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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : History of Christianity

Undergraduate Course: Children and the Church: Popular Education and Child Welfare in England and Scotland, 1800-1900 (ECHS10021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the relationship between the church and poor children in the nineteenth century, focusing particularly on education and care. It investigates the role Christians played in directing and influencing both popular opinion and legislation. The problems historians face when investigating the historical child are explored and students are encouraged to question the accessibility of children's voices in a variety of primary sources. Wherever possible this course seeks to uncover the voices of historical children and thereby provide a child-centred understanding of the church's role in shaping schooling and welfare.
Course description Academic Description:

Children have received growing attention from historians in recent years. The important contribution that children, and adult ideas about children, have made to society has been uncovered by historians working in the areas of economic, gender, and religious history. This course explores how attitudes towards children and childhood altered over the given period. It covers the major challenges historians face when studying children. The way that Christians shaped ideas about child welfare and society's duty towards the young is evaluated. Church responses to child suffering, whether through labour or neglect, are explored. It considers the extent to which the Calvinistic emphasis on original sin was replaced by Victorian notions of childhood innocence. The course assesses the impact and significance of Christian initiatives for the education of poor children, thus analysing the foundations of the modern education systems in England and Scotland. It draws attention to the class, gender, and religious conflicts that underpinned child welfare movements. Although focusing primarily on England and Scotland, this course also touches on the global experiences of children through child migration initiatives in the mid- and late nineteenth centuries.

Syllabus/ Outline Content:

The weekly readings will include both a primary and secondary text. The primary texts will cover a broad variety of different historical sources, including newspaper reports, committee minutes, and pamphlets. The course follows a thematic structure; however, the weekly topics do consider chronology, with the course closing with the Education Acts and the practice of child migration in the late nineteenth century.

The course begins with an overview of the history of children and childhood and the problems historians encounter in this area. This lays the foundation for the course, as the accessibility of the child's voice is a recurring theme. After covering the social, religious, and educational contexts in England and Scotland, the course moves to focus on the representation of children in the nineteenth century. As part of this, the course explores how the seemingly contradictory notions of original sin and childhood innocence interacted and co-existed. This tension is further explored by focusing on the popular depiction of poor children in the mid-nineteenth century. The stereotype of the Victorian street-child is analysed using images, poetry, and narratives from the period. The course then charts the emergence of the child-saving movement, both as a philanthropic response to urban child poverty and a product of fears relating to juvenile delinquency. By exploring the context in which Sunday and ragged schools grew in prominence, their ideological underpinning is highlighted. The course then moves to focus on working class and female representation within child-saving movements, assessing the contributions of these groups and the potential benefit to be gained from such activity. Following on from this, the implementation of the 1870 and 1872 Education Acts is covered and their impact, particularly in terms of religious teaching, as well as their effectiveness is questioned. The course closes by expanding the horizons beyond England and Scotland and focusing on child migration. The religious and secular motivations that lay behind the practice are addressed and especial attention is paid to the experiences of child migrants that are found in letters and memoirs.

Student Learning Experience:

There will be a one-hour lecture each week, immediately followed by a class seminar. Students are expected to closely study and reflect on the weekly readings, which will be discussed after the lecture. Each student will have the opportunity to lead seminar discussions and provide a short presentation on the topic at hand. The student will receive feedback within two weeks of their presentation. Students will also receive formative feedback on a short essay plan, which will assist them in determining the content and approach of the assignment. The readings for each week will introduce students to both recent scholarship and primary source material. By including a diverse range of primary material, the course encourages students to ask questions regarding the accessibility of the child's voice and to interrogate the uses and value of different kinds of historical sources.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) - 60% exam
- 30% essay (2,000 words)
- 10% class presentation (approx. 10 minutes)
Feedback Students will receive formative feedback on a short essay plan three weeks before the essay is due.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To describe and evaluate the impact of Christian belief and action on the lives of poor children in the nineteenth century
  2. Identify and explain the issues raised when studying the historical experiences of children
  3. Evaluate the usefulness as well as the potential limitations of different kinds of historical sources
  4. Demonstrate a command of and the ability to engage critically with scholarly literature in the field
  5. Demonstrate the ability to construct and sustain arguments in both written and verbal form
Reading List
Anderson, R. D. Education and the Scottish People 1750-1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).
Ariès, P. Centuries of Childhood (Suffolk: Peregrine Books, 1986).
Battiscombe, G. Shaftesbury: A Biography of the Seventh Earl 1801-1885 (London: Constable, 1974).
Bradley, I. The Call to Seriousness: The Evangelical Impact on the Victorians (Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2006).
Brown, S. J. Providence and Empire: Religion, Politics and Society in the United Kingdom, 1815-1914 (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2008).
Buettner, E. Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Burnett, J. Destiny Obscure: Autobiographies of Childhood, Education, and Family from the 1820s to the 1920s (Suffolk: Penguin Books, 1984).
Cale, M. 'Working for God? Staffing the Victorian Reformatory and Industrial School System', History of Education: Journal of the History of Education Society, 21:2 (1992), 113-127.
Chadwick, O. The Victorian Church: Part One, 1829-1859 (London: SCM Press, 1971).
Clark, E. A. G, 'The Early Ragged Schools and the Foundation of the Ragged School Union', Journal of Educational Administration History, 1:2 (1969), 9-21.
Cunningham, H. Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500 (London: Longman Group Limited, 1995).
¿Histories of Childhood¿, American Historical Review, 103:4 (1998), 1195-1208.
The Children of the Poor: Representations of Childhood since the Seventeenth Century (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992).
Davin, A. Growing up Poor: Home, School and Street in London, 1870-1914 (London: River Oram Press, 1996).
Duane, A.M. ed. The Children¿s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2013).
Goose, N. and K. Honeyman, eds. Childhood and Child Labour in Industrial England: Diversity and Agency, 1750-1914 (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2013).
Heasman, K. Evangelicals in Action: An Appraisal of Their Social Work in the Victorian Era (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962).
Hendrick, H. Child Welfare: England 1872-1989 (London: Routledge, 1994).
Humphries, J. Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Jackson, L. A. ¿Children of the Streets: Rescue, Reform and the Family in Leeds¿. Family and Community History, 3:2 (2000), 135-145.
Kirby, P. Child Workers and Industrial Health in Britain 1780-1850 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2013).
Koven, S. Slumming: Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian London (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).
The Match Girl and the Heiress (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).
Laqueur, T. Religion and Respectability: Sunday Schools and Working Class Culture 1780-1850 (London: Yale University Press, 1976).
Lawrence, J. and P. Starkey, eds. Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2001).
Mahood, L. Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain 1850-1940 (London: University College London Press, 1995).
Mahood, L. and B. Littlewood, ¿The ¿Vicious¿ Girl and the ¿Street-Corner¿ Boy: Sexuality and the Gendered Delinquent in the Scottish Child-Saving Movement 1850-1940¿, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 4:4 (1994), 549-578.
Murdoch, L. Imagined Orphans: Poor Families, Child Welfare, and Contested Citizenship (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006).
Parker, R. Uprooted: The Shipment of Poor Children to Canada, 1867-1917 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 2008).
Platt, A. The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (Chicago: Chicago University Press 1969).
¿The Rise of the Child-Saving Movement: A Study in Social Policy and Correctional Reform¿, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 381 (1969), 21-38.
Pollock, L. Forgotten Children: Parent-Child Relations from 1500 to 1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
Ross, E. Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
Sanderson, M. Education, Economic Change and Society in England 1780-1870 (London: Faber and Faber, 1987).
Shore, H. Artful Dodgers: Youth and Crime in Early Nineteenth Century London (Suffolk: Boydell Press, 1999).
Stephens, W. B. Education in Britain 1750-1914 (London: Macmillan Press Limited, 1998).
Swain, S. and M. Hillel, Child, Nation Race and Empire: Child Rescue Discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850-1915 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).
Swain, S. ¿Child Rescue: The Emigration of an Idea¿, in Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives, ed. by J. Lawrence and P. Starkey (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2001), pp. 101-120.
Wagner, G. Barnardo (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1979).
Children of the Empire (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1982).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Critical thinking (fostered by the weekly readings and developed in the assignment and exam)
- Research skills (developed by the essay and the formative feedback received on the essay plan)
- Effective argument construction (developed through seminar debate and the class essay)
- Efficient presentation skills (developed through the class presentation and the feedback given)
Course organiserMrs Laura Mair
Course secretaryMs Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900
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