HACU-0237: Sex, Class, and Thatcherism: The Forms of Postwar British Culture

This course explores how British fiction and cinema responded to the challenges of new social configurations from the rise of the welfare state in the 1950s to its crisis in the wake of Margaret Thatcher's rule in the 1980s. Our topics include shifting class relations, expanding definitions of 'Englishness' and 'Britishness,' changing constructions of gender identity beginning with the 'Angry Young Men' generation, and the rise of a multiracial society. We will also address various formal considerations, in particular the complex dialectics of traditional realism and formal experimentation, as well as the significant role of dystopian fantasy in much of the period's novelistic and cinematic production. We read novels by writers such as Margaret Drabble, Doris Lessing, and Martin Amis, poetry by Philip Larkin, and watch films by Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson, Stephen Frears, and Mike Leigh, among others.