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Lecture and Seminar Programme

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Lecture and Seminar Topics

Autumn Term



Approaches to the Study of Corruption

Lecture powerpoint

The opening lecture will sketch out interdisciplinary ways of thinking about the topic.

The seminar will get students debating what they think ‘corruption’ means today and in the past.


Types of Corruption

Religious Conceptions of Corruption

Lecture powerpoint

The lecture will explore the correlation between anti-corruption and anti-popery and the long legacy of religious metaphors and motivations.

The seminar will examine the activities of Sir Stephen Proctor in the early seventeenth century.


Judicial Corruption


The lecture will explore early Stuart corruption and examine different types of corruption associated with the law.

The seminar will consider the impeachment of Sir Francis Bacon, 1621.


Social Corruption: Friends, Networks, Patrons and Gifts


The lecture will explore issues of friendship; patronage; and gift-giving

The seminar will focus on the diary of Samuel Pepys


Political Corruption and the Politics of corruption


The lecture will set out different strands of political corruption, including party politics and the influence of the Crown and the political discourse of corruption

The seminar will focus on corrupt elections and the corruption of Parliament by the Crown, through a study of the later Stuart period.

~ Reading Week: No Seminar ~

Imperial Corruption

The Early East India Company and Siam


The lecture will explain the nature of commercial companies in the C17th.

The seminar will focus on the dispute between Elihu Yale and Samuel/George White in the late C17th; South Sea Bubble 1720

5pm Thursday week 7: first formative work due


The Caribbean


The lecture will explore colonisation of the West Indies and New England

The seminar will focus on the murder of Col Parke on Antigua in 1710 and the disputes in Barbados in the 1710s.


Fiscal-Military State


The lecture explains the concept of the fiscal-military state.

Seminar: Henry Lascelles in the West Indies; and Thomas Rumbold in India, in order to illustrate the issue of contracts and their brokers


India in the Era of Clive and Hastings


The lecture will set out the expansion of British power in India in the second half of the eighteenth century and explore gift-giving in the British and Indian contexts.
The seminar will focus on the parliamentary attacks on Clive and the impeachment of Hastings 1786-1795.

~ Christmas Vacation ~

Spring Term


State and the Evolution of ‘Public Office’

India after Hastings


The lecture will examine the period from the 1790s to the end of the monopoly of the East India Company in 1833.
The seminar will focus on the reforms of Cornwallis and the investigation of Sir Edward Colebrooke in Delhi in 1829.




The lecture will explore how contemporaries understood officeholding and ‘the state’.

The seminar will examine the judgement against Charles Bembridge in 1783 that defined misconduct in a public official; explore the boundaries of who was an ‘officer’ and who held ‘public’ office; and the education necessary for a good colonial official.


The Sale of Office

The lecture sets out the wider debate about venality, placing Britain in a European context.

The seminar explores scandals surrounding sale of office in domestic and imperial contexts in 1725, 1769 and 1809


Local Officeholding

The lecture sets out the ways in which corruption was perceived to be a problem in localities as well as at the centre.

The seminar will examine the notorious magistrate Joseph Merceron, the ‘Boss’ of the East End in the early nineteenth century.


The State and Economics

The lecture will explore ‘political economy’ and the rise of ‘liberal’, ‘laissez-faire’ economic thinking and utilitarianism.

The seminar will consider financial crises and the writings of political economists such as Bernard de Mandeville, Adam Smith and Mill.

Second Formative Assessment Due: 5pm Thursday

~ Reading Week: No Seminar ~

Hunting Corruption

Sexual and Moral Corruption/Reform

The lecture will consider waves of moral reform and their links with anti-corruption.

The seminar will focus on the 1809 scandal surrounding the Duke of York’s mistress, Mary Clarke.


Breach and Abuse of Trust

The lecture explores why the language of trust emerged in the mid-seventeenth century.

The seminar explores the publications of the Levellers and how the notion of trust contains key ideas about integrity.



The lecture explores the notion of accountability and its history.

The seminar examines the role of the Commissions of Public Accounts from the 1780s onwards in identifying corruption and suggesting reform, and the impeachment of Lord Melville in 1806.


The Press and Corruption

The lecture explores the printing revolution; how print could be used both to expose print and to vindicate those accused; and graphic satire

The seminar examines whistleblowers and the trials of William Hone in 1817 .

~ Easter Vacation ~
NB summer term 2019 commences on Wednesday 24th April. So the first lecture/class will be on Tuesday 30 April

Summer Term


Turning Points?

The ‘Age of Reform’?

The lecture explores debate over the speed of reform and how far 1780 represents a turning point.

The seminar will examine the campaign for parliamentary reform and other reforms, domestic and imperial, undertaken in the 1830s.


How much was reformed and how had it been achieved?

The lecture examines what had and had not been reformed by 1850, and at the notion of systemic corruption.

The seminar will look at individual campaigners/whisleblowers to assess their impact, and how students themselves see their role vis a vis corruption.



No lecture.

The seminar will revise the module content ahead of the final summative assessment.

Optional practice exam answer due Thursday 5pm