What is the course about?
This course is a brief introduction to the history of the idea of democracy. We all have an ‘idea’ of what democracy is or should be, but how did the idea develop over time and what did it ‘look like’ in the past? The course will provide a historical overview and survey of democracy through the ages: origins of the idea and the concept of “direct democracy” (ancient world); democracy as “representative government” (from around the 18th century); and in more contemporary use – the expansion of what ‘democracy’ entails (in the 20th century onwards). Asking ourselves ‘why’ and ‘how’ did democracy as an idea (or ideal) develop over time?
What will we cover?
- Definitions / understandings of democracy
- Origins of it as an idea
- Characteristics of democracy
- Evolution of democracy as an idea (or ideal) through time.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Explain differing understandings of democracy
- Identify key points in history and associated events/occurrences that coincide with changes to the idea of democracy.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and requires no previous knowledge. A willingness to learn and an open mind are more important than any previous experience.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- Interactive tutor presentation, small group and class discussions. Reading and discussion of small sections of texts, images, and possible use of digital technology in the classroom, as appropriate.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No additional costs. It is recommended that you bring a pen and paper, in case you want to take any notes during course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check out our range of History and Politics courses on our website.