Cold War - Nuclear Winter

Ref: C3741513

A substantial part of the literary response to the Cold War adopted popular forms such as science fiction and spy thrillers. This five week course looks at a selection of popular texts from the middle of the century, alongside visual forms such as factual reportage and artistic propaganda from both sides of the ideological divide. Preliminary texts will be: Nevil Shute, On the Beach; John Le Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and Giles Whittell, Bridge of Spies.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the Cold War through the study of popular literary and artistic forms.

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:

  • Describe the historical and sociological factors surrounding the 'Cold War' of the 20th century.
  • Perceive texts and other materials from this period in their ideological context and interrogate the circumstances surrounding their production.
  • Interpret texts in a critical way, illustrating arguments with well-chosen examples.
  • Demonstrate my knowledge through the construction of critical arguments and defend those arguments with confidence.
  • Analyse literary works in detail through the development of close reading skills

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring the set texts in the appropriate weeks. Some students like to bring pen and paper to take notes. Students are always encouraged to bring additional materials which may be of interest to the class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Week 1: Nevil Shute, On the Beach Week 3: John Le Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Week 5: Giles Whittell, Bridge of Spies Materials for weeks 2 and 4 will be handouts to be provided during the course.

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

Download full Course information sheet

Cold War - Nuclear Winter


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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