Scandal: A History of some worst Nightmares

Ref: C2225566

Scandals follow a broadly common course. They emerge out of a period of change where old values are threatened by new. As such they contain a powerful cultural element, which may be social, financial or sexual. Scandals by their very nature involve a botched cover up, leading to exposure and humiliation; a fall from grace for those involved. In the short term, scandals are seen in personal terms. Long term they often mark a change in social attitudes, which in turn lead to re-evaluation of the events. This course looks at four of them. It begins with the Dreyfus affair in France (1890s), moves to the USA for the Teapot Dome Scandal (1920s), thence to Profumo in the early 1960s and the Jeremy Thorpe affair of the late 1970s. A fifth option concerned the supposed murder of King James 1.

Course aim

Scandals come in all shapes and sizes. This course examines 4 (possibly 5) of them with particular reference to the Profumo scandal of the early 1960s.

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:

  • Interpret the nature of each scandal, its origins and the nature of the cover-up.
  • Interpret the cultural element of the scandal and the impact it had on subsequent events
  • Evaluate the impact of the scandal in the short, medium and long term and by doing so understand how the perception of the scandal has changed over time.
  • Compare the different types of scandals and be able to assess similarities and differences.

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
  • 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

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

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
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Scandal: A History of some worst Nightmares


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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
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