Protest and Survive!

Ref: C2224596

This course is a study of the history behind "civil disobedience". In looking at the relationships between the governors, and the governed, who should decide the limits of freedom, and does the citizen have a right to rebel? We shall examine philosophical treatises on freedom (John Locke, for example); republican polemics against arbitrary government (Thomas Paine), and several eloquent and heartfelt arguments for the need to be disobedient (Henry David Thoreau & Oscar Wilde, amongst others). We want to build up a broad picture of the relationships between the citizen and the state - over several centuries - and see if we can agree a consensual view on the question of who should have the power...... The course will be based upon open (and free!) discussion of the issues raised. Students will be encouraged to follow their own lines of interest. Plenty of lively discussion is guaranteed!

Course aim

To examine the principles behind "civil disobedience" - what can we do when we disagree with what our government is doing in our name? Do we have a right to be non-cooperative? Does people power actually mean anything?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • No prior knowledge is required - just an interest id discussing the issues raised.

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

  • Discuss that protest and disobedience have an important role to play in changing society.
  • Explain what "freedom" really means.
  • Explain, and question the relationship between the citizen and the state.
  • Decide what protests remain to be made.
  • Discuss, with confidence, the issues raised by this course.

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
  • The tutor will be creating an online "Padlet" dedicated to this course. You will be encouraged to use it as a resource, and as a message board both during, and after the course. Printed handouts will also be available.

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 share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • If you have a laptop, tablet or smartphone, you will find it useful to bring them to the class. Otherwise, just turn up with an open mind!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • A wide range of

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • This course will be followed by another, "Troublemakers", in the Spring 2018 term. That will further develop many of the themes from this course & look in more detail at many of the people & incidents mentioned here.

Download full Course information sheet

Protest and Survive!


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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