Faculty of Arts

Skip to content | Change text size

print version

Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Marc Brodie


This unit explores crime, disease and deprivation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century cities, and the reforms that tackled their causes. It examines the criminals, slum-dwellers and 'white slavers' who featured in sensational exposes, as well as the new techniques, such as 'underworld' journalism and slum photography, that shaped people's understanding of the city as a dangerous place that should be and could be reformed. Using case studies in Britain, Europe, the United States and Australia, the unit covers a range of important themes, including ethnic and racial conflict; women as both victims and active reformers of the 'evil' city; and academic investigation as a tool of social reform.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Understand the relationships between the reporting, investigation and narration of social problems and the development of social and political reform movements in different historical contexts.
  2. Have a developed knowledge of the major changes in patterns of crime, disease and deprivation in the urban worlds of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and of the changing ways in which people understood and represented their causes and solutions.
  3. Be able to assess and use a variety of primary sources in the construction of a historical 'case', and have improved written and verbal abilities to present a historical argument.
  4. Have a developed understanding of how historical context impacts upon the assessment of evidence.
  5. Have an improved ability to use technology, particularly the internet, for research and study purposes.
  6. Have skills in co-operative learning and presentation.
  7. In addition, students at 3rd level will be expected to use comparative approaches and research methods to explore different historical contexts.


Written work: 70% (3500 words)
Class test: 20%
Class participation: 10%

Contact hours

One and a half hour lecture and a one hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



A first year sequence in History or permission.