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Home > History home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > The Empire in Victorian Britain, c.1830-1870
More in this section Third Year Courses

The Empire in Victorian Britain, c.1830-1870


Value: two units


Dr Zoe Laidlaw


Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1-to-1 meetings


Taught unit: Oral Assessment (10%); Best 2 Essays out of 4 (20%) and 3-hour Exam (70%); dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%)

This course examines the changing place of the Empire in British politics and society in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1830 and 1870 the political relationship between Britain and the colonies was recast, while understandings of 'race' also changed profoundly. Drawing on a wide range of textual and visual sources - including official papers, cartoons, explorers' diaries, newspapers, maps, parliamentary debates, novels and letters, students will examine British responses to imperial events such as the emancipation of slaves, indigenous rebellions in India and Jamaica; David Livingstone's exploration of Africa; and the settlement of New Zealand. These will be placed alongside debates over emigration, prostitution, convicts, evolution and government which connected metropolitan and colonial societies. Students will be encouraged to address large themes such as the relationship between metropolitan and colonial societies, and changing definitions of 'Britishness'.


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