Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





Committee Chair

Allison Abra

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Andrew I. Ros

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Heather M. Stur

Committee Member 3 Department



This project seeks to define and explore the development of Cold War British masculinity and national identity in response to decolonization. Following World War II, Great Britain experienced a time of political and cultural rebuilding. This project argues that following World War II, Britain had to renegotiate gender and national identity within the context of decolonization, the rise of the welfare state, and Britain’s diminished role in global politics, and the tensions within gender and national identity were expressed in Britain’s interest in espionage narratives both real and fictionalized. British spy novels by Ian Fleming, Desmond Cory, and John Le Carré dominated fiction, and the real-life drama of the Cambridge Five captivated the news media. The James Bond films of the 1960s were the negotiating of the new British masculinity and American masculinity on the silver screen. This project builds on and bridges gaps between the historiographies on espionage, popular culture, gender, and empire. The cultural impact of James Bond is well documented by Jeremy Black and James Chapman. Black draws connections between the popularity of James Bond and Cold War foreign policy, and Chapman analyzes the cultural impact of the James Bond films. This project seeks to look beyond Chapman and Black, and present a new analysis of how the British man developed into the British Cold War Hero represented by the James Bond films.