Power, Poverty and Pestilence: Exploring the Victorian Age (updated for 2020)

This updated 10-week evening course, run through Oxford University’s Continuing Education Department, will be starting in October 2020. Further information is below (and full details will be on the Conted website in due course).

During the Victorian era, Britain experienced a dramatic and far-reaching transformation. As the twin forces of industrialisation and urbanisation altered the landscape, the nation became the ‘workshop of the world’, amassinging the largest global empire ever seen, expanding democracy, introducing universal education and improving the lives for many of its citizens through techological innovation, social reform and new leisure pursuits. Yet, despite the considerable advances that were made, Britain was a divided country, as poverty, disease and crime all remained stubbornly persistent, at a time when the intellectual climate was influenced by new scientific ideas, as well as concerns about religion, class and gender.

This course will explore how the lives of millions of people were affected by the key poliical, religious, social and economic changes of the Victorian period. It will examine not only how prevalent attitudes evolved over time, but also the way in which the important developments paved the way for the modern society that we recognise today.

Programme details

Course Starts: October

Week 1:          Setting the scene and meeting the Queen

Week 2:          Economy, labour and consumerism

Week 3:          Leisure, sport and the Great Exhibition

Week 4:          Party politics, class and social radicalism

Week 5:          Education, literature and the arts

Week 6:          Religion, morality and crime

Week 7:          Science, technology and transportation

Week 8:          Poverty, welfare and public health

Week 9:          Women, sex and the family

Week 10:        Empire, identity and restrospect

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