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College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Stephanie L. Barczewski

Stephanie L. Barczewski

Professor; Carol K. Brown Scholar in the Humanities

Department of History
Office: Hardin Hall 106
Phone: 864/656-3153

Ph.D., Yale University (1996)


Modern Britain

A specialist in modern British history, Dr. Barczewski has been at Clemson since 1996. Her latest book is Heroic Failure and the British, published by Yale University Press in 2016. Dr. Barczewski's previous publications include Country Houses and the British Empire, 1700-1940 (Manchester University Press, 2014); Antarctic Destinies: Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism (Bloomsbury, 2007); Titanic: A Night Remembered (Palgrave Macmillan/Hambledon and London, 2004) and Myth and National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood (Oxford University Press, 2000), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She is also the co-author and editor of the textbook Britain since 1688: A Nation in the World (Routledge, 2014). Dr. Barczewski has been awarded the Gentry Award, Clemson's highest honor for teaching in the humanities, as well as a Faculty Award of Distinction for student mentoring from the Clemson National Scholars Program.

Dr. Barczewski is currently engaged in two research projects. The first is titled Englishness and the Country House: A British, European and Global History. Country houses are often interpreted as embodiments of Englishness, but a closer examination raises questions about aligning them so neatly with national identity, and about what that national identity actually encompasses. This book will seek to interrogate Englishness, and to posit that the arguments that country houses have been significantly influenced by external influences emanating both from within and without the British Isles and the argument that they are nationally distinctive are not mutually exclusive. In his much-praised recent history of England, Robert Tombs recently observed that English history “has to be written simultaneously at several levels: English, British, international and imperial.” But does admitting that these essential dimensions exist differ from regarding them as constitutive and inseparable? This study will attempt to answer that key question about the nature of English national identity.

Her second research project is titled Brexit and British Memory of World War II. Christian Karner and Bram Mertens write, “World War II continues to be a prominent, near ubiquitous point of reference not only across Europe but also across the political spectrum.” Britain, however, stands largely outside the continental debates about wartime history and its meaning for the present. The maintenance of a continuous national narrative from the pre- to postwar eras was deeply problematic for nations that had suffered such catastrophic political and military failures as Germany, Italy and France, adding allure to the possibility of abandoning national histories and adopting a “European” identity. Britain, however, desired continuity: it wanted to emphasize the heroism of its wartime conduct instead. Rare among European nations, Britain’s memory of the Second World War has remained largely unaltered in the years since 1945; it remains dominated by heroism and a sense of national unity in the face of hardship. This interpretation of the war has played an important role in determining Britain’s attitude towards the European Union, which has been less enthusiastic than that of its continental counterparts. For the British, the objective of a lasting peace means less; their interest in European unification has been almost exclusively economic, and they are less convinced of the need to share sovereignty.


Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

Country Houses and the British Empire, 1700-1930 (Manchester University Press, Studies in Imperialism Series, 2014)

Britain since 1688: A Nation in the World (Routledge, 2014)

Antarctic Destinies: Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism. Continuum, 2009.

Titanic: A Night Remembered. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Myth and National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood. Oxford, 2000.

Books (In Production or Under Contract)

Heroic Failure and the British (Yale University Press, 2016)

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