Popular Culture and Punishment, 1700-1900 (HIST*3130) | College of Arts

Popular Culture and Punishment, 1700-1900 (HIST*3130)

Code and section: HIST*3130*01

Term: Fall 2023


Method of Delivery

Hybrid (one 70 min. in-person lecture and one 70-min. online class discussion).

Course Synopsis

The histories of the great late-nineteenth century transformations in the social control institutions of Western industrial societies include certain key features. These are the increasing state involvement, the identification and differentiation of the accused who were segregated into separate institutions for their punishment or cure and the emergence of a separate body of experts for investigating and treating them. The purpose of this course is to examine the changing nature of social control and criminal justice in Britain from approximately 1700 to the early twentieth century. The central criminal court for the City of London was the Old Bailey. By focusing on the criminal trial records from the Old Bailey, this course will permit students to: observe various modes of prosecution in action. Lectures, written work and on-line discussion seminars will examine the rise of criminal justice professions; courtroom and trial processes, the operation of British common law, jurisprudence, the social control of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and social class, and the historical construction of the perpetrators and victims of violent crime, fraud, dueling, theft, sex crime, street disorder and juvenile delinquency.

All required and recommended course readings are available on CourseLink

Learning Outcomes

  1. demonstrate comprehension of evidence-based scholarship based on largely written activities and individual research
  2. read academic journal articles and primary historical documents from real crime trials from an online database.
  3. analyse critical issues in the criminal justice system today by projecting from the historical construction of punishment from a Human Rights perspective and understanding.
  4. develop on-line dialogue discussion skills in their seminar groups.
  5. develop skills related to the wider principles of academic integrity to which the scholarly community subscribes. You will develop respect for the point of view of peers and collaboration and effective interaction with instructors. You will learn that the practice of history is bound by methods and approaches that model best practices in reading, writing and reasoning.

Course Assessment Item Weight 

  • Case Study #1 - 20% 
  • Case Study #2 - 20% 
  • Online CourseLink Discussions - 30% 
  • Take-home Final Exam - 30% 

*Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.