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.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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.

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  1. Disease, death and mummies in Ancient Egypt
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rosalind Janssen
    Living and dying with disease; being buried and mummified in Ancient Egypt. What are the latest discoveries and theories? Who is carrying out this work, and what are the ethical considerations? Human remains will be explored in a museum setting.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00
  2. Focus on: 19th-century fashion
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rachel Sanders
    Explore the relationship between nineteenth-century society, from the Napoleonic era to the suffrage movement, and men’s and women’s fashions which witnessed constant change, restrictions, extremes and the start of the dress reform movement.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
  3. Focus on: 20th-century fashion
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 2 Jul 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rachel Sanders
    Explore the ever-changing statement of identity that was twentieth-century fashion through the study of key designers and significant social and political events that shaped the clothes we wore.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
  4. Olympias: Feminine Power in Ancient Macedon
    Last Few Places, Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Daniel Unruh
    The Macedonian queen Olympias was a famous figure in the ancient world. First and foremost, she was remembered as the wife of King Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of southern Greece, and the mother of King Alexander III of Macedon, known to history as Alexander the Great. But Olympias' identity goes far beyond wife and mother. The stories that have come down to us show her as a brilliant politician, a follower of strange religious rites, and even a general leading armies in the field. Some even represent her as the lover of a god!



    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
  5. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on reading
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Historical fiction about the Greek and Roman worlds is perennially popular with readers, and with the releases of books like Circe, The Children of Jocasta, and Electra, the new sub-genre of fiction exploring myths and legends has never been stronger. How are the female figures of these stories presented as relevant and accessible? And, for writers of historical fiction, how do we write accounts of these women in ways that draw out interesting new facets of their myths, or let readers see female figures they know already as if for the first time?



    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
  6. European history taster: The Eastern Question: the Great (European) Powers and the Ottoman Empire, 1768-1914
    Last Few Places, 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
  7. Origins of the Goddess in Ancient India
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vaughan Pilikian
    The Goddess is a figure of great mystery in premodern India. Mostly absent in the ancient period, she arises seemingly from nowhere to become Shakti, a dangerous and powerful divinity of central importance in medieval Shaivism. How might we begin to explain her origins? It seems that there may be evidence for a goddess cult in the material traces of the Indus Valley civilisation that predates the establishment of Vedic society. Might the Goddess be part of a Dravidian tradition of very great antiquity that somehow infiltrated the Indo-European? Or is her absence from our earliest textual sources overstated? Is it not the Goddess who appears as Night in the middle of the Mahabharata when the Kaurava warrior Ashvatthaman is about to slaughter his enemies in their sleep? And might the obscure and troubling ritual of the Ashvamedha shed some light on the sacred significance of female agency in the maintenance of Vedic sovereignty? This lecture will seek to address some of these challenging but fascinating questions.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  8. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on writing
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Historical fiction about the Greek and Roman worlds is perennially popular with readers, and with the releases of books like Circe, The Children of Jocasta, and Electra, the new sub-genre of fiction exploring myths and legends has never been stronger. How are the female figures of these stories presented as relevant and accessible? And, for writers of historical fiction, how do we write accounts of these women in ways that draw out interesting new facets of their myths, or let readers see female figures they know already as if for the first time?



    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
  9. Etruscan, Greek and Roman Goddesses
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  William Sterling
    An examination of how the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans viewed and worshipped goddesses - the similarities and differences and how they influenced each other.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  10. The representation of women in Islamic art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Roberta Marin
    Islam prohibits the depiction of living beings in religious contexts. However, human and animal representations are permitted on works of art and architectural decorations in a secular setting. But how are women portrayed over the centuries? Do they play a leading role in the artistic repertoire? Do they convey positive or negative messages? In this short course we will try to answer these questions by considering some of the most notable examples of women representations in various media.



    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
  11. Mighty Madonnas and wild women: picturing feminine power in Renaissance Italy
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lydia Goodson
    Join us for an exploration of the multi-faceted depictions of feminine power in Renaissance Italy. Discover how artworks tell us about the women depicted and about the men who desired them.



    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
  12. From fortune tellers to phantoms: depicting dangerous women in modern Europe
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 8 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Discover the types of women who don't conform to social rules, who wield a supernatural power that destablises the status quo. From the threatening type to the empowered woman, join us for an exploration of dangerous women in the art of modern and contemporary Europe.



    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
  13. A taste of creative writing
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Jul 2022 (and 12 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    Give creative writing a try on this fun and supportive short course. Ideal if you want to express yourself but need help in getting started. Guided exercises will encourage you to experiment and unlock your imagination.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  14. Philosophy of art
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Christopher Horner
    Why do we value art? For the pleasure it gives us, the emotion it expresses, its truthfulness, its form? In this introduction to the philosophy of art we will consider various approaches to these questions and others.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  15. Classics Day
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  The British Museum

    City Lit, the British Museum and UCL present the annual Classics Day, offering lectures celebrating feminine power in the ancient world. This year’s inspiration is the Citi exhibition Feminine power: divine to the demonic at the British Museum. Anyone with a love of the classics is welcome. No previous knowledge required.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £38.00 Concession £38.00
    Rating:
    91% of 100

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