Scandals: A History of Some Worst Nightmares

Ref: C2226669

This course is about scandals and about the cultural factors that lie behind many of them. Scandals come in many forms, often emerging from a period of change where old values are threatened by new. They may be political, social, financial, sexual or a combination of them all. Scandals by their very nature include a botched cover-up leading to exposure, humiliation and a fall from grace. In the short term they are often seen as being about individual or group misbehaviour. In the long term, they're seen in a very different light. This course looks at a number of scandals. The Profumo affair is viewed in depth. We also look at the Dreyfus affair from the 1890s, the Teapot Dome Scandal from America in the 1920s and the Jeremy Thorpe affair. For those centres that have not taken my course on the New Monarchy, there is in addition, the Overbury affair.

Additional information about this course

This course will end at 4pm as it includes a short 15 minute coffee break.

Course aim

Scandals come in all shapes and sizes. This course examines four of them. It includes the Profumo affair as an in-depth case study..

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for people with an interest in history. It's interactive. There's lots of discussion and a good deal of fun. Behind it lies the cultural dimension. This forms a continuing theme.

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

  • Interpret each scandal, its origins and the reasons for the cover-up.
  • Interpret the cultural elements that underpin the scandals and their impact on the outcome.
  • Evaluate the impact of each scandal in the short, medium and long term and, by doing so, understand how the perception of the scandal has changed over time.
  • Compare different types of scandal and in doing so 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
  • 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 be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

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
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course information sheet

Scandals: A History of Some Worst Nightmares

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • 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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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