History Courses

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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History courses give us information that allows us to place things in context. They explain how things have come to be, how societies and cultures have evolved over time in response to key events. By studying history we can illuminate our understanding of the present be it on a local, national or global level as we investigate and analyse patterns of continuity and change over time.

As the great German author Goethe once wrote: A person who does not know the history of the last 3, 000 years wanders in the darkness of ignorance, unable to make sense of the reality around him. What does it involve The majority of part-time History courses are extramural that is, they do not confer awards such as degrees or diplomas on students. Instead, they are aimed at those with a genuine interest in the subject at hand or those who wish to expand and enrich the breadth and scope of their knowledge.

This also means that most part-time History courses do not ask that participants undertake assignments or examinations, thus leaving them free to reap the many benefits of simply learning for the pleasure it gives them. Naturally, a healthy portion of the History courses out there relate specifically to Irish history. Few among us will be unaware of some of the most pivotal moments in our nation s history, though yet fewer will be experts on them.

Irish History courses allow us to revisit events from several hundred in the past. A course on Seventeenth-Century Ireland, for instance, will take students from the Plantation of Ulster up to the death of the Charles II. It will examine a period in which the social and political status quo would endure until at least the late nineteenth century. Other Irish History courses deal with more recent events such as the 1916 Easter Rising, Ireland and the Union, the Impact of the Great Famine and the History of War in Dublin. Lovers of history whose interests go beyond these shores also have plenty of options to choose from. When we consider Western history, there are surely few better places to begin than a course in Greek and Roman History, which will provide an introductory survey of the history of the Greek and Roman world, from the Greek Archaic age (c. 700 BC) to the death of Augustus in AD 14. The main trends and issues of this period will be explored, including colonisation, imperialism, war, the Athenian invention of democracy, the rise of Alexander, and the emergence of Rome as a major power in the Mediterranean. More contemporary European history courses cover certain specific epochs: Europe in 1000 1250, 1700 1850, 1870 1930, and Europe since 1914. Between them these periods cover a huge range of compelling, defining events and movements, such as the Crusades, the Enlightenment, the World Wars and the distribution and redistribution of global power. Nor are students confined to European history: there are also courses dedicated to Jewish Civilisation, Islamic Civilisation, American History and the History of Russian Culture (admittedly, this is European too). Yet another course shines a light on the Female Icons that have pitted the history books, such as Mary Magdalene, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Elizabeth I, among many others. Why do it In a rich, complex, diverse and increasingly multicultural world, knowing something about the historical events, cultures and ideals that have shaped our era and have often bound us to one another has become deeply important. History allows one to vicariously experience countless situations and conditions, and stimulates our imagination and empathy. It also trains students to read intelligently and think critically. What comes next Part-time History courses are beneficial to those in a variety of professions such as politics, teaching or tourism. However, their virtues can also be applied more generally in terms of the insight and understanding they provide to students. At a glance There is a huge array of part-time History courses that learners can select from. Courses generally run for no fewer than 8 weeks and no more than 24.

Frank Bolger

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