Consumer Revolution? Food, Things and Fashion in England 1500-1800: Sources (HIH3597)
|Lecturer(s)||Dr Jane Whittle|
|Pre-requisites||At least 90 credits of History at level 1 and/or level 2|
|Co-requisites||HIH3598 Consumer Revolution? Food, Things and Fashion in England 1500-1800 : Context|
|Duration of Module||Two terms|
|Total Student Study Time||300 hours, including seminars 1.5 hours x 22 weeks|
This module examines the changing nature of consumption in early modern England, ranging from changes in diet and clothing, to housing, furnishings and fine art. It looks at the way new items such as tea, coffee, clocks, forks and cotton clothing, were accepted and adapted into everyday life, and asks whether by the eighteenth century, these changes constituted a 'consumer revolution'. The module will draw upon a wide range of primary sources, including illustrations and the objects themselves, as well as inventories, accounts, personal documents, trade records and early modern literature. It investigates where these goods came from, how they were marketed and acquired by consumers; it examines how and why new patterns of consumption were adopted, and who by.
Intended learning outcomes
Learning and teaching methods
Some of the students will already have studied the period at some level; others will not. The introductory sessions are therefore important in offering a broad overview within which framework all students can place their subsequent work. The co-requisite module provides close analysis of the social, economic and cultural context of the early modern England, and on theories of consumption. The seminars focus on sources for studying consumption in early modern England, allowing students to develop their skills and knowledge more fully. Some of the sources are presented by individual students; others are presented by students working in groups; and on others there is open discussion. Students are expected to prepare for seminars by reading and/or evaluating the respective sources in advance, and discussing the issues raised therein in the seminar itself.
Four pieces of work, comprising: two 1,500 word assignments based on the close textual analysis of a particular type of sources; one 1,500 word assignment including tables and/or graphs based on the quantitative analysis of a source; one 1,500 word assignment with illustrations based on the analysis of material objects or illustrations gathered during fieldwork. These pieces of work will be due at regular intervals over the academic year. Each will be returned with comments before the next is due to be submitted; they may not be revised after return. Students will also make seminar presentations, one of which will count towards the overall assessment for the module.
The four pieces of written work will form a portfolio and count for 80% of the overall assessment. Each student will make an individual presentation to the group, lasting 20 minutes, which will be tutor-assessed (20%).
The module examines the following topics with regard to their history in England from 1500 to 1800: food and drink, housing, furnishings, clothing, shopping, and attitudes to consumption. Regional differences, differences in wealth, and change over time are important themes running through the module. The types of sources examined include: probate inventories, household accounts, diaries and letters, court cases, visual images, objects and houses, and early modern printed literature of various kinds.
Indicative basic reading list
John Brewer and Roy Porter eds., Consumption and the World of Goods, (Routledge, London, 1993).
L. Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain 1660-1760, (Routledge, London, 1988).
J. Thirsk, Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads and Fashions 1500-1760 (Hambledon Press, London, 2007).
Matthew Johnson, Housing Culture: Traditional Architecture in an English Landscape (UCL Press, London, 1993).
Susan Vincent, Dressing the Elite: Clothes in Early Modern England, (Berg, Oxford, 2003).
Nancy Cox, The Complete Tradesman: A Study of Retailing 1550-1850 (Ashgate, 2000).