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.

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