Britishness in the 21st Century

One day conference: Britishness in the twenty first century

To be held at Keele University

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

09.00 – 17.30

britannia An international team of scholars will come together this Wednesday at a one-day conference hosted by Keele Unviersity, to debate the meaning of  Britishness in the twenty first century.  

Following on from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, the conference presents an opportune moment to  critically explore notions of Britishness and evaluate the key issues involved in formulating shared understandings of British national identity. They will consider the contradictions of British liberalism and imperialism and their legacies for national identity today.

In particular, does the association of Britishness with liberal values of due process, human rights and toleration present a distraction from persistent global associations of the nation with imperial practices of European history, which perhaps manifest in new and even more troubling forms of imperialism?

With the British economy facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, to what extent is ‘humanitarian intervention’ via military activism, a new name for the old concept of imperialism and its associated control of resources?

What are the politics of inclusion and exclusion around reconstructed notions of Britishness in response?

Does the liberal-multicultural emphasis on group rights and differentiated citizenship assist or hinder a project of Britishness?

Does the label ‘Britishness’ promise support for liberal values of tolerance, fairness, equality and respect; or is this mere self-congratulation, obscuring extensive problems such as unequal resources and social misrecognition?

Will teaching Britishness to young people support a stronger sense of inclusion in the processes of local democracy?

And what value does Britishness hold in the context of internationalisation and globalisation?

face Speakers include: Professor Pnina Werbner (Keele), Dr Nasar  Meer (Northumbria) and Dr Daniel Burdsey (Brighton).

Details and the full programme of papers can be found here

You can listen here to a BBC Radio-4 interview with Dr Meer, featuring his keynote paper for the conference.

For further information on the conference contact Professor Farzana Shain or Professor Bulent Gokay.