Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The history of the Royal Society - In Our Time special

Fans of BBC's In Our Time are to be alerted and warned. Melvyn Bragg has just started a special series about the history of the Royal Society. Yesterday we got the first issue, today the second has already come around and at this rate one must make sure to trigger download every day in order to not miss out. As we know all too well, BBC podcasts do not last long in their feeds.

And while you are rushing ahead to lay your hands on this special edition of IOT, do not miss out on the latest episode in the regular series. Last Thursday we were treated with an excellent chapter about Mary Wollstonecraft. She was in many ways, of course, the first feminist. Consequently we learn much of her unraveling of women's issues in the eighteenth century.

As interesting as the history is, Wollstonecraft appears from the show as a fascinating multi-faceted figure, I was also struck by how relevant her story is still today. After about 26 minutes on the show, the speakers emphasize how in her time women were always stuck in an eroticized framework. Women were first and foremost about sexuality, anything about women was always also about sexuality. Wollstonecraft is portrayed as the first to demand women be treated as human beings, regardless of their gender, when the subject is not sex. The tone at which this is done is as if this is different today. But I feel we have hardly progressed at this point.

More In Our Time:
The weekly treat,
New season of In Our Time,
St. Thomas Aquinas,
Logical Positivism,
The Sunni - Shia split.

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