Study Abroad and Exchanges



HIS3278 : England, 1714-1820: The Birth of a Consumer Society (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module is an opportunity to gain a long-term perspective on how Britain became a modern consumer society by exploring the roots of the phenomenon in Georgian England. It will be of particular interest to students who are interested in engaging with a wide range of sources, from print culture to architecture and art history. It is taught largely via small-group seminars which build on a series of weekly themed topics, including:
- The Luxury Debates            
- Empire and Exoticism
- The Town: Politeness and Place
- The Street: Shopping and Palaces of Consumption
- The Home: Domesticity and Desire
- The Theatre, Opera and Assembly: Public Spaces and Leisure
- The Person: Dress, ‘Lifestyle’ and Identity

A number of key lectures by the module leader also introduce critical theories, and themes such as ‘The Country House and Architectural History’. There is also the opportunity to engage directly with the material culture of Georgian England via a field trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The main aim of the module is to provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the specialist subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it. Other aims are to:
•practise written communication skills (with the opportunity to gain individual feedback by writing an assessed essay and receiving a one-to-one tutorial);
•practise oral communication skills in seminars via small group working;
•practise a range of study skills via in-depth engagement with a variety of primary sources and interdisciplinary methodologies;
•develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Two lectures at the start of the module will introduce key concepts or theme in relation to the module outline, with weekly seminars building upon this introduction. The second half of each weekly seminar will be devoted to studying primary source material (in reprinted form). Some examples of topics that may be explored:
1. Introduction of historiography of consumption
2. Georgian England: social and economic context
3. Consumerism and the middle class household
4. The evolution of taste
5. Religion and morality: a critical framework
6. Production vs. consumption: the rise of manufacturing
7. Domestic and foreign markets: luxury goods
8. Women and consumption
9. The country house
10. Regional variations in patterns of consumption: the 'British problem'
11. Conclusion: a 'consumer revolution'?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The COMBINATION of fieldwork and seminars is designed to encourage an active and student-led approach to learning.

SEMINARS encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral presentation, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability. Preparation for seminars will require students to undertake a programme of private reading, requiring good time management and personal responsibility for learning. Within each seminar, groups of 3-4 students will undertake to prepare and present a talk from week 3, which will require efficient teamwork. The seminar presentation, and general discussion, will develop the oral communication skills of team members. Seminar preparation will require the student to read and analyse critically a wide range of literature.

Obligatory SEMINARS encourage participation and preperation, and are part of the formative experience of the module, even though they are not assessed. The preperation for seminar presentations will give students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the early modern period through private reading, as well as encourage teamwork in small groups.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1801A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25Essay/doc.commentary of 1,500 to 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) due Friday 12pm teaching wk 7 Sem 1.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure of time.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the alternative of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of other students on the module. In order to take up this option, students need to discuss it with the Study Abroad Co-ordinator and their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them. The Study Abroad Co-ordinator will have the final say on such issues.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will require the provision of an alternative assessment before the end of teaching week 12. The alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 1,500 word essays in addition to the other coursework assessment. The essays should be set so as to assure full coverage of the course content.

Study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists