Skip to main content

Work and Play in Early Modern Britain (level 5)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Brodie Waddell
  • Assessment: two essays of 2500 words and a three-hour examination

Module description

This course investigates the many ways in which people earned their livelihoods and the even more numerous ways in which they spent their leisure time in England and Scotland from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It will draw on well-established scholarship, such as the stimulating tradition of 'labour history' and the venerable debate about the 'Protestant work ethic', but it will also examine exciting new research on women's work, recreational drinking and the culture of sport.

As with other advanced modules, this course will include discussion of historiographical debates and of primary sources. We will address, for example, scholarly controversies between Marxists and non-Marxists over the nature of waged labour and recent arguments about the so-called 'the industrious revolution'. You will also have the opportunity to compare and contrast the ways in which these issues were represented in contemporary sources such as court records, religious polemics, broadside ballads, and woodcut images.