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A weekend history degree with King's College London’s leading academics

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 4:00 PM (GMT)

A weekend history degree with King's College London’s...

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
A weekend history degree with King's College London Mar 2, 2018 £139.00 £6.06
Two-ticket offer - A weekend history degree with King's College London Mar 2, 2018 £228.00 £6.50
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Gain unprecedented access to lectures at King’s College London and spend an enjoyable weekend soaking up insights from leading historians 

Whether you miss your university days or you never got the chance to go, this unique weekend will provide you with unprecedented access to lectures at King’s College London’s prestigious history department.

 Listen to eight history masterclasses over two days, delivered by leading academics in the beautiful Grade II-listed Bush House on the university’s central Strand campus. 

Learn about the history of democracy, migration, religion, gender, capitalism and much, much more. And join a special panel featuring King’s College London’s academics and Guardian journalists for a discussion over drinks.

Book now and bring a friend to take advantage of our two-ticket offer – a saving of £50.



  • Democracy with Hannah Dawson, lecturer in the history of political thought, and Dr Serena Ferente, senior lecturer in medieval European history 
    For most of history, democracy has been a dirty word. It had a brief beginning in ancient Greece, only came back into favour in the 19th century, and now, in the 21st century, it’s under pressure again. “Democracy” means “power of the people”, but who are “the people”, and what are the merits and dangers of giving them power? Is there such a thing as “the will of the people”, or is it just a rhetorical tool of tyrants? What is the difference between democracy and populism? This masterclass will explore key moments in the history of democracy – from fifth-century Athens, through Renaissance Italy, to contemporary Britain and America – and probe the reasons why democracy has been feared as much as it has been loved.

  • A short history of migrants, nations, and border walls with Peter Heather, Vincent Hiribarren and Christine Mathias
    This session will provide a sweeping introduction to more than 1,000 years of world history by focusing on how historians think about migration, nation states and borders. Questions to explore will include: were medieval states also nations? Why or why not? Why did people migrate in pre-modern times? What kinds of migration were most problematic? What are borderlands? How did slave raiders sew terror in the borderlands of Nigeria? How did the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram come to power there? How do borders affect local communities? When did the US begin to enforce its border with Mexico? Does the US need a new border wall?

  • Animals with Abigail Woods, professor in the history of human and animal health
    Commentary on livestock farming today frequently makes reference to a past “golden age”, a time of small, extensive, mixed farms on which animals were valued as sentient individuals. It is said that in the decades after the second world war, these systems gave way to highly specialised, intensive enterprises to which the organic movement provided the only serious counter-current. Technological breakthroughs and the pursuit of profit transformed animals into standardised industrial commodities, to the detriment of their welfare, the environment and human health. But how accurate is this story? Did the golden age ever exist, and were animals really disregarded as intensive farming took hold? In this session, participants are encouraged to take a closer look at what really happened to British livestock farming. Drawing on original historical evidence, it illuminates some curious counter-trends that challenge how we think about agricultural modernity and human-animal relations in the past and the present.

  • Empire and race with Richard Drayton, professor of imperial history

  • Religion with Adam Sutcliffe and AbdoolKarim Vakil: Jews and Muslims in contemporary Britain: Does history matter?
    What are the similarities and what are the differences in the experiences of Jews and of Muslims in Britain? Does Islamophobia in this country in some way echo the forms and history of antisemitism – or are these fundamentally different phenomena? These two currents of prejudice more often appear in the media as competing for attention than as a subject for careful and historical comparison. There is, however, a pressing need for clearer thinking on the contrasting, but also intertwined, histories that have shaped the place of Muslim and Jewish issues in British public life and political debate. In this session, led by a specialist on European Jewish history and a specialist on contemporary Muslims in Europe, we will explore the history of these two minorities and attitudes towards them, asking how this history relates to the politics of multiculturalism and religious diversity in Britain today.

  • Women and gender with Alana Harris, lecturer in modern British history, and Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, senior lecturer in history

  • Deep time with Chris Manias, lecturer in the history of science and technology
    The idea that the Earth has a long and deep prehistory, and that it was formerly inhabited by strange prehistoric beasts living in radically different environments, is familiar to us. Yet this idea has a history, and was dramatically and suddenly “uncovered” in the middle of the 19th century. Across Britain, Europe and further afield, scientists and interested collectors found the remains of early invertebrates, huge reptiles from the age of the dinosaurs, a series of ancient mammals and the prehistoric ancestors of modern humans. These finds had a dramatic impact, being reported in the contemporary press and displayed in new museums, as scientists and scholars attempted to present their discoveries in a comprehensible manner, and the public grappled with the disorientating implications of this new deep history. This session will examine how this strange new past was made known to scholars and the public in the mid-19th century, and how it affected ideas of creation, the world, nature, development and the environment. In doing so, we will think about the place of “deep time” and palaeontology in culture, and how some of the motifs established in this era still persist today.

  • Britain and capitalism with David Edgerton, professor of the history of science and technology, and modern British history, and Jon Wilson, reader in modern history

    Further content TBC.

Tutor profiles
AbdoolKarim Vakil is a lecturer in contemporary history in the departments of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies and history at King's College London. His research interests have ranged from Portuguese intellectual and cultural history, nationalism and national identity, to Islamophobia and the comparative history of contemporary Muslim communities in Europe. He is currently involved with ReOrient: The Journal of Critical Muslim Studies. AbdoolKarim has been academic adviser to Muslim organisations in Portugal and in the UK.

Abigail Woods is a historian of science, technology and medicine. She trained in Cambridge and Manchester, and spent eight years at Imperial College London before joining King’s College London in 2013. Reflecting her earlier career as a veterinary surgeon, her research focuses on the history of animals, animal health and livestock agriculture in modern Britain, the evolution of veterinary medicine and the history of animals within human medicine.

Adam Sutcliffe is a reader in European history at King’s College London. His research focuses on modern Jewish history and European intellectual history, and particularly on the relationship between these two areas. He is the author of Judaism and Enlightenment and has written on topics ranging from Spinoza and 17th-century republicanism to the politics of Holocaust memory. He is currently working on Jews and Judaism in the history of radical politics, and has a special interest in the history and politics of Jewish-Muslim relations.

Alana Harris joined King’s College London in 2015, having spent six years in Oxford as the Darby fellow in history at Lincoln College and, before that, as a postdoctoral researcher. Her background includes history, divinity, corporate law and civil service. Alana’s research interests broadly span issues related to British identity in the 19th and 20th century, encompassing gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and religiosity. Her new research work is exploring understandings of “modern love”, romance, contraception and sexuality through the “long 1960s”.

Chris Manias is a specialist in the history of science, with focuses on Britain, France, German-speaking Europe and the USA from the late-18th to early-20th century. His research interests are the history of anthropology, archaeology, human origins research and palaeontology. Chris is particularly interested in digital approaches to history and is currently developing an online exhibition based on his research into the history of mammal palaeontology in the 1880-1950 period.

Christine Mathias joined King’s College London in 2015 as a lecturer in modern Latin American history. She studied at Yale University, where she received her PhD in history in 2015. Her research and teaching promote historical thinking both across and about national borders. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript that will provide the first comprehensive history of efforts by Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay to conquer an isolated South American borderland known as the Gran Chaco. She is also developing a new project on the history of Peronism in the Argentine interior.

David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the history of science and technology, and professor of modern British history. He is known for challenging the welfarism and declinism of much of the older historiography of 20th-century Britain and for developing the concepts of the British warfare state and liberal militarism. He has written for the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, the Independent, New Statesman and Prospect, and is currently working on Capitalism, Empire and Nation: A New History of 20th-Century Britain for Penguin.

Hannah Dawson is a historian of ideas and a lecturer in the history of political thought at King’s College London. She received her PhD in history from the University of Cambridge and is the author of Life Lessons from Hobbes. Hannah contributes frequently to live and broadcast media, including BBC4, BBC Radio 4, TEDx and Guardian Live, and writes for publications such as the Times Literary Supplement and Prospect. She tweets @DrHannahDawson.

Jon Wilson joined King’s College London in 1999 as lecturer in British imperial and South Asian history. His work focuses on the everyday life of the state in South Asia and Britain. Jon is currently working on a multi-national history of everyday concepts of government from the 1970s to the present, tracing the genealogy of words people take for granted in ordinary political and governmental speech. He has also worked as a parliamentary researcher and been a local councillor.

Peter Heather joined King’s College London in 2008 as the chair of medieval history. Prior to joining King’s, he worked at University College London, Yale University and Worcester College, Oxford. His research interests lie in the later Roman Empire and its successor states. In recent years, his research has looked at propaganda in the late Roman elite, and issues of migration and ethnicity among the groups who dismantled the western half of the Roman Empire.

Richard Drayton was born in Guyana and grew up in Barbados. He left the Caribbean as a Barbados Scholar to Harvard University, going then to Yale, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation. He has been a research fellow at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Darby fellow and tutor in modern history at Lincoln College, Oxford, associate professor of British history at the University of Virginia, and lecturer in imperial and extra-European history since 1500, fellow and director of studies in history at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. In 2002 he was awarded the Philip Leverhulme prize for history. He joined King's College London as Rhodes Professor in 2009.

Serena Ferente joined King’s College London in 2006 as a lecturer in medieval European history. She studied at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Ecole Hautes Etudes Sciences Sociales in Paris and the European University Institute of Florence. Her primary research interests lie in the political history of late medieval and Renaissance Italy. She has published widely on parties, partisan identities and supra-regional political networks in 15th-century Italy, with a particular focus on city-states and actors resisting processes of state-building.

Vincent Hiribarren trained as a history and geography teacher and taught in France, China, Guinea and England. From 2008 to 2012, he undertook a PhD on the history of Borno, Nigeria, at the University of Leeds. He joined the History Department at King's College London in 2013. His research deals with a territory located in north-eastern Nigeria, mainly known in the media as the cradle of terrorist Islamist group Boko Haram. In 2014, he co-founded a blog called Africa4 for the French newspaper Libération.

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When & Where

Bush House
King's College London
Strand Campus, 30 Aldwych
WC2B 4BG London
United Kingdom

Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 10:00 AM - Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 4:00 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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