Crime, Policing, and Punishment in Early Modern London

EIU His 5400.001 [60032], Summer 2013, Newton Key
9:00-11:30 M, W, Coleman 2750
Syllabus as pdf (brief version)
How have historians used the Online Old Bailey Sessions Papers and other records of crime and punishment in order to reveal hidden worlds of the London cosmopolis in the 17th and 18th centuries? Two central texts help us comprehend the largest city in Europe by 1700 and envision living on the “street.” Additional readings help us understand riot, social crime, early modern justice system, and policing before the Bobbies. We will use our learned knowledge of navigating the metropolis and the legal procedures as well as the analytical language of social and legal historians to help show how records of the trials and punishments of criminals caught can reveal London worlds and underworlds. Course is a hybrid with several of the in-class meetings replaced by a-synchronous discussion and class blogging.

Available from Textbook Services:

  • Bucholz/Ward. Bucholz, Robert O. and Joseph P. Ward. London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550-1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. [17.916]
  • Hitchcock. Hitchcock, Tim. Down and Out in Eighteenth-Century London. London: Continuum, 2007. [17.917]
  • McKeon. Michael McKeon, The Secret History of Domesticity: Public, Private, and the Division of Knowledge (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) [17.502]



week 1.




While maskinge in their folleis all doe passe (1607) BM, AN118365001


week 2.


Richard Gough, "As the Church is now 1701," from his History of Myddle

week 3.


Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564/65–1636), Battle of Carnival and Lent

week 4.


Order and Disorder


week 5.

Thomas Rowlandson, "Ballad Singer" (1789), National Library of Wales, PZ52

week 6.


week 7.


The Public and the Private


week 8.

William Hogarth, from Hudibras (Hudibras confronts the burning of the rumps and Sir John Presbyter)







Print Culture as Popular Culture

DISCUSSION THEME: Was there a Print 2.0 or is it a trope? If so, when was it?; what was it? Does the print/image tell us about the author/artists or the reader/viewer?

week 12. 3 April The Audiences for Printing and Writing & The Pamphlet (Google Ngram Viewer)







  • Conclusion: Oral Reports (Essays due during finals)

requirements, papers, and exams

office hours
last modified on June 24, 2013