Literature, Art and Democracy in an Age of Populism

Ref: C2344466

The course, beginning with an exploratory one-hour talk, will examine the relationship between literature, art and democracy in two ways. Firstly, it will consider art and literature’s tendency continually to expand who and what gets represented. The voices of the powerless, the disenfranchised and ignored are often represented in literature where they often go un- or under-represented in mainstream society and culture. Secondly, it will explore the ways in which literature and art may help us to become deeper-thinking citizens by slowing down the process of arriving at opinions, values and judgements. We live in a world in which slogans are frequently a substitute for thought, opinions triumph over understanding, and hand-me-down judgements arrived at instantly. Could the kind of patient attention that works of art and literature often invite counteract these tendencies? We will explore these questions through paintings, poems and a novel - Don DeLillo's White Noise.

Course aim

The course will explore the role that art and literature can play in advancing democracy. It will first examine concepts of populism, and then the effect that works of art and literature have upon the (re)formation of our values.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Discuss and comment on concepts of populism
  • Critically examine the contribution of art and literature to democracy
  • Discuss and comment on the democratic value of close, attentive reading
  • Select passages for close reading, which illustrate key points and ideas
  • Participate in readings, presentations, discussions and debate with others

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • 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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need a copy of Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre-reading or pre-course work is required, but it will be useful to have read, or to have begun reading, Don DeLillo's White Noise.

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

Literature, Art and Democracy in an Age of Populism

Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • 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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