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Course Description

Front of Old Bailey building in London, England

The course will survey the social, political and intellectual influences upon the leisure activities of Europeans and Americans in the period with special reference to institutions such as the prison, the asylum, the reformatory and the regulation of popular culture and leisure activities. Witchcraft and the witch-hunt will be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • identify the social, cultural, political, and economic forces which shaped the 18th and 19th century criminal justice system;
  • differentiate between types of crime and criminals in order to arrive at a fuller understanding of the scope of criminal activity and responses to criminality prior to the 20th century;
  • make the links between 18th and 19th century developments and the structure and aims of the modern criminal justice system;
  • develop case studies which combine historical analysis with the methods and approaches of other disciplines, including criminal studies and sociology;
  • analyse and assess a variety of mediums, from online databases through to academic text, documentary film, and imagery;
  • utilise existing knowledge and technical literacy to appreciate the sources and tools available to historians.

Course Topics

  • Courts and Criminal Justice in Britain
  • The Spaces of Punishment: The Scaffold
  • The Spaces of Punishment: Prisons and Transportation
  • The Public Sphere of Crime
  • Crime in the Home: Infanticide & Domestic Abuse
  • Gendering Crime
  • Crime in the City: Beggars, Vagrants, and Hawkers
  • Pickpockets, Shoplifters, and the Problem of Class
  • Young Criminals: Juvenile Delinquents & Youth Gangs
  • Grave Robbers, Corpses, & Anatomists: The Trial of Burke & Hare
  • Sensational Crime in the Victorian Era: The Crimes of Jack the Ripper
  • The Legacy of the 18th and 19th Centuries: Policing Modern Society

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): 7.50 credits including (HIST*1010 or SOC*1500)


Assessment Item Weight
Case Study 1 20%
Case Study 2 20%
Unit Discussions 10%
Virtual Notebook (10 x 1.5%) 15%
Take-Home Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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