Paper 3, British History

The dissolution of the British Empire produced a nation without an overseas empire for the first time. The empire’s final decades also witnessed the arrival of unprecedented numbers of migrants from the colonies—former white settlers as well as people from India and Commonwealth states in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Decolonization and independence in most of Africa and the Caribbean roughly coincided with the passage of new restrictions on migration from member-states of the Commonwealth intended to limit the settlement of Black and Asian Commonwealth citizens. The 1960s and 1970s saw the development of a vibrant multiculture in Britain and a growing backlash against Black and Asian migrants and their British-born offspring. Black and Asian Britons responded to the everyday discrimination in housing and employment, racist street violence, and increasing police harassment in a variety of ways, from quiet perseverance to community organizing, public protest, and urban rebellion. Write an essay in which you analyze how decolonization, migration, and race have shaped postwar society, culture, and politics in Britain through specific examples of individuals, communities, issues, or flashpoint moments or events.

Requirements and Guidelines

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The essay should be roughly 1000 words (or 4-5 double-spaced pages) in length. It should begin with a clear statement of the scope and focus of the paper as well as a succinct statement of the overall argument. The argument must be supported with material from the course readings AND at least one source from the following databases and collection, but feel free to use more than one of these sources if it helps you make a more nuanced and persuasive argument:

Making Britain: How South Asians Shaped the Nation, 1870-1950:
(Links to an external site.)

British Pathé newsreel database:
(Links to an external site.)

From Great War to Race Riots Archive:
(Links to an external site.)

“Sounds of ‘rush,” Oral histories from the Windrush Generation at the Black Cultural Archives:
(Links to an external site.)

“Windrush Stories,” British Library:
(Links to an external site.)

Black Cultural Archives’ Google Arts and Culture platform:
(Links to an external site.)

Do NOT use outside sources. Be creative in your use of the sources available to you, choose specific examples that best support your argument(s), and analyze and combine them in a creative and persuasive paper.

FOR TEXTBOOK SOURCES USE: Susan Kingsley Kent, A New History of Britain Since 1688: Four Nations and an Empire (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Do NOT use outside sources.

Formatting Instructions

Use 12-point font, Times New Roman, with 1” (not 1.25”) margins. Put your name and only the number of the essay question you are answering at the top of the first page. Put page numbers at the bottom of the page. Do not waste space putting the course name, my name, the quarter, etc. at the top of the paper. (You can put that information in one line as a header or footer if you wish.)

Paper Structure

Successful papers generally have a specific structure. I don’t insist that you use exactly this structure, but if you are unsure how to write a successful paper, follow these guidelines:

The introductory paragraph should summarize the topic of the paper and your main argument (i.e. the thesis of your paper), and introduce the texts you are drawing on.

Each paragraph of the paper should be about one-third or half of a page; each paragraph should be about one key issue pertaining to your thesis, and each paragraph should have a topic sentence. In other words, the first sentence of the paragraph should summarize the content of the paragraph as a whole or the paragraph’s main idea. (You may want to finish a draft, go back and reread the draft, and then insert or modify your topic sentences.)

The bulk of your paper will be taken up with discussion/analysis of the readings and sources in terms of the essay question. Each of the discussion/analysis paragraphs should contain, develop, and demonstrate one main idea. You should structure your paragraphs by theme or point your argument (rather than an individual source or example).

It is important that you link your discussion/analysis paragraphs together with transition sentences. In other words, to make your paper flow smoothly, the last sentence of Paragraph A should connect thematically to Paragraph B (or the first sentence of Paragraph B should invoke a theme or connection to Paragraph A); then repeat with Paragraph B and Paragraph C, then Paragraph C and Paragraph D, and so on.

In your concluding paragraph, you should summarize briefly what the paper was about and what your analysis has revealed—in sum, your argument. The concluding paragraph should be one paragraph. Because the paper is short, do not use section headings.

Citing and Quoting

Be sure to introduce or contextualize AND to cite your sources. When you are quoting from a reading, make sure that the quotation fits grammatically into the sentence you are writing and that you explain how it supports or demonstrates your points. Don’t just dump it in. In the discipline of history, we use Chicago style for citations (which take the form of footnotes) – you should do the same. Include citations in footnotes or endnotes in Chicago style when referencing or quoting from a text: for example, Kennetta Hammond Perry, London Is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 35. For guidance on the proper formatting of your footnotes and bibliography, consult The Chicago Manual of Style; Kate L. Turbian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (both are available online and in the library); or
Links to an external site.

Do NOT use outside sources.

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