Anarchy in the UK? Civil Unrest in Modern Britain

Ref: C3744328

This seven week course will examine civil unrest in Britain from the Georgian period onwards. Beginning with the Gordon Riots and then looking at Victorian strike action, Edwardian suffragette protests, anti-fascism, and the police-public violence of the 1970s and 1980s, concluding with protest in the early twenty-first century, this will challenge the notion that British politics was fundamentally and intrinsically ‘peaceful’. Drawing on original archival material that forms part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council project on collective violence, it will provide fresh insights into what motivates people to take to the streets. There will be a particular focus on how these periods of upheaval and confrontation have played out in Berkshire. Students will consider oral history first-hand accounts, film, poetry, music and social media surrounding the phenomenon of the ‘riot’, to arrive at a greater understanding of the violent subtexts of modern British history.

Course aim

This course will examine civil unrest in Britain from the Gordon Riots of 1780 up to early twenty-first century protest. In doing so it will give new insights into how power and control has been contested in the UK over the last three hundred years.

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 the importance of violent confrontation in British history from 1780 to the present day
  • Define the social conditions at different stages of the historical period that have led to civil unrest.
  • Identify the different political movements that have used physical confrontation to achieve political goals in modern Britain.
  • Assess the dynamics of the 'riot' and what motivates people take to the streets to engage in civil unrest and protest.
  • Evaluate the general trends in British history from the eighteenth century to the early twenty-first century as they relate to civil unrest

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
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress

What else do I need to know?

  • 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 is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Anarchy in the UK? Civil Unrest in Modern Britain

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

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