This course will examine Victorian literature and culture through a global lens with an emphasis on issues of empire, race, gender, and sexuality.




Throughout the course, students will learn to do the following:

  1. Analyze Victorian perspectives on imperialism and the central tensions reflected in Victorian writing.
  2. Develop critical reading skills that will be practiced and executed through analysis, discussion, and argument.
  3. Understand and use theoretical approaches involving gender, sexuality, race, and postcolonial theory.
  4. Learn to analyze and write about literature as well as popular and material culture of the Victorian period.




There will be three contact hours per week: a two-hour lecture/seminar on Tuesdays (4.30-6.20 p.m.) and a one-hour tutorial on Fridays (5.20-6:20 p.m.). We will have the lecture/seminar every week, but tutorials will happen less frequently.

The course will be made up of formal lectures and class discussions. Students will be asked to submit questions to help shape class discussion. The course will also feature exercises that facilitate collaboration and dialogue between students of this course and those at the University of Manchester.




Essay 1: 25%
Material Culture Podcast: 25%
Final Essay: 35%
Participation: 15% 




Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0198819394
Olive Schreiner, Story of an African Farm, Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199538010

All other assigned materials will be available on Moodle and/or as handouts. Additional course materials include (but are not limited to) the “Digitizing Chinese Englishmen” Project, photography by nineteenth-century photographer Hannah Cullwick, and excerpts of novels and essays by Charles Dickens, Mary Prince, Mary Seacole, Rabindranath Tagore, Anthony Trollope, and others. We will conclude by reflecting on the repercussions of British imperialism today, particularly in Hong Kong.



Last updated: 16 July 2019