Fall 2015 - HIST 415 D100

Victorian Britain (4)

Class Number: 6713

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Tue, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2015
    Sun, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: one or more of HIST 224, 315, 316.



A study of major developments and controversies -- social, cultural, political, religious, economic -- during the period of the rise of industrial and class society.


This discussion-based seminar course will explore the economic, social, political, and cultural threads present in Scottish History during the Victorian period, and beyond. This period saw Great Britain emerge as a leading global industrial and imperial power. Scotland, however, transformed from an underdeveloped rural backwater into an industrial powerhouse more rapidly than the rest of Great Britain and as a result urban centres such as Glasgow—“the second city of Empire,”—experienced some of the worst effects of rapid urbanisation that accompanied the rise of industry from the creation of slums, crime, prostitution, and ill-health. Meanwhile, wealth flooded the cities for select groups of people made rich through industry and participation in the British Empire. Scotland also de-industrialised faster, which led to particularly Scottish advancements in social, political, and labour movements in the twentieth century, which had their origins in the nineteenth century. In particular, was Scottish criticism of the country’s constitutional relationship to England, which has had a lasting impact.

By examining the Victorian Scottish experience in its broader historical and temporal contexts, students of History 415 will be able to test and challenge commonly held assumptions about the history of the period. Students will examine the historical debates concerning the social and cultural consequences of rapid social, political, and economic shifts present in the Victorian period and the particular responses of Scottish people.

Format:   The class meets once per week, where we will examine a weekly historical problem related to the course. Participants will write two short essays examining two key themes in the course and will write a research-based essay of their choosing.


  • Grading - subject to change
  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Short weekly response/discussion papers 20%
  • Short historiographical papers 20%
  • Research Essay draft 10%
  • Research Essay 30%



Trevor Griffiths and Graeme Morton. A History of Everyday Life in Scotland, 1800-1900. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Linda Mahood. Policing gender, Class, and Family: Britain, 1850-1940. London, Taylor and Francis, 1995.

Additional readings will be made available online


Lynn Abrams and Callum Brown. A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

Registrar Notes:

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