Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

ECON1015 Topics in Economic History

Module Overview

The module is a history module taught by the Economics department. It provides an interdisciplinary and non-mathematical approach to the study of British economic development. Key economic concepts will be introduced, but no prior knowledge of economics is assumed. NOTE: This course is different to standard Economics courses. It does not use advanced economic models or statistical methods. It is similar to History modules. This is because it is taught alongside UOSM2036 which is open to non-Economics students. It does not cover modern Economic History such as the Twentieth Century. The course will, like all history courses, require students to consider how historians deal with evidence. There is an optional field trip to Hampshire Record Office. Students will use historical databases as part of their online coursework. The course is taught alongside USOM2036. Students can choose to work with UOSM2036 students if they wish. This module should not be available to Economics students in 2nd, 3rd or 4th year undergraduate study. Hence ECON2003 is an anti-requisite. UOSM2036 and ECON1015 are a barred combination.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module aims to introduce students to the study of economic history. It assumes no prior knowledge of economics or mathematics. It is an interdisciplinary course which allows students to critically evaluate when, and if, standard economic models are appropriate for understanding historical events. Key topics include slavery; historical statistics and Malthusianism.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of key ideas in the history of economic thought
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key debates in economic history
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how economic history is linked to social history
  • Use practical archival skills including document handling
  • Use historical databases effectively
  • Critically evaluate academic texts on economic history


Introduction to the module Essay writing Archival training Economic models: the Black Death Whig History Enclosure Slavery Copperopolis Women's Economic History Early Poor Relief Cottage Industries and Factories Unions Cottonopolis Revision

Special Features

A optional field trip to a Record Office in Hampshire. Students can decide to opt out of this and instead write an individual essay. Students make their own way to the Record Office and can leave when they wish to. Students who have issues with mobility will be able to follow alternative routes around the site. The Record Office is easily accessible. The optional fieldtrip to the Record Office requires students to organise their own travel. There is a free bus between Highfield and the Winchester School of Art. There is no fee to enter the Record Office or to obtain a CARN card for repeated visits. There is no fee for simply making notes by hand. If students wish to photography or photocopy materials, the Record Office does charge. Optional fees: A fee of £12.50 for a day's photography permit. All the information about optional charges is on the Record Office website. Visit to Special Collections in the Hartley Library. This is accessible to all students as there is a lift. This module is taught alongside UOSM2036 and students from ECON1015 may do a joint project with UOSM students if they wish.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

There will be 24 lectures. There are no seminars. Students will be able to access a range of online resources including videos and training materials. They will be able to attend an archival skills training session. There will be an optional self-guided trip to a Record Office (the students can choose when to visit). Students will be able to choose whether to work individually or whether to work in a group (for some components). If students visit the Record Office, they will follow a structured programme of activities which they can do in their own time. This may be done individually or as part of a group. If students do not wish to go to the Record Office, they must submit an essay of 2000 words on a set economic history question. Any group work set may be done as an individual piece. Groups may be composed of students from both ECON1015 and UOSM2036.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The Limits of Quantitative Methods in History. American Historical Review. ,80 , pp. 329-350.

The Cambridge World History of Slavery, vol. 3 A.D. 1420-1804. 

British Capitalism and Caribbean slavery: the legacy of Eric Williams. 

Legacies of British slave-ownership.

Old Bailey Online.

Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain. 

Extending the Frontiers: Essays on the New Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. 

Whigs and Hunters: the origin of the Black Act. 

The Industrial Revolution. 

Freedom Burning: Anti-Slavery and Empire in Victorian Britain. 

Albion’s People: English society, 1714-1815. 

Discovery catalogue of the National Archives.

The making of the English working class. 

Capitalism and Slavery (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press) plus various editions.. 

Transatlantic Slaving Database.

Albion’s Fatal Tree: crime and society in eighteenth-century England. 


BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’.



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 75%
Field trip 15%
Multiple choice Test 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Students are not required to purchase any core texts and may use the library’s resources to find readings. There are optional textbooks which some students may wish to purchase.

Fieldwork: logistical costs

Optional Field trip to Hampshire Record Office in Winchester Travel to Hampshire Record Office. There is a free bus service between the Highfield Campus and WSA. There are also buses and trains between Southampton and Winchester.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.