Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Global Geopolitics - Martin Lewis

Stanford has done it again. This is apparently their preferred modus operandi, but it is the one least accessible to podcast listeners. They have a new course available on audio. You cannot find the audio on the Stanford website, it is only on iTunes U. There, you can download the audio as regular audio files, not as podcasts (that is, iTunes will not treat the files as podcast files, which means, they do not show up in the podcast section and they do not operate as podcast files: skip in music shuffle and remember playing position). Finally, you cannot subscribe. Stanford starts out like this with most of its courses. Some, like Hannibal, History of World system, Historical Jesus and more, later on, turn into podcasts.

I have waited for nearly a week. Two lectures have become available. The course has already been reviewed on Open Culture and we are still in the previously described mood. Other than that, the course looks to be great. The predecessor of this course was Geography of World Cultures, also by Martin Lewis. Again this is an enhanced podcast; we get the lectures with the maps as graphics along with the podcast. The advice is therefore to listen on the laptop and enlarge the maps in order to get a good look. For people with average players: the files are not in MP3 format and if you transfer, you will likely lose the graphics, the maps. And the maps are in this course the strawberries on the pudding.

Martin Lewis will, in nine lectures, systematically discuss all areas on the globe and disclose the problems in geopolitics. An example is given in the introduction with the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pakistani side of the border is a place called Waziristan where Islamabad rules more formally than effectively and this has become relevant globally since this is where the Taliban are hidden. See map.


Relevant other reviews:
The History of the International System,
A listener's guide to Geography of World Cultures,
Geography of World Cultures by Martin W. Lewis,
The End of Hegemony.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


sbstocker said...

I lead the Stanford on iTunes U program, and just wanted to let you know that we have recently added a page to our website to provide alternate access to our content via podcast RSS. The URL is http://itunes.stanford.edu/rss.html

We do not have RSS subscription enabled for every section of our iTunes U site, but have currently limited it to those sections where content is regularly added. One that may be of particular interest is the "What's New at Stanford" feed, which is regularly updated with new tracks as they are added to iTunes U.

Stanford was one of the first universities to work with Apple on iTunes U, and we have been extremely happy with the service. It has allowed us to focus effort on capturing courses and lectures, and it has provided us with a platform to deliver those recordings to a wide audience.

Anne the Man said...


Thank you for your comment. This is very useful information for my readers. I think Stanford has some excellent podcasts to offer and it sure helps to have a page on the web where one can find the feeds.

I am glad you are happy with iTunes U; I can imagine so - assuming this means fast access to a wide audience and an important cut in the overhead of maintaining an audio section in your own website.

I wonder though if you may not lose some listeners (I have no idea about the size of this audience) who for one reason or another (I can think of several) cannot work with iTunes and cannot play ma4 files. The above podcast (Global Geopolitics) needs to be in ma4 and cannot be in MP3, but why couldn't other great courses like History of the International System not be in MP3?

I would hope Stanford consider adding a thin client, purely web-based option to their audience, together with iTunes U as do so many other institutions.


Anonymous said...

Get real world news here. You are also welcome to submit articles