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Modern History

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A Woman’s Sphere: How 19th Century British Women Created a Social Revolution that Changed the Empire

In 19th century Britain and her colonies, the socio-religious doctrine known as “The Two Spheres” was enshrined in law. This doctrine defined the roles of men and women in society. Two clearly delineated spheres - the masculine sphere was the world of action, politics, economics, education and religion; the feminine sphere was the world of hearth and home where women were subservient to father, husband or brother because by law they were deemed to be “minors’; unfit to have an... [More]

A Celebration of 400 Years of Women Artists

In every century there have been outstanding women artists who have achieved a reputation that has tested time and sat well-earned, alongside their male colleagues. Often their live stories are remarkable in themselves and give us a glimpse into social histories of their age. In this 5 unit course we will look back over the last 400 years, and will consider Artemisia Gentileschi, Rachel Ruysch, Angelica Kauffman, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Grace... [More]

Pride, Faith And Blood: The American Civil War And Its Aftermath

Every Federation has struggles between States’ rights and national policies. In the United States these led to a civil war which cost more lives than all other wars in which Americans have been involved put together. The war left scars that are still raw, especially in the South, where the Confederate flag flies defiantly over some government buildings as well as private homes, and even outside some churches. This course considers the dis-united states and territories before the... [More]

The Victorian Age And Its Legacy

We've all heard the story of Victorian-age prudery which is said to have led to piano legs being covered with frilly lace so that lustful minds could not be excited by bare ankles. Yet, outside the home, in Victorian England, prostitution flourished as never before. This is one of the many paradoxes of the Victorian age, which also saw growing wealth and growing poverty, great buildings and workers' slums, strict morality at home and aggression abroad... Yet Victorian England's... [More]

Separatism - Why Nations Break Apart

This course looks at how and why nations fragment, why parts break away, and considers whether this could happen in Australia, with separatist movements in Western Australia and Norfolk Island and among some indigenous groups. How could indigenous ‘recognition’ and ‘sovereignty’ co-exist within Australia’s constitutional structure? Sometimes separatism erupts into civil war, as factors which bring people together, such as language and a common history, clash with issues that may... [More]

Armchair Travels

This course let’s you visit six extraordinary destinations without leaving home. We will discuss the history of these places, what continues to draws travellers and options for ‘virtual travel’. We will visit Rapa Nui (Easter Island) unique, remote, mysterious; Vladivostok Russia, once closed to outsiders, now Russia’s gateway to the East; Kasane Botswana, in Africa’s kingdom of the elephants; Lukla Nepal on the Everest Base Camp Trail; Villarrica Chile, adventure travel hot-spot... [More]

Royalty & Riches, Looters & Collectors - The Wonders of the Art Museums of Today

Millions of people each year visit the major Museums of art from London to New York and from Paris to St Petersburg. But who were the individuals or families that amassed these amazing collections? What are the stories behind the masterpieces? How did major art works travel between countries as war booty from the 1500s to looted art in WWII? Some collectors were Royalty and some were new to Royalty and trying to establish their status whilst others just amassed riches to enjoy.... [More]

Southeast Asia: History, Culture and Australian Involvement

Southeast Asia is more important to Australia than anywhere else but most people's knowledge of it tends to be superficial and often inaccurate. Our media focuses on Europe which is of marginal relevance to Australia and where we have no influence or importance. This course provides an introductory overview of the region which matters to us and where we can have some influence if we play our cards right. We look at history, politics and geography as well as regional developments.... [More]

Austria: An Overview of its History and its Heritage

Austria has had a unique history owing to its position as the most easterly of the German-speaking countries. Its long rule over Hungary and some of the Slavic countries led to the assimilation of many influences from these different cultures, adding to its already rich heritage. This course will explore the history of the country, the special position of Vienna and its architecture as the capital of the vast Habsburg Empire, and the work of some of its greatest composers: Haydn,... [More]

Rebellion! Behind The Eureka Stockade

Just before dawn on the morning of December 3 1854, 296 soldiers and police descended on the sleeping inhabitants of the stockade which had been roughly thrown together on the Eureka Lead in Ballarat. Fifteen minutes later twenty-two miners lay dead and the rebellion against the authority of the Crown had been quashed. The issues which had driven the Ballarat miners to erect the stockade were not unique to Ballarat. The discovery of gold in Australia, and in particular the new... [More]