Introduction to the Civilisation of the United Kingdom (BBNAN003004) by Civet


									                                                    British Civilisation (BBAN 00300/4)
                                                            Course description, fall 2009
                                                                            Karáth Tamás

        Introduction to the Civilisation of the United Kingdom
                      Lecturer: Karáth Tamás (
                               Fri 14.00-15.30, Amb 114

        Welcome to the English Department of PPKE, welcome to this seminar!

    The following course description is only the summary of what is to be discussed
during the first class. Keep this syllabus for the whole semester; it contains all the
necessary information and the timetable for the term.
    A very brief overview of the course schedule will convince you that “civilization”
studies are difficult to cover within 3 months. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to
tell what it should cover. To understand the notions behind a language presupposes the
acquaintance with the life of the target community. Can it be done from a bird’s eye’s
view? And what if the target community is divided, or cannot define itself? Serious
questions whose discussions will be on the menu this semester.
    During our discussions of articles we shall revise many stereotypes in connection
with Britain – a country where now basic questions of national identity and of the past
inheritance are revisited and debated. We shall touch upon questions as e. g. “Is peace
finally restored in Northern Ireland?” or “Is Scotland heading towards independence?”
or “How does Europe’s oldest parliamentary system function in a world of political
challenges?“ or “What does it mean to be English today?” or “How do Muslims live in
    Most of our discussions will be based on articles that have to be read and prepared
at home. The necessary background to the articles will partly be explained in class,
partly offered by the compulsory reading.

Compulsory manuals: Pintér Károly, Introduction to Britain. 2nd revised edition. 2007
   Articles: indicated in the syllabus; to be downloaded from or from
   the websites indicated in the course description
   Land Rover (Optional CD-ROM provided for those interested): it may be downloaded
   from the website of the English Department (via

Requirements: Completion of the seminar implies:
      Regular class attendance (miss no more than 3 classes). If you cannot come to a
      seminar, this course description guarantees that you can prepare for the next
      occasion. In any absences, please, contact one of your seminar fellows or me (see
      my e-mail address above) to inform yourself about HW. Absence is not an
      excuse for non-preparation.
      Reading the assigned texts for each class. Preparation of the readings will be
      checked by summaries of the text.
      Writing summaries of the home readings (articles to be read for class). In
      these summaries you will have to sum up very briefly the essence (the main ideas

                                                       British Civilisation (BBAN 00300/4)
                                                               Course description, fall 2009
                                                                               Karáth Tamás

       and arguments) of the articles. You are also encouraged to raise one or two
       questions at the end in connection with details you did not understand after
       thorough reading. The summaries have to be handed in at the beginning of the
       class. Each missing summary will be graded with a “1”.
       The successful achievement of the mid-term and end-of-term tests.
       A successful outline map exercise. Outline map exercises will not be graded, but
       you have to produce one successful map by the end of the semester. A
       successful map means max. 3 mistakes out of 15 items.
       Handing in all the home assignments. Home assignments will require short
       essays, comprehension tasks and other exercises in connection with the home
       readings. For each home assignment you will have two weeks of preparation;
       after the deadline they will be regarded as missing homework. All pieces of
       homework (home assignments) except for the first one will be graded; a missing
       task means grade 1. Homework that was handed in by the deadline can once be
       rewritten for a better mark. You have one week to rewrite HW.

Course Schedule
11 September - Everything you wanted to know about the university, BA, and the English
    Department you have never had the chance to ask. Discussion of the course.
18 September – Reading: “British Unity in Diversity”
    The UK and its constituents: Is British and English interchangeable?
25 September – Divided England? North and South
    Reading: Pintér Károly, Introduction to Britain, 2nd revised ed., Chapter I, 4 and 5
2 October- Wales after devolution: New national or regional identities? The Welsh
    Readings: (1) Identity quest for Wales’ regions
    (2) Mixed fortunes for language
9 October – The idea of devolution: Scotland
    Reading: Pintér Károly, Introduction to Britain, 2nd revised ed., Chapter 2: “Scotland”
16 October – Divides in Northern Irish society; the fragile peace
    Readings: (1) NI community attitudes ‘hardening’
    (2) Children aware of NI sectarian symbols
23 October – National holiday
30 October – Autumn break
6 November – Mid-term test
13 November – Britain’s Constitutional Foundations: Crown and Parliament
    Team project presentations: (1) The Westminster Parliament, (2) 10 Downing
    Street, (3) Buckingham Palace and royal rituals
    Suggested Reading: Pintér Károly, Introduction to Britain, 2nd revised ed., Chapter 5:
    “Crown and Parliament”

                                                      British Civilisation (BBAN 00300/4)
                                                              Course description, fall 2009
                                                                              Karáth Tamás

20 November – Immigration and ethnic diversity.
    Reading: “London’s Comings and Goings”
27 November – Religious diversity in Britain: Christians (Anglicans, Catholics) and
    Muslims today.
Readings: (1) “Turbulent times between church and state” (Telegraph report, 24-12-
    2007, available also at:
(2) Jonathan Wynne-Jones, “Britain has become a ‘Catholic country’? (Telegraph article,
    24-12-2007, also available at:‘Catholic-
(3) Alex Kirby, “Special Report: Muslims in Britain,” (BBC News, 23-11-1997, also
    available at:
(4) Dominic Casciani, “British Muslims: Pride and Fear” (BBC News, also available at:
(5) Stephen Bates, “Church of England: Beset by liberals, hounded by conservatives,
    Williams needs a miracle to keep church intact”
4 December – Reading: Sean Coughlan, BBC News, “Education, education, education,” (14-
    05-2007) available also at:
11 December - End-of-term test

                                  Have a nice term!


To top