Life among the Victorians: Researching and Writing 19th century British History
Area of Study
British Studies, History
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
OverviewCourse ContentThis module introduces students to life in Britain during a period of great reform, both interms of the relationship between government and the people and in the way peoplesaw themselves. We explore the transformation of a rural society into one concentratedin large towns and cities and the challenges this creates. We draw in issues of class,religion and poverty; changing attitudes to private and public lives; emergence of leisureas a commodity and consumerism as past-time; responses to new understandings ofdisease; debates about the role of women and changing ideas about family and children.Alongside these debates in social history, the module will investigate the politics of anera which saw a slow transition into a modern democracy, focusing on iconic figuressuch as Disraeli and Gladstone.Indicative content:* An age of reform: extending the franchise and the politics of reform, includingthe leading influencers of change such as Disraeli and Gladstone and movementssuch the Chartists.* The birth of party politics.* Technology and mobility, from the railways, the telegraph and telephone to themotor-car; 'What the Victorians did for us'.* Urbanisation and industrialisation: the relationship between these twin pillars ofVictorian society* The significance of the rise of the middle class: class and respectability inVictorian Britain.* The birth of ?Big Government?: poverty, public health crises and education for themasses; and of ?Big Society?: philanthropy, charity and relationship with changinginfluence of religion on people?s lives.* Changes in leisure and culture, from the introduction of mass spectator sports tothe birth of shopping as a leisure activity.* Women?s changing roles, their entrance into higher education, the workforce,and campaigns for the vote; and changing notions of the family.* Victorian Immigrant Populations: the search for the non-white British populationin 19th century Britain.* Crime and prostitution* The rise of science as an explanation for the unexplainable and the unexplainableand the popularisation of science.
Teaching: Lectures, workshops, seminars and field trips
TUDY OPTION 1: two 2,000 word essays.STUDY OPTION 2: a 2,000 word essaySTUDY OPTION 3: One 1500 word essay with accompanying 500 word source question.
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