Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914 - Berkeley History

A reader of this blog left a comment and wrote: I love your informative blog, one of the best out there. BUT, I must disagree strongly with your comments on David Wetzel. He may very well have a distinctive style, but his lectures are mesmerizing! Anyone interested in this period of European history would do well to listen. A google search of Wetzel will show that he is truly a self made historian, and certainly of the first rank!

This is about the Berkeley history lecture series History 162A: Europe and the World: Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914 (audio feed). David Wetzel as a lecturer is unlike any other lecturer you will find on podcast. His teaching style is didactic and adapted, so it seems to me, to attentive students who are taking extensive notes. What stands out is that he uses a lot of repetitions in his speech, which is not as easy for leisure listening on the iPod.

If you can find a way of listening to Wetzel's lectures, you will gain access to a very interesting series on the geopolitics of Europe in early modern Europe. He quickly paints the picture of the uneasy equilibrium in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and then the series kick off. He shows how Napoleon could rise, had to fall and then Europe entered a period of a century of nearly complete peace. After seven lectures I am eagerly looking forward to the next milestone, which is expected in the eighth: the revolutions of 1848.

The reply to my reader has to be: you are probably right that Wetzel is mesmerizing - he surely seems to be that way if you are present in class. I can also appreciate his didactics, but I stick with the statement I made from the start: the lecturing style is not the most accessible through the ear buds and you have to be prepared for that.

More Berkeley:
Introductory Topics in Religious Studies,
UC Berkeley webcasts Fall 2009,
Biological Anthropology,
History of Europe from the renaissance until today,