This week, the Major and Minor History class were joined by comics scholar and journalist Kelly Kanayama for an exploration of utopias and dystopias in British science fiction, from the space imperialism of Dan Dare, to the grim nuclear future of Judge Dredd’s Megacity One. After a discussion on the power of science fiction as an historical source, and its relevance as a tool for social commentary, the class created their own satirical comic characters to critique their modern world.
In addition, the Major class visited the Secret Cold War Bunker in the wilds of Fife. Exploring a secure location designed to govern Scotland in the event of nuclear apocalypse, the students delved into the paranoia of Cold War espionage culture, and the work of the ordinary men and women on the look-out for Armageddon.
Finally, with the help of the staff at Kinburn Bowling Club, the students enthusiastically attempted a sport once excoriated by King James I as “unlawful”, and fit only for “the meaner sort of people” – bowling. After some strenuous competition, they turned their attention to sport as an historical source, using cricket, ice-skating, tennis, and dog-fighting to explore the dynamics of class in the Victorian era, and the imposition of moral expectations on historical recreation!