Scandal: A History of Some Worst Nightmares

Ref: C2224557

Scandals follow a broadly common course. They emerge from a period of change when old values are threatened by new. As such, they contain a powerful cultural element which may be political, financial or sexual. Scandals also involve a failed cover-up, leading to exposure, personal humiliation for those involved and a subsequent fall from grace for those involved. Thereafter there is resolution as the scandal is seen in its full historical perspective as part of a broader context. This course looks at five scandals, starting in the reign of James 1, moving to the Dreyfus scandal in France, thence to Teapot Dome in the USA and ending with a thorough analysis of the Profumo scandal of the early 1960s.

Course aim

Scandals comes in all shapes and sizes. This course examines five of them. It begins with the Overbury scandal in the 17th Century and ends with Profumo in the early 1960s.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • interpret the nature of scandal, its origins, the need for cover up and the consequences of disclosure.
  • interpret the distinct cultural dimension in the scandals discussed and the impact it had on their outcomes.
  • evaluate the impact of scandal in the short, medium and long term and, by so doing, understand how the perception of scandal has changed.
  • Compare the different types of scandal and be able t o assess similarities and differences.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to discuss your ideas in pairs or small groups and evaluate sessions as part of the wider process of assessment.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • There is a book list for the course which I will provide prior to the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • The possibility of further research for those who would like to look in more depth at the scandals we have covered or wish to move on to others like Watergate.

Download full Course information sheet

Scandal: A History of Some Worst Nightmares


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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