We’ve been locked down here in Melbourne for fifteen weeks, which in anyone’s language is a bloody long time. Not one for jigsaw puzzles, and already a regular bread baker, I turned instead to a few online courses, mostly through FutureLearn. I must confess that I’m pretty slack. I rarely engage in the discussions, and I never do the assessments.
Since the lockdown, I have completed Radical Spirituality: The Early History of the Quakers, which is no longer running. It was run jointly by Lancaster University & Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and it is a historical examination of the birth of Quakerism in the 1650s in England, the role of George Fox and Margaret Fell, and the rather peripatetic nature of Quakerism in its early days.
I also did a course called The Scottish Highland Clans: Origins, Decline and Transformation but to be honest, I can’t remember whether than was this year or last year…a COVID shutdown does that, I guess. It ran from the University of Glasgow over a period of three weeks. You can join it at any time.
And just now, I have finished Empire, run through the University of Exeter. It was a six week course, and the University of Exeter also runs the Imperial and Global Forum online, so there is an ongoing presence of the historians involved in the course. The course concentrates on the British Empire in particular, and as a citizen of a ‘colonized’ country, it was interesting to see empire from the other end. The course has run several times, and at the end of the first iteration that created ‘summing up’ videos to review the comments left by students. Although the comments between one course and another are probably much the same, you did feel a bit recycled. Having read a couple of books about British imperialism in India recently, I really enjoyed the discussion of Mary Curzon’s Peacock Dress.
Next stop is a course on Slavery in the British Caribbean, which I have read about as part of my thesis. It will be interesting to look at it in a more structured way. So, ever onwards……