Scandals: Your Mother's Worst Fears

Ref: C2225011

Scandals follow a broadly common course. They emerge in 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 involve a failed cover-up leading to exposure, personal humiliation for those concerned and, often, a subsequent fall from grace. Thereafter there is a form of resolution as the scandal is seen in its historical context and judged by broader standards. This course deals with the Overbury affair, an extraordinary sex scandal that emerged in the reign of James 1. It reflected changed cultural values, was spectacularly and badly covered up and went on to dog James for the rest of his reign. We will also study Profumo. A short dalliance led to the fall from grace of a Conservative minister. However, the scandal took on a symbolic role, moving the cultural values of the country in a far more permissive, and some might say, enlightened way

Additional information about this course


Course aim

Scandals come in all shapes and sizes. This course examines up to five of them. It begins with the Overbury Scandal at the beginning of the 17th Century and ends with the Profumo Affair in 196-3

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:

  • identify the nature of the scandal, its origins, the reasons for the cover up and the consequences of disclosure.
  • interpret the cultural dimensions of the scandal, tracing the changes over the short and the longer term.
  • evaluate the impact of the scandal in the short, medium and long term and by so doing evaluate its place in history and its lasting, or short term impact.
  • compare and contrast the scandals and be able to spot similarities and differences.
  • apply historical methodology to the analysis of scandals, long and short term causes, trigger points, impact and change.

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
  • Encourage further research and reading

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

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full Course information sheet

Scandals: Your Mother's Worst Fears


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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