Module Catalogue 2021/22

HIS2095 : Social Histories of Alcohol: Britain and Ireland, 1700 - Present

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Annie Tindley
  • Lecturer: Dr Luc Racaut, Dr Shane McCorristine, Dr Clare Hickman, Ms Jennifer Kain
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aims of this module are two-fold:

1. To introduce and immerse the students in critical reflection around the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of alcohol and drinking in Britain, Ireland and the British colonial context from the eighteenth century to the present. There is an extensive if somewhat fractured literature on these themes, and material from cognate disciplines (geography; sociology; criminology; medical humanities) will be included.

2. To support the students to better identify then develop their skills, including those traditionally associated with History teaching (independent research and study; critical and reflective thinking; information literacy; written expression), and broader skills associated with employability (oral and personal presentation; team work; managing different audiences; entrepreneurialism).

Both aims are addressed in the teaching content and methods and in the assessment types. The module also aims to support the wider progression of the students and what is expected from them at Stage 2, building on their foundational Stage 1 year and preparing them for Stage 3.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will be co-taught and led by two nineteenth century historians.

The module will take a thematic (rather than chronological) approach to ‘drinking histories’, with a broad syllabus including:

Alcohol and the city;
The rise of connoisseurship in the c21st (case study: whisky politics);
Alcohol and travel
Combatting alcohol – temperance, prohibition, alternatives
Drinking and class – alcohol as a regulator of power
Alcohol and the industrial revolution – from artisan to mass production: the economic and business history of alcohol production (case studies: Stu Brew + Scottish & Newcastle; Wylam);
Drinking and crime;
Gender and alcohol;
Alcohol and creativity – literature, poetry, the creative arts;
Drinking and alcohol in the imperial context;
Alcoholism – from nuisance to disease: the evolution of its treatment.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

1. That students should be able to use multiple types of sources and media to understand the complexities of British and Irish society’s interaction with alcohol in the modern period including government records, fiction and poetry, art, business records, newspapers, film and TV.

2. That students should be able to critically understand and address the work of historians, sociologists, criminologists, and other related disciplines of alcohol and drinking cultures and the aristocracy and the key secondary debates in the field.

3. That students should be able to understand the key patterns of social, economic, cultural and political aspects of alcohol and drinking in Britain, Ireland and the British empire. This will include a sense of the history of alcohol production business and entrepreneurialism into the present day. That students should be able to think critically about the contemporary issues and legacies presented by alcohol.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Overall this module aims to ensure a defined progression for students from Stage 1 to Stage 2 and to prepare them for Stage 3. This is driven primarily to defined work on key skills (outlined below), as well as the content and approaches taken in the teaching and independent study elements of the module described above.

Practical skills

•       to use and critically evaluate primary sources
•       to identify and retrieve information from a wide variety of sources
•       to construct a reasoned defence of an interpretation of an event or aspect of society in the past
•       to work in small teams to produce assessed work, written and verbal/presentational

Key skills

•       to achieve effective oral and written communication
•       to show initiative, self-discipline and self-direction in learning
•       to improve performance through reflection, self-assessment and using feedback from the tutor effectively
•       to respond flexibly to a wide range of challenges

Cognitive (thinking) skills

•       To critically evaluate, analyse and discuss a wide range of source materials.
•       To construct extended written and oral arguments supported by relevant historical evidence.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion731:0073:00Preparation time for two assessment components (split as needed: poster presentation front-loaded)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures of one hour duration, 1 per week: PiP
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Online recorded lectures, non synchronous. Count towards contact hours.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PiP seminars: 1 hour per week
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities222:0044:002 hours per week of directed seminar preparation activities
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study501:0050:00General consolidation activities
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

As a Stage 2 module, aside from an in-depth understanding of the content of the module, the teaching methods, which focus on small group work, presentational and oral skills, team work, lecture delivery and independent research and writing, relate to the core learning outcomes of supporting students in developing sophisticated research skills across a wide range of sources, being able to synthesise the information they collect and form convincing and coherent arguments.

Independent learning is essential to this module: students are expected to develop skills of source evaluation, critical reading and note-taking in an independent and effective manner. Seminar teaching complements these skills by allowing students the opportunity to share and debate information gathered independently. In addition, students will be required to work in small teams to deliver a poster and oral presentation, enhancing their team-working experience and skills. Oral skills of argument and presentation will be developed. Moreover, a significant part of seminar teaching will test the development of primary source analysis and problem solving.

Small group teaching will allow the students to explore ideas and patterns together in a structured way, and great emphasis will be placed on primary sources and their interpretation. This will be assisted by an organised visit to Newcastle University Special Collections.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A753000 word research essay
Poster2M25Group poster presentation within seminars: text on poster to be no longer than 250-300 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module (1) supports and assesses student progression at Stage 2 and (2) endeavours to support their skills development, including academic and employability.

The group work element requires students to work as part of a team, set their own deadlines and goals, allocate work together and then present it. Organisational and time management skills are to the fore here. The research essay emphasises independent thinking and learning (supported by the Module Team), research literacy and finding skills, writing and structuring skills and working to deadlines.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module (i.e. the group presentation and poster) forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

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

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the option 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 domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should submit their essays through Canvas.
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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.