Professor James Mayall
The title of this talk suggests that one cannot really understand contemporary Britain without engaging with the nature and history of its capital city. Although Britain consists of four distinct national territories it is a highly centralised state, not quite as centralised as France but certainly not – even in this era of devolution – as decentralised as the United States. But although London combines the roles of Washington and New York together (i.e. it is the seat of government and the financial and economic heart of the country as well), as a cosmopolitan world city it has more in common with the latter than the former. One cannot wander around this vast city without being made aware of how it grew from a series of villages separated by farmland into not merely the centre of the largest empire the world had ever known, but also one sees the contribution of war, industry and commerce, the arts and education in this process. This talk aims to introduce you to the experience of living in London by introducing some of the landmarks, but also some less familiar sights of the city.
James Mayall, Emeritus Professor, Sidney Sussex College (Cambridge University), has taught at INSTEP since it started in 1979. He was formerly Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Cambridge, and has written widely on the impact of nationalism on international society and other topics. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Travellers Club, Pall Mall, and the Marylebone Cricket Club.