History (HIST) 470

Pre-Industrial Origins of Labour and Socialist Thought (Revision 1)

HIST 470 course cover

Permanently closed, effective May 3, 2018.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Humanities

Prerequisite: None. Before registering, it is strongly recommended that students have credit in either LBST 200 or a university level history course. This course is designed primarily for students in the last stage of completing either a BA major in History or Labour Studies.

Precluded Course: HIST 470 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—LBST 470. HIST 470 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for LBST 470 or HIST 400.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

History Home Page

HIST 470 has a Challenge for Credit option.


HIST 470 is an advanced level course designed for students who wish to begin an in-depth study of the history of socialist thought and the goals and fortunes of the European labour movement before the twentieth century. The course surveys the development of radical social thinking from its origins in the ancient world to the era of the French Revolution.

Among the topics treated in the course are the beginnings of socialist thought in ancient Israel and ancient Greece, Christian social thought under the Roman Empire and in the Middle Ages, Renaissance utopianism, the contribution of the Reformation to religious communitarianism, the ideas of the radical wing of anti-monarchist forces in the English Revolution, the ideology of the eighteenth-century British labourer and of the sans-culottes in the French Revolution, and the development of English Radicalism from Spence to Hall.


  • Unit 1: The Old Testament Prophets
  • Unit 2: Social Thought in Ancient Greece
  • Unit 3: Communalism and Social Ethics in Early Christianity
  • Unit 4: Religious Communism in the Middle Ages
  • Unit 5: Langland and the Peasants Revolt
  • Unit 6: Thomas More and Renaissance Utopianism
  • Unit 7: The Radical Reformation
  • Unit 8: Republicans, Levellers, and Diggers in the English Revolution
  • Unit 9: Work, Poverty, Labourers and Artisans in Eighteenth-Century Europe
  • Unit 10: Rousseau and Enlightenment Socialism
  • Unit 11: The Social Thought of the French Revolutionaries
  • Unit 12: English Radicalism: Spence to Hall


To receive credit for HIST 470, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Essay 1 Essay 2 Final Exam Total
30% 30% 40% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Stafford, William. 1987. Socialism, Radicalism and Nostalgia: Social Criticism in Britain, 1755-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide, student manual, and a reading file.

Online Course Materials

Beer, Max. 1922. Social Struggles in Antiquity. H. J. Stenning, trans. London: Parsons. Reprinted by Athabasca University, 1995. (Online)

Guthrie, William B. 1907. Socialism Before the French Revolution: A History. New York: Macmillan. Reprinted by Athabasca University, 1995. (Online)

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the HIST 470 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the entire challenge examination.

Part I: Exam Part II: Exam Total
50% 50% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1.

Updated April 03 2019 by Student & Academic Services