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?
This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Definitions / understandings of democracy
- Origins of it as an idea
- Characteristics of democracy
- Evolution of democracy as an idea (or ideal) through time
- 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’ level course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good standard of English to keep up with the course. As with most of our history and current affairs courses. As with all of our history and politics courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen and to think about views with which you are not familiar or may not agree, are more important than any previous knowledge or experience in the subject matter.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will consist of tutor presentations, some audio and video clips as appropriate, some in-class readings for discussion, as well as opportunities for questions and comments.
This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome)
- Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
- Computer/laptop/tablet/mobile phone with access to Microphone / earphones OR speakers for listening to tutor presentation and participate in discussion.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Check out our range of politics, history of philosophy classes via our website.