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Remember, it's never too late to register for a class, even after it's begun. You can always catch up with any sessions you may have missed by watching the video recordings of previous sessions. The time remaining to register before the first class session is below, so stop hesitating and get to it!

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as in-person, Zoom, or video recordings

  • • HIS101 is offered in 2024 Term 3 (Jul-Sep) pending sufficient student enrolment.

  • • This course is offered as an in-person course at the EarthDiverse Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand, live-streamed via Zoom if you live elsewhere, and as video recordings of the live sessions if you cannot attend the regularly scheduled class.

Date & Time:

Begins Thursday 1 Aug 2024

  • • Our HIS101 course is offered on Thursdays 7:00-8:30pm (NZ time) beginning Thursday 1 August 2024 and meets for 8 consecutive weekly sessions. The last class of the Term is on Thursday 19 September 2024.

  • • If you live outside of New Zealand and wish to Zoom in to our live class sessions, check the nearest local Time Zone equivalent below:

Time Zone equivalents:

for live-streaming Zoom Sessions from New Zealand. If your Time Zone doesn't suit our live-streamed class, you can also access our courses by watching the live-recorded sessions that are posted to the course webpage each week, usually within 1-2 days.

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i: begins Wed 31 Jul 2024, 9:00-10:30pm

  • US Pacific: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 12:00-1:30am

  • US Eastern: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 3:00-4:30am

  • London, UK: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 8:00-9:30am

  • Paris, France: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 9:00-10:30am

  • New Delhi, India: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 12:30-2:00pm

  • Bangkok, Thailand: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 2:00-3:30pm

  • Singapore & Shanghai: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 3:00-4:30pm

  • Tokyo, Japan: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 4:00-5:30pm

  • Sydney, Australia: begins Thu 1 Aug 2024, 5:00-6:30pm


HIS101: Lenses of History: Eight methodologies that help explain the past

  • • “Lenses of History” is an introducton to eight methodologies for exploring our past, from a time before the last ice age through to the present day.

    • Rather than a single course focusing on a specific historical era, this course travels to eight unique points and learns how historians unravel the secrets of the past using methods tailored to their particular field.

    • It explores how history has changed as a field in recent decades, and the controversies arising from these changes.

Session 1: The Past Before the Pen

Thursday 1 August 2024

In our first lecture, we travel back into “Deep Time” – the history which predates the written word, to a world where Homo sapiens is not the only human on the block. We will look at the evidence which remains from the ancient past, meet our closest relatives, and ponder the question of what makes us, us.

Session 2: The Story of Europe, told by its artists

Thursday 8 Aug 2024

Shifting into the visual methodology of art history, we look at how changes in European art styles reflect the rise and fall of empires and shadow dramatic shifts in political and religious thought from the Roman Empire through to the Victorian age, with a particular focus on depictions of the natural world.

Session 3: Discovering Worlds Before

Thursday 15 August 2024

This lecture enters the history of science, a field which has grown rapidly in recent decades, by journeying first to the mid-eighteenth century as a strange elephant’s tooth arrives in France, and traveling through to the mid-nineteenth century and a group of funky-looking finches on the Galapagos.

Session 4: Picking up the Ball

Thursday 22 August 2024

Traveling to a small town in inland New South Wales, we enter the fascinating world of sports history as we look at the conflict between rugby league and Australian rules football, and think more generally about the importance of sport in early twentieth century societies.

Session 5: The Year of Three Kings

Thursday 29 August 2024

This lecture shows how online resources have, only in the past few years, revolutionised the way we access New Zealand history by exploring the archives of PapersPast, with a particular focus on reporting on the abdication of King Edward VIII just 325 days after he ascended to the British throne.

Session 6: The 17th Parallel

Thursday 5 September 2024

Military history is one of the oldest and most well-established fields of history, but it has expanded dramatically from the narrow memorisation of generals and battles to a broader conversation of societies and landscapes at war. For this lecture, we focus on the Vietnam War, its causes, and its consequences.

Session 7: The Winds of Change

Thursday 12 September 2024

This talk explores “the winds of change” which blew through Africa in the mid-twentieth century and the emergence (and controversy) of post-colonial history, the field which explores the histories of former colonies after their independence from European empires.

Session 8: El Lobo’s Return

Thursday 19 September 2024

The methodologies for human histories have been evolving for as long as people have pondered about the past, the history of animals is a much newer phenomenon. In this lecture, we look at the emergence of “species histories” with a focus on one of North America’s most enigmatic yet controversial species, the Gray Wolf.

Meet our Instructor

History Instructor Michael Burton Smith

Michael Burton-Smith, BA (Hons), works with EarthDiverse as both an administrative assistant and as a lecturer for our history courses. After four years living in Aotearoa’s windy capital city, Michael returned to his hometown for some much needed rest and recuperation before hopefully heading to the United Kingdom for his MA in 2025. Between now and then, you’ll likely find Michael in the EarthDiverse offices helping to keep EarthDiverse running in any small way he can, and if you come into class in person you may even see him frantically running between rooms to sort out our technology before classes begin! Though his undergraduate work featured a smattering of political science, history, international relations and art history, it was history which was Michael’s main calling and which he followed through to his honours year at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, completing a dissertation on sensory experiences of British bird-watching between 1918 and 1939. Michael has taught courses for EarthDiverse on the relationship between birds and people through history, including one course on a social history of birds and another on birds during the First World War. In 2024, Michael is excited to be introducing a new course on Lenses of History, exploring different strains of historical methodology.


This class is a hybrid class with both in-person sessions in our classrooms and streamed live via Zoom.

All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front on Anglesea Street.

Course curriculum:

Week by week new material will be posted throughout the duration of the course. Video recordings of each weekly session will be posted here after 1-2 days after each class.

    1. EarthDiverse Course information

    2. EarthDiverse Zoom Instructions

    1. Lecture 1: The Past before the Pen

    1. Lecture 2: The Story of Europe, told by its artists

    1. Lecture 3: Discovering Worlds Before

    1. Lecture 4: Picking up the Ball

    1. Lecture 5: The Year of Three Kings

Additional course info:

  • Video and PDF content of class presentations or whiteboard notes are uploaded weekly after each live session
  • Begins Thu 1 August 2024
  • NZ time: Thursdays 7:00-8:30pm

Pricing options:

• All prices are in New Zealand dollars and include GST.

• Unwaged includes students, seniors, retirees and unemployed.

• Prices remain the same regardless of your chosen method for accessing this course.

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton, New Zealand. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning options:

Live Zoom sessions or Video-Recordings

  • • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.


a keen desire to learn more about the field of History and its methodologies

• There are no prerequisites for this course.

• Open to adults and children aged 14 and above.