Political thought reading group

Course Dates: 19/04/21 - 12/07/21
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Through the discussion of selected texts we will explore a number of interesting and important ideas from contemporary and historical political thought.
Ahead of the first session, please read: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism.
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 £69.00 Concession £30.00

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Course Code: HPC12

Full Mon, eve, 19 Apr - 12 Jul '21

Duration: 4 sessions (over 13 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 course is primarily a forum to explore some key themes and subjects from contemporary and historical political thought. The subject of the books is left broad, with a wide scope for potential texts: from issues of historical importance to radical ideas, all books of political thought are welcome.

At the first session a list of prospective titles will be circulated for potential future books to discuss. Other suggestions from the group will also be very welcome. Books will be chosen by the group.
n.b. books suggested by the group must be fairly accessible, and of a reasonable length. They must also be available on kindle or e-reader to ensure everyone can access them regardless of bookshop accessibility.

PLEASE NOTE: This course runs on the following dates: 19/04, 17/05, 14/06, 12/07 and the details of the book to read ahead of the first class are:

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism.

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?

Each session will cover a number of themes of the text:

- What is the argument of the text? Is it conditioned by its historical context?
- The strengths/weaknesses of the argument
- Whether the text is still relevant, and what it might mean in today's world

There will also be scope for more general discussion around the themes and issues raised by the book.

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

- Approach and understand texts from contemporary and historical political thought
- Critically evaluate arguments from both a historical and philosophical perspective
- Express your own opinions on the ideas contained within key texts of political thought.

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

This is an introductory course and requires no previous knowledge. It will, however, require the following:
1) An enthusiasm for reading non fiction and discussing 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 text for each session. Please note that these may be up to 400 pages in length.
3) An interest in political ideas
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 class will be a discussion of the work selected in the previous session (with the exception of the first, in which will be discussing the text noted above). This requires students to read a text in between each session.

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

You will need to buy or borrow a copy of each text we read. The class will be encouraged to choose texts that are cheaply available in paperback form, and all books must also be available in kindle format to allow ease of access.

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

Check out our range of politics and history courses on offer in our prospectus or on our website.

Benjamin Chwistek

Ben is the Coordinator for World History, Politics, Economics, Anthropology and Current Affairs. He studied Modern History at the University of London, obtaining a First Class Honours degree with a specialisation in Victorian Intellectual History. He then studied a Masters Degree in Political Philosophy at the University of York, where he graduated top of his class and obtained an award for his dissertation on the philosophies of history of Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin. Ben went on to complete his PhD at the University of York, where he researched the subject of myth and violence in the work of Georges Sorel, Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. For his PhD research, Ben received a scholarship from the WWI centenary ‘Legacies of War’ project. Ben has taught Philosophy, Politics and History from 1st year undergraduates to MA students at the universities of York, Leeds and Antwerp. He has also taught A Level History and Politics to sixth form students at a school in West London, and has taught English at a school in Thailand. Alongside this, he has spoken at conferences and events around the UK and Europe, primarily on topics relating to myth, violence, and democracy.

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.