Combining the humanities with international high jinx
How to Take Over the World
Discover the secrets of revolution, empire, puppetry and propaganda - everything you need to achieve global domination - without sacrificing academic rigour. Find out how to thwart your enemies by studying how political systems use checks to limit power – and how to circumnavigate them. If your ambition leans towards pulling the strings from behind the scenes, we’ve also got you covered. Whether your plans for world conquest are malevolent or benign, you will receive the best advice that history has to offer. Drawing on art and music theory, politics, literature, psychology, philosophy and anthropology, you will discover how to achieve supreme power from the bottom up.
Options for tailoring include incorporation of material from various charismatic leaders, historical periods or works of art. We recommend looking at our other online courses on the History of Political Philosophy, Ruling the Roman Empire and How to Win an Argument for more inspiration. Your personal tutor has a multi-disciplinary background, including four academic degrees from world-class universities, has studied power dynamics and manipulation techniques extensively and is the secret leader of the world government.
The Secret History of Cities
From the grave robbers of Edinburgh to the seven secrets of Bologna, this interdisciplinary course allows you to discover the history, geography, folklore, literature, music, architecture, anthropology and ecology of some of the world’s most important and fascinating cities. Explore the contrade of Sienna and the city’s feted palio; discover the secrets of historic Leicester, where the bones of a long-lost king were found under a car park; get to know the Haitian and Cuban Culture and waterway ecology that thrives beneath the rooftop bars of Miami; investigate London through its literature, history and our thrilling case study of the Jack the Ripper murders. From the coffee houses of Vienna to the nightclubs of Berlin, your travels will be enriched by the hidden depths your studies will reveal.
Your personal tutor previously worked as a travel writer and has eleven years of anthropological research experience, as well as three advanced degrees in the history of ideas. This course is an excellent complement to our Historical Mysteries and Nineteenth Century French Art and Thought courses. Suggested cities to study include: St Petersburg * Durham * Edinburgh * Oxford * Leicester * Bologna * Sienna * Venice * Berlin * Paris * Los Angeles * New York * Miami * Bratislava * Prague * Copenhagen * Vienna * London
How Music Changed the World
Music is not just sound; it has changed the world. Find out how Western music has shaped politics, protest and society from the sumptuous excess of the Baroque to the subversive techno clubs of Berlin. Discover the pros and cons of selling your soul for money and fame, learn how dance music sparked the global political revolution and explore the intrigue of eighteenth-century Vienna through the eyes of Mozart’s greatest rival.
Options for tailoring include the incorporation of material on Himalayan folk music or the folklore of ballet and theatre. We recommend looking at our other online courses on the Baroque, US Highways and Himalayan Folklore for more options. Your tutor has three research degrees in the history of ideas and has researched music folklore around the world, presenting research at international conferences on the folklore surrounding Berlin’s most notorious techno club and the folk music of the Himalayas. She is a successful singer-songwriter who has released two singles and an EP. She has toured extensively in the US and come very close to making a crossroads deal with the devil in the birthplace of blues music.
Our tutors have identified some of the most ground-breaking research in their fields, including academic literature that has changed their own points of view. This course will allow you, through a rigorous study of these works, to engage deeply with academic literature and research in your respective discipline or disciplines. Examples of works to be studied include E. E. Evans Pritchard’s Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande, which challenged the way anthropologists think about religion, and the great debate between Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama in international relations. These contributions will be used as a spring board for discussion about the academic conversation in today’s climate to give the student an overview of current debates. For example, how do current theories of anthropology treat religion and how has the post 9/11 world evaluated Fukuyama’s thesis? You also will have the opportunity to read some less famous – but equally important – literature that has shaped the intellectual biographies of some of our own tutors, for example Barkawi and Laffey’s writing on postcolonialism and Morgenbesser’s work on democratic legitimation in politics, and Alfred Cobban’s ‘The Affair of the Diamond Necklace’ in history.
This course is ideal for university students who wish to boost their marks for engaging with academic literature in their respective disciplines, or for any interested learner who wishes to enhance their skills of analysis and be a part of the developing academic conversation. You will be tutored by someone with advanced degrees in your chosen discipline or disciplines. Please do get in touch with us to find out which game changing ideas we recommend for your own personal studies!
US Highways: History, Culture and Folklore
Discover the history, culture and anthropology of the US through the lens of its iconic highways. Learn about the history of shipwreck treasures and piracy in the south eastern US as we study the Overseas Highway, in addition to exploring Miami’s Cuban and Haitian Culture, the Seminole Wars and Key West’s lonely stance during the American Civil War. Our study of the Blues Highway will explore the history and folklore of Blues music, including the legend of Robert Johnson’s crossroads deal, and our investigations of Highway 101 include the Legend of Zorro and the folklore of Washington. Learn about the connection between the Great Depression and the legendary Route 66, Navajo culture and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Suggested routes to study include The Blues Highway (Route 61) from Memphis to New Orleans, the Overseas Highway (Route 1) from Miami to Key West, Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles and Highway 101 from California to Washington.
Options for tailoring this course include the incorporation of material from our courses on transit anthropology or American political history. Your personal tutor previously worked as a travel writer and has eleven years of anthropological research experience, as well as three advanced degrees in the history of ideas. Her work has included research on the world’s wish-granting entities, such as those of the crossroads legends of the Blues Highway. She has ridden motorcycles on many of the highways featured in the course, and toured the US extensively as a musician.
How to get into Almost Anywhere
This interdisciplinary course covers the history, politics, anthropology, music and folklore of Berghain in Berlin, and that of the hidden lands of Spiti in the Himalayas. Berghain has been described as the world’s most exclusive nightclub, although the nature of this exclusivity is unusual because of the seeming inscrutability of its door policy. It is widely known that one might wait in the Berghain entry line for hours, only to be turned away by the bouncers for no discernible reason. Yet many travel from other European cities for a night or weekend with the sole purpose of attempting to gain entrance, and some expatriates claim that they moved to Berlin with the aim of repeatedly being granted access. This course explores the narratives shared among tourists, Berlin’s ex-pat community and those native to the city in the same way that one might study narratives concerning entry to the hidden lands of the Himalayas. Discover the history and folklore of these hidden lands (sBas-yul) in the Himalayas, including a case study of the Biyul of Spiti, examine the history of Berlin since the Cold War and learn about the history and anthropology of techno music. On the surface, Berlin’s most notorious techno club and the sacred geography of the Himalayas have little in common, but in fact there is a fascinating parallel to be drawn. Indeed, such a study raises important questions about the history and methodology of anthropological research and themes of inclusion, exclusion and utopia.
This course is ideal for those with a fascination about how to get into the world’s forbidden places, or those with an interest in anthropology who wish to think critically about the assumptions and methodology of the discipline. Options for tailoring this course include the study of other areas of the Himalayas, or other aspects of Himalayan folklore. Your tutor has four academic degrees from world class universities, and eleven years of anthropological research experience. She has worked with some of the world’s leading anthropologists and has presented her research at conferences all over the world.
How to Steal the Mona Lisa
Discover the history of art through the exciting lens of the history of art theft. Learn about the theory and history of the works and artists themselves, as well as the politics and culture of the time in which they were stolen in this unique course on art history. We begin by exploring historic art thefts, from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck, the most stolen artwork of all time, to the painting stolen by pirates and the theft of the Mona Lisa. We will explore the motivations of art thieves, from the man who stole Goya’s Duke of Wellington to buy TV licenses for the poor, to the thieves who claimed that their mission was to highlight woeful gallery security. Next, we will explore the methods of art thieves, such as the ‘spiderman’ method of the Modigliani thief. We will discuss the return of stolen paintings, such as Klimt’s Portrait of a Lady, Nazi art theft and how Venezuelan political crisis inspired the theft of Matisse’s Odalisque with Red Trousers. We will also investigate foiled heists, including how a flat tyre on the getaway car foiled the theft of 20 paintings from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. The recovery of stolen art, such as Munch’s The Scream and Raphael’s La Muta will be explored, before we go on to investigate the enigma of stolen art that is still missing. Finally, we will examine the business of catching art thieves and the skill of getting away with it.
This interdisciplinary course is ideal for anyone with an interest the history of art, art theory, politics and history. It is an excellent complement or introduction to our course on European Paintings and works well in combination with any of our other online courses on intellectual, cultural and art history. Your tutor has three research degrees in the history of ideas from world-class universities, and has considerable skills in international high jinx.
How to Win an Argument
We begin by examining the various kinds of argument, including the concepts of inductive and deductive reasoning, validity and soundness; and the law of non-contradiction, before going on to identify different kinds of fallacies and how to spot them. Students will receive training in ethical arguments, such as the existence of universal moral principles as opposed to moral relativism, different ethical theories and applied ethics. We will also engage in political arguments over concepts such as democracy, liberty, equality, justice and rights, as well as political ideologies and the student’s political case study of choice. We will also cover religious arguments, such as the existence of God, free will and the problem of evil. Scientific arguments will also be considered, along with Karl Popper’s theory of Falsification, Kuhn’s theory of Paradigm Shifts and arguments surrounding science, faith and reason. Finally, students will learn to arm themselves against rhetoric and mean tricks in arguments, examining the hypnosis techniques often used in political speeches, the use of propaganda and the issue of fake news.
This course is ideal for anyone who wishes to sharpen their reasoning and argumentative skills, students preparing for university entrance interviews (especially Oxbridge) or those who wish to confront their own beliefs for the sake of intellectual honesty. The course works well with our religious studies course on religious language and argument, with our philosophy courses on ethics and the philosophy of science, with any of our political philosophy courses or with our interdisciplinary course, How to Take Over the World. Options for tailoring the course include the incorporation of Greek Dialectic (and sophistry) or Buddhist and Hindu dialectic. Your tutor has an interdisciplinary background, including a PhD in Philosophy, a masters’ in Buddhist thought and two Politics degrees from world class universities.
Culture and Conservation
The most successful conservation initiatives are those that result from a collaboration between biologists, anthropologists, folklorists and local people and this course aims to bridge the gap between these disciplines. We begin with a theoretical introduction to anthropology and wildlife, including debates from cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, before going on to examine the links between religion, folklore and conservation. We will then investigate a number of case studies, before the student chooses an area of specialism. This might include an investigation into animism in the Altai Republic, a study of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and their engagement with swamp ecosystems, or a study of the culture and politics of Borneo and the challenges of orangutan conservation. Students may also wish to focus on a particular species, for example a study of the culture and politics of the twelve snow leopard range countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
This course can be taken as an introduction to a number of conservation case studies from around the world, or we can specifically tailor it towards the area of the world, species or ecosystem of your choosing. Undertaking practical fieldwork is strongly encouraged, and we can help you to design interviews, write funding proposals and with project development. We can also help with practical details such as organising interpreters, permits, accommodation and transport. Examples of projects led by us or with which we have provided assistance include folklore and conservation in the Himalayas; wildlife research in the Baviaanskloof, South Africa; jaguar, marine turtle and rainforest wildlife conservation in Costa Rica; the sacred landscape research project in India; snow leopard and mountain wildlife conservation in the Altai Republic and parrot, macaw and mammal conservation in the Peruvian Amazon. Take a look at our blog and research pages to learn about snow leopard conservation in the Himalayas!