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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

History Video Lectures

Okay, I have run out of real science video lectures at the moment so I am gonna make a few posts about humanities, social sciences etc.

Forrest Biggs sent me a link to his amazing collection of 450+ video lectures. Check it out.

So I'll start with video and audio lectures in history!

American Environmental and Cultural History (UC Berkley)

History of the American environment and the ways in which different cultural groups have perceived, used, managed, and conserved it from colonial times to the present. Cultures include American Indians and European and African Americans. Natural resources development includes gathering-hunting-fishing; farming, mining, ranching, forestry, and urbanization. Changes in attitudes and behaviors toward nature and past and present conservation and environmental movements are also examined. Readings are from primary source documents supplemented by recent essays.

Course topics:
What is Environmental History; Native American Ecology and European Contact; The New England Forest in the Seventeenth Century; The New England Forest in the Seventeenth Century; Tobacco and Rice in the Colonial South; Farms and Cities in the Early Republic; Nature and the Market in the Nineteenth Century; The Cotton South Before and After the Civil War; Extracting the Far West in the Nineteenth Century; Extracting the Far West in the Nineteenth Century; Great Plains Grasslands Exploited; Resource Conservation in the Twentieth Century; Wilderness Preservation in the Twentieth Century; Cities, Industry, and Pollution in the Twentieth Century; The Emergence of Ecology in the Twentieth Century; Water, Energy, and Pollution in the Twentieth Century; Globalization: The United States in the Wider World.

World Regions, Peoples, and States (UC Berkley)

The world is comprised of regions—this basic contention, as old as Western civilization, is at once commonsensical and problematic. To be sure, one can draw lines on a map that divide the world into areas with distinctive patterns of culture and language, climate and vegetation, economy and society. But lines on a map never match reality perfectly: There are always moments or places where lines blur, and countless other ways one might plausibly classify the earth’s surface and peoples. Moreover, the lines need to move as time passes and realities change.

Regions, then, are not fixed or timeless, natural or neutral. If they are objectively grounded it can only be because the natural and social processes that create regional patterns are objective processes. Regions are the geographical byproduct of geology, ecology and history.

This course approaches the world’s regions, peoples and states in terms of processes rather than lines on a map. We will look at the world, and we will attempt to absorb and understand some of its social and natural diversity. The emphasis, however, will be on how these patterns have been produced over time and space. We will also consider the strengths and weaknesses of thinking about the world in terms of regions.

Course topics:

Introduction and Overview: Why Regions? Geophysical Preliminaries: Soils, Climate and Fire; Prehistoric Developments: Human Migrations, Domestication and Agriculture; California as a Region; Early States and Trade, circa 1400; Contact and Conquest; Capitalism, Colonialism and Regional Differentiation; Independence or Dependency; Globalization and Neoliberalism

European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present (UC Berkley)
Course topics:
Introduction: Histories, Cultures, Identities; The Renaissance in Western History; The State As A Work Of Art; New Worlds, New Peoples, New Goods; Revolutions In Religion: 1517-1555; The Cultural Legacies Of Early Modern Europe; Religious War And Witchcraft; The European Tradition of Constitutionalism; Absolutism; Worlds Of Goods, World Economies, Wars Of Commerce; The Scientific Revolution; The Enlightenment - Daring To Konw And Its Difficulties; The French Revolution In World Politics; The Industrial Revolution: The Origins of a New Civilization; The Structures and Institutions of Class; Revolution And Reform; Science, Medicine And Religion; Making And Reforming Nation States; Politics, Culture & Society At The End Of The 19th Century; The New Imperialism; The End of the Old Century and the Beginning of the New; The Russian Revolution - A Dialogue; Some Social And Cultural Consequences Of The Great War; Culture As Politics In The 1920s; World War II: Holocaust And Rebuilding; The Past in the Present;

History of Information (UC Berkley)
Course topics:
Introduction: On Information; On Determinism; Writing Systems; Written Mentalities; Manuscript Cultures; Storing and Retrieving; Print, Printing and Print Culture; Book Writing and Wall Writing; 18th Century Public Sphere: Early Newspaper, Coffee Houses, Political Discourse; Science, Statistics, Certainty; Forms of Authority: Reference Books, Museum, Libraries; Information Work; Dawn of the Information Economy; 19th Century Public Sphere: Mass Communication; Time and Space: Point to Point; Propaganda; Office Automation, ERP; Post Office; Broadcast; Advertising: Branded Goods, Branding Information; Intellectual Property: Owning Information; Internet and Information Literacy; Open Source; Search, Storage and Retrieval; 20th Century Public Sphere; Utopia

12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire (Lars Brownworth)

This history lecture podcast covers the little known Byzantine Empire through the study of twelve of its greatest rulers. Mr. Lars Brownworth presents this series for free through this website and the podcast section of the iTunes store.

Mr. Brownworth teaches History at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, New York. His passion for Byzantine history has taken him on travels from the furthest reaches of the Byzantine Empire right into Constantinople, (present day Istanbul) the very heart of Byzantium. He has traveled and studied Byzantine history extensively and produced this lecture series giving us this concise overview.

All lectures are in MP3 format, right click to download them or go to Byzantine Rulers homepage

If the links do not work or the site is down here is a mirror at Podcast Alley

  • 1 - Introduction
  • What is the Byzantine Empire? Why would a Byzantine citizen call himself Roman and not know what the Byzantine Empire was? In this introduction to Byzantine history, Lars Brownworth describes where Byzantium came from and why defining Byzantium is a murky and difficult task.

  • 2 - Diocletian
    The Emperor Diocletian was to erase civil war within Byzantium for the next thousand years but walked away from it all to become a cabbage farmer. Who was this military man and how could he just give it all up? Join Lars Brownworth as the story of Byzantium's first great emperor unfolds.

  • 3 - Constantine (Part I)
    From the chaotic background of the tetrarchy, a vulnerable staff officer would navigate the treacherous waters of the empire and eventually emerge as Emperor. How could such an unlikely man unify the empire under one ruler? In this lecture, Lars Brownworth explores the rise to power of one of Western History's most pivotal figures: Constantine.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 4 - Constantine (Part II)
    Constantine has achieved supreme power and made one of the most momentous decisions in history, that of founding a new capital and rescuing a faith seemingly on the brink of schism. However, his megalomania undid most of his work unifying the church and threatened the very stability of the state. Does such a man truly deserve to be called great? Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the apogee of Constantine's career and his impact on history.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 5 - Julian
    A shy, awkward, Pagan philosopher with no ambitions and no experience is appointed Caesar. How could such an unlikely 23 year old become the head of a Christian empire? Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at Julian, the last of Constantine's dynasty.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 6 - Zeno
    By the middle of the 5th Century the Roman Empire was on the verge of collapse. Its emperors were mere puppets, its armies were in chaos, and enemies were closing in on all sides. Unable to sustain itself, the West collapsed, plunging Europe into the Dark Ages. By all accounts, the East should have followed suit, and yet, unexpectedly, the Eastern emperor slipped free of his barbarian master and saved the tottering state. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at Zeno, the unlikely savior of the Byzantine Empire.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 7 - Justinian (Part 1)
    As the 6th Century dawned on the tottering Byzantine State, the future seemed to hold only decline and decay, and yet unexpectedly, it was to see a renaissance unmatched in the long history of the empire. On every front, it seemed, were gathered the towering giants of the age- poised and ready to take the empire to ever greater and more dizzying heights. All that was needed was a ruler with enough vision to unite and drive this vast collection of the best and the brightest- a ruler who could dream on a truly imperial scale. He came, surprisingly enough, from the ranks of the great, unwashed masses- risen from poverty to fire the empire with the force of his will. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the stunning rise of Justinian- from shadow ruler to emperor in his own right.

  • 8 - Justinian (Part 2)
    With the return of relative calm after the reign's turbulent beginnings, Justinian could turn to his most ambitious project, the reconquest of the Western Empire. For this, his most cherished goal, he looked to one man, the young, promising general, Belisarius. Justinian was rewarded with unswerving loyalty and unquestioned brilliance, and yet the road to reconquest was to be a difficult and tragic one for both men. Join Lars Brownworth as the story of Justinian's reconquest of Africa and Italy unfolds.

  • 9 - Justinian (Part 3)
    With the reconquest of Italy seemingly complete and the Persian threat momentarily neutralized by the plague, Justinian could at last afford to rest. But the empire's enemies were everywhere- the plague abated and a charismatic new Gothic king arose in Italy. The empire could ill afford to keep its greatest general in disgrace, and Justinian would once again turn to the man he could never quite bring himself to trust. The final decade of his life would see the fruition of his epic dreams of reconquest, as well as the restoration of the building that still stands as the greatest testament to his reign. It would be the final act of a cast of characters the likes of whom the empire would never see again. Join Lars Brownworth for the conclusion of the reign of Justinian, the last of the Roman Emperors.

  • 10 - Heraclius
    In the years following Justinian's death, the empire was rocked from within and without. Barbarians pushed in on every border and the empire's ancient enemy Persia ravaged the East unchecked. The empire met this challenge with a series of weak and foolish rulers who squandered what resources they had, and crumbled before the Persian onslaught. By the start of the 7th Century, the emperor was a virtual prisoner in his own palace, the Persians were beneath the walls of Constantinople, and the rest of the empire was in the hands of rebels. It looked as if the end had come at last, and yet, against all odds, an Armenian general was to defeat the Persians, sweep away the old Latin traditions and reform the empire on a Greek model. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at Heraclius, whose reign saw this glittering triumph yet ended in such tragedy.

  • 11 - Irene
    When the weak, ineffectual emperor Leo IV died in 780, he left the empire divided and in the hands of an orphan from Athens; the beautiful and grasping Empress Irene. 17 years later she was crowned as sole ruler after murdering her own son to take his place. It was hardly an auspicious start, beset by enemies on every border, the empire was now facing its most serious internal threat; the terrible iconoclastic controversy. Successive emperors had neglected the frontiers to concentrate on the war against icons, and in the process had not only weakened the state, but had destroyed some of the finest works of art the Byzantine world ever produced. Even worse, an emperor had at last returned to the long vacant throne of the West, to challenge Byzantium's claim of universal temporal domination. If ever the empire had needed strong leadership, it was now. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of Irene; the only woman to rule the empire, not as Queen or Regent, but as a King.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 12 - Basil I
    Basil I was hardly a promising candidate to usher in a new golden age to the Byzantine Empire. A poor, illiterate Armenian peasant, he was kidnapped by raiding Bulgarians as a boy, and only managed to escape in his mid twenties. Renowned for his great strength and skill with horses, he found work as a stable hand and grew into a violent, ambitious man, whose thirst for power led him to commit two of the foulest murders that even Byzantine history has to offer. And yet, against the odds, his reign was the most successful of the century, and the Macedonian dynasty that he would found, would bring the empire to the height of its power and prestige. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of the emperor Basil the Macedonian.

    Additional Commentary:

  • 13 - Basil II
    By the time Basil II was crowned at age two, the Macedonian Dynasty had led the Byzantine Empire to seemingly endless military victories and unprecedented heights of glory. However it was not the emperors who had accomplished so much, but their powerful generals. In fact Basil's dynasty seemed to be in danger of becoming purely ceremonial or disappearing completely. The young emperor, dominated completely by his regents, seemed unlikely to change things. There was no trace of the heroic about him, no charisma or sparkling personality, and yet he was to emerge as the greatest emperor of his dynasty- bending the army, the empire, and foreign princes alike to the force of his will. Join Lars Brownworth as he looks at the reign of Basil II, the last great conqueror Byzantium ever produced.

Abraham Lincoln's Invention of Presidential War Powers
(James McPherson, Princeton University)

Rewriting the Founding: Theodore Roosevelt as Historian
(Jean M. Yarbrough, Bowdoin College)

If All the World Were New Jersey: The Past and Future of the Garden State
(Kenneth Jackson, Columbia University)

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Commander-in-Chief Power:
Lessons from the Lincoln Administration for the War on Terror
(Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Minnesota Law School)

Nature and History in the Thought of the American Founders
(James Ceaser, University of Virginia)

Barricelli's Universe: Digital Computing in Princeton, 1945-1958
(George Dyson, Western Washington University)

Dinosaur Research in the 21st Century
(John Horner, Montana State University)

Remembering the Holocaust: Perspectives at the Millennium
(Froma Zeitlin, Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature)

Cities and Resurrection: Jerusalem and Us

Fires, Earthquakes, Modernization and Air Strikes: The Destruction and Revival of Japan's Cities

Patriotism and Reconstruction: Washington, DC after Conquest and Arson during the War of 1812

Double Restoration: Berlin after 1945

Civil War High Tech: Excavating the Hunley and Monitor

Vietnam Remembered

Have fun!

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