History reading group: political biographies

Course Dates: 03/10/23 - 05/03/24
Time: 12:30 - 14:00
Location: Online
Through discussion of selected biographies we will explore in depth key individuals in world history , their legacy and the era in which they lived.The first class will discuss Putin: his life and times by Philip Short( 2023). As the biography has only recently been released in paperback, the cheapest copy available is kindle. But also check ebay.
NOTE: This course consists of four sessions on the following dates:
3/10/23, 21/11/23, 16/1/24 and 5/3/24.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00

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History reading group: political biographies
This course has started
  • Course Code: HPC51
  • Dates: 03/10/23 - 05/03/24
  • Time: 12:30 - 14:00
  • Taught: Tue, Daytime
  • Duration: 4 sessions (over 23 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Zoe Quinn

Course Code: HPC51

Started Tue, day, 03 Oct - 05 Mar '24

Duration: 4 sessions (over 23 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This is not so much a course as a forum to explore British, European and World history through the lives of prominent political figures including revolutionaries and dictators.
At the first session there will be distributed a list of other biographies the group may find useful in selecting future books to discuss. Also suggestions from the group will be very welcome. Please note before suggesting a biography consider not only the biographer and subject but also the accessibility of the biography (availability, size, cost).

This course consists of four sessions on 3/10/23, 21/11/23, 16/1/24 and 5/3/24

Before the first class, please read: Putin: his life and times by Philip Short( 2023).

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

In each session, through discussion, we will cover 3 general areas. What does the biography tell us about:
1) the subject of the text- his/her character, achievements, legacy.
2) the era in which the individual lived
3) the biographer - his/her interests, bias,strengths, etc.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

1) Read books you may not have considered before
2) Critically evaluate the character and achievements of the individuals explored in each session
3) Place these individuals in their historical context
4) Express your opinion clearly.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course- no previous knowledge of history is required. However the learners will need the following skills and attributes:
1) An enthusiasm for reading non fiction and disccussing texts in large and small groups
2) A willingness and abillity to do reading and preparation outside of the class. You will be expected to read the selected biography for each session.Please note that political biographies are generally at least 400 pages.
3) An interest in general history- British, European and World history.
4) An interest in, and ability to listen to, the responses of other students to the work discussed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Each session will discuss a biography selected in the previous session (with the exception of the 1st session). The group will select another biography for the following session.
The course will be delivered on line using Zoom and Google Classroom. Details of meetings and materials will be sent after enrolment.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will be expected to obtain a copy of the biographies to be read. The group will be encouraged to choose recent biographies available in paperback for a modest price.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may be interested in our term 2 reading group: HWH57 African history reading group. Please look in the African history section for more details.

Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn is the co-ordinator of London, British and European history at the City Lit., where she has worked for over 20 years. After graduating with a BA, BA hons and PGCE (secondary: English and History) she has taught history and academic writing in London both on Access to Higher Education courses and general humanities courses. She is particularly interested in political history and the revolutionary traditions of France and Russia.

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.