Brexit and the post-imperial trauma of withdrawal

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Brexit and the post-imperial trauma of withdrawal

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dc.contributor.author Stinshoff, Richard
dc.contributor.author Dittmar, Jakob
dc.date.accessioned 2017-05-19T08:34:30Z
dc.date.available 2017-05-19T08:34:30Z
dc.date.issued 2016 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2043/22606
dc.description.abstract We think that Britain’s awkward relationship with Europe is an expression of an ongoing post-imperial identity crisis in the face of contemporary globalisation’s challenges. Behind all the grandstanding by subsequent British governments (no matter which party was in office!) the pain and anguish of an earlier withdrawal of a different kind can be spotted. The deep-seated identity crisis behind Britain’s legendary semi-detachedness (Stephen George) towards Europe, “with Europe, but not of it” as Churchill liked to put it, stems from the post-WW II forced withdrawal from empire that the country has never quite come to terms with. As Dean Acheson, former US secretary of state, famously stated in a speech at West Point in 1962: ‘Great Britain has lost an Empire but not yet found a role’. Quite a few observers of British politics think this still holds true even more than half a century later! The multipolar world of today is different from the one that Britain dominated as the foremost imperial and industrial power throughout the long 19th century. One upshot of her subsequent rapid economic and political decline in the upheavals of the 20th century is that substantial numbers of British politicians and voters wistfully hark back to those golden days. Rather than critically engaging with the issue of how the EU as a unique transnational ‘association of states’ can provide viable democratic responses to globalisation’s inherent problems, not few of them entertain somewhat woolly notions of an organized Anglosphere as an alternative to EU membership. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher kompetenzzentrum kulturelle topografien en_US
dc.subject Brexit en_US
dc.subject Empire en_US
dc.subject Post-Empire en_US
dc.subject Anglosphere en_US
dc.subject European Union en_US
dc.subject British EU membership en_US
dc.subject Euroscepticism en_US
dc.subject British / English identity en_US
dc.subject English identity en_US
dc.subject.classification Humanities/Social Sciences en_US
dc.title Brexit and the post-imperial trauma of withdrawal en_US
dc.type Conference other en_US
dc.relation.url https://kultop.unibas.ch/conference/podium-discussion/ en_US
dc.identifier.paperprint 0 en_US
dc.contributor.department Malmö University. Faculty of Culture and Society
dc.description.other Britain and Europe have for centuries been seen as different entities, which, in times of conflict, can easily be re-configured as mutually exclusive, or ‘other’. However, the divide, though often naturalized through geographical reference to the ‘British island story’, is most deeply rooted in the British (or English?) cultural imaginary, which is why it cannot be overcome by the narrowly economic or legal devices to which politics is often limited. We believe that literary and cultural texts and discourses (such as travel writing and fiction) provide a rich reservoir for the study of how this cultural imaginary is shaped. Throughout the centuries, the British have engaged with, and travelled across the European continent in various capacities, exploring its geographies and producing different narratives of the Europe(s) they encountered which provide mental maps of a complex and shifting ‘British-European’ cultural topography. In view of current political debates about the relationship between Britain (in times of devolution) and the EU as well as the migrants’ crisis within broader Europe, this conference aims to shed light on the British-European relationship, British identity and Britain’s position within Europe, as well as on its role in redefining and reshaping European identities. Is the ‘Stranger in Europe’ (Stephen Wall 2008) really exceptional, or are we dealing with an extreme version of more wide-spread attitudes and mind-sets which continue to riddle the European project? This three-day conference, hosted by the Department of English and the Centre of Competence Cultural Topographies at the University of Basel, takes place in the context of the research project ‘British Literary and Cultural Discourses of Europe’ (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation) which explores the changing British perceptions of Europe, and the place of the Continent in the British cultural imaginary. It is primarily aimed at scholars working in the field of literary and cultural studies, but we also welcome contributions from other subjects such as media studies, cultural geography, politics or history. Organizers: Professor Ina Habermann Department of English and Centre of Competence Cultural Topographies University of Basel, Nadelberg 6, CH-4051 Basel en_US
dc.subject.srsc Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS en_US
dcterms.description.conferenceName In and Out of Europe : British Literary and Cultural Discourses of Europe in the 20th and 21st Centuries en_US
dcterms.description.conferencePlace Basel, Switzerland en_US
dcterms.description.conferenceYear 15-17 September, 2016 en_US
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