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Forced Labour and Imprisonment


This seminar continues our investigation of the various punishments used in early modern Europe. This week we will consider forced labour and imprisonment. One group will focus on England. The other group will focus on the rest of Europe.

Seminar Questions

  • How did the use and experience of forced labour and imprisonment vary across early modern Europe?
  • How did contemporary attitudes towards forced labour and imprisonment vary across early modern Europe?

Required Reading


Beattie, J. M., Policing and Punishment in London, 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror (Oxford, 2001)

Griffiths, Paul, 'Contesting London Bridewell, 1576–1580' Journal of British Studies, 42/3, (2003), 283-315.

Sherman, William H., and William J. Shiels, eds, 'Prison Writings in Early Modern EnglandLink opens in a new window', Huntington Library Quarterly, special issue, 72/2 (2009).

Woodfine, Philip, 'Debtors, Prisons, and Petitions in Eighteenth-Century England', Eighteenth-Century Life 30 (2006), 1-31.

The Rest of Europe
  • Each of you should choose and read three of the following items:

de las Heras Santos, José Luis, 'Women's Reformatories and Prisons in the Early Modern Age: Morality, Welfare and Repression of Women in the 17th and 18th CenturyLink opens in a new window', Procedia 161 (2014), 176-183.

Kollmann, Nancy Shields, Crime and Punishment in Early Modern Russia (Cambridge, 2015), Chapter Three.

Perry, Mary Elizabeth, Crime and Society in Early Modern Seville (Hanover, N.H., 1980), Chapter FourLink opens in a new window.

Spierenburg, Pieter, The Prison Experience: Disciplinary Institutions and their Inmates in Early Modern Europe (New Brunswick, 1991; rept. Amsterdam, 2007) [Choose one chapter]

Further Reading

Gray, Drew D., Crime, Policing and Punishment in England, 1660-1914 (London, 2016), Chapters Twelve and Thirteen.