Time: 19:30 - 21:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HBH68
Duration: 6 sessions (over 7 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
We will focus on gender identities, with reference primarily to concepts of femininity, but also to masculinity, and how they were constructed as binary opposites in the Victorian era. We will explore some of the most fascinating themes relating to women’s history in the period, including the issue of marriage, family and divorce; education; concepts of madness and dangerous sexualities; women’s roles in political protests; and the roles that British women played as the ‘social reformers’ of the British Empire.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Week 1: ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ Spheres & women’s work in the industrial era
Week 2: Gender relations: family, marriage status and divorce
Week 3: Women & education
Week 4: Mad and Dangerous? Women, medicine & mental health
Week 5: Women social reformers: prostitution and the case of the Contagious Diseases Acts
Week 6: A Civilising Mission? Women, social reform and the British Empire.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Explain the concepts of the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres
• Assess women’s familial roles and the impact of the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act
• Evaluate how women were portrayed in medical discourse and asylum literature with reference to concepts of biology, madness and ‘hysteria’
• Assess how women were educated in the 1800s
• Explain the controversy surrounding the Contagious Diseases Act and Josephine Butler’s work as social reformer
• Explain the role of women social reformers in the wider context of the British Empire.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
While it would be an advantage to have some general knowledge of the Victorian era, this is an introductory course and no prior knowledge of the topic is required. A willingness to engage with the topic and contribute to discussions is all that is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught via interactive lectures, class discussions and debates. A Google Classroom will be available with optional book reading and articles if you wish to further your knowledge. Further reading is encouraged but is not mandatory.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please bring a pen and notepad to class if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other courses in British history. Please see the City Lit website.