Sunday, March 28, 2010

Anne is a Man - passover break

Here is a quick post to let you all know I am going to be away from my blog for about a week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Surviving in the Wilderness

While we are at it, we can point out that there was another guest from Shrink Rap Radio that also appeared on CBC's Tapestry: Robert Kull.

Years after a motorcycle accident left him with one leg, Bob Kull traveled to a remote island in the Patagonia wilderness with supplies to live completely alone for a year. He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find answers to the spiritual questions that had plagued him his entire life. With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him to the limits of human endurance. Shrink Rap Radio #223 , Tapestry February 7th 2010

Although these podcast issues are both readily available, they may be hard to dig up from both feeds. Therefore I have stuck them together in a special Robert Kull feed at Huffduffer. Just subscribe to Anne is a Man's Kull feed and there you are.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Happiness and Health,
Resurrection after Rape,
Life Changing Lessons,
Shrink Rap Radio - 200 great podcasts,
Technology and The Evolving Brain.

More Tapestry:
Survival of the Kindest,
Karen Armstrong,
Terry Eagleton.

Dacher Keltner in podcast

Lately I have been rethinking my blogging and started an additional way of reviewing podcasts. You may have noticed that in addition to general reviews about podcasts and reviews of individual episodes, I have begun pointing at several podcasts (or podcast episodes) around certain subjects and themes. The idea is that the individual podcasts you may have already found, but if you are especially interested in the subject, you may want more. With the aim at serving you best, I try to supply that additional material as well.

For example, who is not interested in happiness and health? Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and his field is exactly that. Furthermore, Keltner is a very exciting speaker and fortunately, he can be heard on podcast. First of all, you can follow his lectures at Berkeley. Last Fall he taught the podcast course Letters and Science C160V, 001, Psychology C162, 001 - Human Happiness (feed). Here you can find out everything he has to say about positive emotions, about the parts of the brain responsible for this, about touch, compassion, forgiveness and much much more. My colleague podcast reviewer DIY Scholar has written two reviews of Keltner's course to which I recommend to read: Human Happiness and Are we a touch Starved Culture?

Dacher Keltner also appeared on the excellent psychology interview podcast Shrink Rap Radio, by Dr. David van Nuys. Last summer, Keltner was interviewed by Van Nuys - do not miss this one (feed).

Last February, Keltner appeared on CBC Radio (Canada) in the program Tapestry, which is also a podcast (feed). Be quick to download this episode (Survival of the kindest), as it is the last in the feed. If you miss out on it, let me know - the files stay on the server at CBC and I will stick it in a Huffduffer feed for you.

More Berkeley:
The Indian Rebellion 1857,
Human Evolution and Prehistory,
Dacher Keltner on Happiness and Health,
Modern Western History in podcasts,
Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914.

More Shrink Rap Radio:
Resurrection after rape,
Life Changing Lessons,
Shrink Rap Radio - 200 great podcasts,
Technology and The Evolving Brain,
Nova Spivack.

More Tapestry:
Karen Armstrong,
Terry Eagleton.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Caucasus

As usual, Marshall Poe did a fascinating interview at New Books In History and it reminded me of two old university lecture series from Stanford you can still get on iTunes. Guest on the show was Charles King to speak about his book The Ghost of Freedom which attempts to tackle the history of the Caucasus.

Poe lets King explain how intricate and unusual it is to write a history book that focuses on a geographically defined place and a large one at that. Also, the Caucasus is an area with a complicated history torn between many different ethnicities and influenced from three very different imperial or cultural spheres: the Turkish, the Russian and the Persian. Besides, this is not a place we are particularly familiar with and so it is even more difficult to find our way in the labyrinth. Here is where the Stanford course lends a helping hand.

Martin Lewis offered two series of enhanced podcasts which also made a stop at the Caucasus. Geography of World Cultures (feed) and Global Geopolitics (feed) which were taught in 2007 and 2008 at Stanford. With the help of maps (added to the enhanced podcast) Lewis dove into the spread of cultures, languages and religions in this mountain range. On top of that, he offered a passage to the geopolitical tensions of the area, and there are not a few. I add the Caucasus map from the series about World Cultures (part of lecture 6).

Marshall Poe picks out three dualities from the Caucasus and lets Charles King elaborate upon them. These are relationships between locals and one of the big neighbors and King describes how they are close and strained of late. Those are the relationships of the Georgians with the Russians, of the Armenians with the Turks and of Azerbaijan with Iran.

More NBIH:
The genocide and the trial,
Nation and Culture,
Three New Books In History,
The fourth part of the world,
How the Soviet system imploded.

More Martin Lewis:
Guantanamo Bay,
Descriptive and prescriptive mapping,
Global Geopolitics - Martin Lewis,
A listener's guide to Geography of World Cultures.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water - Paradigms

A podcast that was recommended to me and nearly got lost, because the reporter's mail ended up in my spam inbox was the podcast Paradigms. (feed)

Baruch Zeichner produces a weekly thematic program in subjects of ecology and environmentalism that is offered as a podcast as well as broadcast on a Vermont radio station, WBKM. Apart from interviews and discussions, Baruch intersperses the segments with his own thoughts and with befitting music. Among the latest programs were issues about Nuclear Energy, pros and cons, social justice, native Americans a lot of music and more.

An issue that stuck out for me was the one about Water. Paradigms had several guests from all over the world to tell how drinking water is being turned into a commodity and about the serious effects this has on the population and the environment. The bottom-line is that an essential to life is commercialized. The drinking water is getting more expensive and the exploitation for profit is mostly badly affecting environment as well as the quality of the water. One of the messages to take away from this program, and I was surprised by that one, is to stop drinking (and buying) bottled water. I had gotten used to that in the past decade and Baruch has given me some good reasons to rethink my habits in this respect.

Improv Everywhere - The Ice Podcast

I am not overly fond of podcasts that have a crew that is freely engaging in small talk among each other. It can be thrilling, but it is mostly boring and eavesdropping upon other people's conversations is not exactly my cup of tea. And so, I was not sure how to tackle a review of the reported podcast The Ice Podcast. (feed)

But then, the host of the podcast Chris Crookall was kind enough to point out to me that his podcast had also the occasional interview. He especially recommended the conversation with Matt Adams from Improv Everywhere. And rightfully so. In a very natural and accessible way we get to know the project of Improv Everywhere in which Matt Adams is part and about which he attempts to make documentaries (see Matt's web page). The idea is that we are all stuck in our routine perceptions of the world and the people of Improv Everywhere operate in the everyday world (mostly in New York city) and create scenes that force the bystanders to look at their surroundings freshly again. One of the discussed examples is a scene in which the agents of Improv Everywhere start singing in the food court - see video.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Great War - WW1 in podcasts

About a week ago I already wrote a Dutch post about the First World War in podcasts and that is because one of the very best podcasts about The Great War is in Dutch (Veertien Achttien), more about this by the end of this post. If you wish to make a study of WW1 through podcast alone, you have many formidable other podcasts to choose from as well.

There are two big stories about WW1. One is the geopolitical, diplomatic one, which goes back until the 1870's and arguably shows the effect of WW1 until at least the Cold War, if not until today (look at the Middle East for example). This perspective that can be stretched over a near century and a half is fantastically covered by Stanford's James Sheehan in the lecture series The History of the International System (feed). Part of this story is the question how the war came about and who is to blame, which is an issue every modern history series will deal with (History 5, MMW 5European Civilization 1648 to 1945History 1c) but is especially well done by Margaret Anderson in an old version of Berkeley's Renaissance to Today. Also interesting is the interview in New Books in History with Norman Stone.

Another big story of WW1 is that of Trench Warfare, or a little bit more broadly, how the war went and how it culminated in the wretched peace of Versailles. Many good podcasts give ample attention here. (New Books in HistoryHistory 151cFrance since 1871The Armistice Podcast)

The special quality of Veertien Achttien ('14 - '18) lies in this that it takes on both these themes and more by the method it applies. Veertien Achttien brings every week a short biography of one of the people involved in the war. Through this you get some chronology of the war, and frequently one stretching from earlier to way beyond, highlighting aspects that go beyond the to big narratives referred to above. Especially in this podcast you can find the effect of WW1 on everyday life, on the peripheries of the war, on culture, on science and as such, mare than any other podcast it convincingly shows how deep and fundamental the war altered our world.

While Veertien Achttien is expected to run until 2012 in Dutch, there are some rumors it may be translated into English at some point in time. We can only hope that this challenge will indeed be met.

De onschuld van Lucia de B.- Simek 's Nachts in 2006

In de Volkskrant stond bij het artikel over de vrijspraak van Lucia de B. een foto van haar dochter Fabienne. In 2006 was Fabienne te gast bij Simek 's Nachts - toen stond ze nog alleen in haar overtuiging van haar moeders onschuld. Hoewel de site van Simek alleen nog maar via het internet archief te zien is, staan sommige van zijn interviews nog on-line, al zijn die bestanden haast niet te vinden. Abonneer je op een van de volgende feeds en Fabienne zit er tussen: Huffduffer feed of
Anne is a Man, googlereader feed.

Op de site van Simek stond destijds: "Fabienne (1981) is de dochter van Lucia de B.. Haar moeder werd veroordeeld tot levenslange gevangenisstraf vanwege een groot aantal moorden die ze als verpleegster zou hebben gepleegd. Fabienne is overtuigd van de onschuld van haar moeder. Hoe gaat ze om met haar machteloosheid? Of kan ze nog iets doen? Martin Simek vraagt het zich af in Simek 's nachts."

In de uitzending blijkt Fabienne een jonge vrouw die maar moeilijk los komt en openlijk aangeeft dat ze Simek niet helemaal vertrouwt. Van de vijftig minuten die ze hebben, lopen de eerste vijfendertig tamelijk stroef. Fabienne geeft wat ontwijkende antwoorden; je moet de werkelijke antwoorden erbij raden. Maar dan, wanneer je denkt dat het niet meer gaat lukken, komt het interview los en in het laatste kwartier krijg je iets meer te zien. En als je na het luisteren naar de foto van het ANP (zie onder) kijkt, dan herken je haar toch.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

University lecture podcasts - collected by Princeton

We frequently look at podcast lecture series of University courses, but in addition to that, Universities have a lot of one off guest lectures with specialized speakers and quite often record them as well. At the University of Princeton, many of these lecture from all around the academic world are bundled in the UChannel Podcast, which has both an audio feed and a video feed. Personally, I think most of the time the audio is enough. The art of effectively registering a lecture on video and producing the visuals with shots of the lecturer and the audience is not fully mastered or invested in.

One such lecture was Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature. Architect Douglas Farr spoke at at Case Western Reserve University about the problems with sustainable architecture these days. A nut shell example is the following: a new school building is produced and it does everything right with regards to sustainable architecture. The materials are the best, the design takes care of proper use of energy and water. The waste problem has been addressed and on and on. Indeed, the building is awarded the highest measure of sustainability that can be given. However, the building is erected outside the city and whereas kids would previously walk to school, in the new situation, an enormous parking lot is made for all those cars that bring the kids. Farr takes on the challenge and proposes methods for not only building sustainable buildings, but for making those plans part of a wider planning, making entire cities sustainable. When you choose to listen to the audio (as I did), be prepared to miss out on the shots Farr shows. I am not sure how well they are shown in the video, though.

Many of the lectures previously come out in the podcast feed of the specific institute. Among them is The London School of Economics (LSE podcast), from which I download very frequently. Two recent lectures were Secularisms in crisis with John Bowen who brought a lot of examples from France to show how the modern secular state is struggling with the rise of religiousness and the visibility of religious signs in public places. And A Broken Middle East: a wasted decade of war on terror with Fawaz A Gerges who shows how the war on terror has disrupted especially Afghanistan and Iraq and brought about more lawlessness, social, political and economic insecurity than there was before. These two lectures have not yet appeared in the UChannel feed, but I am sure they soon will.

More UChannel Podcast:
Capitalism and Confusion - Amartya Sen,
Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and the Middle East,
Taming Religion - Ian Buruma trilogy,
Averting the disasters of climate change.

More LSE:
The China Hegemony,
The myth of work,
Pasts and futures of Christianity,
Global capitalism - the Gray view,
Israeli at the London School of Economics.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two podcasts on the brain - Saeed Ahmed guest post

I am very happy and proud to present you yet another guest post by Saeed Ahmed. Saeed is a psychiatrist, a Pakistani by origin who lives and works in the US, where he has also received his professional training. He is a very thorough podcast listener, taking on themes and building wide playlists around them. Or he takes on podcast university courses and carefully goes through the whole series.

Two interesting podcasts

I have listening to podcasts that explore relationships of "world" to "brain" and "brain" to "world". One way the world clearly influences the brain directly (not just behavior) is by actually changing the structure of the brain.

This is elucidated by Ginger Campbell in episode 10 of her long-standing Brain Science Podcast. (feed)

What is interesting is that many parts of the brain can change function quite dramatically, given the proper stimulus.

Dr. Campbell generally has a fairly mainstream view of mind/brain interactions (i.e. materialistic), and she doesn't go deeply into philosophical issues. The strength of this podcast is exploring the scientific aspects and medical applications. There are a number of other interesting topics she covers in various episodes, and I hope to have some time to listen to these.

Another good podcast is The Philosopher's Zone, from ABC radio national in Australia. A currently available episode has an interview with psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, who differentiates between "sensation" (what the outer sensory organs do) and "perception" (the processing of the sensory information in the central nervous system). It is of course possible to have sensation without perception. What is more surprising is that it is possible to have perception without sensation, e.g. in a phenomenon known as "blind sight," where patients who have non-functioning primary visual cortices can still perceive (accurately describe) certain types of visual phenomenon.

The material Campbell and Humphrey cover is interesting, and both cover certain philosophical issues related to the mind/body and free will/determinism problems, but I find this aspect of the discussion in each case somewhat off the point.

It may tempting to conclude from the phenomena of environmentally stimulated neuroplasticity that it is somehow countering "genetic" determinism, but it is important to recognize that is not the deep determinism that philosophers think about, the type that leads to a "causally-closed system."

Furthermore, demonstrating certain examples of perception without sensation (most often in the context of pathological states) does not really address the hard problem in mind/body philosophy.

However, I have to think about how these two things inform the "synthetic apriori" notion of Kant, and perhaps through that we may be able to make some progress.

More Saeed Ahmed:
John Searle, Philosophy of Mind,
Politics 114B.

More Philosopher's Zone:
Isaiah Berlin,
Philosopher's Zone,
Mary Shelley and Frankenstein.

Monday, March 15, 2010

John Searle, Philosophy of Mind - UC Berkeley

I am very happy and proud to present you yet another guest post by Saeed Ahmed. Saeed is a psychiatrist, a Pakistani by origin, who lives and works in the US, where he has also received his professional training. He is a very thorough podcast listener, taking on themes and building wide playlists around them. Or he takes on podcast university courses and carefully goes through the whole series. Here he writes his findings about a course at Berkeley about the Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy 132, 001, delivered by Professor John R. Searle. (feed)

When I first went here a few weeks ago, they had posted that most of the lectures wouldn't be available, but it looks like that has changed, so I have started listening.

Unlike Philosophy 138, 001 - Philosophy of Society (Searle's previous course - feed), which I think is a relatively recent interest of Searle's (or so it seems), the Philosophy of Mind is something he has thought about for decades and is one the world authorities on the subject.

I can't report much yet beyond lecture 1, which I think in itself is worth listening because it provides a very nice synopsis of the Cartesian influence and a summary of big problems in the field. Four of the problems: 1) How can one know one's own mind exists, 2) how can one know other mind's exist, 3) how can one know other objects exist and 4) free will.

Here Searle is at his best, in command of the material, lecturing without any aids (notes, powerpoint slides, etc), and taking interesting digressions from time to time.

I don't know which course to recommend more, this one or the one from last quarter (Philosophy of Society), however I think at least one of these should be sampled by anyone who has the remotest interest in philosophy, and I would say this is nearly mandatory for anyone interested in philosophy of mind, consciousness, or free will.

More Saeed Ahmed:
Politics 114B - UCLA political science course.

More Berkeley:
The Indian Rebellion 1857,
Human Evolution and Prehistory,
Dacher Keltner on Happiness and Health,
Modern Western History in podcasts,
Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The genocide and the trial - NBIH

Before I direct you to the two recent issues of New Books in History that touched on the issue of genocide and the trial of the perpetrators, I would want to advise you to listen to an old episode of Philosophy Bites. In this interview Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics analyzes the concept of genocide, its history and its legal meaning. He also formulates a proposal for improvement of the term. The points that stick out are that in a wide definition, genocide could imply acts that are not mass murder or destruction, but that are still aimed at eradicating a certain group, such as the burning of libraries, forced assimilation and measures to stop breeding. Yet Kukathas wants to refocus on the methods and make sure genocide will cover especially the murderous aspects of the crime. And then he wants to add more groupings to the definition and not reserve genocide only for the mass murder of ethnic and religious groups.

His expose of definitory problems are relevant in both issues of New Books In History, that I would like to recommend here, but especially for the interview Marshall Poe conducted with Ben Kiernan who witnessed the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer regime in Cambodia (both he and Kukathas define this as genocide even if it might be problematic definition-wise). He wrote a book about genocides (Blood and Soil) and even though he seems to engage in an entirely different kind of definitions than Kukathas (More historic and less legal) he comes up with the same examples and Poe takes him through those after having extensively touched upon Kiernan's experiences in Cambodia.

The next issue of NBIH to high-light goes into the details of one example of the genocide par excellence, the holocaust. Marshall Poe had a fascinating conversation with Hilary Earl about the history of the SS-Einsatzgruppen and their trials in Nuremberg. Apart from grazing the problems of definition (and of trial) again, Earl's research also gives a little bit more insight in how ordinary people, even educated, upper-middle-class people can be turned into murderers. And once a whole nation has been turned into a nation of murderers, how can trials be conducted, is a large additional part of the story.

A lot more about the subject of genocide can be had from the podcasts of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (which is also on iTunes). Another interesting addition is to follow Berkeley's History course that delves into the history and practice of Human Rights. Last but not least the LSE Podcast had several relevant issues, among others about the genocide in Rwanda and about the ICC.

More Philosophy Bites:
Dirty Hands,
Understanding decisions,
Nietzsche repossessed,
What can you do with philosophy?,
Morality without God.

More NBIH:
Nation and Culture,
Three New Books In History,
The fourth part of the world,
How the Soviet system imploded,
Vietnam War perspectives.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The battle of The Podcast Parlor

There is small on-line community that every reader of this blog should be a member of: The Podcast Parlor. I have set up this place for my readers together with podcast reviewers Dara, Baxter and Saeed (and their readers) to have a single place where the good, educational, intellectual podcasts can be discussed.

So far this community has not succeeded in flourishing too well. Not only do we need more people to join and to actively participate. We have also been drowning in spam. We would have fake members join by the scores and then flood the Parlor with irrelevant postings and comments, the likes of which you can easily imagine especially after one glance in the spam section of your email inbox. But this has changed.

In order to be able to join the parlor you have to pass our, the admins Dara, Baxter, Saeed and myself, approval to join. Should that pose a problem? Not if you are genuinely interested in podcasts and have shed even the shortest glance at my blog, Dara's, Baxter's or Saeed's postings on the Parlor. In order to set up a profile, you will only have to give your email and mention a podcast review blog and a podcast you like and all of this informations stays confidential. This will show us instantly you are genuine and allow us to tell you from the spammers. Once in, you can meet like-minded people and find out what they listen to and what their opinions are.

I really urge you to join the Parlor. Not only is this going to serve your quest for good on-line audio. You also support the free podcast reviews you get from our blogs and you also, eventually support the many, many podcasters out there who give your their wonderful products for free.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New history podcasts to look out for

In the past weeks several history podcasts that are worth following delivered new content. I will be referring to history podcasts that have little frequency in their release schedule and this may have as a result the new episode is overlooked.

First of all, there was a new episode in the series Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. Dan Carlin took up the story of Ferdinand Magellan in order to delve into thoughts about the dynamics of the age of exploration. When the old world and the new world got connected it radically changed the entire world. And although it was bound to happen one day and be set in motion by some people, there is something surprising about the fact that the likes of Magellan were the agents of history. Those, the Europeans, until then rather marginal on the world stage, got from this point center stage. And Dan Carlin deliberates what was special about them. Especially good and especially bad. (feed)

Historyzine came with the next episode and in addition to the podcast reviews and an exceptionally good edition of the linguistic trivia, which had an Indian theme with words like Avatar, Thug and Blighty. The narration of the War of the Spanish succession, entered the year 1707 in which, for the first time I remember in this series, the allies (the English, Dutch and Austrians) suffer some serious setbacks. (feed)

After a very long hiatus during which I thought the podcast had faded, La Resistance released an episode about the resistance figure Henry Frenay. After Jean Moulin, Frenay was probably the most influential and important person in the French Resistance. With Frenay, this did not sit well. This podcast studies the complicated history and character of Frenay who not only battled the Germans, but also ... Jean Moulin. (feed)

Two new interviews were released on the Exploring Environmental History podcast. Jan Oosthoek spoke with Jim Clifford about the history of the river Lea, which developed from a rather insignificant arm of the Thames to to a major industrial artery with great environmental impact. With James Beattie he discusses the anxieties colonists dealt with. When the Europeans began to colonize the rest of the world during the age of imperialism, they had to manage to adapt to and survive in radically different climates and landscapes than they were used to. This was not merely a practical challenge, it turned out to be also a psychological one. (feed)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

De Eerste Wereldoorlog in podcast

Het is hoog tijd dat ik weer eens over Veertien Achttien schrijf. Deze amateur podcast, verzorgd door Tom Tacken, brengt wekelijks een kwartier luisterrijke audio waarin het verloop van de Eerste Wereldoorlog chronologisch op de voet gevolgd wordt en tevens een portret van een van de aanwezigen wordt uitgewerkt. Aan de hand van deze portrettenserie weet Tacken een uiterst gevarieerd beeld van het grote narratief te schetsen. Dankzij de uiteenlopende figuranten weet hij de eveneens uiteenlopende thematieken uit te lichten. Niet alleen de gevechtshandelingen op de verschillende fronten, alsmede de politieke achtergronden krijgen daardoor de aandacht, maar tevens de kleine menselijke, de culturele en andere vaak overgeslagen aspecten van deze wereldbrand.

Voor wie meer uitgebreid over de Grote Oorlog ingelicht wil worden, zijn vele andere podcasts beschikbaar. Een van de velen die op dit moment relevant materiaal biedt is de hoorcollegeserie op Berkeley, History 151c, die de moderne historie van Groot Brittannië bespreekt. Het college van vorige week ging specifiek over 'The Great War', maar als het enigszins gaat zou ik de lezer willen overhalen om niet een enkele lezing, maar het geheel te beluisteren. Professor James Vernon brengt op een zeer bekwame en onderhoudende manier de moderne liberale rechtsstaat in beeld en weet daarin op indringende wijze schrijnende paradoxen zichtbaar te maken. Deze paradoxen zijn niet uniek voor de Britse samenleving daardoor buitengewoon interessant.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Ford en anderen,
Sigmund Freud,
Edith Cavell,
Rudyard Kipling, (speciaal aanbevolen)
Ferdinand I van Bulgarije.

Meer Berkeley:
The Indian Rebellion 1857,
Human Evolution and Prehistory,
Dacher Keltner on Happiness and Health,
Modern Western History in podcasts,
Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two podcast issues on the History of Haiti

Haiti may be associated with natural disasters, abject poverty and political instability, but it can pride itself in being the product of the one successful slave revolt in history, to be the first republic of black people and to be the second independent state in the Western hemisphere (after the US). In addition, when it was still a colony of France, it was one of the world's major producers of sugar, coffee and indigo and as such represented immeasurable wealth. The history of Haiti's coming into existence is retold in the 10th lecture of UCSD's series MMW 5.

This podcast is delicately complemented by ABC's Rear Vision, which brought an issue about Haiti. Rear Vision summarizes what you have already learned from MMW 5 and shows how the circumstances in which Haiti is established already bear with it the elements that make for its consecutive instability. A free slave nation, obviously, meant a threat to other powers that heavily relied on slave even if they were the enemies of France. Haiti also inherited the ethnic divisions that were the social fabric of the slave society and this continued to cause political instability. And last but not least, the country lies on a seismic fault line and in the path of heavy seasonal tornadoes to name but some of the environmental challenges.

The modern history narrative of Rear Vision can be compared with the MMW 6 lecture on Haiti, which, according to the MMW 5 lecture, is to be expected. Maybe this summer.

More MMW 5:
Revolution, Industry & Empire.

More Rear Vision:
History of Yemen,
A history of the Israeli-Arab conflict,
Fish depletion.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Destruction and the end - FITJ

A highly recommended podcast series has finished its subject. Michael Satlow's From Israelite to Jew (feed) has spent 22 shows of around half an hour in a most fascinating, informative and provocative reconstruction of Jewish history from around 500 BCE to 100 CE. As the title indicates, Satlow went to great depths and length in order to show how the Jews and their religion developed from a tribal, Israelite culture to an ethnic Jewish one.

Michael Satlow is professor of religious studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University and has developed this podcast series in his spare time just as so many other podcasters did and do. The podcast is offered for free, though Satlow facilitates making donations with a paypal button on the podcast's blog. In his last show he explicitly asks for donations and suggests that it depends on whether enough donations will come through if he is going to make a follow-up of the show. And this shows Satlow to be in exactly the same position as all the non-institutional podcasters whose work we enjoy so much: they voluntarily spent a lot of their time, effort and even money in order to bring us the podcast. And there are few indicators that this expense is being sufficiently compensated. It shows where podcasting the way it began, is going to disappear. Although I hope not.

From Israelite to Jew has described the Judaism of the second-temple period and even if it shows a lot of Jewish worship going on outside of the Temple, still, the religion continued to have at least some focal point at the Temple. When in 70 CE the Temple is definitively destroyed, Judaism continued to exist and developed the rabbinic style that we know until today. It would be fantastic to have Michael Satlow take up the gauntlet and teach us in a next podcast about the rise of rabbinical Judaism. If you agree, do not hesitate and send a contribution to this fine podcaster.

More FITJ:
Pharisees and Sadducees,
The Dead Sea Scrolls,
Herod the Ambiguous,
Jewish varieties,
Jews in the Hasmonean era.