Skip to main content

Week 4 - The Wealth and Poverty of Nations

For this seminar, please have a look at as many of the core text articles as possible. Several of them are quite short, but read at least the three by Maxine Berg listed for this week on the module outline. Additionally, please have a look at the following:

This is the 2004 BBC production of North and South, adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel of the same name. While this is a bit of a pot-boiler (pardon the pun) romance, Gaskell was a keen observer of industrial change, especially in central and northern England. Both Gaskell and Brian Percival (the director), have specific things to say about the scenario they are depicting, but also of the class, economic, social, and cultural issue surrounding industrialisation. It can be very tempting to look no further than the raft of statistical data many historians deploy when talking about industrialisation. The human costs and factors, however, are equally important and need equal attention.

You can watch the four episodes via this playlist:

The playlist is maintained by Box of Broadcasts, an educational tool that gives UK universities access to television programmes for the past 60+ years. To access the playlist, follow the link and then select 'University of Warwick' from the list. You will then be asked to sign onto the University network via your usual username and passwork. You should then be able to play the episodes.

This is a bit of a lengthy production, so feel free to skip around a little. Nevertheless, watch enough to get an understanding of the story is about and how the author and director are trying to express their opinions.

If you're interested in getting to know more about Gaskell, read Mary Barton.

Music By Which to Read

This week's playlist looks at music developed by the works involved in industrial capitalism. Often overlooked in larger discussions of how global trade affected the world, the lives of those manning the factories and mills were inexorably bound to the broader issues examined this week. This is no less true of non-Europeans but the music presented here focuses on European responses, in song, to industrialisation. These are sad and powerful works that, even if not performed by contemporary musicians, still convey many of the feelings that factory work and the social transformations looked at this week engendered. The playlist can be found here (with text version here).