Hidden Histories: Class, Race and Gender in Britain, c. 1640s-Present

The details
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
10 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Why do we grow up knowing some histories, and not others? The histories taught in schools and discussed in the public realm often tell us about the past experiences of dominant groups – and the fact that these histories are so prominent also tells us that those groups still hold power. Approaching the past from the perspective of those 'hidden from history', this module uncovers ideas and experiences often overlooked in traditional accounts of modern Britain. Hidden Histories begins in the revolutionary years of the mid-seventeenth century to examine how radicals questioned dominant ideas about democratic rights and property ownership.

It traces the influence of these radicals through to Chartism and Owenism, movements forged in the crucible of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century. These revolutionaries and radical movements highlighted power imbalances between men and women, in the family and the private sphere as well as in the public. As Britain reached the height of its imperial power, hierarchies of "race", class, and gender increasingly structured elite discourse. In exploring how the working class, women, and migrants created their own vibrant cultures, the module emphasises histories of protest, resistance, and liberation – and shows that these hidden histories are essential to understanding modern Britain.

Module aims

The aims of this module are to help students understand:

  • Arguments about the relationship between history-writing and power.

  • The shaping role of class, “race”, and gender in modern British history.

  • The history of radical ideas and practices in Britain, and how they have been modified and transformed in different contexts.

  • Some of the sources of evidence, and ways of reading them, allow historians to access the history of marginalised groups.

  • Some of the ways in which the history of modern Britain has been profoundly shaped by the struggles and creativity of ordinary people.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Students will have awareness of the importance of class, “race”, and gender in shaping the history of modern Britain.

  2. Students will be able to use more critically key concepts, including class, “race”, and gender, in modern British history.

  3. Students will have enhanced their abilities to critically examine primary sources.

  4. Students will have enhanced their abilities to engage critically with relevant historiographies, including social history and history from below.

  5. Students will be able to better present their findings orally in seminar discussions, and in writing as part of their assessment.

Module information

For introductory reading, see:

  • Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus (eds), Gender in Eighteenth-Century England: Roles, Representations and Responsibilities (London, 2016).

  • Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas in the English Revolution (London, 1972).

  • Julia Laite, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960 (Basingstoke, 2011).

  • Jonathan Moss, Women, Workplace Protest and Political Identity in England, 1968-85 (Manchester, 2021).

  • Ross McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England, 1918-1951 (Oxford, 1998).

  • Katrina Navickas, Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848 (Manchester, 2015).

  • Clair Wills, Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain (London, 2018).

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour seminar per week.
  • One 1-hour lecture per week.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Primary source analysis (1000 words)    35% 
Coursework   Essay (2000 words)    65% 
Coursework   Formative primary source analysis (500 words)    0% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Lucy Noakes, email:
History UG Administrators:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 33 hours, 32 (97%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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