Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Birth of the Modern - a history lecture podcast

The Arizona State University had a summer course in 2006, The Birth of the Modern, which was published as a podcast and is still available (feed). Dr. Andrew Barnes brought this exclusively as a new media course. The lectures are on podcast alone; not recordings of live lectures.

The object of the course is to take on the transition European culture made through from before the renaissance to the early modern time. It results in a couple of very interesting analyses professor Barnes makes. I have heard only six out of the thirty podcasts and can therefore not entirely assess what he does with what is proposed as a very central theme: how the Europeans deal with 'the other' (and whom they view as such). Obvious candidates in this respect are Jews, Africans, Asians, but there are more than that.

I have dropped out of this course because of two factors one has to take into account before embarking onto the course. For one the audio quality is very low. The course is from 2006 and you can hear it. In addition, despite Barnes's enthusiasm, intelligence and dedication, his monologue is hard to follow. His talk doesn't seem too structured upon initial impression and his speaking style is somewhat faltering. This is not 'infotainment'; this is a course for those who seriously want to study the subject and are ready to embark upon it with full attention.

More history podcast reviews:
History 5 - the end,
The blitz on London - Binge Thinking History,
Whittaker Chambers - History 7B,
The year 1703 - Historyzine,
World history outside the European box - MMW3.

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