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Caroline Ritter

Caroline Ritter, 2020 faculty pictureOffice: TMH 222
Phone: 512.245.2107

Curriculum Vitae

Educational Background

Ph.D. – University of California, Berkeley, 2015
M.A. – University of California, Berkeley, 2011
B.A. – Swarthmore College, 2006

Teaching and Research Topics
Modern Britain, British Empire, sub-Saharan Africa


Caroline Ritter is a historian of Modern Imperial Britain, with particular interests in decolonization, development, and media in Africa. She joined the Department of History in 2015 after receiving her Ph.D. in British History from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book, Imperial Encore: The Cultural Project of the Late British Empire (University of California Press, forthcoming), examines the history of British cultural relations in Africa during the twentieth century. The study is based on archival research in Britain, Kenya, Ghana, and the United States, and looks closely at the activities of well-known British institutions such as the BBC, the British Council, and private publishing firms in East and West Africa. The project demonstrates how decolonization profoundly shaped British cultural relations in a manner that continues to impact how Britain projects itself to the world today.

At Texas State, Dr. Ritter teaches courses in British, African, and World History. She encourages students with interests in the history of imperialism and colonialism, modern Britain, or sub-Saharan Africa to come and speak with her about their research interests.

Courses Taught

HIST 2312: World Civilizations from the 17th Century to the Present
This course presents a survey of the history of the world’s peoples and cultures from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first century. The course moves between regions such as Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas as it describes the movement of people, goods, and ideas around the world. Students learn about topics such as the growth of world religions, industrialization, and the rise and fall of empires by looking at and comparing regional and local dynamics. The objectives of the course are threefold. First, students identify types of connections between different peoples and regions of the world and how those connections changed over time. Second, students engage with different types of historical sources and the different methods of working with them. Third, students practice writing and talking about their historical knowledge of cultural issues in the modern-day world.

HIST 4318V: Modern Britain
When we describe Britain, is it a distinctly modern nation or a deeply traditional society? To what extent should modern British history be regarded as a story of decline? What role does Britain seek in the world today? This course addresses all of these questions by examining the history of imperial Britain from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Over the semester, students analyze the cultural and intellectual foundations of modern British society through a wide variety of historical sources, including literature, music, and film. Through lectures, presentations, and class discussions, students come to identify and understand the broader historical narratives used to explain British history as well as the stakes behind those narratives.

HIST 4350P: Modern Africa
If we were to go by news headlines alone, Africa is a place of famine, disease, warfare, and corruption – and not much else. The primary goal of this course is to put those headlines in their appropriate context and to add alongside them the everyday experiences of family, work, and entertainment that the typical news pieces tend to skip. The course presents a chronological narrative of sub-Saharan Africa from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the present day. Within that narrative, the course schedule comprises three sections. In the first month of the course, we will focus on sources for the study of African history, whether they are artifacts, oral traditions, or written texts. The second section of the course examines the historiographical trends, or the history of how scholars have approached the study of African history. Then in the final section of the course we will analyze how the study of African history has been and can be used to think about some of the questions often raised about Africa today.

HIST 4399: Senior Research Seminar – Politics, Society, and Culture in Britain, 1914-1997
This seminar is designed for students to think, discuss, research, and write like historians. At this stage in the major, students are well rehearsed in reading, interpreting, and writing about nuanced arguments and complex historical events. Over the semester, they apply all of those abilities to the capstone experience of producing a polished research paper on a topic of twentieth-century British history.

HIST 5310: Britain in the Twentieth Century
As the political, economic, and cultural consequences of Brexit unfold, it becomes all the more important to examine narratives about Britain’s past. This graduate seminar pushes students to analyze the methods, issues, and themes currently central to the study of twentieth-century British history. Through in-class discussion and written assignments, students will develop their skills of presenting ideas and engaging with other scholars’ arguments. In addition, the course introduces graduate students to the mechanics of drafting, workshopping, and polishing different genres of scholarly writing, including book reviews and journal articles.

HIST 5318D: European Imperialism, 1880 to the Present
This seminar introduces students to new trends in the study of European imperialism during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Over the semester, we will read a group of recently published monographs that offer a range of new methods for studying an old subject: the history of European empires. Through these readings, students will practice engaging in discussions of other scholars’ work as well as gain an understanding of the current shape of the field. Our seminar discussions will center around the following questions: How did understandings of race and gender inform patterns of imperial expansion and colonial policy? In what ways did the imperial “periphery” shape debates about identity in the metropole? How do we study the afterlives of European empires? What are the ongoing debates in the study of European imperialism?