Bettany at Berlin Wall - East-side Gallery

Meet the geniuses of the modern world in OU/BBC programme

Three of the greatest minds of the modern world are explored in a three-part series, presented by broadcaster and historian, Bettany Hughes.

Broadcast on BBC Four at 21:00 from Thursday 16 June 2016, Genius of the Modern World considers the lives of three men born in a 19th century world – a period dominated by advances in politics, science, and society. The series considers the impact of the political activist Karl Marx on 20th century history in episode one; the equally brilliant and dangerous concepts of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in episode two; and the scientist known as the ‘father of psychoanalysis’ Sigmund Freud in episode three.

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology at the OU, and academic consultant on the programme, Dr Gerry Mooney, provides insight into episode one of the programme:

“This episode highlights key aspects of the life of Karl Marx and seeks to bring his thinking to the fore. His ideas are still widely discussed, but not always in a way that reflects his overarching political approach, or how they reveal the world he lived in and the monumental social and economic changes going on at the time, " said Dr Mooney.

The ideas and thoughts developed by Marx continue to provoke sharply differing reactions, but there’s no question that his ideas continue to influence contemporary political, social and economic debate.

“It’s impossible to produce a ‘balanced’ account of his work but I hope that by showing his ideas in the context of his own life, the programme will encourage people to revisit his writing and perhaps look again at what their thoughts are about him," he added.

For more information on the ideas and themes in the programme, visit OpenLearn:

There are many courses from the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science relevant to the programme:

F30 - MA in Philosophy
Q03 - BA Humanities
Q07 - Psychology
Q11  - International Studies
Q43 - Philosophy and Psychological Studies
Q45 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Q69 - Combined Social Science
Q83 - Social Psychology
X09 - Foundation Degree in Counselling