Fall 2022 - HIST 415 D100

Victorian Britain (4)

Class Number: 4536

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 2104, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: one or more of HIST 224, 314, 315.



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


The Victorian era (roughly the 1830s-1900) saw the rise of Britain as the world's leading industrial and imperial power. This seminar examines the social, political, and cultural history of Britain during this crucial era. Our themes and topics are wide-ranging. We will talk about capitalism, the industrial city, and factory work; the building of workhouses and what the workhouse system reveals about ideologies of class and gender; the transformation of rural society in an age of machines; the social effects of steam power and gas lighting; the cultural challenge presented by new science, especially Darwin and his precursors; and how the British empire re-made daily life, identities, and attitudes in Britain. We also will consider how political movements challenged the ruling order at several key flash points, including the Chartist working class movement of the 1830s-1840s, the women's suffrage movement, and the campaign for Irish home rule that polarized British politics in the last decades of the century.


  • Attendance and Participation 20%
  • Short reading responses and discussion questions (x4) 25%
  • Short essay: Reflecting Victorian Britain (a 4-5 page essay in which students use published academic history to critically “read” a recent cultural work that depicts Victorian Britain – could be a film, TV series, a song or an album, a novel, a video game, etc.) 15%
  • Long essay: Historiography (12-15 pages exploring a topic in depth based on how historians have approached it) 40%



All readings and other study materials will be available via CANVAS.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html