Uncertainty at Home: Terror Abroad - The 1970's Revisited

Ref: C3741632

A pivotal decade in post-war Britain and the world, former BBC correspondent, Paul Legg, traces and explains the key political, economic and cultural developments. At home, we see how the Heath and Wilson governments struggled in the face of economic weakness and industrial strife amid bitter divisions over membership of the European Community and how a grocer's daughter from Grantham emerged to challenge and destroy consensus politics. Abroad, we revisit a decade marked by crisis in America -- the Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal -- and turmoil in the Middle East -- the 1973 Arab/Israeli War and the Iranian Revolution. We also relate how British cinema reflected a decade marked by radical social and cultural change: from gay and green activism to "progressive" rock and celebrity footballers. The course will be illustrated with a range of documentary and feature films.

Course aim

This course provides a comprehensive overview of Britain and the world in the 1970s -- strife, conflict and change at home and abroad. Paul Legg illustrates with extensive film extracts.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Explain why the Heath and Wilson governments failed in most of their objectives and give three examples of factors which conspired against them.
  • Describe how Margaret Thatcher rose to power and list three ways in which she differed from other mainstream politicians of the period.
  • Give three examples of the main foreign crises of the period and identify the key players involved.
  • Describe some of the major social and cultural changes in Britain in the decade and name three British artists/groups who made genuine global impacts.
  • Give an overview of British cinema during the 1970s and list three of the most successful and influential films of the decade.

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
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Suggested reading: "The State of Emergency: Britain 1970-74" and "Seasons in the Sun: Britain 1974-79" both by Dominic Sandbrook (Penguin)

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

Download full Course information sheet

Uncertainty at Home: Terror Abroad - The 1970's Revisited


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  • 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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