patronage/political relations, and location—have influenced responses to suffering (both the threat of it and strategies to alleviate it). Her first book studied responses to a subsistence crisis in 1775 France, several articles explored the history of the politics of provisioning in France from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and her second book analyzed 19th- and 20th-century cultural and political engagements with an episode of social violence over food security. Her next book, “Subsistence, Society, and Culture in the Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century and Age of Revolution,” studies staple food production, marketplace interaction, entangled Atlantic trade networks, and government policies to understand adaptations to the “Atlanticization” of food regimes in the French, Spanish, and British Atlantic during the 18th century and revolutionary era.
James C. Bradford (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1976) focuses on Early American, maritime, and naval history and teaches courses in those fields, including HIST 368: Birth of the Republic, HIST 604: The Age of Jefferson, and HIST 643: Maritime History and Sea Power, the last of which pays significant attention to the rise and fall of maritime empires from the Athenian and Roman Empires of the ancient Mediterranean though the oceanic empires of the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries. His interests in naval history center on the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries with a focus on imperial rivalries in the North Atlantic and Caribbean, particularly those involving Britain, France and the United States during the age of sail, and the Anglo-American rapprochement of the early twentieth century. He is the editor of The Papers of John Paul Jones and the author of articles and book chapters on Jones, French and American privateers, and naval operations during the American War for Independence.
Glenn A. Chambers (Ph. D., Howard University, 2006) and joined the history department at Texas A&M the same year. Dr. Chambers teaches Caribbean, Latin American, and African Diaspora courses. His recent book Race, Nation, and West Indian Immigration to Honduras, 1890-1940 (Louisiana State University Press, 2010) focuses on the migration of West Indians to Honduras at the turn of the twentieth century to work in the American-dominated banana industry. Centered primarily on the British West Indies, his research in the Caribbean takes place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the region was still a colonial possession of Great Britain. Dr. Chambers’ Caribbean courses focus heavily on British colonialism and its impact on the political and cultural legacies of the region, particularly in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.
April Hatfield (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1997) began teaching at Texas A&M the following year. Her work examines how borders and migration shaped individuals and institutions in the early modern Atlantic world. Her publications include several book chapters and articles and the monograph Atlantic Virginia: Intercolonial Relations in the Seventeenth Century (2004). Her current project “Creole Allegiances” follows a variety of individuals as they negotiated the borders of English and Spanish imperial spaces in the western Caribbean and southeastern North America in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
Jason C. Parker (Ph.D., University of Florida, 2002) studies both the formal and informal "diplomacy" embedded in the interactions of empires, nations, and peoples, especially at the crossroads of decolonization and the Cold War during the long "American Century." His first book looked at the actions of the US government and of African Americans in the West Indies’ push for independence from the British Empire. His research moves across a number of subjects, areas, and themes: empire, race/ethnicity, nationalism, and particular regions of the world and especially of the British Empire. He serves as a seminar leader in the annual “International Seminar on Decolonization” at the Library of Congress each summer, which facilitates his continuing work in these areas.
Brian J. Rouleau (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2010) studies American mariners within the wider world, as well as their encounters with representatives of the British seaborne empire. Though those encounters often took place along the globe's oceanic margins, they have much to tell us about the dynamic relationship between periphery and metropole within expanding empires. His HIST 105 and HIST 462 courses place heavy stress on the role of the British Empire in shaping American cultural and political development.