Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Podcast Playlist for 27 July 2011 (2)

Exploring Environmental History
A transformed landscape: the steppes of Ukraine and Russia
The steppes of Ukraine and Russia were once a sea of grass on rolling plains on which pastoral nomadic peoples grazed their herds of livestock. From the eighteenth century, the steppes have been transformed into a major agricultural region. This process started after the region was annexed to the Russian Empire and settled by migrants from forested landscapes in central and northern Russia and Ukraine and also from central Europe. By the twentieth century, the former steppe landscape had almost disappeared, save a few remnants protected in nature reserves (zapovedniki). In this podcast episode, David Moon, professor of Russian history at Durham University, UK, talks about his recent visit to the Ukrainian steppes. In addition to conventional historical research in archives and libraries in Odessa, he travelled through the steppes, visited nature reserves, and met scientists to help him understand how the landscape had been transformed over time. This episode provides fascinating insights into the environmental history of the steppes and the way that environmental historians go about studying the history of landscapes and environments.
(review, feed)

Documentary on One
DocArchive: The Permanent Way
A documentary on railway men as told by people who have worked the tracks, telling the story of rail transit in Ireland from steam to electric. (Broadcast in 1985)
(review, feed)

The Moral Foundations of Politics (Yale)

Currently on my iPod features prominently an open Yale course The Moral Foundations of Politics with Professor Ian Shapiro (feed). This course kicks off with the promise to delve into questions of legitimacy of the political order, but as I am through half the course, we are for the time being, still, mostly delving into the history of political theory, with an additional emphasis on political economy. A lot of Bentham, Mill and by now Marx with a lot of Pareto, Ricardo and Adam Smith.

I am happy though with the four lectures' attention to Marx in this framework. It helped me to understand a little bit more, what I somehow could not digest in the all out reading of Marx's Das Kapital a podcast with Richard Harvey (feed)

Shapiro's delivery of Marx is more distant, more concise and applied. All in all a very interesting course, though I am still waiting to get less economics and more moral philosophy. Maybe in the second half...

More open Yale courses:
History of epidemics,
Early Modern England,
European Civilization 1648-1945,
France since 1871,
New Testament, history and literature.

A Podcast Playlist for 27 July 2011 (1)

The Economist
Terrorism in Norway
Our correspondent in Norway reports on the fallout from Friday's twin terror attacks in Oslo and the nearby island of Utøya
(review, feed)

Mahabharata Podcast
Kurukshetra, Days 5 & 6
Episode 65 - The fifth and sixth days of the great war. Arjun wipes out an army of 25,000, and we find out Satyaki has 10 fully grown sons. Soon after we learn about these sons, they get decapitated by King Bhurishravas. In return, Satyaki kills off the king's entire army, but the pair are too well-matched and both must be dragged off of the battlefield after sunset. Bhima can't resist an opportunity to kill more cousins, but risks getting himself killed or captured behind enemy lines. Dhrstadyumna rescues him, only to require rescuing by Abhimanyu.
(review, feed)

New Books in African Studies
Stephen Ellis, “Seasons of Rains: Africa and the World”
Globalisation has not passed Africa by. The recent boom in commodity prices has had a direct impact on African markets, as has the inescapable presence of new global powers like China on the continent. The massive amount of under-utilised agricultural land in Africa has also drawn buyers from the United States, East Asia, and Middle East. Globalization has also led to opportunities, as infrastructure is developed and mobile-phone based technologies revolutionise the way Africans live and work. Growth rates in many countries in this new, outward-looking Africa are high enough to make even the Chinese jealous. It is this wider global context that Stephen Ellis tries to draw out in his new book Season of Rains: Africa in the World (Hurst, 2011). Ellis does more, though, than place Africa in the context of globalization. He also shifts perceptions of Africa away from the familiar historical framework of colonialism and post-colonialism. There is of course far more to Africa than that.
(review, feed)