The Human Story - History

Ref: C3529123

In this examination of the broad sweep and patterns of human history we will be asking, and trying to answer, some big questions. Why, for example, did our ancestors survive when our cousins the Neanderthals became extinct? Why were plants domesticated in some places but not others? Why did many places in different parts of the world experience very similar processes of urbanisation, centralisation of power and empire building? And why, in the nineteenth century, did Britain become the dominant global power rather than, say, China?

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the broad sweep of human history - from the emergence of our species, through the agricultural revolution and the genesis of cities, states and empires, to the development of a truly global economy.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Recall when and why the Neanderthals became extinct.
  • Explain why the Agricultural Revolution has been described as "the biggest miscalculation in history".
  • Describe the key geographical feature which allowed Europe and Asia to develop more rapidly than other continents.
  • List three characteristics shared by Agrarian States in all parts of the world.
  • Summarise the primary reasons for the rise of European countries to global dominance after 1500.

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

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but if you feel inspired feel free to dip into: Jared Diamond “Guns, germs and steel” Ian Morris “Why the West rules – for now” or Yuval Noah Harari “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full Course information sheet

The Human Story - History


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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