International Seminar Series: Brexit- It’s British Context and the International Implications
Title of Presentation: Brexit: It’s British Context and the International Implications
Speaker: Richard Soderlund, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, Illinois State University
Presentation Overview: On June 23, 2016, by a narrow electoral margin, British citizens took the fateful step of voting to withdraw from the European Union. The following March, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, triggering negotiations between Brussels and the United Kingdom over the terms of the latter’s departure. Thus far this contentious business, involving such matters as Britain’s financial obligations to the EU, access to the EU’s single market and the status of non-British citizens who live and work in Britain, has yielded little of substance. Uncertainty clouds the future.
This talk considers some of the wider meanings and ramifications of these developments, setting them within the framework of Britain’s long, complex and decidedly ambivalent relationship to Europe. Arguably, weakened and diminished by its rupture with the EU, Britain confronts grave challenges as it seeks to find its way in a hectic and unsparing globalized economy. Brexit likewise raises questions about Britain’s internal order and cohesion, exacerbating tensions and frictions, most notably, between England and Scotland, but also concerning Britain’s relationship to the Irish Republic. Brexit also points to the urgent question of identity in the contemporary world and its relationship to a resurgent and potent nationalism and populist politics, illiberal, chauvinistic and avowedly hostile to immigration, of a distinctively British type.
Series Overview: The International Seminar Series offers the Illinois State campus and Bloomington-Normal communities weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.
Series events have become one of the most popular internationally focused events on campus and continue to draw ever-growing crowds of students, faculty and community members. Audience members are given time at each event to raise questions to enable a two-way participation and learning.
International Seminar Series events are free and open to the public, and occur every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. The spring 2018 series will focus on Europe in a global context.