This module introduces students to the study of key topics in the culture and society of Britain in the period c.1760 – 1901. The period spanned by this module incorporates what has been called the ‘long nineteenth century’, extending from c.1789 – 1901. These topics illuminate larger social and cultural themes and problems, through a close engagement with a variety of primary materials examined in seminars, and supported by linked lectures.
This module gives students a knowledge of certain key themes in social and cultural history in this period, either because of their historical importance in themselves, or because they are designed to act as entry points into British society and culture in this period. For example, the lecture and seminar on capital punishment offers a way of accessing debates about crime and punishment, but also involves consideration about theology, about pain, and about popular literature.
The topics selected are by no means exhaustive, and will vary from year to year. Each week students examine primary sources such as pamphlets, books and visual material, to gain a critical awareness and understanding of aspects of British culture and society in this period which may include the duel, capital punishment, mourning cultures, Sunday Schools, culinary cultures, race and xenophobia. One of the most innovative elements of this module is the mini-exhibition and poster session organised by students each year that showcases different elements of Victorian society and culture.