Breaking News
Home / Courses / The History of Social Reform Movements in Britain

The History of Social Reform Movements in Britain

Faculty Member’s Name:

Shirley Gillett

Faculty Member’s Profile:

Ms. Gillett has studied history and sociology at the University of Toronto.  She has taught Victorian British History under Professor Franca Iacovetta at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, and The History of Espionage under Professor Arne Kislenko at Ryerson University.

Course Code:


The History of Social Reform Movements in Britain


The course will include one two-hour class per week and one hour-long tutorial per week.




Students should gain an understanding of the development and interrelation of social reform movements in Britain.

*Short Structural Outline:

Industrial pollution, slavery, the rights of women, cruelty to animals, and the amelioration of poverty were some of the issues which concerned the British populace.  This course will look at each reform movement individually as well as examine the links between movements made by individuals, organizations, literature, and the popular press.

The course will focus on the development of social reform movements, including the major themes and tactics they employed to assist in the achievement of their goals.


*Textbooks and Reading List:

The textbook for the course will be a reader on the history of social reform movements in Britain, edited by the instructor.


Recommended Reading List:

1) An environmental history of Britain since the Industrial Revolution, B.W. Clapp.

London ; New York : Longman, 1994.

2) Hubbub : filth, noise, & stench in England, 1600-1770, Emily Cockayne.

New Haven : Yale University Press, 2007.

3) Inventing pollution : coal, smoke, and culture in Britain since 1800,  Peter Thorsheim. Athens, Ohio : Ohio University Press, 2006.

4) Moralizing the environment : countryside change, farming and pollution, Philip Lowe, et al.  London : UCL Press, 1997.

5) Animal rights : political and social change in Britain since 1800, Hilda Kean.

London : Reaktion Books, Ltd., 1998.

6) Abolition! : the struggle to abolish slavery in the British colonies, Richard S. Reddie.  Oxford : Lion, 2007.

7) Slavery and the cultures of abolition : essays marking the bicentennial of the British Abolition Act of 1807, edited by Brycchan Carey and Peter J. Kitson for the English Association. Woodbridge : D.S. Brewer, 2007.

8) Bury the chains : the struggle to abolish slavery, Adam Hochschild.

London : Macmillan, 2005.

9) Women’s rights and transatlantic antislavery in the era of emancipation,

edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and James Brewer Stewart. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2007.

10) Social movements and cultural change : the first abolition campaign revisited,

Leo d’Anjou. New York : Aldine de Gruyter, 1996.

11) Power and protest : Frances Power Cobbe and Victorian society, Lori Williamson. Chicago : Distributed in the USA by Independent Publishers Group, 2005.

12) The struggle for women’s rights : theoretical and historical sources,

edited by George Klosko, Margaret G. Klosko. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall, 1999.

13) Until they are seven : the origins of women’s legal rights, John Wroath.

Winchester : Waterside Press, 1998.

14) Spectacular confessions : autobiography, performative activism, and the sites of suffrage, Barbara Green.  New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1997.

15) Prostitution and Victorian society : women, class, and the state, Judith R. Walkowitz. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1980.

16) Crime reduction and the law, edited by Kate Moss and Mike Stephens.

Abingdon, Oxon ; New York : Routledge, 2006.

17) The case for the living wage, Jerold L. Waltman.  New York : Algora Pub., 2004.

18) Women in God’s Army : gender and equality in the early Salvation Army,

Andrew Mark Eason. Waterloo, Ont. : Published for the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion/Corporation canadienne des sciences religieuses by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2003.

19) Pulling the devil’s kingdom down : the Salvation Army in Victorian Britain,

Pamela J. Walker. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001.



Students will have their progress evaluated through three assignments and a final exam.   The assignments will include one evaluation of a primary source document, one review of a scholarly monograph, and one major essay on a topic provided by the instructor.  Students may choose their own topic with the approval of the instructor.

About admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.