Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stanford's great podcasts

I am a great lover of the content delivered by Stanford University. Whenever I have had some criticism in the past on how this content was delivered I have usually had to retract my words and this is the case again. The fact that the content is exclusively presented through iTunes U, implies some restraints for some listeners, but again, Stanford has taken steps to take away the biggest of thresholds.

The new feature, and one that I am very happy about, is that the web-site ( these days does more than just push you through to iTunes. It contains several pages of explanation and help, among others a guide how to install and work with iTunes. The best addition is the list of RSS feeds. The best of Stanford's content (not all of it) is available in a feed and thus a veritable podcast and this page lists all of them. The best are there, most notably all of those lecture series from Stanford I have so happily reviewed in the past.

Hannibal, (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
Stanford University delivers some phenomenal audio, but you have to have iTunes in order to get there. This lecture series about Hannibal gives insight in the history of Hannibal, his trip over the Alps and Professor Patrick Hunt's efforts to reconstruct Hannibal's route over the Alps.

Historical Jesus, (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
The very best of Stanford is a lecture series, including syllabus and link to the central book, by theology professor Thomas Sheehan about the Historical Jesus. Sheehan carefully takes the listener through the intricacies of dissecting Scripture to the most authentic sources to Yeshua of Nazareth himself.

Geography of World Cultures, (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
Although this podcast is mostly about geography, in effect it is filled with history - one cannot talk about the spread of languages and religion, without entering history. The focus is on maps and the maps are added as visuals, which means, this is an enhanced podcast. (Wikipedia on enhanced podcasts)

Global Geopolitics (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
The latest addition: an enhanced podcast following up on Geography of World Cultures showing the international relations in geopolitics. Of course with the help of great many maps.

History of the International System, (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
This is a course, not just in history, but in a sense also in geopolitics and political science. Starting around 1870, the lecture series takes the audience through global history and observes and explains how the international relations wobbled from stability to disruptiveness back and forth.

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