Ali Ansari is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews, with a particular focus on the Middle East. With These Islands, however, he turns his attention to the United Kingdom. When visiting Italy in 2014, he was struck by the admiration his Italian colleagues felt for a state that would allow a constituent nation to decide its own independence.
These Islands sees Ansari examining the political makeup of the United Kingdom, exploring how its attempt to bind various nationalisms in an ever more perfect union has given rise to resurgent nationalisms, some of which are viewed as bigoted throwbacks, and others as oppressed minorities. Looking at how Britain as an idea can shape the popular imagination, Ansari’s work is a fascinating portrait of the islands upon which we live.