HIST314 - Victorian Britain: Spaces, Places, and Pests

In this course, we will examine the nooks and crannies of Victorian society. It was a period of squalor, but also innovation, devastating diseases, and crucial advances in public health and medical science. Its cities featured depressing slums and lurid crimes, but also new kinds of spectacles, entertainments, and commodities. It was, in many ways, as one of its greatest authors wrote, "the best of times, and the worst of times." Units under study will include "The Docks," "The Germs," "The Empire," "The Church," and "the Museum." We'll investigate killer diseases like cholera and typhus, dazzling buildings like the Crystal Palace, imperial wars and crises, and new scientific movements like Darwinism and mesmerism. Along the way, we will encounter proper and eminent Victorians as well as scandalous and marginalized ones. The aim will be to understand Victorian mentalities and ideas by looking at a diverse array of institutions and inventions. Readings will include novels, stories, pamphlets, essays, and cartoons as well as secondary literature. Classes will be a mixture of lecture and discussion, and no previous experience in British history is necessary.
Day and Time: 
TR 0300PM-0430PM


Cross Listings: 
    • Major Concentrations: European
    • Major/Minor requirements fulfilled: Europe