History, politics & economics

Explore History, Politics & Economics

Whether you’re fascinated by the past, wishing to keep up to date with current affairs, or to develop a deeper understanding of democracy and capitalism, we have the course for you.

City Lit offers a wide range of history, politics and economics courses on weekdays, evenings and weekends. Our courses vary from skills-based courses on oral and family history projects, to the history of empire, the history of London and the study of global powers and international politics.

Gain critical thinking and analytical skills

Courses in the Humanities help you understand our world today, and the history that has informed the political, social and economic dynamics of modern times. Our courses, including short day courses, lectures and longer-term study over several weeks or whole terms, aim to inform you of the issues that interest and matter to you. Our courses also encourage the development of wider skills such as critical thinking and analysis, listening and discussion skills, and evidence-based interpretation.

Online and classroom-based classes in London

This term we are running our history, politics and economics courses online to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community. From January 2022 we will offer courses both online and in the classroom (please check specific courses on the website). Whether online or in person, our classes are always welcoming and open to everyone.

Learn from expert tutors

Our courses are taught by experts in their fields. Our tutors come from a range of backgrounds, and include academic experts, experienced educators, serving politicians, acclaimed authors and renowned guides. Whoever your class is taught by, all our courses are intellectually rigorous and stimulating.

For more information about our live online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

Browse our range of online courses and courses in London below to choose your perfect option: both complete beginners and returning students are equally welcome.

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  1. Go to the Warres:’ Women, Power and the English Civil Wars
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 1 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Spies, military strategists, couriers, petitioners, soldiers, nurses – women played an extraordinary variety of roles during the English Civil Wars of the 1640s. In this session, we will explore the significance of women’s participation for both the Royalist and Parliamentarian causes. What motivated women and what can their experiences teach us about the nature of the relationship between gender, power and warfare in the era?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  2. Women in post-conflict reconstruction: The case of the German truemmerfrauen
    Course start date:  Fri 1 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Hilke Gudel
    Destroyed, Germany needed rebuilding after the Second World War. This involved not just substantial economic support from the American, British, French, Soviet and German governments but also planners, architects and builders. Often overlooked but incredibly important, millions of German women were at the centre of this decade-long undertaking. Join us to learn more about this part of recent German history.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  3. Sports: an American history
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Brian Kennedy
    This course (from an American lecturer who is a sports fanatic!) will provide a brief overview of the history of American sport and the role of sport in American society.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £35.00
  4. Feminine Power: Infamous Empresses
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    Goddess, Whore or Murderess: will the real Empress please stand up? In this session we examine the literary treatment of imperial consorts including Livia, Messalina and Theodora. All were vilified by their contemporaries. What is it about powerful women that invites condemnation?
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  5. Colonial expansion, the Caribbean and the Golden Age of Piracy
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Raise the Jolly Roger, we’re off to the Caribbean! With thousands of pirates active globally, the late 1600s and early 1700s have been referred to as the ‘Golden Age of Piracy.’ On this short course we will discover the people who joined pirate crews; what life was like on board a pirate ship; and the reasons why pirate crews are referred to as early democracies.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £25.00
  6. Aqualtune’s journey: From Kongo princess to enslaved woman and Brazilian quilombo leader
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Sandra Carvalho
    Come and find out more about Aqualtune, a XVIIth century Kongo princess who is re-emerging as a legendary figure and symbol of resistance for the Brazilian Black Movement.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  7. European history taster: The Eastern Question: the Great (European) Powers and the Ottoman Empire, 1768-1914
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    For a century and a half, the relations between the Great Powers (Britain, Russia, Austria, France, Prussia - later Germany) were largely shaped by the Eastern Question, that is to say the question of the future of the Ottoman Empire as it faced increasing threats to its integrity. In this class, after a rapid survey of the interests of the Great Powers in Ottoman lands, we will focus on the moment when the Eastern Question erupted on the international stage, the 1768-74 Russo-Ottoman War, and its consequences.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  8. Why do we obey? The politics of obedience
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christian Michel
    We groan against bosses, berate politicians, demonstrate against most aspects of the social system, and then humbly take our orders from above. Is obedience imprinted in our genes? How submissive must people be for society to function? In this short course we will discuss the politics of obedience – drawing on psychology, anthropology, history, and political philosophy.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  9. The fight against Enslavement: Nanny of the Maroons
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Join us as we explore the significance of Jamaica’s enigmatic national heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, who led a successful ten-year guerilla war against enslavement by the British, winning for herself and her people the freedom to settle in the Blue Mountains. What can the life, legends and myths surrounding Nanny’s life teach us about race, gender, leadership and power in Jamaica in the 1700s?
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  10. Medieval London 1000-1350: the archaeology of a capital city
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Stuart Brookes
    This one day course looks at a period that fundamentally shaped London as a city, from the laying out of a new town within the old Roman city wall to the rapid growth of the 11—13th centuries.



    Includes an introductory lecture, museum visit and guided walk.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £35.00
  11. The Wyldes of Hampstead: Exploring Hampstead’s Northern Slopes
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 10 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    Discover the rural north side of Hampstead by walking across the Heath Extension to the hamlet of Northend learning about its famous residents, its hostelry and the 17th- century Wyldes farmhouse. We return via the enchanting Hill Garden and Golders Hill Park.



    Meet on the green behind the newsagent at Golders Green Station. Circular walk starts and ends outside the main entrance to Golders Green and involves walking across parts of the Heath..
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £10.00
  12. European history taster: Plague in Art
    Course start date:  Thu 21 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    In the fourteenth century the Black Death is estimated to have killed approximately 50% of the world's population. We will look at how this impacted on the visual arts.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  13. European history taster: Europe, 1900-1914: from peace to war
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 27 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    Why did Europe, after a prolonged period of relative peace, went to war? To answer this question, one needs to look at various elements, including the strategies adopted by great and lesser powers to achieve their competing goals. One such strategy was the construction of a system of alliances. During this class, we will study the reasons for and the consequences of the progressive rapprochement between two erstwhile rivals, France and Britain.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00

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