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.

Some of our courses take place in the classroom — learn more about Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit.

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  1. In war, defeat and victory (Britain and France in WWII)
    Course start date:  Thu 20 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Alison Appleby
    This course will explore the Franco-British Alliance from ‘phoney war’ to Dunkirk, leading to Petain’s armistice and de Gaulle’s Free France in London. Learn about British support for French resistance and the role of the Fighting French in the Allied invasion of France in 1944.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £96.00
  2. China in the 19th century
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Amy Matthewson
    This course explores the rise of ‘modern’ China during the late Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and explores the internal and external forces within China and how events shaped its international standing, in particular in Britain.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £70.00
  3. Early 20th Century Britain and Ireland
    Course start date:  Wed 26 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Peter Street
    The course explores both the political, economic, social and cultural history of Britain itself in these years and its dealings with Ireland, notably over Home Rule, Easter 1916 and the Anglo/Irish war and settlement, 1919-1922.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £88.00
  4. Understanding the Israel-Palestine conflict
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 27 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nomaan Hanif
    Trace the historical roots of this conflict and study the peace process of the 1990s: Madrid talks, Oslo agreement, Camp David talks and the recent Middle Eastern road map, as well as the latest developments on this stimulating interactive lecture course. Tutor: Noman Hanif.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £127.00 Concession £70.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. The Vichy Regime
    Last Few Places, ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 29 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    Born out of the defeat of 1940, the Vichy regime is one of the darkest periods in French history. Even if Marshal Pétain pretended he was sheltering the country from excessive demands by the Nazis, the government and administration offered themselves to the service of the enemy, often for the worst.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £25.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  6. Transports of delight: London's railway stations
    Course start date:  Tue 8 Feb 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Mixed Mode (Online and Onsite) (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    London's stations see over 1 billion journeys annually, but the buildings themselves are often ignored. Explore a different station and environs each week, discovering the architecture, history, stories and future of these lifelines of London. The course starts with an initial zoom lecture followed by a series of walking tours.



    This course will be delivered online and onsite. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £61.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  7. City of words: further adventures
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    London luxuriates in literary references. We follow the footsteps of the authors, poets and playwrights, and some of their creations, as we walk a brand new neighbourhood each week, exploring the literary connections.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £44.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Rising Powers: Brazil
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 10 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    Brazil's rise has been impressive but seems to have stalled. What are the factors the country’s growing presence and the challenges Latin America's leading power faces in its endeavour to achieve its international ambitions?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £44.00
  9. Crimes and misdemeanors: crimes that rocked the capital
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 10 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Eleanor Jackson
    Royal scandals, fraud, hoaxes & crime, this city has always had a darker underbelly. This course looks at some of the events that shocked and shaped the city.



    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 £30.00
  10. How America replaced Britain in the Middle East 1945-2003
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 12 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nomaan Hanif
    This course charts the post 1945 entrance of the United States into the Middle East and the power struggle which ensued with Britain as a consequence. The course pierces the official discourse on the transatlantic relationship and provides a different perspective on how to understand and explain the volatile politics of the region. Tutor: Noman Hanif.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    80% of 100
  11. The life and work of Sir Thomas More
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 12 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Humanist scholar, Lord Chancellor of England, advocate for women’s education, opponent of Luther, careful in his avoidance in acknowledging Anne Boleyn as Henry VIII’s wife…Since the 1520s Thomas More has been celebrated, commemorated and vilified as a shrewd ‘man for all seasons.’ With such a contended reputation, how can we best understand and situate his life, work, and politics in history?



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £25.00
  12. England’s earliest kings 3: Alfred the Great and the Vikings
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 13 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  William Sterling
    After the Mercian supremacy Wessex became the dominant kingdom in the C9th. One reason was the kings managed to have capable sons to follow them thus avoiding the succession struggles of the Mercians. Another was the remoteness from the Viking attacks which concentrated on the North Sea coast targeting Northumbria and East Anglia and pushing on through Mercia.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
  13. 17th century England, revolution and restoration: the Stuart Restoration
    Course start date:  Thu 24 Feb 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    We will explore society, religion and culture during the Stuart Restoration, with reference to the reigns of the ‘Merry



    Monarch’ Charles II (1660 – 1685) and James II (1685 – 1688).



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £0.00 Senior fee £0.00 Concession £0.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  14. El Draque: The life and times of Sir Francis Drake
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 5 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Pioneering explorer, privateer, early slave trader and naval officer. Follow the fortunes and travels of the Elizabethan seadog, Sir Francis Drake, from his humble beginnings as the son of a farmer in Tavistock, Devon, to his burial at sea as a major English naval figure off the coast of Portobelo in Panama, in 1596.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £25.00
  15. Middle Ages: a rough guide to pilgrimage
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 5 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vanessa King
    A rough guide to pilgrimage in the fifteenth century. Why go on pilgrimage? Ten 'Must See' sites in fifteenth-century Europe and travel tips for the would-be pilgrim. Participants will be given 'A Rough Guide' to take away.



    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £25.00

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