HS1RAP-Radicalism and Protest in Britain: from the Levellers to Occupy

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Rachel Foxley
Email: r.h.foxley@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module is optional for SINGLE HONOURS STUDENTS ONLY.


  • to introduce students to aspects of early modern and modern British political history, focusing on radical ideas and the use of political protest.

  • to introduce students to the study of political culture and popular politics in early modern contexts and beyond

  • to encourage students to think about long-term continuity and change in political ideas and in political culture and political practices

  • to introduce students to the study of (radical) ideas in historical context

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • identify the sources of the topic in question

  • trace its historical development

  • be aware of differing historiographical interpretations of the pattern and causes of this development

  • understand how ideas and events are shaped by their historical contexts

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing, both unde r timed conditions and in assessed coursework 

  • demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims:
•to encourage students to think independently
•to help students develop good oral and written communication skills
•to develop the effectiveness of students in group situations
•to develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources.

Outline content:
The module will look at radicalism and protest in Britain from the early modern period to the twenty-first century through a series of case-studies. We will begin with the Levellers during the English Civil War in the 1640s and the Diggers under the republic which followed the execution of Charles I, asking both how these groups protested, and how it was possible for them to do so at this time, and why they developed their radical ideas. We will then move on to a series of case-studies of radica lism and/or protest, asking whether a radical tradition developed in Britain, or whether radicalism appeared afresh as a response to historical circumstances in different periods. Case-studies will vary from year to year but may include: Levellers, Diggers, Ranters and religious radicals of the English Revolution; seventeenth- and eighteenth-century ‘commonwealthsmen’; John Wilkes; British responses to the French Revolution; Chartism; the suffragettes; radicalism and protest in the twentieth cen tury, including left-wing radicalism and specific causes such as the peace movement, anti-racism, gay rights, environmentalism; radicalism and protest on the right; the Occupy movement. Throughout the module we will consider continuity and change, and ask whether and how radicals and protesters have looked back to earlier periods, and whether there is such a thing as an English or British ‘radical tradition’.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by eight two-hour seminars over one term. Students are reminded to email their tutors for help and advice whenever needed and to note office hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 16
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study: 74
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Written exam 50% 

one 1-hour unseen paper requiring 1 answer

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written assignment 50%:

1 written assignment of c. 1,250 words, to be submitted once via Blackboard on Turnitin, by 12 noon on the submission deadline in Week 11 specified on the module site on Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that 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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon on the third Friday of August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: None

2) Specialist equipment or materials: None

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: None

4) Printing and binding: None

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: None

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: None

Last updated: 15 July 2021


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