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.