« History & the Arts

The continuing education program offers special interest and educational courses with a difference focusing on art, archaeology, culture, history, science, literature and writing, music and life skills.

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Mon 16 Aug 2021 - Mon 06 Sep 2021

18:00 - 20:00

4 Sessions

Online

Explore the archaeology and social lives of Early Medieval English and Scandinavian peoples.  

The Saxon and Viking period was one of mass-migration and cultural interaction, where Germanic language people traded and invaded from Ireland to Istanbul. Their mythical origins can be traced in the archaeology left behind and their pagan ways underpinned Christianity in the west. 

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Introduction: the Early Medieval Age of Migrations  
  • Topic 2: Life and Death in Saxon England 
  • Topic 3: Pirates from the Sea: Vikings and the Celtic Fringe 
  • Topic 4: Danelaw and the Scandinavian Empire  

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, learners will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the archaeological timeline and characteristics of Early Medieval Western Europe;
  • Recognise the social and cultural changes from one time period to another;
  • Grasp key debates about the identities of Early Medieval communities;
  • Explain the nature of monuments, housing, domestic lives, beliefs, and attitudes to death.

Who should enrol

This course is aimed at a general audience with a healthy enthusiasm for studying the past but no previous experience in archaeology is necessary. 

Mon 11 Oct 2021 - Mon 01 Nov 2021

18:00 - 20:00

4 Sessions

Online

Explore the archaeology and social lives of the people living in Medieval Europe. 

The Medieval period saw the expansion of the feudal system and the creation of Europe as a concept, but the vast majority of people were not kings, knights or bishops. They were bakers, brewers, blacksmiths, merchants, farmers, and householders, who struggled and prospered through the cycles of famine, pestilence, and war. The archaeology they left behind is a window to their characters, beliefs, and mentalities.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Introduction to Feudal Europe 
  • Topic 2: Knowledge is Power: how to control the masses 
  • Topic 3: Death and Taxes: the certainties in life 
  • Topic 4: Sex, Marriage and Property: inside the Medieval Mind.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, learners will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the archaeological timeline and characteristics of Medieval Europe;
  • Recognise the social and cultural changes from one time period to another;
  • Grasp key debates about the identities of Medieval communities;
  • Explain the nature of monuments, housing, domestic lives, beliefs, and attitudes to death.

Who should enrol

This course is aimed at a general audience with a healthy enthusiasm for studying the past but no previous experience in archaeology is necessary.

Wed 13 Oct 2021 - Wed 17 Nov 2021

18:00 - 20:00

6 Sessions

Online

The course is a combination of English Studies, Literary Studies, and History. Students will learn about the history of English literature but also about the texts, works, writers, ideas, themes, and basic concepts of English writing. The course will explore fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, and other forms of literature written in the English language. 

In this course we shall also explore English literature by engaging with several great writers and works from the history of English writing – Anglo-Saxon writers, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Defoe, Byron, Shelley, Blake, Austen, the Brontë sisters, Woolf, Dickens, Greene, Auden, and Orwell. Emphasis will be based on how these individual writers, and their works, contributed to the overall development of English literature as well as their connection to English society and history.

Course outline

This course is an introductory course on English Literature, for students who are interested in learning about the ideas, themes, history, and development of English writing. The course covers all the major periods of English literature from the beginning of the English language to the present day. The course is primarily for students who are interested in reading English Literature and who wish to develop their skills in understanding the main books, figures, history, and ideas of English writing.

The specific sessions of the course include:

  • Session 1 – Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • Session 2 – Medieval English Literature 
  • Session 3 – Early Modern English Literature
  • Session 4 – Eighteenth-Century English Literature
  • Session 5 – Nineteenth-Century English Literature 
  • Session 6 – Twentieth-Century English Literature 

Learning outcomes

After studying the course, students should be able to:

  • Have an introductory understanding of English literature.
  • Have a basic understanding of the history of English literature, from 450 CE to the present.
  • Identify some of the key connections between English literature and British society.
  • Critically evaluate the themes and ideas of English literature, and its role in British and international society.
  • Gain some skills to think rigorously, analytically, and critically about English literature and the set texts discussed in the course – from Anglo-Saxon literature to the present day. 
  • Develop some interest in the key writers, texts, and genres of English literature.
  • Develop some understanding of the importance of history and society in the development of English literature.

Who should enrol

The course is designed for anyone who is interested in learning about English literature between 450 CE and the present.

Course materials

The course is designed as an introduction to English literature, so it is advised that students familiarize themselves with the key texts of classical English literature. A bibliography shall be provided to students.

Specifically students should consider the following set texts:

  • Beowulf, (700-1000 CE)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, (1400 CE)
  • William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part 2, (1596-1599)
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest, (1610-1611)
  • John Milton, Paradise Lost, (1667/1674)
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, (1719)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, (1813)
  • Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, (1811)
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, (1847)
  • Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, (1847)
  • William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience, (1789-1794)
  • Lord Byron, Don Juan, (1819-1824)
  • Percy Shelley, The Masque of Anarchy, (1819)
  • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, (1927)
  • Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, (1860-1861)
  • Graham Greene, Brighton Rock, (1938)
  • W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939, (1939)
  • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, (1949)

Mon 01 Nov 2021 - Mon 22 Nov 2021

18:30 - 20:00

4 Sessions

TBA

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the women who won the right to vote in Australia. Contemporary non-fiction writers have reconstructed the lives of suffragists like Vida Goldstein and the women who left Australia to fight for the rights of women abroad from the historical record. But how did fiction writers at the time contend with the question of votes for women? How did they represent the campaign for women’s voting rights in imaginative writing? And how did they imagine the enfranchised woman herself?

This course will introduce students to the history of the women’s suffrage movement in Australia, including key players and events in the campaign, before delving into the movement’s literary dimension. Structured around the works of three woman writers – Ada Cambridge, Henrietta Dugdale, and better-known Miles Franklin – the course will explore the contexts in which their works were written, and consider how understanding these contexts informs our interpretation of each text and the message it appears to deliver.

  • Topic 1: Historical contexts: the fight for women’s suffrage in Australia
  • Topic 2: Ada Cambridge: writing the campaign for women’s suffrage
  • Topic 3: Henrietta Dugdale: writing an enfranchised future
  • Topic 4: Miles Franklin: writing voting women

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, learners should:

  • Know about the history of the women’s suffrage campaign in Australia
  • Recognise how understanding the context in which a literary work is produced can influence a reader’s perception of it
  • Understand the relationship between women’s suffrage fiction and the women’s suffrage campaign’s political agenda in Australia
  • Know about publishing trends in the late nineteenth century in Australia

Who should enrol

This course will appeal to people who are interested in the history of Australian feminism, Australian literature, women’s writing, and/or a combination of these things.

Wed 28 Jul 2021 - Wed 18 Aug 2021

18:00 - 20:00

4 Sessions

Online

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.

From Segovia to Toledo, Córdoba to Sevilla and the extraordinary Alhambra in Granada, the archaeological remains and spectacular architecture that can be seen in Spain today reflect a turbulent history of invasion and conquest. Ideal preparation for travellers, this course explores Spain's history from its origins in the deep past, through the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Visigoths in the 6th century to the golden age following the expulsion of the Moors in the 16th century.

Outline

Session 1 - Invaders and Traders

From the beginning of the Iron Age through to 700AD, Spain was colonised by a diverse range of peoples moving from central and Mediterranean Europe.  The Phoenicians came to trade timber for the valuable metals of the Iberian Peninsula, Celtic influence came from the north and the Romans came to the aid of the Greek traders and stayed on for over 500 years.  Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths took control of most of the country.  Sites discussed include Numancia, Italica, Tarragona, and Barcelona.

Session 2 - Kings & Caliphs

This session will trace the rise and fall of the Muslims in Spain, from the fall of the Visigoths early in the 8th Century through the main period of the Christian Reconquista in the 13th.  Discussion of sites will not only include the famous cities of Toledo, Cordoba and Sevilla but will also draw on valuable archaeological evidence from lesser known pockets of rural Spain including frontier castles and battle sites.              

Session 3 - Reconquista

From the early skirmishes to the final siege of Granada, this session will examine the Christian actions as they slowly began to take back their lands in 730 until the last Muslim rebellion in 1568.  We will look at the rise of the cult of St James (Santiago) and the rise of the Christian kingdoms in the north including Leon, Castile, Navarra and Asturias.

Sessions 4 - 1492 & beyond

From the Alhambra and other sites of the Kingdom of Granada, we will discuss the final Muslim kingdom of the Nasrids.  Focus will then move to the archaeology of Spain from 1492 and the imprint in both Spain and the Americas left by the Catholic Monarchs and their descendants which led to the Golden Age. 

No dates are currently scheduled.

By examining the processes involved we will use case studies from a range of periods throughout the world to demonstrate and illustrate how the discipline functions. This short course will provide a basic understanding of the depth and breadth of archaeology. Beginning with a brief history of the discipline, we will cover the study of human history from the migration out of Africa through to the historical period. Using case studies, we will examine a range of time periods and regions from around the world including North Africa, Europe, the New World and the Pacific. Ideal for the budding archaeology enthusiast.

Course outline

  • Week 1 - Archaeology defined. Following a brief discussion on what defines archaeology as a discipline, we will look at the history and development of archaeological investigation. This will include the evolution and a range of theories and techniques used to study the past including dating.
  • Week 2 - The Neolithic Revolution. The domestication of plants and animals heralded the arrival of the first boom period in the development of civilizations. From the Near-East and through Europe, we will discuss the ramifications of agriculture, trade and urbanisation on human populations. More than just a technology, the arrival of metals produced another 'revolution' in cultural development. We will look at the origins of metallurgy and its spread through Europe and Asia and how human populations reacted to its introduction. As a case study, we will examine the culture of the so-called Celts in Europe and discuss the idea of a pan-European culture.
  • Week 3 - Hunters and gatherers across the Wallace Line. During this session, we will examine the evidence for the settlement of Australia, from its earliest period, through climatic change to Colonial impact. We will also discuss the settlement of Melanesia and Polynesia. Easter Island will be used as a case study for this topic.
  • Week 4 - The Americas. The American continents were settled far later than the other major land-masses but developed much the same way as Europe. We will discuss the origins of the first Americans and the rise of civilisation there concluding with the Aztecs, Maya and Inca.
  • Week 5 - Archaeology & Science. New techniques have enabled archaeologists to revisit material that was long forgotten. Using case studies, we will examine a few of the advances made in science that have helped archaeologists reveal deep insights into past human behaviour.
  • Week 6 - History, Heritage and Archaeology. Archaeology is not only concerned with the deep past. This session introduces historical and industrial Archaeology using case studies from Colonial Australia and Industrial UK. The Past as a Commodity - who owns the Past? Whether we realise it or not, most of us are involved in cultural heritage management at some point in our lives.

Whenever we visit a museum or historic site, heritage management has been put into practice - both good and bad. Tourism in some areas relies heavily on the archaeology of its region. This session will discuss the pros and cons of good heritage management and how management plans were developed for some of the world's most famous sites - Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building - just to name a few.

Who should enrol

People thinking about archaeology as a career or wishing to get more out of their travels. Anyone interested in this fascinating look into our past.

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.

Explore the archaeology and social lives of the people living in the Western Roman Empire. 

The Roman world included people from Africa, Britain, Germany, Greece, and Iran. They moved around Western Europe, trading, fighting, marrying, and dying in the Roman provinces. The Roman period was the flowering of multicultural Europe.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Introduction: the story of the Roman Empire 
  • Topic 2: Gods and goddesses: fear, faith, and sacrifice 
  • Topic 3: Social life: how to make friends and manipulate people 
  • Topic 4: Staying Alive: the bare necessities of life  

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, learners will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the archaeological timeline and characteristics of Roman Western Europe;
  • Recognise the social and cultural changes over the time period;
  • Grasp key debates about the identities of Roman communities;
  • Explain the nature of monuments, housing, domestic lives, beliefs, and attitudes to death.

Who should enrol

This course is aimed at a general audience with a healthy enthusiasm for studying the past but no previous experience in archaeology is necessary.


No dates are currently scheduled.

This course is about the archaeology and social lives of the people living in Western Europe in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. 

Warriors, farmers, sailors, builders, metalsmiths, and priests: from the people who built Stonehenge to the Celtic-speaking tribes who fought the Romans. The later prehistoric period was the time when the first ideas of civilisation came to Europe. 

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Introduction to European Prehistory: from the Stone Ages to Caesar  
  • Topic 2: Religion and Rituals: finding your place in the universe  
  • Topic 3: Everyday Survival: farming, feasting, and fighting 
  • Topic 4: Games of Thrones: power politics in the Age of Iron.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, learners will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Understand the archaeological timeline and characteristics of later prehistoric Western Europe;
  • Recognise the social and cultural changes from one time period to another;
  • Grasp key debates about the identities of prehistoric communities;
  • Explain the nature of monuments, housing, domestic lives, beliefs, and attitudes to death.

Who should enrol

This course is aimed at a general audience with a healthy enthusiasm for studying the past but no previous experience in archaeology is necessary.


No dates are currently scheduled.

As an island nation, Japan’s culture is fascinatingly different from its Asian neighbours.

During two and a half centuries of self-imposed isolation in the pre-modern period, Japan developed cultural traditions so strong that they still intrigue the foreign visitor today. 

Using an abundance of visual material, this course will survey Japanese history and culture from its beginnings to the end of the 20th century, with due consideration of how Japan’s geographical position next to the Asian Continent and some hundred active volcanoes dotting the islands, frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, heavy monsoon rains and typhoons shaped the ethos and lifestyle of its people.

Course outline

  1. Introduction: the geographic and climatic features shaping Japanese history and culture. Where did the first people on the island chain come from? Jômon culture with its fantastic pottery and masked statues followed by a new wave of immigrants bringing rice cultivation, mega tombs, mirrors, swords and the governance of a female ruler. 
  2. The religion of Shinto and the sanctuary of the sun goddess Amaterasu, the progenitor of the imperial line. The introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century, the architecture of its temples that withstood earthquakes for well over a thousand years, the imagery of Buddhist statues.
  3. The founding of the imperial capital of Kyoto. The refined culture of the aristocracy. The rise of the samurai: recruited to serve the emperor, they usurped his political authority and created their own warrior culture. The attempted invasion of Kublai Khan and the divine winds (kami kaze) that saved the country.
  4. The Christian Century: from missionary success to persecution and martyrdom. Artistic and cultural gains from the encounter between East and West. The three great unifiers of Japan and the politics of the tea ceremony.
  5. The Tokugawa military rulers (shogun) and 250 years of peace and closure of the country.  The much-maligned “Dog Shogun” and the eye-witness account of a foreign visitor. 
  6. The growth of the mega city of Edo (Tokyo), and the flowering of what is celebrated as traditional Japanese culture today, such as haiku, kabuki, the art of the geisha and the woodblock print. The passion for travel: the Japanese inns and the cultural life on the busy highways.
  7. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the 18th and 19th century, the arrival of the Americans, the restoration of imperial rule.  
  8. The 20th century: The strive for emancipation as a world power: rapid Westernisation and the role of the military. Victory and defeat and the post-war commercial boom.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should:

  • appreciate how the environment has shaped the culture and history of Japan
  • understand to what extent China, Korea and the West impacted on the culture and history of Japan
  • be aware how frequent natural disasters shaped religious believes and philosophical tenets in Japan, differing from those of other countries
  • know the difference between Buddhism and Shinto and the political role played by these two religions
  • have some appreciation of the role of Christianity in Japan
  • know about the origins of samurai culture and the role it played over the course of Japanese history
  • be aware of how the position of Japanese women changed over the course of Japanese history
  • understand how even after the so-called closure of Japan, cultural exchange led to advances in science and the arts in Japan and the West
  • appreciate how under the infamous Dog Shogun, laws were promulgated some of which appeared in the West only 200 years later
  • have learned about the life in Edo/Tokyo, perhaps the largest and most densely populated city in the world, twice the size of London in the pre-modern period.

Who should enrol

Anyone desiring to understand and appreciate the history and culture of Japan.

No dates are currently scheduled.

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."