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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Free History Video Lectures

This month I have prepared something special - a bunch of various history video lectures! They include: civil war history, french history, ancient greek history, china history, theory of history, financial history, american economic history, early british history, and history of silicon valley.

The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877

Professor David Blight. Yale University. Spring 2008.

Course description:
This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction.

Course topics:
Introductions: Why Does the Civil War Era Have a Hold on American Historical Imagination? Southern Society: Slavery, King Cotton, and Antebellum America's "Peculiar" Region. A Southern World View: the Old South and Proslavery Ideology. A Northern World View: Yankee Society, Antislavery Ideology and the Abolition Movement. Telling a Free Story: Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in Myth and Reality. Expansion and Slavery: Legacies of the Mexican War and the Compromise of 1850. "A Hell of a Storm": The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Birth of the Republican Party, 1854-55. Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas, and the Impending Crisis of the Union, 1855-58. John Brown's Holy War: Terrorist or Heroic Revolutionary? The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis. Slavery and State Rights, Economies and Ways of Life: What Caused the Civil War? "And the War Came," 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies. Terrible Swift Sword: The Period of Confederate Ascendency, 1861-1862. Never Call Retreat: Military and Political Turning Points in 1863. Lincoln, Leadership, and Race: Emancipation as Policy. Days of Jubilee: The Meanings of Emancipation and Total War. Homefronts and Battlefronts: "Hard War" and the Social Impact of the Civil War. "War So Terrible": Why the Union Won and the Confederacy Lost at Home and Abroad. To Appomattox and Beyond: The End of the War and a Search for Meanings. Wartime Reconstruction: Imagining the Aftermath and a Second American Republic. Andrew Johnson and the Radicals: A Contest over the Meaning of Reconstruction. Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President. Black Reconstruction in the South: The Freedpeople and the Economics of Land and Labor. Retreat from Reconstruction: the Grant Era and Paths to "Southern Redemption". The "End" of Reconstruction: Disputed Election of 1876, and the "Compromise of 1877". Race and Reunion: the Civil War in American Memory. Legacies of the Civil War.

France since 1871

Professor John Merriman. Yale University. Fall 2007.

Course description:
This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society.

Course topics:
The Paris Commune and Its Legacy. Centralized French State and France Republic. A Nation? Peasants, Language, and French Identity. Workshop and Factory. The Waning of Religious Authority. Mass Politics and the Political Challenge from the Left. Dynamite Club: The Anarchists. General Boulanger and Captain Dreyfus. Cafés and the Culture of Drink. Paris and the Belle Époque. French Imperialism (Guest Lecture by Charles Keith). The Origins of World War I. Trench Warfare. The Home Front. The Great War, Grief, and Memory (Guest Lecture by Bruno Cabanes). The Popular Front. The Dark Years: Vichy France. Resistance. Battles For and Against Americanization. Vietnam and Algeria. Charles De Gaulle. May 1968. Immigration.

Introduction to Ancient Greek History

Professor Donald Kagan. Yale University. Fall 2007.

Course desciption:
This is an introductory course in Greek history tracing the development of Greek civilization as manifested in political, intellectual, and creative achievements from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period. Students read original sources in translation as well as the works of modern scholars.

Course topics:
The Dark Ages. The Rise of the Polis. The Greek "Renaissance" - Colonization and Tyranny. Sparta. The Rise of Athens. The Persian Wars. The Athenian Empire. Athenian Democracy. The Peloponnesian War. The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece. Twilight of the Polis.

Where is China Headed?

U.S. Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy.

Short lecture overview:
Stapleton says that for China, there are two possible scenarios regarding the economic crisis: either China will weather the crisis pretty well and emerge from it sooner and in better condition than the western countries, or the crisis could exceed the abilitiy of China's leaders to handle, plunging the country into a serious crisis. He says he could not predict which scenario is more likely.

A Theory of History, with an Application (by Paul Romer)

Lecture description:
Paul Romer's economic theory of history explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules.

Lecture topics:
A Theory of History, with Application. Theory as a Tool: Why Things Are Getting Better. What Are Technologies? A Theory of Accelerated Progress Overtime. A History of Manners. Rules of Engagement. What Came First the Technology or the Rule? When Rules Constrict Progress/Change. Dynamics of History Rules. What if There Could Be No New Companies? A History of World Leaders - Entry, Migration, Copying. Pennsylvania and the Freedom of Religion. What if There Were No New Countries? Changing the Rules: Creating a Country Without War. Rethinking Sovereignty. Rethinking Citizenship. Rethinking Scale. What If We Needed to House Billions of People?

An Evolutionary Approach to Financial History

Lecture description:
Professor Niall Ferguson offers an evolutionary approach to financial history. He questions the impeding of 'natural selection' by keeping the financial dinosaurs alive through the life support of monetary injections: "without creative destruction, our economic system cannot be a healthy one." The view that financial history could be 'evolutionary' in fact pre-dates Darwin, born 200 years ago this year, but the view has been pushed into the hinterlands of contemporary thinking about the worlds of finance and economics. Through the publication of his book, The Ascent of Money, Professor Niall Ferguson brought about a timely re-emergence of the evolutionary approach. By looking at finance along evolutionary lines, we can relate the long run of financial history to recent events and so illuminate them in a way which will perhaps offer us a clearer sight of how we should pull ourselves out of the current economic crisis.

Lecture topics:
A Darwinian Economy. Darwin's Economic Observation. Biological and Economical Theories. Modern Economics. Trends in the Financial Evolution. A Short History of Economic. Biological World vs. Financial World. Inflation vs. Deflation.

The Sputnik Moment

Video description:
History on how USA changed their education system to create new competitive scientists and engineers who will be able to take USA to the Moon and beyond.

The Myth of the Clash of Civilizations

Lecture description:
It is a hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.

Britain AD (told by Francis Pryor)

Video description:
Received wisdom tells us that the Romans invaded and brutally suppressed our backward ancestors and that when they left – turning the lights out as they did – we reverted to a state of anarchy, sinking into the Dark Ages until new and more brutal invaders, the Anglo-Saxons, swept everything away again and reintroduced order.

However, according to archaeologist and best-selling author Francis Pryor, received wisdom could not be more wrong. In the follow-up to his hugely successful Britain BC, which offered a radical reinterpretation of pre-Roman Britain, he looks at the myths we too readily accept as our history.

The truth, he says, is far more complicated. In this three-part series, he uncovers the continuous culture that, rather than being destroyed by these outside forces, absorbed them and was strengthened by them. Drawing on new archaeological evidence that confounds traditional views of Britain as a powerless bunch of warring barbarian tribes, he discovers a far more interesting story, one that puts the continuing energy of the ancient Britons at its core.

At the heart of Pryor's search is the mysterious figure of King Arthur. In the Arthurian story of the lady in the lake, he finds clues that indicate lasting rituals and customs that link pre-Roman Britain to the Middle Ages, adding weight to his argument for a strong British culture that endured the influence of outsiders.

This was not a country whose heritage was disappearing under the yoke of oppression, argues Pryor, but one whose unique characteristics endured and shaped the nation for centuries to come.

History of Silicon Valley (by Steve Blank)

Lecture description:
How much do you know about the history of the place he works in? Silicon Valley. Come and test your knowledge. Even seasoned Silicon Valley veterans will find this story interesting. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank will talk about how World War II set the stage for the creation and explosive growth of Silicon Valley, and the role of Frederick Terman and Stanford in working with government agencies (including the CIA and the National Security Agency) to set up companies in this area that sparked the creation of hundreds of other enterprises.

American Economic History (Economics 113, UC Berkeley)

Course topics:
Amerindians, Conquistadores, Explorers, Settlers, and Empires. Colonists, 1600-1776. Slavery and Its Legacy, 1600-1929. Government, 1600-1870. Farms, 1600-1929. Technologies, Factories, and Trade, 1870-1929. Workers, Unions, and Government, 1870-1929. Depressions and Panics, 1840-1933. The New Deal, 1933-1941. World War II and Cold War, 1941-1956. Mass Production, 1910-1980. Workers, Unions, and Wage Compression, 1929-1975. Focus on Women, 1870-present. Focus on African-Americans, 1900-present. Focus on Immigrants, 1870-present. Stabilization, Full Employment, and Inflation, 1950-present. Why Was America so Successful? Looking South. Why Has There Been so Little Social Democracy in the United States? Looking East. The End of the American Dream? The Productivity Slowdown and the Inflation of the 1970s. The End of the American Dream? The Great Widening. Breakdown of the New Deal Order. The Productivity Speedup of the 1990s. Resources, Suburbs, Global Warming: Limits? - Podcast Not Available.

Have fun with these lectures!

Related Posts

  • History Video and Audio Lectures
    (They include: American Environmental and Cultural History. World Regions, Peoples, and States. European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present. History of Information. 12 Byzantine Rulers: The History of The Byzantine Empire. Abraham Lincoln's Invention of Presidential War Powers. Dinosaur Research in the 21st Century. Double Restoration: Berlin after 1945. And many others.)


  • There is also a course on the rise and fall of the Second Reich from Berkeley at

    By Anonymous Rei, at Sat Aug 01, 08:15:00 PM 2009  

  • And finally, one lecture series on the Ancient Mediteranean World at

    Thank you, your links have been really helpful!

    By Anonymous Rei, at Sat Aug 01, 08:18:00 PM 2009  

  • Ooh! Thank you so much. This post popped up in my RSS reader. I have become very interested in history this last year and am very grateful to you for some good content. I shall be returning to this post again and again over this week.

    By Blogger Anonymous, at Sat Aug 08, 04:01:00 PM 2009  

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