The Rise of Democracy in Britain, 1838-1918
There are many sides to the history of Britain. Rather than focusing on monarchs and military leaders, this wide-ranging course examines significant episodes in modern British history when ‘ordinary’ men and women challenged what they perceived to be severe political and socio-economic injustices. Covering the period when Britain became a democratic, global superpower, students will explore key developments, such as the expansion of the franchise and the rise of the Labour Party, while also engaging with wider debates about the nature of political and ideological change.
The 1867 Reform Act
The Socialist Revival
The Rise of Labour
The Great Industrial Unrest
The First World War - I
The First World War - II
Matthew Kidd is an early career researcher whose research focuses on issues of class, identity and ideology in modern Britain. He has published articles and book chapters on wartime socialism and the conceptual framework of labourist ideology, and his first book, The renewal of radicalism: politics, identity and ideology in England, 1867-1924, was published in 2020 by Manchester University Press. Matthew currently works at the University of Oxford where he co-ordinates the follow-up to the award-winning ‘Lest We Forget’ digital archive project.
This course aims to explore the key political and intellectual developments of the Victorian, Edwardian and post-Edwardian periods, with a special focus on how ‘ordinary’ people analysed and attempted to redress the political and socio-economic problems of their day.
All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.
By the end of this course, students will be expected to understand:
- The key social, political and intellectual changes and continuities that shaped British history between 1838 and 1918
- Why and how Britain emerged as a democratic nation
- The importance of socio-economic factors in influencing political change
- The key historiographical debates about these developments
Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.
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