When the hell of Finals is over I'll write something serious about this, but until then...
Module 1 - How Britain made everything
Candidates will learn about the ingenuity of British entrepreneurs throughout the ages. The invention of the spinning jenny, the railways, motherhood and apple pie will be discussed.
A year of this course will bring children up to man-in-the-pub levels of knowledge, reciting facts like “We Used To Make Stuff In This Country” and “Things Were Better Back Then.”
Don't mention: Children working 16-hour days.
Module 2 - Empire: Good? Or Great?
Was the British Empire merely good, or was it the best thing ever? This is the question taken up in this exciting and challenging module. Empire definitely did not destroy cultures; there was nothing worth speaking of before Europeans got there anyway. It definitely did not create famines by tearing apart social and economic fabrics in short periods of time; they were just coincidences.
Children will be taught how to tell when something, for example the use of arbitrary violence to enforce power over an entire population, was an historical aberration, no matter how consistently it occurred.
The central theme of the module will be the indisputable historical fact that democracy and free commerce go hand in hand. Just ask the people of Chile.
Don't mention: Amritsar, the Opium Wars, the Black and Tans, Surabaja, the Malayan Emergency, etc, etc
Module 3 - From Churchill to Gove: Great men of history
In order to construct a forceful national myth/narrative, it is essential to study the lives of those we wish to emulate. This means people relevant to today, like empire-builders and statesmen, not anachronisms like trouble makers, rebels, trade unionists and the like.
Don't mention: Any of this.
Module 4 - The history of TV history
Candidates will be taught how to sensationalise events and be revisionist for the hell of it. Particular emphasis will be placed on how the 20th century was one long, contiguous conflict which can be conveniently be divided into separate episodes of a TV miniseries.
Other skills will include getting the most out of one's media connections, and learning how to pull off the smug smirk of the self-assured TV historian in front of camera.
Don't mention: Time Team.
Module 5 – Who would win in a fight between Orlando Figes and Robert Service?
This one's just for fun.
Ten years on and time for a rest.
1 year ago