Mon 10 Oct 2022 - Mon 28 Nov 2022

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face

2 spots remaining.

We are often told that we are living in a post-modern environment, but what does that really mean? Find out in this course, which will explore the challenges presented by post-modernism while explaining how it came about.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Pre-Modern and Modern approaches to philosophy
  • Topic 2: Romanticism and modernity
  • Topic 3: Hegel and Schopenhauer
  • Topic 4: Nietzsche and art
  • Topic 5: Heidegger and existentialism
  • Topic 6: From structuralism to post-structuralism
  • Topic 7: Foucault and history
  • Topic 8: Derrida and language

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the major theme and issues of Western philosophy.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.

Tue 11 Oct 2022 - Tue 15 Nov 2022

18:00 - 20:00

6 Sessions

Face-to-face

1 spot remaining.

From its origins, in 14th century Italy, the Renaissance produced a revolution in art, society, culture and philosophy, bringing an end to the middle ages. Explore this exciting period in world history, as you delve into major Italian cities: Florence, and Venice; and consider how has today's Western society, culture and sense of humanity been shaped by the Renaissance?

Course outline

The course  will focus on the Renaissance in Italy, specifically around Florence, central Tuscany, Venice, and the other major Italian City states. It will explore the spread of the Renaissance throughout the rest of Europe, and the role of artists and thinkers in the development of Renaissance art and art history. The course finishes by considering how the Renaissance shaped the rest of European history, and our current sense of humanity, culture, society, and civilisation.

  • Session 1 - The Renaissance -1300-1600
  • Session 2 - The Renaissance - art and society
  • Session 3 - The Renaissance in Italy
  • Session 4 - The Renaissance in Europe
  • Session 5 - The Renaissance artists
  • Session 6 - The Renaissance and history

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should:

  • have knowledge of the history and social history of the Renaissance
  • have knowledge of several important artists and art movements which created the Renaissance, between 1300 and 1600
  • be able to engage with, and critique the development of the Renaissance, through the 1300s, the 1400s, and the 1500s, from the perspective of both social and art history.
  • understand the wider social issues and developments that created the Renaissance in Italy, and the rest of Europe.
  • be able to critically appreciate how the Renaissance has shaped history, and how history has shaped our perception of the Renaissance.

Who should enrol

The course is open to everyone, especially those interested in learning about the history of the Renaissance, art, and general art history.

Wed 12 Oct 2022 - Wed 30 Nov 2022

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face

8 spots remaining.

Pop music is more than just the soundtrack to our lives; it has moved our emotions, stimulated our minds, formed our attitudes, and shaped our experiences. Covering subjects ranging from Bubblegum Music to Britpop, this course will examine the dynamic history and the multi-faceted nature of pop music. It will also use rock and pop music to help us understand the modern cultural environment, and to illustrate various philosophical issues.

Course outline

Week One - Beginnings

  • Rock Around the Clock, Elvis, Rhythm and Blues
  • Defining Rock and Pop.
  • Modernity and Postmodernity
  • To think or to feel?

Week Two - Tycoons of Teen

  • Profit and Popularity
  • Phil Spector, the girl groups, and Motown
  • The Beach Boys
  • The early Beatles, the British Invasion, and the Mersey Sound

Week Three - Changing Times

  • The Gates of Eden.
  • Poetry and Protest: Bob Dylan and the grown-up Beatles.
  • The Blues in Britain: the emergence of the guitar god, and the beginnings of hard rock.

Week Four -  Lucy in the Sky

  • Psychedelia. From Acid Rock to Bubblegum Music.
  • America Strikes Back: the Monkees, the Byrds, and Country Rock.
  • The Band, Roots Rock, and the origins of Heartland Rock.

Week Five - Parody and Postmodernity

  • Glitter and Art Rock: Roxy Music, Brian Eno, and David Bowie.
  • Progressive Rock: Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson.
  • Heavy Metal and stadium rock.

Week Six -  No Future

  • Punk Rock and New Wave Music.
  • Television, Blondie, and the New Wave in New York.
  • Reggae and the Ska revival.
  • New Order, Manchester, and Techno Pop.

Week Seven - Looking Backwards

  • From Big Star to the Paisley Underground movement.
  • New alternatives: REM and The Smiths.
  • Grunge and the birth of Indie.

Week Eight - Culture Wars

  • Britpop, Bristol, and Shoegazing.
  • A new Psychedelia?
  • Contemporary ‘R&B’ and the legacy of Soul.
  • What is the future of rock and pop music?

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course you should have:

  • A greater appreciation of modern and contemporary culture.
  • Increased ability to analyze the social and creative forces that have shaped us.
  • Increased awareness of the ways in which our lived experiences and our sense of self have been constructed.

Who should enrol

The course is for those interested in pop and rock music, modern culture, music history, and the history of ideas.

What our students say

"Good solid imparting of info. Context of music and cultural and societal events gave me a deeper appreciation of music and of the artists which enhanced my own decades of knowledge and experience in broadcasting music programs."

"A fun, fascinating course, very well taught  by the teacher who had great command of his material. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the history of popular music."

"Full of information, class interaction and fun! I think the lecturer enjoys giving this course almost as much as the students do. I learnt so much, and didn't want it to end."

Mon 30 Jan 2023 - Mon 27 Mar 2023

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face

Have you ever thought about whether you're free, how you should behave, whether things really are as they seem, or whether it is reasonable to believe in God? See how far you can go with these and other fundamental questions in this course.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: The big questions and how philosophy handles them
  • Topic 2: Questions and answers from the classical world
  • Topic 3: The existence of God
  • Topic 4: Are we free?
  • Topic 5: The mind-body problem
  • Topic 6: Knowledge and the self
  • Topic 7: Existence and the self
  • Topic 8: Ethical questions

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the major themes and issues of western philosophy.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.

What our students say

"This course was brilliant and I'd happily enrol for others on the same subjects or indeed other areas of interest."

"This course gave me a great insight (as a beginner) to Philosophy. The course material and class discussion was something to look forward to each week, and then to contemplate before the next session."

"This was a wonderful course and my teacher was extremely knowledgeable and informative. I really looked forward to it each week and learned a great deal."

"The big questions remain big questions. I did enjoy the challenge in regards to thinking beyond what we already know. And in terms of what we don't know. ..well let's just say I am comfortable in knowing that I will die wondering."

Wed 08 Feb 2023 - Wed 29 Mar 2023

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face

The Crusades are among the most important events in world history. As well as discussing themes of religion, society, warfare, and culture; meet outstanding historical individuals such as Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Peter the Hermit, and Baldwin the leper king of Jerusalem.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: An introduction to and overview of the Crusades.
  • Topic 2: The first Crusade.
  • Topic 3: The Holy Land and the crusader states. Crusading memoirs and primary sources.
  • Topic 4: The third Crusade: Richard and Saladin.
  • Topic 5: The fourth Crusade: the sack of Constantinople.
  • Topic 6: Crusading in the Thirteenth Century: Saint Louis and the emperor Frederick II.
  • Topic 7: The Knights Templar and the military orders.
  • Topic 8: The Crusades in literature and in the western consciousness: Walter Scott's the Talisman. The Crusades and popular culture: Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, you should:

  • have a greater appreciation of historical and cultural differences, and of human nature
  • have an increased understanding of the complex relationship between the past and the present
  • have a greater awareness of how we moderns see ourselves in relation to the past.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in history.

What past participants had to say

"An exciting introduction on how to approach historical documents."

"Very enjoyable course and great class interaction."

"The presenter, Walter Kudrycz, is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. He was able to present the information in a very easy to learn way. He was always open to questions and discussion. Very enjoyable."

Mon 24 Apr 2023 - Mon 26 Jun 2023

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face


Ethics is the most important area of philosophy and the one which most affects our daily lives.

Course outline

Ethics is the most important area of philosophy and the one which most affects our daily lives.  As well as examining the major approaches to ethics in western philosophy, this course will encourage participants to refine and re-evaluate their own ethical positions.

  • Topic 1: Kinds of Ethics
  • Topic 2: Ethics and Consequences
  • Topic 3: Ethics and Duty
  • Topic 4: Peter Singer – Australia’s Greatest Philosopher
  • Topic 5: Modern Ethical Alternatives
  • Topic 6: Ethics and Evolution
  • Topic 7Case studies in Ethics
  • Topic 8The Post-Modern Challenge to Traditional Ethics

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course you should:

  • be familiar with the major ethical approaches in western philosophy.
  • be able to analyse and to re-evaluate their own ethical decision-making processes.

Who should enrol

Those who have an interest in ethical questions.

What past participants had to say

"I particularly liked how Walter drew students into conversations. He carefully directed the flow of conversation around a topic while giving space to the views of everyone in the session. I learnt a lot from expressing my own thoughts as well as from the thoughts of other students. He also presented the material in a very engaging way using digital content thoughtfully to mix up the lecture format."

"Walter is a knowledgeable and engaging teacher."

"A very interesting and well-delivered course that provides the background and context for my further reading. Exactly what I was after."

Wed 26 Apr 2023 - Wed 14 Jun 2023

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Face-to-face

This class will be delivered online.

The Middle Ages are a fascinating period in our history because, more than any other era, they present us with a mixture of the familiar and the bizarre.  On the one hand, we see beliefs and behaviours in the Middle Ages that seem utterly alien to us, such as the persecution of heretics.  Yet, on the other hand, so many things emerged in the Middle Ages that we recognise as being part of ourselves and the modern world, including universities, nation-states, banks and bureaucracies, and even the idea of romantic love.

Join us in this course as we not only learn about this complex and dynamic historical period but also gain a new perspective on ourselves and our world.

Course Outline

Week One: What were the Middle Ages?

Different understandings of the Middle Ages.  How did medieval people think about themselves and their place in history?  Why did universities emerge in the Middle Ages and what did they teach? The influence of ancient Greece and Rome on the medieval world.

Week Two: Emperors and Popes.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian ‘Renaissance’. The Donation of Constantine. Monastic reform and the rise of the papacy.  The Investiture Controversy.  Pope Innocent III and the emperor Fredrick II.

Week Three: Saints and Sinners.

Saints cults and the worship of the Virgin Mary.  The letters of Abelard and Heloise.  St Bernard and the faith-versus-reason debate.  Medieval attitudes towards women.

Week Four: From Epic to Romance.

King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail.  Courtly Love and The Romance of the Rose.  Orality, literacy and the question of a Twelfth-Century ‘Renaissance’.  Gothic art and architecture.

Week Five: East and West.

Byzantium and the Eastern Schism. The crusades.  Why did the westerners and the Byzantines, both of whom were profoundly Christian, dislike and distrust each other?  What motivated the western crusaders?

Week Six: Sacred and Profane Literature.

The rise of vernacular literature.  Dante and Chaucer. Why have some medieval works become fixtures in the western literary canon, and others not?  Medieval spiritualism from St Francis to Meister Eckhardt.

Week Seven: The Enemy Within.

Heresy and the Albigensian Crusade.  Why were there heretics and what was heresy anyway?  What was it about heresy that provoked so much fear and animosity?

Week Eight: The Waning of the Middle Ages.

When did the Middle Ages end?  Did they?  Were the Reformation and the Renaissance proto-modern, or quintessentially medieval, phenomena?  What does how we think about the Middle Ages tell us about ourselves and our times?

Who should enrol

This course is for those interested in western history and culture in general, and those who would like to know more about the Middle Ages in particular.  The course is also designed as a foundation for other relevant CCE courses such as The Medieval Crusades, Medieval Literature and Thought, and The History of Christianity.

Mon 17 Oct 2022 - Sat 03 Dec 2022

18:00 - 20:15

9 Sessions

Face-to-face

Wed 19 Oct 2022 - Sun 04 Dec 2022

18:00 - 20:15

9 Sessions

Face-to-face

Understanding birds will explore all aspects of birds – origins, ongoing evolution, structure, behaviour, ecology and conservation issues – with an emphasis on Australian and local species. No prior knowledge required. Includes two field trips to identify and discuss local species.

Course outline

Topics covered include

1 - The Definition of a Bird; bird ancestors and evolution

  • Definition
  • Ancestors
  • Evolution of the Australian Avifanua

2 - Bird–watching Techniques and Tools

  • Field Guides
  • Reference Books and Tapes
  • Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Techniques

3 - Basic Adaptations

  • Understanding flight
  • Maximum Size – mechanics
  • Minimum Size – temperature control
  • Feathers
  • Skeleton and Musculature
  • Wing Shape
  • Respiration and Circulation
  • Digestive Tract and Feeding; Excretion
  • Reproduction, Nests and Eggs (to 78/2)
  • Senses and Vocalisations
  • Swimming
  • The Flightless Option

4 - Australian Bioregions and Habitats

  • Bioregions
  • Habitats

5 - Bird Ecology and Behaviour

  • Community and Population Ecology
  • Migration and Nomadism
  • Territory
  • Flocks
  • Colony
  • Reproductive Strategies
  • Courtship
  • Feeding Strategies
  • Climate Change and Birds

6 - Brief Introduction to Taxonomy 

7 - The Australian Bird Fauna – an outline

  •  Considers all the Australian bird families in order, with mention of, and some detail about, all local species.

Course dates

Course 1

  • 7 Monday evenings: 17 October 2022 - 28 November 2022
  • 2 Field trips: 8am - 11am, Saturday 26 November and 3 December

Course 2

  • 7 Wednesday evenings: 19 October - 30 November 2022
  • 2 Field trips: 8am - 11am, Sunday 27 November and 4 December

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone who would like to discover more about birds.

No dates are currently scheduled.

This course will explore the Australian experience of the First World War. The war affected Australia in many ways, some of which are still felt today. In particular, the role of the Great War in the development of Australia’s national identity remains a pressing and controversial issue.

The course will examine the Australian experience of war during the conflict itself, as well as analysing changing perceptions of the war on the part of subsequent generations. Its subject matter will range from histories, documents, and memoirs through to artistic, literary, film, and television depictions of the war.

Course outline

  • Week 1 - Why was there a war and why was Australia involved? you will explore Australia’s contribution to the war and the attitudes of Australians to the conflict.
  • Week 2 - The experience of war: you will examine letters, diaries, mementos, and memoirs as well as newspapers and the journalists: Charles Bean and Keith Murdoch.
  • Week 3 - War leadership: you will learn about Prime Minister 'Billy' Hughes and the changing landscape of Australian politics as well as examining the Australia and the British Empire with the role of the Governor-General and General John Monash and issues of command.
  • Week 4 - Those against: you will explore the conscription debate, anti-war sentiment, censorship and internment as well as the outspoken archbishop, Daniel Mannix.
  • Week 5 - Images of war: you will look at paintings, propaganda and photographs of and during war while examining artists Norman Lindsay and Will Dyson.
  • Week 6 - After the War: learn about Australia and the post-war world, including ‘Billy’ Hughes at the Paris peace conference, repatriation and the soldier-settlement scheme and the origins and evolution of Anzac Day.
  • Week 7 - Remembrance and reconstruction: take a closer look at memorials and memory, Charles Bean's, Official History and some war literature including Leonard Mann's Flesh in Armour and Roger MacDonald's, 1915.
  • Week 8 - Remembrance and reconstruction:in the final week explore Peter Weir's film and recent television miniseries, Gallipoli

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students should have:

  • an increased understanding of Australian history, and of the relationship between Australian history and world events
  • a greater awareness of many aspects of Australian culture
  • a greater understanding on the construction of Australia's national identity.
No dates are currently scheduled.

Using historical and contemporary case studies, this introductory course will consider key issues relevant to the destruction and protection of cultural heritage and archaeological sites in conflict zones, with a specific focus on the history, archaeology, heritage and political environment affecting nations in conflict. This course will discuss: the history, archaeology, heritage and political environment affecting nations in conflict; the difficulties associated with the implementation of extant treaties and conventions; the challenges of enacting them as a means to protect cultural heritage, and the difficulties associated with the prosecution of individuals and groups (such as Islamic State) for the looting, illegal exploitation and trafficking of antiquities. The course will also consider the growing global expectation that military forces deployed in areas of conflict, expand their responsibilities to undertake cultural and archaeological heritage site protection on the battlefield. In addition, the course will highlight that the challenges of cultural and archaeological heritage protection in conflict zones is a global problem requiring a global response.

Course outline

  • Session 1: Introduction to cultural and archaeological heritage: A global perspective.
  • Session 2: Historical case study – World War II and The Monuments Men.
  • Session 3: Contemporary case study 1 – Iraq.
  • Session 4: Contemporary case study 2 – Afghanistan.
  • Session 5: Contemporary case study 3 – Syria.
  • Session 6: Looting, illegal exploitation, trafficking and repatriation of antiquities.
  • Session 7: Cultural Property Protection (CPP) and foreign military forces in times of conflict.
  • Session 8: Current and future challenges in the protection of cultural and archaeological heritage in conflict zones – a global problem requiring a global response.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Have an introductory understanding of key terms and concepts relating to cultural and archaeological heritage.
  • Have a basic understanding of key issues relevant to cultural and archaeological heritage in conflict zones.
  • Identify some of the key challenges in cultural and archaeological heritage conservation, preservation and protection faced by nations in conflict.
  • Have a basic understanding of the role of UNESCO, statutory frameworks, heritage management and practices including ethical responsibilities facing nations and foreign forces.
  • Develop some understanding of the politics and national and international heritage agencies and what this can mean in times of conflict.
  • Develop some understanding of the associated dilemmas such as looting, illegal exploitation, trafficking of antiquities, and repatriation of antiquities.


No dates are currently scheduled.

If all roads lead to Rome, then wonder this way as we take you down the path of time to the ancient Greco-Romans. In examining the archaeology, immerse yourself in their philosophy, culture and history. Engage with writings and ideas of the ancient world, and discuss the history and society. And discover the joy of studying the classics and classical antiquity.

Course outline

Each session of the course is framed around a specific area of classics, before introducing key texts and writings highlighting the ideas, culture, and society, of the ancient world.

  • Session 1 - Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Session 2 - Approaches to Greek and Roman history
  • Session 3 - Greek and Latin literature
  • Session 4 –Greek historians and Roman historians
  • Session 5 – Homer and Virgil
  • Session 6 – Approaches to classics 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should have:

  • a basic understanding of classics and the study of classics
  • a basic understanding of the societies and cultures of Ancient Greek and Rome
  • the ability to engage with the main forms of approaching Greek and Roman history
  • an understanding of the key forms of Greek and Roman literature
  • an appreciation of some of the key texts and authors of the ancient world
  • an introductory understanding of how to engage, read, and study classics
  • the ability to develop some of the key critical skills needed to engage with classics and the study of classics
  • the means to both enjoy and engage with classics.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone interested in learning about classics and classical antiquity.

Rhys Williams is a graduate of the Australian National University (ANU) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is a PhD candidate in the School of History, ANU, working towards a thesis on British Socialism and Australia: 1880-1914. He is a Tutor in History and Political Science.

No dates are currently scheduled.

What is history? Is it just the past? Is history a science? Are there "causes" for historical events? What is a historical fact? How has the study of history changed over time? Does history have a point? Do we actually learn from history? This course seeks to answer such questions, by providing a detailed introductory outline of the evolution of the idea of history, and history writing, from the Ancient Greeks to the present day. Students will engage with the development of history as a way of understanding the past, through engaging with several key writers of history – such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Anna Comnena, Leopold von Ranke, Karl Marx, E.H. Carr, and G.R. Elton.

Learning outcomes

After studying the course, students should be able to:

  • have knowledge of history – the study of the past and how the study of history has changed over time.
  • have understanding of some of the key historians and approaches to history, from the Ancient Greeks to modern times.
  • have understanding of the main approaches to history and historiography – the theories and methods of history.
  • have knowledge of some of the key texts which engage with the subject of history and historiography. 
  • have an introductory understanding of how to engage, read, and study history as a critical subject.
  • develop some of the key critical skills needed to engage with history as a subject.

Course Materials

 Reading for the course is not required - but students would gain from seeking out supplementary material to inform their discussion and participation in the course. A bibliography of material will be provided.

Students should consider the following texts:

  • J. Arnold, History, (2000)
  • E.H. Carr, What is History?, (1961 rpt. 2002)
  • G.R. Elton, The Practice of History, (1967, rpt. 1987)
  • R.J. Evans, In Defence of History, (2001)
  • D. Cannadine (ed.), What is History Now?, (2002)
  • J. Black and D.M. Macraild, Studying History, (2007)
  • A. Green and K. Toup, The Houses of History, (1999)
  • E.J. Hobsbawm, On History, (1997)
  • J. Tosh, The Pursuit of History, (2006, rpt. 2015)
  • J. Arnold, History, (2000)
  • J. Burrow, A History of Histories, (2009)
  • Herodotus, The Histories, (Penguin)
  • Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, (Penguin)
  • Anna Comnena, The Alexiad, (Penguin)
  • K. Marx and F. Engels, The Communist Manifesto, (Penguin)
  • K. Marx, Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, (online)
  • M. Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, (1953 rpt. 1992)
  • P. Thompson, The Voice of the Past: Oral History (1988, rpt. 2000)
  • P. Claus and J. Marriott, History: An Introduction to Theory, Method, and Practice, (2012)
No dates are currently scheduled.

Shakespeare’s work is crucial to understanding the ideas, developments, genres, and stories of English literature. This course (as an introduction) attempts to introduce the life, times, and works of Shakespeare to modern students – particularly students who have never engaged with Shakespeare or his works.

Explore the life and work of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the English writer and playwright. Shakespeare is remembered as the greatest writer and playwright in the history of the English language, and a crucial figure for world literature. Indeed, he is remembered as the greatest writer of the Tudor period (1485-1603) and one of the key writers in British history. In this short course we will explore the life, times, and works of Shakespeare, in order to gain some understanding of this crucial writer in world history. The course explores Shakespeare’s life but also his work, specifically his great plays: the Comedies, the Histories and the Tragedies.

Course outline

The course is a short introduction of Shakespeare. It is designed to give a brief introduction to his life, his ideas, his times, and his works, in four two-hour sessions.

The specific sessions of the course include:

  • Session 1 – William Shakespeare – 1564-1616 – Life and Times
  • Session 2 – The Comedies
  • Session 3 The Histories
  • Session 4 – The Tragedies

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Have an introductory understanding of Shakespeare, his life, his times, and his works.
  • Have a basic understanding of the history of Shakespeare’s works and their importance to the history of English literature
  • Have some understanding of some of the key works by Shakespeare – the Comedies, the Histories, and the Tragedies.
  • Critically evaluate the themes and ideas of Shakespeare’s works, and its role in British and international literature.
  • Gain some skills to think rigorously, analytically, and critically about Shakespeare and his works.
  • Develop some interest in Shakespeare, both as a writer and as a thinker.
  • Develop some understanding of the importance of Shakespeare in the development of English and world literature.

Who should enrol

The course is designed for anyone who is interested in learning about Shakespeare, his life, his times, and his works..

Course materials

The course is designed as an introduction to Shakespeare, so it is advised that students familiarize themselves with the key texts of Shakespeare and studies of him. A bibliography shall be provided to students.


No dates are currently scheduled.


This blockbuster course will look at movies that deal with major philosophical issues, or ‘the big questions’. For those wanting to further their understanding of philosophy or love movies, discuss a range of movies by well-known directors including Kubrick, Hitchcock, and Kurosawa. So the question is, "do you take the blue or the red pill?".

Course outline

Each week’s list will be the main topic for discussion, so course participants are encouraged to watch these movies before the class.  But the more movies you watch, the better, of course.

    • Week 1: Philosophy and Film - Plato’s Cinema.
    • Week 2: Knowledge and Scepticism - The Matrix (1999), Rashomon (1950).
    • Week 3: Mind and Consciousness - Ex Machina (2015) , Blade Runner (1982)
    • Week 4: Us, the Universe, and the Future - 2001 a Space Odyssey (1968), Solaris (1972, 2002), Blade Runner (1982), Alphaville (1965), Metropolis (1927).
    • Week 5: Ethics 1: Choices and Actions - Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), Rope (1948), Lifeboat (1944), Bicycle Thieves (1948).
    • Week 6: Ethics 2: Morality and/in War? - Breaker Morant (1979), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Fury (2014).
    • Week 7: Freedom, Society, and Alienation - Minority Report (2002), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Taxi Driver (1967), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Antz, (1998), Metropolis (1927).
    • Week 8: Metaphysics, Meaning, and God - The Seventh Seal (1957), Wings of Desire (1987), The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935).

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be well acquainted with the central issues of western philosophy and will possess a deeper understanding of our own cultural environment.

Who should enrol

Film buffs with a thirst for big answers!


No dates are currently scheduled.


Thinking about our relationship with animals invites us to re-evaluate traditional approaches in both ethics and philosophy itself, and to question many long-standing socio-cultural assumptions. This course will cover attitudes towards animals in the Western intellectual and cultural tradition, the emergence of animal ethics as we know it in the late twentieth century, and current directions and tensions in the field of animal ethics.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Attitudes towards animals in western thinking.
  • Topic 2: René Descartes and modern scientific thinking.
  • Topic 3: Enlightenment ethics and the idea of compassion.
  • Topic 4: The concept of speciesism; Peter Singer and Tom Regan.
  • Topic 5: The question of non-human sentience.
  • Topic 6: Animal ethics and legal change: Gary Francione and Steven Wise.
  • Topic 7: Jacques Derrida and the continental intellectual tradition; postmodern ethics.
  • Topic 8: Ethics of Care; the question of intersectionality.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have:

  • an understanding of some key philosophical and ethical concepts
  • an understanding of yourself and your relationship with the world in general and animals in particular.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.