Hidden Histories: Class, Race and Gender in Britain, c. 1640s-Present
Undergraduate: Level 4
Sunday 15 January 2023
Friday 24 March 2023
12 May 2022
Requisites for this module
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.
To help students to understand:
1. Arguments about the relationship between history-writing and power;
2. The shaping role of class, “race”, and gender in modern British history;
3. The history of radical ideas and practices in Britain, and how they have been modified and transformed in different contexts;
4. Some of the sources of evidence, and ways of reading them, that allow historians to access the history of marginalised groups;
5. Some of the ways in which the history of modern Britain has been profoundly shaped by the struggles and creativity of ordinary people.
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.
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).
Handley, S., McWilliam, R. and Noakes, L. (eds) (2018) New directions in social and cultural history
. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=1663966
Samuel, R. (2012) Theatres of memory: past and present in contemporary culture. New ed. London: Verso.
Thompson, E.P. (2013) The making of the English working class. London: Penguin Books.
Braddick, M. (2008) God’s Fury, England's Fire. London: Penguin Books.
Royle, E. (2000) Revolutionary Britannia?: reflections on the threat of revolution in Britain, 1789-1848. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Thompson, D. (1971) The early Chartists. London: Macmillan.
Judith R. Walkowitz and Daniel J. Walkowitz (1973) ‘“We Are Not Beasts of the Field”: Prostitution and the Poor in Plymouth and Southampton under the Contagious Diseases Acts’, Feminist Studies
, 1, pp. 73–106. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1566481?seq=1
Jump, H.D. (1999) Women’s Writing of the Victorian Period, 1837-1901
. New York: Palgrave USA. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781474469661
Vernon, J. (2017) Modern Britain, 1750 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Priestley, J.B. (2018) English Journey. Bradford: Great Northern.
Mass-Observation - Mass Observation Online - Adam Matthew Digital
(no date). Available at: https://www.massobservation.amdigital.co.uk/Documents/Details/Publication-Mass-Observation
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Formative primary source analysis (500 words)
||Primary source analysis (1000 words)
||Essay (2000 words)
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.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Lucy Noakes, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Belinda Waterman, Department of History, 01206 872313
No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 29 (96.7%) 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.
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.