Modern History

Short courses exploring modern history including local history.

Britain and Empire: Highpoint, c1850-1939

Part Two of Britain and its empire 1500-2000, examines the Empire at the height of its global reach and power. Starting with resistance to imperial expansion in India in the 1850s, we follow the trajectory of British power through to the eve of the Second World War. We look at the so-called “new imperialism” of the late nineteenth century; the development of the “white dominions”; critics of empire in the early twentieth century; scientific racism and imperialism; imperial crises such as the Boer War; the impact of the First World War; popular perception of Empire and attempts to “sell” it at home; India and the rise of nationalist resistance; the emergence of the Commonwealth idea and the beginning of imperial decline in the inter-war years. We ask what role empire played in economy, society and politics in Britain during this period. How much did Britons know or care about “their” empire? Was the Empire a benefit or a burden at its high-water mark? How did contemporaries view empire at home and abroad, and did optimism turn to pessimism and deeper criticism after the First World War? With Dr Alan Sennett, 10 weeks from Thursday 28 January, 2-4pm.

Liverpool’s Queer Culture

For generations, Queer history has been erased, pushed to the side, and overlooked. But queer people have always existed, contributed to society, and deserve to have their story told. In Liverpool’s Queer History, we will discuss the queer people who have helped to shape this city, and the areas of Liverpool which have helped to define the LGBTQ+ community, and vice versa. So, whether you’re an expert in queer history, or just want to learn more, this workshop is worth attending. With Marcella Rick, Saturday 13 March. 10am-1pm.

Viking-Age Women through the lens of the Icelandic Sagas

When thinking about the Viking Age, images of bearded men wielding axes often come to mind, but alongside these ferocious men were strong-willed women. During this course we will investigate these women and their roles in society, according to the Icelandic Family Sagas. From independent pioneers to vindictive inciters, there was more to these women than dutiful wives that held down the homestead. With Dr Elizabeth West, 5 weeks from Monday 22 February, 4.30-8.30pm.

Time and the City Regained - More Photography in Liverpool, 1851-1966

Whether you joined the first course in this series or not, this is an opportunity to consider some aspects of photography and its impact on the lives of Liverpool and its inhabitants over a period of 115 years. This course provides insight into the changes wrought upon the City of Liverpool's fabric and institutions as the British Empire reached its Victorian Era apogee, and then as it began its spectacular descent post WWII. With Dr Lee Kendall, 8 meetings from Wednesday 3 February, 10.30am-12.30pm.

The Spanish Civil War in Literature, Art and Reportage

The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) ended over 80 years ago, but its cultural legacy remains important This course looks at some of the cultural responses to the first major struggle against Fascism in Europe, including extracts from Lorca, Picasso’s Guernica, André Malraux’s Days of Hope, Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, and reportage by Martha Gellhorn, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. With David Rice, 8 weeks, from Thursday 4 February, 2-4.30pm.