Monday, May 4, 2009

Jews in the Russian army - NBIH

The podcast New Books In History continues to excite me. This continues to be the most informative, serious and yet even entertaining podcast in the history genre. I keep lagging behind the new releases and so my reviews will continue to jump back and forth through the feed as I pick and choose as erratically as the proverbial child in the candy shop.

Another one in the multitude of gems host Marshal Poe offers is the interview with Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern who not only wrote a very interesting book about which he tells, but also has a fascinating personal history, intertwined with the same tale. As a result the interview is not only interesting for historians of Jewish culture, of Russian history, of minority assimilation, of enlightened monarchs and their policies and so on, but also it is a thought-provoking listen on the subject of Jewish identity.

There is little I want to give away, but this: Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern looked for Jews that were enrolled in the Russian army during the 19th century and found them. Listen and find out whether these Jews were an example of Russian force and repression or of Jewish assimilation. Pay special attention to the word 'normalcy'.

This is a must listen for everybody. I must have written this about every previous episode, I think and I know I am going to write it about the next one I heard: the interview with Yuma Totani.

More NBIH:
Who will write our history?,
Sentiments in International Relations,
Ronald Reagan,
Evolution, genetics and history.

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Nietzsche in a nutshell - History 1c (UCLA)

In the latest lecture of UCLA's History 1c, professor Lynn Hunt kicks off with Wagner's ride of the Valkyries and pays a lot of attention to Friedrich Nietzsche, which brings two suspects of Nazi-inspiration together and almost naturally will serve as a cultural explanatory to the twentieth century wars. In addition Sigmund Freud appears and it is indeed the aim of the lecture to embed Nietzsche and Freud in the history lesson.

It is, rightfully so, said that the history of the nineteenth century is the history of -isms. Rationalism, Romanticism, Liberalism, Socialism, Capitalism make up the mental landscape and if some individual thinkers can be especially influential, they get their own isms like Darwin and Marx. But Nietzsche and Freud, who so predominantly inspire the end of the nineteenth century, where everything has a place in one or several isms of various kinds, have no such suffix and stand on their complex own.

Especially Nietzsche I find hard to get a grip on and I am very grateful for the brief way in which Professor Hunt explains him. Naturally this falls short of any philosophical expose, but it amply serves to give Nietzsche's writings and persons the content it needs to clarify the historic influence. I have never had that handed to me in such a comprehensive fashion. And this is one of the many reasons why History 1c is a great history course to follow on podcast.

More History 1c:
Industrialization and Italian unification,
History since 1715.

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