Crime and Criminal Justice in Britain and Europe 1750-1914

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Module code


  • Level 4
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%
  • European Studies module


The aim of this module is to introduce students to key themes and interpretations on crime and criminal justice as social and cultural history. Since Michel Foucault's seminal work 'Discipline and Punish' (1975) a thriving research field has developed around crime, criminals, and criminal justice - linked to other studies on marginality, notably treatment of the poor, the mentally ill, the deviant in European history from the 18th to the early 20th century.

The module is particularly relevant to students who envisage future careers insocial services, the police or other frontline services. The module provides not just perspectives on historical developments, but also introduces students to key sociological and criminological approaches to the study of marginality and the interaction between societies and deviant individuals.


Eleven two-hour seminars, combining elements of informal lecturing and class discussions in a seminar format. In addition, eleven two-hours workshops focused on student presentations and discussions about individual work in a small-group setting


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Presentation (15%)
  • Essay (35%)
  • Research project (50%)

Intended learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge and understanding.
  • Familiarities with key debates in history, criminology, sociology and cultural studies about long-term transformations in approaches to crime and offenders.
  • Understanding of main historiographical debates about the historical study of crime and criminals in their social and cultural contexts.

      2.  Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes.

  • ability to think critically about historical interpretations.
  • ability to analyse primary sources.

     3.  Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes

  • ability to do independent research.
  • ability to select primary and secondary material and analyse its quality and context.