EL6057 - Thieves, Harlots, Pirates, Murderers: Criminal Lives in the Long Eighteenth Century

What will I learn on this module?

The eighteenth century is often considered the ‘age of politeness’, a new enlightened age of material wealth, refinement, global trade and luxury, urban order and civility, and polished manners. However, the major changes that brought such refinement and wealth to British society also brought with them disruption, poverty, violence, and crime and a period of adjustment to modern commercial realities and pressures. This module will introduce students to eighteenth-century Britain’s underbelly of crime, through the lives of criminals who, reviled and celebrated in news, popular culture, and literature, were always the focus of public fasincation.

On this module, we will use a variety of media, including criminal biographies, novels, plays, poems, newspaper reports, pamphlets, legal records, art and visual culture, and film/TV adaptations, in order to explore the social, political, and cultural meanings encoded in the lives of criminals in eighteenth-century Britain and the countries to which its global trade reached. We will consider the ways in which criminal figures were represented and continue to be represented today, as well as the implications of these representations in terms of ideas about crime, social class, gender, regional and national identity, race, and culture.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be taught through 12 weeks of lectures and workshops. Each week you will normally have a one-hour lecture introducing you to a text/topic, followed by a two-hour workshop during which your will take part in discussion and activities relating to this text/topic.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Students will be provided with a module reader at the beginning of the semester containing details of readings to cover and questions to consider each week. These questions will form the basis of class discussion, providing students with a clear outline of what to expect in each class throughout the semester. Students will bring their reader to class each week, making notes and responses, on which they can draw in their assignments.

The module tutor will discuss the two forms of module assessment in class, providing class-based practice of the ideas that underpin each assignment, and meeting with students on a one-to-one basis to give feedback on their essay plan before they write and submit their final essay.

The module handbook provides details of weekly seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria. The module tutor will be available in each class, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Knowledge about representations of crime, criminals, and punishment in the context of Britain’s economic, social, and urban changes over the long eighteenth century
2. Understanding of ways that narratives of and theories about crime and criminals could reinforce and challenge dominant ideas about power, religion, gender, race, and social class

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Transferrable skills including the ability to: critically evaluate historial and literary sources; research and persuasively present arguments in different formats; engage in self-managed research

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Curiosity about the recording and representation of different kinds of crime and criminals and awareness of the ethical dimensions of crime narrative
5. Global cultural awareness of crime in relation to eighteenth-century global trade, empire, and slavery

How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Powerpoint presentation (8-12 slides) + 1000 word script (40%) (MLOs 1, 3, 5)

Component 2: 3000 word essay (60%) (MLOs 1-5)

Feedback will be provided via the VLE, with notes on the essay and summary comments, which can be supplemented by discussion in person during feedback and consultation hours.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

The eighteenth century is often considered the ‘age of politeness’, a new enlightened age of material wealth, refinement, global trade and luxury, urban order and civility, and polished manners. However, the major changes that brought such refinement and wealth to British society also brought with them disruption, poverty, violence, and crime and a period of adjustment to modern commercial realities and pressures. This module will introduce students to eighteenth-century Britain’s underbelly of crime, through the lives of criminals who, reviled and celebrated in news, popular culture, and literature, were always the focus of public fasincation.

On this module, we will use a variety of media, including criminal biographies, novels, plays, poems, newspaper reports, pamphlets, legal records, art and visual culture, and film/TV adaptations, in order to explore the social, political, and cultural meanings encoded in the lives of criminals in eighteenth-century Britain and the countries to which its global trade reached. We will consider the ways in which criminal figures were represented and continue to be represented today, as well as the implications of these representations in terms of ideas about crime, gender, national identity, and culture.

Course info

UCAS Code PQ53

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2022 or September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.

 

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