Friday, April 18, 2008

Making of the Modern World - UCSD

MMW was my first choice from the various lecture series UC San Diego has put on line as podcasts. MMW stands for Making of the Modern World and it is a lengthy series of history lectures presented at the Roosevelt College. It is cut into numbered consecutive series of which MMW 3 is the current.

MMW 3, is subtitled, Medieval Heritage and it consists of two different series delivered by two different lecturers. One by Matthew Herbst and one by Charles Chamberlain. I am still trying to figure out how they have divided the Medieval Heritage between themselves, but I have heard enough to know we have a great history podcast on our hands. Chamberlain's first two lectures did not make it to the podcast, but with the third lecture we dive head first into the roots of Christianity - viewed from within. Herbst's first lecture I advise to skip as it is too much of an overview and too much of administrative deliberation for the students, but with lecture two, we kick off into the hellenistic world and prepare for the roots of Christianity, but more from a state and religion perspective.

Here we see an approach which surprised me as to what I expected under the title Medieval Heritage. For me, Medieval stands for Middle Ages and I roughly place that between 500 and 1500 AD. The San Diego history course on the other hand, kicks off 100 BC and projects to continue till 1200 AD. Starting this early also shifts geographically the attention to the Middle East. Presumably, attention will shift westwards, as this is the direction in which the Modern World developed.

Apart from this lack of framework, which will keep the listener somewhat at a loss in the beginning, the series kicks off to a very promising start. One of the great advantages for me: it takes on the foundations of Christianity and the political and cultural developments that made Europe into the Renaissance, where Berkeley's History 5 starts.

Previously on UC San Diego's podcast courses.

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