The Early 1970s

Ref: C3528457

From the feminist movement to the New Hollywood, the early 1970s were a time of enormous social and artistic change. Bloody Sunday and Watergate changed politics, and the Vietnam War came to an end. This course examines all of these developments, with a special focus on the literature and social history of the period. Includes a case study of Seamus Heaney's poetry. Set Texts: Margaret Atwood "Surfacing"; Peter Shaffer "Equus"; Peter Benchley “Jaws”.

Additional information about this course


Course aim

To explore the links between literature and social history. We will read a text closely; be it poem, novel, film or painting. We will then examine its literary and historical context.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • Must be able to read English.

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

  • Say who said of Kent State: “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with”.
  • Describe some poets’ reactions to the Troubles, particularly that of Seamus Heaney.
  • Locate Margaret Atwood within second wave feminism; analyse her novel "Surfacing" (1972).
  • Name the most famous shark in cinema.
  • List some aspects of the New Hollywood, and the key players within it.

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 share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • People will be expected to keep up with the reading and to contribute in class discussions (if they wish to do so). Feedback will be informal; there will be no formal tests or exams.

What else do I need to know?

  • Set Texts: Margaret Atwood “Surfacing”; Peter Schaffer “Equus”; Peter Benchley “Jaws”.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Set Texts: Margaret Atwood “Surfacing”; Peter Schaffer “Equus”; Peter Benchley “Jaws”.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • There will be a "Late 1970s" course by the same tutor in the following term.

Download full course outline

The Early 1970s Course Outline


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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