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History Lessons NYC

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Discover a world of history classes in NYC that will transport you back in time and deepen your understanding of the past. From ancient civilizations to modern events, explore fascinating topics and gain valuable insights to enrich your knowledge and perspective.

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History of Photography Abstracts

Chicago Botanic Garden @ Online via Zoom

Embark on a captivating exploration of abstract photography's rich history, forging connections between past innovations and contemporary projects. Delve into intermediate to advanced concepts, synthesizing historical perspectives with your unique artistic vision. Expand your creative horizons as you uncover new possibilities for expression in the captivating world of abstract photography.

(129) Intermediate 18 and older
$437

6 sessions

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+4370 pts
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With an Eternal Wing: Embodying Queer Histories in Photography

Penumbra Foundation @ Virtual Classroom

Embark on a transformative journey through the lens of queer history in photography. Explore the intertwined narratives of writing, performance, and visual storytelling, guided by an esteemed instructor deeply rooted in this legacy. Join a community of creatives, delving into personal narratives and emerging with a profound understanding of their place within the continuum of queer expression.

(8) All levels 18 and older
$485

6 sessions

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+4850 pts
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Risk Society: Crisis, Power, and Neoliberalism

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Unravel the complexities of the modern world through the lens of risk society. Explore the societal implications of global risks, from environmental disasters to economic instability, and their impact on governance, culture, and individual psyche. Dive into foundational texts by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, alongside critical perspectives by scholars such as Michel Foucault and Mary Douglas, to understand the emergence and consequences of the risk society paradigm.

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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+3350 pts
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Thucydides and the Fall of Athenian Democracy

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Explore the profound insights of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in this compelling course. Delve into the fall of Athenian democracy and the collapse of the classical city-state, examining speeches and narratives that debate political theory, justice, and human suffering. Engage with the text’s oscillation between historical objectivity and intense pathos to understand the cultural and intellectual milieu of ancient Greece.

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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+3350 pts
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On the Concept of Religion

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Explore the complex and often incoherent concept of "religion" in this thought-provoking course. Delve into classic social scientific methodologies and examine diverse scriptures and commentaries that challenge hegemonic understandings. Engage with contemporary critiques and genealogies to deepen your understanding of the varied practices, beliefs, and institutions categorized under “religion.”

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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+3350 pts
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China in the Modern World

92nd Street Y @ 1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

China’s 2025 technology program and One Belt, One Road initiative underscores her ambitions for hegemony.  Yet, as China takes its place in the modern world, it faces immense difficulties: a growing inequality gap, widespread corruption and rampant pollution, all of which provoke mounting calls for political reform. The presentation will examine the future of U.S.-China relations in light of ongoing conflicts on trade, military and...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules
$270

6 sessions

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Creative Cities in History

92nd Street Y

How does an ordinary city become a place of majestic, legendary beauty and a hub of historic innovation? In a series of six lectures, renowned architectural historian and author Francis Morrone looks at great cities during periods of transformation: Florence in the 15th century, Venice in the 16th century, Amsterdam (and Delft) in the 17th century, London in the early 19th century, Paris in the mid-19th century, and Vienna at the end of the 19th...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

Key Topics in American History

92nd Street Y @ 1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

Complete Course Title:  Key Topics in American History: Six Intriguing Footnotes in American History History buff and raconteur Doug Brin uncovers some lesser known points in American history.   Each week he focuses on a different topic — from FDR’s early career, to controversial presidential elections, to 1968 a year of successive shocks, to reconstruction, to scandals in DC to issues of Gerrymandering.   Week 1:...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules
$160

6 sessions

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Signal and Noise: An Introduction to Statistics

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 247 West 37th St, New York, NY

How do numbers relate to the world? What insights can we derive from data? How do we separate signal from noise? This course is an introduction to statistical thinking and its applications to data analysis at a level accessible to a broad audience with no prior statistical background.  We’ll learn and make intuitive the fundamental methods and concepts of data quantification: linear regression, logistic regression, probability distribution,...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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Women Behind the Lens

92nd Street Y @ 1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

Women Behind the Lens: Female Photographers in Memoir, Fiction, and Documentary Film This class explores the creative lives of female photographers in the U.S. over the past century. Drawing on memoirs, documentary films, biographies, and photographs, we will analyze the life narratives and visual records of, “women behind the lens.” What opportunities and obstacles did they face in their pursuit of artistic achievement? How did economic, social,...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules
$145

4 sessions

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Socrates

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 178 Stanton St, New York, NY

The trial, conviction, and execution of Socrates on the vote of the Athenian democracy is a founding myth in the history of Western philosophy. And yet very little is known with certainty about the historical Socrates, who himself wrote nothing, but whose way of life, as accounted by Plato (and others) has become a powerful and enduring paradigm of philosophical practice. To Athenian eyes and ears, Socrates was doubtless strange:  notoriously...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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Everyday Irrationalism: T. Adorno, Politics, and Reason

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 30 Irving Pl, New York, NY

Students in the course will read selections from a number of Adorno’s works, including The Stars Down to Earth, Minima Moralia, and The Authoritarian Personality. We will look at the famous dispute between Adorno and philosopher of science Karl Popper both to understand the grounds of their debate but also to understand their vast areas of agreement between empirical research and critical theory. We will pose a series of questions that emerge from...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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French Fortresses and Fantasies Part I

92nd Street Y

French Fortresses and Fantasies: The Châteaux of the Loire River Valley Part I: The Days of Knights and Country Life and Court Life From forbidding fortresses to charming castles, the splendid structures of the Loire Valley reflect lives of intrigue and opulence. Medieval strongholds built for defense with moats and towers gradually gave way to spectacular Renaissance pleasure palaces. Sumptuous elegance, rather than physical comfort, was the...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

French Fortresses and Fantasies Part II

92nd Street Y

French Fortresses and Fantasies: The Châteaux of the Loire River Valley Part II: Luxury and Liaisons along the Loire and Renaissance Gardens From forbidding fortresses to charming castles, the splendid structures of the Loire Valley reflect lives of intrigue and opulence. Medieval strongholds built for defense with moats and towers gradually gave way to spectacular Renaissance pleasure palaces. Sumptuous elegance, rather than physical comfort,...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

Gilded Suffragists

92nd Street Y @ 1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for the Women's Right to Vote Although they were dismissed by critics as bored socialites “trying on suffrage as they might the latest couture designs from Paris,” numerous women of New York’s most affluent families such as the Astors, Whitneys and Rockefellers, served a vital role in the suffrage movement in the early twentieth century. In her new book. Gilded Suffragists, author...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

Empire, Nation-State, Caliphate: The Modern Middle East

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 247 West 37th St, New York, NY

The transition from empire to nation-state was among the most consequential developments to shape the Middle East over the last hundred years. Beginning with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire at the close of WWI, the post-war international order invalidated heterogeneous forms of political organization in favor of the nation-state. It was a shift that rendered customary patterns of political and social life in the Middle East newly untenable,...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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Al-Andalus: Tolerance, Culture, and Violence in Spain

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 15 W 16th St, New York, NY

Al-Andalus: Tolerance, Culture, and Violence in Medieval Spain Between 711 and 1492, Islamic governments ruled over varying swaths of the Iberian Peninsula. Muslim Spain, or al-Andalus, still holds a powerful grip on the modern imagination as a time and place of religious tolerance—a “golden age” in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians peacefully coexisted and culturally thrived. In this course we will explore this common perception of al-Andalus...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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After Mahler: Music of the 1910's

92nd Street Y @ Broadway & W. 116th St., New York, NY

The decade of the 1910’s was the most excitingly explosive musical decade of the 20th century. Modernism fully emerges in the work of a new generation of composers—Ravel, Stravinsky, Ives, Debussy, Vaughn-Williams, Bartok, Schoenberg, Satie, Milhaud—and then concludes in the shocked aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution with a new found return and embrace by the same artists of the classical forms of the 18th Century.  ...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

The Unanswered Question

92nd Street Y

Full Course Name: The Unanswered Question: Exploring Bernstein's Norton Lectures Leonard Bernstein gave six brilliant lectures at Harvard University in 1973, which he titled “The Unanswered Question.” His purpose was two-fold: first, to explore the evolution of sound, meaning and form in music; and then to confront the fundamental musical crisis of the 20th Century, tonality—music that’s rooted in a key or tonal center—versus atonality—music...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

The Evolution of Beauty: Darwin's Theory of Mate

92nd Street Y

Full Course Name: The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin’s theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life. However, after 30 years of fieldwork, Professor Richard Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. Now, in...

(1074) All levels 18 and older
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Reviews for History Lessons in NYC

History Lessons in NYC are rated 4.5 stars based on 1,240 verified reviews from actual CourseHorse.com purchasers.

Discover the Best History Classes in NYC

New York City is a thrumming hub of American history. It is also home to some of the busiest people in the world. Where can New York City residents go if they want to use their coveted free time to learn not only about the history of their city but the history of the wider world? 

Fortunately for all of the city’s curious minds, New York City plays host to several different institutions offering comprehensive history courses on nearly every major point in human history. Interested parties can register for these courses and attend them in person on an institution’s New York City campus or online via platforms like Zoom.

Which of the history courses available in New York City make the best impression on their students? Dive into this exploration of New York City’s best history classes to learn more.

Why You Should Learn History in NYC

Taking the time to learn about history gives today’s professionals and students the opportunity to better connect with the communities around them. Learning about New York City specifically can help participants feel better rooted in their boroughs or as though they have a greater connection to the immigrants who came before them. Courses focusing on the history of more distant cities or civilizations can still elicit that sense of generational community as students learn about the day-to-day habits and notable events that have come to shape society as they know it.

That sense of community doesn’t just bind students to the lessons that they’re learning. New York City’s history courses can also help students better connect with the people around them. Like-minded participants can continue to learn together even after graduating from a specific history course.

Last but not least, the study of history can serve as an outlet for today’s busy professionals and students. Even if course participants use their lessons on a day-to-day basis, the study of a specific topic under the guidance of an expert can let course participants blow off steam after a long day at school or in the office. Participants can then take the knowledge they learn in a history lesson back home with them, where they can mull over a historical event’s themes or details instead of focusing on the parts of their days that might otherwise stress them out.

In other words, the study of history in NYC can provide students with historical connections, a modern-day community, and outlets for stress. What more could a person ask for?

In-Person History Classes & Schools in NYC

With the benefits of NYC’s history courses laid bare, take a look at some of the in-person history courses available to Big Apple residents.

What Mad Pursuit? Think Olio

What better place is there to learn in New York City than Central Park? When the weather is good, students can participate in the classes offered by Think Olio, including “What Mad Pursuit?” This course explores the Greek concept of ekphrasis and ekphrastic poetry. The course concludes with attending students composing and performing their own ekphrastic poetry allowed in Socrates Sculpture Park.

The course costs $45 and runs for a single day. Students can expect to spend two hours in Central Park, deep-diving into ekphrasis and its poetic context. Students do not have to have a pre-existing understanding of ekphrasis to participate in this program, but students should come prepared to perform in front of their peers.

North Brooklyn Pizza Walk, Scott’s Pizza Tours

Not every history class has to take place in a classroom. Scott’s Pizza Tours, for example, introduces New York tourists and locals alike to the history of this Big Apple staple. The “North Brooklyn Pizza Walk,” in particular, offers students a taste of pizza’s history as well as a taste of some of Brooklyn’s best local pies.

This is a single-day course running for no more than two and a half hours. The course costs $65 and hosts a limited number of students, capping at 16. The class does not advertise its starting location or restaurants in advance but instead sends an individualized syllabus, in a manner of speaking, to students upon their purchasing of a ticket. 

Students of all ages can participate in Scott’s Pizza Tours. The tours themselves allow students not only to taste Brooklyn’s best pizzas but to learn about the kitchens they’re made in and the history of those famous pizzerias. Students do not have to do any research ahead of time and can expect the class to run regardless of the local weather.

Calculus: History and Concept, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Math may not be an average history student’s favorite cup of tea. That said, the history of math may prove more engaging than run-of-the-mill calculus. So believes instructor Suman Ganguli, who teaches “Calculus: History and Concept” as part of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research’s “Calculus: History and Concept” course.

This course requires students to think about the achievement that is mathematics and how that achievement came to be. Participants do not have to perform any mathematical calculations but can instead enjoy a seminar that asks questions like:

  • What is calculus?
  • What influence does math, including calculus, have on the world at large?
  • How will the study of math evolve in the years to come?

This course operates chronologically, taking students from the onset of calculus to the developments brought about by some of the greatest minds in mathematical history.

This course costs $315 to attend. Students can expect to meet with Professor Ganguli once a week on Wednesdays for three hours. There isn’t currently a virtual course option available for students located outside of New York City.

Virtual History Classes & Schools

Today’s students don’t have to attend their history courses in person. Several institutions offer virtual history classes, including the following:

PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Don’t let the name of this course fool you. Harvard Faculty of Arts & Science’s “PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854” doesn’t have a thing to do with Westeros or George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Instead, this three-to-five-hour course touches on a specific instance in health and medical history. The course is self-paced and allows students to deep-dive into descriptions of London in the 19th century as well as the different ways John Snow influenced the development of modern epidemiology.

The course requires students to engage with certain era-appropriate readings as well as an interactive ArcGIS tool. This GIS tool lets students get a closer look at John Snow’s London in 1854. Students can also engage with a timeline of Snow’s investigation into the cholera epidemic.

Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences offers this course through PredictionX. PredictionX uses the lessons of yesteryear to make assumptions about the years to come. With that in mind, students can expect to take the lessons from John Snow’s time and apply them to today’s understanding of pandemics and the application of modern medicine.

Both Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences and PredictionX offer this course free of charge. Students do not need to have a pre-existing understanding of history or public health to enjoy this course.

Growth, Cities, and Immigration, Crash Course US History

Crash Course represents one of the best collections of virtual history courses available for free today. Helmed by the Green Brothers, the business offers virtual courses on a wide range of subjects, including the historical development of New York City. “Growth, Cities, and Immigration,” in particular, touches on the topic of urbanization with New York City as its focus.

Crash Course shares “Growth, Cities, and Immigration” as part of its Crash Course US History program. The virtual class runs for just under thirteen minutes and comes free of charge. Students who want to engage with this class can find it on YouTube - but that’s not all. Crash Course also offers students access to a collection of texts referred to in the video courtesy of CommonLit. Students can also engage with additional course materials through Crash Course’s Patreon.

The one downside to Crash Course is its limited opportunities for student-to-student and student-to-instructor engagement. Students who want to interact with their peers can visit Crash Course’s Reddit page or the video’s comments. That said, the course doesn’t actively encourage this kind of engagement. With that in mind, it’s safe to say that Crash Course’s New York City-related classes and other history programs are best for students who thrive when learning independently.

Private Group History Classes in NYC

Not everyone learns well in a large group. Parties interested in participating in a private history course can register for the following programs:

Virtual Trivia: Fake vs Real News

It can be difficult to separate a term like “Fake News” from current-day politics. Professional instructors can, however, and in doing so, can introduce curious minds to an in-depth study of propaganda, media history, and modern events. While CourseHorse’s Virtual Trivia: Fake vs. Real News isn’t a traditional history course, participants who want to expand their understanding of today’s “Fake News” trend can participate and learn more about this change in modern media.

The trivia course costs $360 for up to 15 participants. That said, CourseHorse’s hosts can entertain up to 200 people with facts about Fake News. CourseHorse charges $10 for each participant above the original 15-person headcount but does not charge the lead participant booking fees when initially scheduling the game night.

Speaking of scheduling: given the course’s private and virtual nature, Los Angeles residents are free to schedule a Fake vs. Real News trivia night at their leisure. Interested parties can even pay a $150 customization fee to go more into depth about certain “fake news” features that pique their interest.

Virtual Private Trivia

What private trivia sessions are there for professionals who don’t want to focus on a particular historical era but who instead want to spread out their text of their colleagues’ knowledge? Consider CourseHorse’s Virtual Private Trivia: General! This program operates much like the “Fake News vs. Real News” program does, though the topics fluctuate. Course instructors pre-prepare trivia questions on a wide range of topics, historical and modern, for participants to wade through in teams.

The program runs for 60 minutes and costs $360 for up to 15 participants, much like other variations on CourseHorse’s trivia night. General trivia hosts can also host up to 200 team members for an additional fee. Anyone who wants to customize their general history trivia night to focus on an eclectic collection of historical periods can do so for an additional $150.

Interested parties can schedule a generalized trivia night at any time of the day and any day of the week so long as CourseHorse hosts are available. CourseHorse recommends that parties participating in the Virtual Private Trivia nights test their Internet connection and Zoom profile before the start of the session. That said, CourseHorse will work to accommodate participants’ electronic needs as possible. 

Virtual Bubble Tea-Making Workshop

Not every history lesson needs to touch on historical dates or even current events. Sometimes the best place to go looking for lessons on history is in certain foods - or in this case, drinks. Los Angeles’ Virtual Bubble Tea Making Workshop, offered by CourseHorse, touches on the rising popularity of this new-to-the-West drink while teaching participants practical, creative skills.

CourseHorse and its instructors break this course down into three sections:

  • Fun Facts and Boba History
  • How to Cook Tapioca Pearls
  • Three Homemade Bubble Tea Recipes

The course instructor ships recipe ingredients to participants in advance, making it easier than ever for students to avoid the stress of scrambling for passion fruit syrup or similarly obscure materials in their local grocery store.

The cost of this course comes in at $1,145 for 15 people. After that, instructors charge $75 for each additional student. Note that this course comes with auto-gratuity, meaning that the course instructor will collect an additional $5 for each participant who attends the course.

This is an incredibly popular workshop, making it difficult for students to get into. Fortunately, CourseHorse can help interested parties schedule private workshops for themselves and their friends well in advance of an actionable date. Interested parties should look at the course’s availability before getting friends together and scheduling a night of historical fun.

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