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Consumption and Culture in the Eighteenth Century (HI916)

Module Leader

Dr Charles Walton


Context of Module
Module Information
Outline Syllabus
Illustrative Bibliography
Context of Module

This is the core module for the MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies. The module, taught in the Autumn term, may also be taken by students on the MA in History or any taught Master's students outside the History Department.

Module Information

The module explores the wide-ranging topic of eighteenth century consumption and culture. The focus will be on Britain, but several of the sessions broaden our gaze to France and to the Americas. Each week a different tutor will guide you through the topic, each of which will bear on the overarching theme. We hope the variety of tutors gives you an interesting array of topics and perspectives.

You can choose to write an essay about any of the topics that we cover. You can either use a title from the ones suggested or formulate one of your own in consultation with me or with the seminar tutor. Suggestions for reading are provided at the start and then for each of the seminars, but again please ask if you want more advice.

The 30 CATS MA module runs in the Autumn term with weekly two-hour seminars on Thursdays 3pm to 5pm in tutors' rooms.

You are expected to attend the Eighteenth Century Seminar though you may also found much of interest in the Global History, Early Modern and History of Science seminars – the programmes are listed on the 'Research Seminars and Reading Groups' section of the departmental website.

As with all core modules that draw on a range of faculty’s expertise, the precise syllabus may vary slightly from year to year, depending on availability of tutors.

Outline Syllabus
Illustrative Bibliography
  • Jennie Batchelor and Cora Kaplan, Women and Material Culture 1660-1830 (2007)
  • Bauer, Goods, Power, History: Latin America's Material Culture (2001)
  • Maxine Berg and Helen Clifford, Consumers and luxury: consumer culture in Europe 1650-1850 (1999)
  • Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: debates, desires and delectable goods (2003)
  • Maxine Berg, Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth century Britain (2005)
  • Tim Blanning, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: old regime Europe 1660-1789 (2002)
  • Timothy Breen, The Marketplace of revolution: how consumer politics shaped American Independence (2004)
  • John Brewer and Roy Porter, Consumption and the World of Goods (1993)
  • Peter Burke, What is Cultural history? (2004)
  • Richard Bushman, The Refinement of America (1993)
  • Craig Calhoun (ed), Habermas and the public sphere (1992)
  • Linda Colley, The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh (2007)
  • Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood, The World of Goods: Towards an Anthropology of Consumption (1978)
  • Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, Consuming Subjects: British Women and Consumer Culture in the Eighteenth Century (1996)
  • Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People (1992)
  • Neil McKendrick, John Brewer and John Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society (1982)
  • Grant McCracken, Culture and Consumption (1988) chapter 5.
  • Mimi Sheller, Consuming the Caribbean (2003)
  • David Solkin's Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London, 1993).
  • Larry Stewart, The Rise of Public Science (1992)
  • John Styles, The Dress of the People (2007)
  • Lorna Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain 1660-1760 (1988)
  • Frank Trentmann (ed) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (2012)
  • 1 assessed essay of 5,000 words
Tutor Rooms
Rebecca Earle H3.27
David Taylor  
Maxine Berg H0.20
Tina Lupton H5.14
Sarah Richardson H3.35
Charles Walton H3.37
Katherine Astbury H4.35