HIH2229A - Culture, Class and Gender

2016/7 Module description

StaffMiss Sarah Jones - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description


This module presents a survey of the changing role of class and gender in British society between 1850 and 1979. You will start with a consideration of gender identities, and how these were shaped by political as well as demographic and regional factors. You’ll then move on to explore issues surrounding sex and health, and how considerations of the body have been influenced by class and gender concerns. The emergence of race, ethnic and national associations will be considered in the context of migration, immigration and nationalist movements during the twentieth century. Finally, you’ll look at popular and youth cultures, and examine the role age played in forming distinct cultural groups.

Module aims

British society has changed radically in the past century and a half.  Those forms of identity that were common in Victorian Britain are understood in very different ways today.  This module will enable you to develop research and interpretative skills while demanding that you can understand distinctive cultural forms and identities.  It also challenges you to consider primary as well as secondary materials in your reconstruction of how people came to see themselves as individual selves, as well as members of a group in a society that was increasingly influenced and even saturated by images from mass media and modern communications.  You will be expected to develop specialist interests and expertise within group work that will ask you to assess significant periods of history by collective effort.  Presentations and distributed materials prepared by you will provide a key resource for learning on the module.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of culture and the nature of cultural values in historic change over a significant period of history.
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates in class, gender, race and ethnic identities in a society that was itself changed by the impact of demography and migration as well as increasing secularization.
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and share the work of gathering information upon key aspects of the module that require group work as well as developing insights into topics set for discussion and coursework.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key developments of/in cultural values over significant periods.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources in an informed and reflexive way.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

Over its duration the module will explore such areas as:

  1. The Nature of Culture and History: Is there a distinctive ‘cultural history’ that can be clearly distinguished from social and political history?
  2. Gender, Politics, and Citizenship: What were the main obstacles to the emancipation of women? To what extent were gender politics and feminist politics able to cross class boundaries?
  3. Warfare, Masculinity and Gendered Identities: What impact did mass warfare have on notions of masculinity and male virility? What impact did it have on women and men as workers and consumers in British society?
  4. Sex, Class, and Power: How did experience of sex differ between classes? How have attempts to control working class sexuality shaped broader sexual attitudes?
  5. Health and the Body Politic: How and why has the state made provisions for physical health? How was the experience of disability influenced by class?
  6. Madness, Class, and Gender: How should we understand the history of state provision for mental health in the 20th century? How have debates about mental health been effected by class and gender concerns?
  7. The Imperial Gaze: Colonialism and Cultural Identities: How important were racist values in the promotion and preservation of the notion of Imperial Progress? What was the impact of immigration on British society and culture?
  8. Internal Colonialism and a Sense of Place: How should we characterize and describe ‘Englishness’ and ‘English patriotism’? How do regional differences affect national identities?
  9. Popular culture and the media: Is there such a thing as popular culture? In which ways did lifestyles and popular leisure in urban areas change? How should we summarise the impact of mass communications on popular culture?
  10. Youth Culture: What evidence is there that a new and distinctive youth culture emerged in Britain after 1950?

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lectures (22 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Guided independent study22Web-based activities located on ELE - preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study234Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan 500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 303000 words1-12Verbal and written
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-12Written
Group presentation2025 minutes1-12Verbal and written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3000 words)1-12Referral/deferral period
ExamExam (2 questions in 2 hours)1-12Referral/deferral period
Group presentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Addison, Paul, and Harriet Jones, (eds.). A Companion to Contemporary Britain, 1939–2000 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005).

Bayly, Christopher. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).

Davidoff, L. & Hall, C. Family Fortunes. Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (London, 1987)

Dewey, Peter. War and Progress: Britain, 1914-1945 (London: Longman, 1997).

Haggett, Ali.Desperate Housewives, Neuroses and the Domestic Environment, 1945-1970 (Pickering & Chatto, 2012).

Harris, Jose. Private Lives, Public Spirit: Britain, 1870-1914 (London: Penguin, 1994).

Joannou, Maroula. The Women’s Suffrage Movement: New Feminist Perspectives (Manchester University Press, 1998).

McKibbin, Ross. The Ideologies of Class. Social Relations in Britain, 1880-1950 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).

Mort, Frank. Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England since 1830 (Routledge,2000)

Porter, Roy. Madness: A Brief History (Oxford University Press, 2002).

Royle, Edward. Modern Britain: A Social History 1750-1985, (London: Arnold, 1987).

Szreter, Simon. Fertility, Class and Gender in Britain, 1860-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

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Key words search

Culture, Class, Gender, Citizenship, Politics, Social History

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