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Corruption in Britain and its Empire 1600-1850 (HI2D2)

steele

The image is detail from 8th commandment- thou shalt not- Steele
(1807) satirising Thomas Steele, paymaster-general, who
was accused of embezzling two sums of £7,000 and
£12,000 from the cash in his hands and for which he
gave his own receipt! © Trustees of the British Museum.

Tutor: Professor Mark Knights
Office: Room H309, third floor of the Humanities Building
Email: M.J.Knights@warwick.ac.uk
Office Hours: Wednesdays 11-12 (in my office, Covid permitting), Thursdays 12-1 (online).

Please email me if you would like to arrange other online meetings
Lecture Times: Lectures are recorded and available via Moodle
Seminar Times: Wednesdays 1-2 in PLT and Thursdays 2-3 in LIB2.

NB I am hoping to teach face to face wherever possible but there may be occasions when we need to move online.

Please check emails regularly.

Please ensure that you keep 2m apart for your own safety and so that, should someone in a group fall ill, you won't all have to go into isolation!

The module's reading list is on Talis Aspire

 
This 30 CATS undergraduate second-year option module will introduce students to the concept and practice of corruption, and ‘anti-corruption’, in the British state during a key stage in its evolution.

The module investigates the concept, practice and representation of corruption in Britain and its empire during the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It considers corruption in theoretical and interdisciplinary terms (using research from political science, law, anthropology, economics, literature and art history) and explores a series of different types of corruption (political, economic, sexual and moral, linguistic, imperial) as well as the language and visual depiction of corruption. The module considers anti-corruption (proposals, reforms, campaigns) alongside corruption, investigating the motives behind campaigns and why solutions took so long to achieve. Discussions will also be informed by contemporary issues, relating pre-modern corruption to current affairs. We will explore the interplay between debates in Britain and its colonies, with a particular focus on India when it was administered by the East India Company.

You will be encourage to use some key databases of primary material (Early English Books Online, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Burney Collection of 17th-century and 18th-century Newspapers, Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, Nineteenth Century Periodicals) and also draw on visual material wherever possible, including the British Museum's extensive on-line database of prints and satires.

The module will feed into a public enactment of the tri-cententary of the South Sea Bubble of 1720 - the first great stock market crash, which was caused in part by corruption - and students will be encouraged to help with this for the Warwick Words History Festival in November 2020.

The module is research-led teaching, since I am on leave in 2019-20 to finish a book for Oxford University Press on the topic. When the module first ran, in 2018-19, it received very positive student feedback which can be found via the link above.