Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Heads-up for 6 October 2010

Exploring Environmental History
The draining of the East Anglia Fens: social unrest, design flaws and unintended environmental consequences
This episode examines the history of the Fens of East Anglia in England. The Fens originally consisted of wetlands which have been artificially drained since the Middle Ages and continue to be protected from floods by a system of drains, dams and pumps. Much of this work was carried out during the 17th century. With the support of this drainage and coastal protection system and because of its fertility, the Fens have become a major agricultural region in Britain. The story of the reclamation of the fens is one of social unrest, design flaws, money problems and unintended environmental consequences. The guest on this episode of the podcast is Julie Bowring, a PhD candidate at Yale University and she is in the final stages of writing up a dissertation on the so-called Great Level of the Fens in Cambridgeshire, England
(review, feed)

A Short History of Japan
The Heian Era
The Heian Era is sometimes seen as Japan’s classical era. Great works of art, religious thought and crafty politicians make this era fascinating
(review, feed)

Elucidations, A University of Chicago Podcast
Episode 16: Amartya Sen discusses justice
In this episode, Amartya Sen critiques the idea that in order to make our society more just, we have to model it on an ideal.
(review, feed)

Geography C110 - Berkeley

This lecture course is about history, geography and economics all merged into one didactic presentation and it has me very excited. This is the way I like to be taught history, or economics and geography for that matter. Professor Richard Walker is a captivating, outspoken and effective lecturer who gets the job done very well, time and again. We are talking about the course Geography C110, Economic Geography of the Industrial World at Berkeley, which I have praised before and is being taught again this semester. (feed)

In case you have done some following in previous semesters, you still may consider following again as Walker makes numerous references to what is currently going on in politics and economics. He has a wonderful talent to clarify the interactive mechanics of regions (geography), economics, politics and historic developments. Not only does this make for a very integrated and comprehensive course in modern history - from the industrialization until today. It also explains a lot about what is going on today, whether it is the financial crisis, the rise of China and India (or not), the downfall of Europe and its creature the EU (or not) and the stagnating hegemony of the US as well as failing states and developing states.

The only question I have is: how well does this course work for listeners who do not have a clear view on the historical narrative of modern states and economy, of a map of the world and the specifics of its regions and the mechanics of macro-economics? For me, this course is a beautiful welding of these three separate disciplines into one whole picture. If you are fuzzy on some of the elements, will that help explain more, or will it cause you to drop out and fail to follow what Walker is on about? Can I get some comments on that?

By the way, if you want to see the power points, Walker promises in his first lecture to send them to anyone who applies for it by email to him.

More Geography c110:
Geography C110 - Berkeley Lecture series 2008.

Also recommended in this respect:
Geography of World Cultures, (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
Enhanced podcast (maps are added to the audio) about the spread of languages and religions in the world. We see that the political and cultural boundaries are not the same as the boundaries of language and religion.

Global Geopolitics (review, site:Stanford on iTunes U, feed).
Martin Lewis systematically discusses, in nine lectures, all areas on the globe and disclose the problems in geopolitics. Enhanced podcast (maps are added to the audio).

Geography 130 (Berkeley) Natural Resources and Population (review, site, feed)
Lecture series that explains how our earth is populated, why it is populated the way it is, how we use our resources and in the process we come to understand how the system is strained.