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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2103 Later Victorian England: Politics, Society and Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 45

Module manager: Katherine Rawling

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

HIST2101: Victorian England: Aristocracy and Democracy

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module studies the workings of politics, society and culture during the high Victorian age (1867-1901), a period in which there was both remarkable change and continuity. In many ways, life in the England of 1900 was unrecognisable compared to 1850; more citizens could vote than ever before; the British empire had expanded and shifted; government was no longer the exclusive preserve of the traditional aristocracy; and the state intervened in and affected ordinary people’s lives in new and fundamental ways. Crucial changes in areas of life like education, work, leisure, and health had altered people’s daily experiences, ideals and expectations. But as well as being a period of significant change, in some areas of life continuity prevailed. In comparison to its global counterparts, politically England (and Britain) appeared relatively stable; wealth and power was still distributed amongst the very few and traditional deference and hierarchies continued to influence social and cultural experiences and interactions. By examining prominent events and features of the period, students will examine and reflect on these processes of continuity and change and consider the politics, society and culture of late Victorian England.Content note: this module engages with a range of issues relating to the social, political, ideological and cultural history of Victorian England and the identities, experiences, beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes of people in the past. To discuss these themes effectively it is necessary for us to read/look at/discuss material which covers some topics which may be challenging for you. These sensitive topics include sexism, homophobia, and misogyny; classism; racism and xenophobia; religious intolerance; death and dying including infant mortality; medical treatments and procedures; pornography and 'indecency'. We will, of course, endeavour to treat these sensitively in class, but if you know that it will be unsettling for you to encounter this content then please make teaching staff aware of this so that we can identify the best way to support you through this part of the module.


The aim of this module is to introduce students to key aspects of the political, social, and cultural history of later Victorian England (1867-1901) to enable them to understand the major themes and trends relating to life in England in the second half of the nineteenth century. Through the study of prominent events and features of the period, students will examine and reflect on processes of continuity and change and consider the relationship between various groups and interests both at home and between England and the wider world.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Articulate and evaluate the major themes and trends in the political, cultural, and social history of later Victorian England.

2. Reflect on the relationship between political, cultural, and social change in later Victorian society.

3. Understand the interplay between internal and external factors in the political, cultural, and social life of later Victorian England.

4. Understand the problems of continuity and change over time.

5. Interpret, analyse and contextualise written and visual primary sources.

6. Demonstrate the ability to apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work.


Indicative topics may include:

The decline of aristocratic government; imperialism; political and franchise reform; working class cultures and politics; education; poverty and social reform; gender politics; consumerism and consumption; work and leisure; and science, medicine and technology.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Researching, preparing and writing assessments (100 hours); undertaking set reading for seminars and lectures (55 hours); self-directed reading around the topic (20 hours), reflecting on feedback (5 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive feedback after each of their source analyses; formative feedback also available via seminar discussions and office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words.60.00
Source Analysis2 x 1000 words source analyses (20% per assignment)40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:15:05


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