Powerful Women in History

Ref: C2342751

For over a thousand years political structures and decision making has been in the hands of male rulers. But there have been occasions when effective power has fallen into the hands of a female ruler, working either on their own or through control over their husbands and sons. The course will discuss the position and careers in the 6th century of Theodosia, the wife of the Emperor Justinian; in the 12th century Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II and mother of Richard and John; in the 16th century Catherine de Medici the Queen-mother of three Kings of France; two of the Enlightened Despots of the 18th century, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia; and of Queen Victoria, the grand-mother of Europe. To be discussed: the Byzantine Empire; the Angevin Empire; 'The Monstrous Regimen of Women' - Catherine of France, Mary Stuart of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. Enlightened Despotism and women rulers; and Queen Victoria and her family

Course aim

This course will examine some occasions when women have exercised substantial control over the states in which they lived and influence their future for better or worse.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • identify the qualities which were necessary for women to gain and maintain power in the past
  • describe the tensions for powerful women of operating in a male-dominated world
  • evaluate present stereotypes of 'powerful women' in the context of the past

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?

  • Writing materials and a notebook

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

Download full course information sheet

Powerful Women in History

Enrolment Conditions

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

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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