History, culture & writing

Explore History, Culture & Writing

Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.

Study in-person at City Lit or offsite, or online from the comfort of home, with interactive classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. For more information on our online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.

Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.

Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.

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

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  1. Understanding the modern world
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Christopher Horner
    Explore the ideas of four key thinkers whose ideas have vitally shaped our world. Examine their views on morality, meaning, the role and status of women, human nature, political and economic injustice and much more.



    NB: No class on 7/03/2022 and 14/03/2022.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    91% of 100
  2. French Cinema: Classic - Current - New Wave
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    When we fall in love with French cinema it’s not only with the films but with an attitude to cinema itself. In France, cinema is taken seriously as an art rather than merely entertainment or industrial product. France invented cinema then nurtured it through surrealism, 1930s poetic realism, the New Wave, the 'cinema du look’ and nineties realism to the present day by creating a climate in which Hollywood’s narrative norms did not overwhelm. Perhaps no other country, from the earliest years of the cinema’s existence to the present day, has done so much to defend the intrinsic worth of the extraordinary medium of cinema. When you love life, you’ve just been to see a French film.



    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 £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £109.00
  3. The Soviet Union: A history in Film, 1922-1991
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nick Morgan
    This is an advanced course intended to use film as a primary source in exploring the history and culture of the Soviet Union in greater detail.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £105.00
  4. 'A terrible beauty is born': poetry in revolutionary times
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Laurie Smith
    Is Auden right that “poetry makes nothing happen”? We look at how poets have helped people to understand, cope



    with and sometimes resist oppression in revolutionary periods from the late 18th century to the present.



    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 £134.00
  5. Philosophy and the meaning of life
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Oliver Josiah
    Some philosophers have insisted that philosophy should explain the meaning of our existence. What does it mean for us to be? And how then should we live? This course examines some seriously philosophical answers.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £239.00 Concession £105.00
  6. Being in the world: Heidegger's philosophy
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Goff
    “The being of 'being' is itself not a being”. Questioning the meaning of ‘Being’ lies at the root of Heidegger’s critique of the ‘crisis’ of Western culture that his philosophy sought to overcome.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £134.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  7. The great philosophers
    Last Few Places, Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Oliver Josiah
    Explore the ideas of major philosophers from Plato to Sartre. How does Western philosophy differ from religion



    and science? What problems have the great philosophers tried to solve?



    .



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £239.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100
  8. Writing for children: advanced
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 10 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Penny Joelson
    This supportive and interactive course for advanced children's writers will help deepen your understanding of the genre and acquire techniques to hone your writing.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £72.00
  9. Modern political philosophy: ideas and ideologies in the 21st century
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Horner
    What are the key philosophical ideas behind the issues and debates of today? This is an opportunity to explore in more depth the concepts and ideologies that are shaping the politics of the 21st century. NB: No class on 08/03/2022.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £79.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  10. The Emperor of Ice Cream: why Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and Frank O'Hara are important
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Laurie Smith
    We will explore the work of these three major 20th century American poets, focussing on what is original about their work and how they changed people’s understanding of what is possible in poetry. We will look at how their poetry developed over their writing lifetimes, how they saw their work in relation to the poetry of the past and present, and how their poetry reflected or otherwise gave meaning to their lives – Stevens as a lifelong insurance lawyer, Moore as an unmarried woman without a profession and living with her mother, and O’Hara as an art curator as out-gay as it was possible to be until his untimely death in 1960.



    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 £159.00 Concession £97.00
  11. Money: myths, magic, morals and markets
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christian Michel
    Money is the most powerful energy in the world. Without understanding its nature, its function, where it comes from, and how to control it, it will badly burn us.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £79.00
  12. Ways into advanced literary study
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Hugh Epstein, Patricia Sweeney
    This course is designed to enhance your appreciation of literary genres and styles from different periods, developing the rigour and skills of reading and writing that belong to a higher level of study.Writers include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Ibsen, Henry James, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Virgina Woolf. Includes one Saturday.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £215.00 Senior fee £215.00 Concession £131.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  13. Rising powers: China
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    The spectacular rise of China is one of the most significant developments of the last decades. What explains it and what does it mean for China itself and the world?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £105.00
  14. Arts of the empire-builders: Timurids, Safavids and Mughals
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Patronage under the Timurids, Safavids and Mughals marked a definitive period in the development of the arts and culture of the Islamic world. This course looks at the visual ‘brands’ that characterised these important empires.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £152.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. Introduction to moral philosophy
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  KS - Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ariel Kernberg
    What do ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ mean? What makes our actions right or wrong? And why should we care? We will look at the principal philosophical answers to these questions alongside engaging in philosophical analysis ourselves. No class on 17th February.



    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
    Rating:
    91% of 100

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