Now that September has come around and the new academic year is starting, I will pay some extra attention to those university lecture series you can follow through podcast. My first mention must of course be my favorite history podcast lecture series of all time Berkeley's History 5. The version of Fall 2008, A survey of Europe from the Renaissance to the present, has another professor than before: Carla Hesse. In previous semesters I have come to know History 5 by professor Anderson and by professor Laqueur alternately, but professor Hesse, apart from a guest lecture, if I recall correctly, is new to me. She is not new to History 5 though; she returns from a couple of years' absence.
After one lecture I can conclude we are in for History 5 as good as we are used to. Hesse adds her personal touch, an excellent one at that, but other than that: the regular superb quality of the podcast is maintained. As far as content is concerned, not much is to be said yet. I found it an interesting touch, Hesse made, by referring to the Great Plague and its consecutive changes as being relevant for the changes Europe undergoes starting with the renaissance. It was also very instructive to make some thoughts about European unity, or lack thereof, which is as relevant before the renaissance as it is throughout the past centuries till today and the foreseeable future.
Following history 5, will always present a couple of technical difficulties, most of which can be overcome. In the past, both Professor Anderson as well as Professor Laqueur found ways of making the visuals available for me and probably more interested podcast listeners. I have not yet found out whether the same can be said of Hesse, but i will find out and let you know. Enhancing the audio level of the lectures has always been a necessity and I used MP3gain for that in the past. This semester, the lectures are no longer presented as MP3, so I will convert to MP3 or find a way to enhance M4a's.
More History 5: