Books that changed the world: history, politics, and the social sciences
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HPC66
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
What is the course about?
Some books change the world because of the power of their ideas, some for the force of their arguments, while others give us space to dream. This course explores and investigates books that have had a notable impact on the world for one reason or another. As well as looking at the ideas in each book, we’ll also discuss the context in which it was written and what the author was trying to achieve.There is no expectation that students should have read the book in advance of the class, although you are, of course, welcome to.
n.b. The books studied will change each term, please see below for details.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Books covered this term:
• Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928)
• Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)
• Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
• Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (1961)
• Abbie Hoffman, Steal this Book (1971)
• Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (1989)
• Will Hutton, The State We’re In (1995)
• Naomi Klein, No Logo (1999).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• explore the ideas in each book
• understand why it was written
• place it in a wider social context
• explain the reaction it generated
• locate the book in its scholarly field
• learn how disciplines inform each other
• find other texts and subjects that interest you.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required, although there will be some recommended reading. Books should be available from a library, although you might wish to buy a particular text if you wish to explore it further.
This is an introductory course and does not assume any previous study or reading, although a good grasp of English
is essential to keep up with the course. You will gain more, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. As with most of our courses, intellectual curiosity and an open mind are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Most sessions involve the tutor leading in with a prepared talk or lecture. There is ample opportunity for discussion of issues or problems raised. As the course progresses learners are encouraged to take an increasing part in the learning process, especially with regard to asking questions and discussing aspects of the topics covered.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You can explore our range of History, Politics and Economics courses via our website.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.