Being Poor in England in the Long Eighteenth Century (HIH1023)

15 credits

This module focuses on how we can use primary sources to access the lives of people who left very little behind. It charts how poverty was defined, experienced, and regulated, and how societal attitudes towards poverty have changed over time. We will consider why poverty existed (or why people thought it existed), and some of the survival strategies that individuals used to get by, as well as changing forms of charity and relief. We will also trace poverty as a form of identity, both in terms of how the poor were characterized by others and how they described themselves, and we will consider how poverty intersected with other determinants of status, including gender and race. The module does not assume prior knowledge of the topic, and encourages students to engage with the wide range of sources available to conduct their own examination into this important and relevant aspect of modern Britain.