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Courses

ENGL6134 Approaches to the Long Eighteenth Century

Module Overview

The core course for the MA, convened on a multidisciplinary basis, and taught by all those contributing to the MA in a given year, will introduce students to the key theoretical, historiographical and conceptual debates surrounding the study of the long eighteenth century. It will emphasise the gender issues which have been central to the revision of scholarship on the period over the last quarter century.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- broaden your knowledge of key theoretical, historiographical and conceptual debates in the study of the long eighteenth century; - stimulate your awareness of the range of cross-disciplinary approaches from history, history of art and design and literature to eighteenth century studies; - deepen your understanding of the centrality of questions of gender to recent scholarship in eighteenth century studies; - develop the diverse skills needed to work across disciplines in the period.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Current key debates in eighteenth century studies
  • Specific issues raised about gender across literary, historical and history of art and design disciplines
  • How questions of sexuality and gender changed across the long eighteenth century
  • What is common and what is specific to the approach of different disciplines to the study of gender and culture in the eighteenth century
  • How to research develop an appropriate interdisciplinary topic in the period using archival sources
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and analyse the shifting historical frameworks through which gender is understood across the period
  • critically evaluate both primary source materials and arguments in secondary texts
  • synthesize and integrate the analysis of primary sources and secondary texts in a coherent written argument
  • conceptualize historical and cultural issues in new ways as a result of interdisciplinary work
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and outline the main debates in a given field
  • draw upon a range of relevant primary and secondary sources to explore specific historical questions
  • develop ideas in concert with others in the context of discussion and debate
  • communicate a coherent and convincing argument at length in written form
  • demonstrate the capacity for self-directed problem-solving and independent work with a strict time-frame
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify lines of enquiry about gender and cultural change common to historical and literary disciplines
  • apply appropriate critical and historical approaches to diverse cultural forms
  • describe and evaluate the state of research and scholarship on gender and culture in cross-disciplinary perspective
  • identify and develop a topic for further research which might form the basis of an MA dissertation

Syllabus

The core course for the MA, convened on a multidisciplinary basis, and taught by all those contributing to the MA in a given year, will introduce students to the key theoretical, historiographical and conceptual debates surrounding the study of the long eighteenth century. It will emphasise the gender issues which have been central to the revision of scholarship on the period over the last quarter century. The course looks at how gender inflects such terms as ‘luxury’, ‘progress’, and ‘public’ and ‘private’, by which contemporaries attempted to explain social and cultural changes. Indicative topics through which these issues will be addressed include: the body; consumption; education social disorder; sensibility; sexuality; print culture; portraiture; the rise of the novel; cultural production and authorship; dress and material culture; recent perspectives in gender and history. These topics are studied mainly in Britain, but with some comparative dimension to their treatment in Europe and in America. The course will use primary materials from the period, i.e. literary texts, periodical literature, legal documents, fine art and popular visual images, artefacts etc. in relation to a wide range of secondary critical and historical texts drawn from literary criticism and history, history, the history of art, the law and political economy. The course examines how far separate disciplines have been involved in a common debate about gender and cultural change, and how far they have developed specialised accounts of such change. The course will explicitly raise questions about the problems and possibilities of interdisciplinarity in Literature, History and the History of Art and Material Culture, and the conceptual and methodological issues involved in interdisciplinary study. An introductory session on the historiography of the period will be followed by sessions on topics such as Portraiture; the Body; Sensibility; Gender/Class/Ethnicity; Print Culture. In the two final weeks of the course we will synthesize and review the work covered.

Special Features

Seminars will introduce you to key issues in eighteenth century studies within and across different disciplines. Each topic will provide a forum for discussing a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the period. You will develop interpersonal skills in class discussion and oral presentation will develop your communication skills. Training in using archival materials and primary sources together with secondary reading designed to focus on the different use of historical evidence by different disciplines will develop your understanding of the interdisciplinary field of eighteenth century studies and your skills at integrating knowledge from different sources. Work on individual topics and themes will encourage you to develop your own questions and research topics. Essays will test your ability to bring these skills together in a coherently argued and properly documented form.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • supervised visits to libraries and museums to work with primary material. (Chawton House Library, V &A); • seminars involving both tutor and student led discussion; • use of internet and other electronic resources on the long eighteenth century Learning activities include • participation in general discussion of themes drawn from weekly reading; • oral seminar presentation; • independent reading and research; • development of archival skills; • development of techniques and conventions of visual analysis.

TypeHours
Follow-up work76
Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Seminar24
Completion of assessment task100
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Paula McDowell (1998). The Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace, 1678-1730. 

Aileen Riberio (2002). Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe. 

Michel Foucault (1991). Discipline and Punish. 

V.A.C. Gatrell. The Hanging Tree: Execution and the English People 1770-1868. 

John Brewer (1997). Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century. 

Ellis Markman (1996). The Politics of Sensibility: Race, Gender and Commerce in the Sentimental Novel. 

Ruth Richardson (1989). Death, Dissection and the Destitute. 

Amanda Vickery (1998). The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England. 

Janet Todd (1987). Sensibility: An Introduction. 

Hannah Barker and Elaine Chalus eds. (1997). Gender in Eighteenth Century England. 

David H. Solkin (1993). Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England. 

Norma Clarke (2000). Dr. Johnson’s Women. 

Margaret J.M. Ezell (1999). Social Authorship and the Advent of Print. 

Linda Baumgarten (2002). What Clothes Reveal. 

Margaret J.M. Ezell (1993). Writing Women’s Literary History. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

There will be no non-contributory assessments in this module, but classroom activities and individual discussions, should help you to judge how you are progressing in the module.

Formative

Presentation

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Critical commentary  (2000 words) 30%
Essay  (5000 words) 70%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

Costs

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:

Other

Costs for this module will not exceed £40.

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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