The University of Newcastle, Australia

History of violence online course now available

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A fascinating new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has just been launched which looks at the history of violence.

A fascinating new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has just been launched which looks at the history of violence.

A History of Violence: From Middle Ages to Modern Times is a free 6 week online course that will allow students to learn about the origins and nature of violence in history, including interpersonal violence, homicide, sexualised violence, and state violence.

Director of the Centre for the History of Violence, member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, and renowned UON historian, Professor  Philip Dwyer leads the course, answering the big questions like ‘what is violence?’, ‘is it innate or learned?’, and ‘are we becoming more violent?’.

“Violence is part and parcel of human history and of human nature. It has been there since the dawn of time and it is, arguably, at the core of what it is to be human. It is the one thing that all cultures and societies, across, time, share in common. It is one of humanity’s most distinctive traits,” Professor Dwyer said.

“This course will look at different theories and approaches to studying human violence beginning with a foray into pre-history, before focusing more fully on the different uses of violence in western history, from the middle ages onwards,” he noted.

Course topics include:

  • The nature of violence
  • Intimate and gendered violence
  • Interpersonal violence
  • The sacred and the secular: persecutions and public executions
  • Collective violence
  • Violence and the State

Professor Dwyer says this course will focus on evolving attitudes to violence throughout history, and tackle the question of whether the world is becoming more or less violent. It will also help for those who want to develop an awareness of ethical issues and standards within history.

“You only have to turn on the nightly news to become immersed in violence. It is such a present thing, whether it is the conflict in Libya, the war in Iraq, riots in London or the case of a footballer who has assaulted a female fan, violence is a constant within our world,” Professor Dwyer said.

“We’ll look at the causes and meanings of violence. It’s a course designed to help us think about and understand the nature of violence,” he said.

The course involves videos and discussion topics, with written tasks and multiple-choice exams for students who choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee.

Enrolments for the free 6 week online course are now open.