Applicant: Renata Forste and Co-Applicant: Miranda Wilcox
The aim of this project was to examine issues of national identity in Great Britain that incorporated both research and study during London study abroad. We funded 17 students from the MEG grant to participate on study abroad during either summer term or fall semester 2016. In research groups during winter 2016, students examined data on attitudes towards immigrants from the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey. In addition, students were organized into teams to research and present their findings to the 80 students enrolled in the summer and fall London Centre study abroad groups. The research presentations were on the following topics: national identity in Great Britain; the political, educational, and healthcare institutions in the UK; immigration to the UK; and immigrant groups – Black, West Indian, Muslim and Asian.
In country during summer or fall 2016, the students were involved in two primary projects: they engaged in readings and wrote a final paper on national identity, and they visited various immigrant neighborhoods (markets, places of worship, etc). They took pictures and discussed the history and contributions of the various immigrant groups that have shaped British national identity. In addition, we happened to be in London during the Brexit vote. Students were able to compare and contrast the perspective of Londoners who voted to remain in the EU, with those in other parts of England that voted to leave. They were able to analyze the various arguments proposed by the remain and leave camps, especially in terms of how the contributions of immigrant groups were portrayed.
In addition to papers on national identity, five students were engaged in individual research that required them to spend additional time in libraries, museums, or learning about immigrant communities. These papers were developed with faculty input over the course of the semester or term the students were in London. These papers examined topics such as the Muslim community, immigrants and education in the UK, and the UK justice system. During winter semester 2017, one of the students continued his research and examined the relationship between attitudes towards poverty and immigration in the UK based on the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey. He prepared his findings in a student poster for presentation.
Of these 17 students, most have now graduated (as of April 2017). One is applying to law school; a second interned in Washington, D.C. with the education department on a project specifically related to her London experience. Another student was accepted into a MS sociology program, and eight have graduated and have found employment in part because of their research and study abroad experiences. One left on a mission and another student was accepted to participate in Teach for America.
Academic objectives: The proposed project was to develop drafts of four potential papers to be submitted to journals for publication review. Upon my return to BYU winter 2017, I was
appointed as the director of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. Given these added responsibilities and my winter teaching load, I have not yet been able to take the student drafts and work them into publishable papers. However, I do plan to continue to work with the British Social Attitudes Survey data and submit at least two papers for publication review from our MEG project on national identity and attitudes towards immigrants.
The names of the students that participated and the funds received by each:
Ellen Brotherson (graduated April 2017) –$1,000
Grace Johnson –$1,000
Zoe Leavitt (graduated December 2016) — $1,000
Emma Rose Phipps (graduated April 2017) — $2,000
Mitchell Stanford — $1,000
Joey Tirado-Grundvig (graduated April 2017) — $2,000
Vanessa Wilson (graduating August 2017) — $1,000
Brinley Clark (graduated December 2016) — $1,000
Anna Dunn — $1,000
Emily Brown (graduated April 2017) — $1,000
Skyler Lodwig (graduating August 2016) — $1,000
Natalie Winterton (serving a LDS mission) — $1,000
Christine Gutierrez (graduated December 2016) — $1,000
Michelle Cheung (graduated April 2017) — $1,000
Hannah Spencer (graduated April 2017) — $2,000
Clarissa Heslop – $1,000
Greg Hymas (graduated April 2017) — $1,000
Mentoring environment: Overall the mentoring environment was very successful. Students were able to engage in research under the direction of faculty, to present their findings to peers, and to write and develop a draft paper. In addition, they were able to have an experiential learning experience as they learned first hand about attitudes towards immigrants and national identity in Great Britain.
Findings of the project: the primary findings highlight differences by age, region, socioeconomic status, and family immigrant background in terms of attitudes towards the contributions of immigrants economically and culturally to Britain. In particular, individuals with a multicultural perspective and civic view of national identity were more open to immigrants and more likely to have voted to remain in the EU, whereas those with a more ethnic view of national identity were less supportive of immigrants and more likely to have voted to leave the EU. Individuals that defined themselves as “English” were more ethnic in how they defined national identity, in contrast those that described their national identity as “British” had a civic view of national identity. Students were able to see these differences not only in the data we analyzed from the 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey, but also in conversations and interactions with people in London in contrast to people living in communities in the English countryside