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Transforming Worlds: The Interdisciplinary Eighteenth Century - CES00007M

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  • Department: Centre for 18th Century Studies
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Gillian Russell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

The eighteenth century is a dynamic period of change in British culture and society, the long-term impact of which continues to be felt today. This module explores the breadth and complexity of this change through an interdisciplinary focus, combining approaches from literary study, history, art history, and archaeology to enrich and complicate students’ understanding of this period.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The eighteenth century is characterised by revolutions in politics, society, thought, and culture that have had profound effects on the modern world. This module aims to introduce students to the major developments, cultural trends, and innovations in this era in areas such as print culture, fashion, empire and race, sociability, visual art, class and gender. It will provide a grounding for more specialised work in optional modules for the MA, introduce students to staff in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and their approach to eighteenth-century history and culture, as well as stimulating ideas and topics for the dissertation. We also aim to develop students’ skills in both digital and non-digital research by exploring the rich resources relating to the eighteenth century of both the University and the city of York itself, from the Borthwick Institute to York’s eighteenth-century Assembly Rooms.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the field of eighteenth-century studies in key respects.

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with what is entailed in interdisciplinary studies in the humanities in relation to the eighteenth century and how it can be practiced.

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with the topics covered in the module such as literary study, history, art history, archaeology.

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
Coursework - 4000-4500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Coursework - 4000-4500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback, given in Week 5 for original assessment, and within two weeks of submission for re-assessed work

Indicative reading

Indicative only: Dorinda Outram, The Enlightenment; Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock; Anne Lister, Diaries; Paul Langford, Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Short Introduction; Amanda Vickery, The Gentleman’s Daughter; Daniel Carey and Lynn Festa (eds.), The Postcolonial Enlightenment.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.