HS3T73-The treatment of the poor in England, c.1550-c.1800

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Prof Richard Hoyle

Email: r.w.hoyle@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

Topics involve the study of specific periods, subjects or types of History.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
- achieve a detailed command of the themes, events and era studied
- locate and assemble information on the subject by independent research
- organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing
- recognise and interpret a wide range of different primary materials
- undertake detailed textural analysis and comment on the texts

Additional outcomes:
This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.

Outline content:
The poor are always with us. In history, it is perhaps not the poor that change so much as social attitudes towards them. The poor may be the object of charity, or a resented charge on society or an unexploited pool of labour. Poverty might been seen as a state which deserves pity or might be one into which people fall through personal failings and weaknesses. The numbers of the poor might also change over time, so that at some times they were few in number and at others might form a substantial part – locally even a majority – of the population.
The course teases out some of these attitudes over an extended period of two and a half centuries from the mid sixteenth century to the very first years of the nineteenth. Inter alia, it will looks particularly at changing definitions of the poor; their numbers and their characteristics; the decline of hospitality and the preference for poor provision through rates and doles; the development of poor law institutions in parishes and towns; regional variations in provision; the continued role of charity in poor relief; the costs of the poor; the workhouse as a form of retrenchment; parish housing; the extension of poor relief to working men in the later eighteenth century and Speenhamland; and finally it will consider Malthus’s view that the provision of poor relief merely encouraged the poor to breed.
The emphasis will be on rural and small town England, and the rising industrial areas: it will not consider London where the problems are somewhat different.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Seminars for which students must carry out full preparatory reading and research. Seminars rely on structured group discussion and may also include: seminar papers by students; discussion of evidence; team-based exercises and debates; study visit to a relevant location. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the Summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 169
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 67
Written assignment including essay 33

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one essay of not more than 2,500 words, to be submitted electronically via Blackboard and in hard copy to the History office by 12 noon on the Friday of week 8 of the term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One two-hour paper requiring two answers to be taken at the time of the Part 3 examinations.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Students who fail Part Three are permitted one further attempt at a resit in each module they have failed. Students who fail Part Three will no longer be eligible for an Honours Degree but, assuming the necessary threshold after the resit (normally an overall average of 35% or above) is achieved, students will obtain a Pass Degree. Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) ONLY in August. These will be capped at a maximum mark of 40%. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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