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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Angels and Inverts: Sexuality, Gender and Power in Britain, 1837 - 1914 (PGHC11406)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe prevailing characterization of nineteenth century British sexuality is one of hypocritical repression; of asexual 'angels in the house' covering the legs of their furniture in their prudish zeal, whilst their husbands contracted syphilis from one of the nation's many prostitutes. This course will challenge this reductive stereotype, instead encouraging students to develop a sophisticated understanding of the textured and shifting reality of the sexual and gendered lives and beliefs of Britain's Victorian and Edwardian men and women.

A key text will be Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, An Introduction, and his account of the emergence of modern forms of sexuality. However, this vibrant field of historical enquiry has generated a plethora of more recent critical scholarship, which will be consulted alongside extracts from primary sources. These range from the texts of the period's 'sexual scientists' and 'sexologists'; the reports from a notorious newspaper exposé of London's trade in child prostitution; the minutes of a middle-class club formed for the 'unreserved discussion' of male-female relations; and the novels and short stories of the 'New Women' and 'decadent men' of the fin de siècle.

This course is to be offered for both on-campus and distance-learning cohorts. In order to facilitate discussion between the largest number of students possible it will have a significant online presence. On-campus students will attend tutorials in a room within the school at a scheduled time every two weeks. Online students will also attend these seminars virtually via Blackboard Collaborate.
Course description Week 1: Introduction, Course Outline, Historiography of Sexuality and Gender
Week 2: Gender, Sex and Class
Week 3: The Enlightenment and Sexual Science
Week 4: Marriage and Reproduction
Week 5: Selling Sex and the Great Social Evil
Week 6: Religion and Spirituality
Week 7: Imperialism and Masculinity
Week 8: Culture: New Women and Decadent Men
Week 9: Same-Sex Relations
Week 10: Sex, Socialism and the Suffragettes
Week 11: Conclusions and Review
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
After completing the course, students will be able to:
- demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the themes and issues connected to the history of gender and sexuality in Britain during the period 1837-1914
- independently identify and pursue research topics in this field and period of British history
- exhibit an understanding for and an engagement with some of the leading conceptual approaches used in the study of the history of gender and sexuality, and British history more generally
- engage with the relevant scholarship
- analyse and contextualise primary source material
- arrive at independent, well-argued, well-documented and properly referenced conclusions in their coursework essay
- demonstrate their skills in group discussion, collaborative exercises
- demonstrate their written skills, their analytical and theoretical skills in coursework
- demonstrate their ability to reflect on their reading & research and provide feedback for their peers
Reading List
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality (1979)
Ben Griffin, Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain: Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women's Rights (2012)(ebook)
Amy Milne-Smith, London Clubland: A Cultural History of Gender and Class in Late Victorian Britain (2011)(ebook)
Fiona Montgomery, Women's rights: Struggles and feminism in Britain c1770-1970 (2007)
Frank Mort, Dangerous Sexualities: Medico-Moral Politics in England Since 1830 (2000)(ebook)
Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800 (2012)(ebook)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include:
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- ability to analyse the origins and development of historiographical debates on the history of gender and sexuality in nineteenth century Britain
- a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills
- a range of skills in reading and textual analysis
- ability to question and problematize evidence; considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation
- understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today
- ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing
- ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences
- ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the final assessment essay of 3,000 words
KeywordsAngels Inverts Sexuality Gender Power Britain
Course organiserDr Tanya Cheadle
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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