Posts Tagged ‘history’

Title: The British History Podcast

Author: Jamie Jeffers

Avid readers of the blog undoubtedly noticed that I started it during 1st year of my undergraduate studies, which means I am now in my final year. This, in turn, unfortunately means exams and reviewing everything I have learned so far. To make my work a little more pleasant  I – surprise, surprise – listen to podcasts. The one I’d like to recommend today is called The British History Podcast. But why this particular one, one might ask, there are lots of history podcasts out there. Well, my dear hypothetical reader – I like this one. It is not only highly informative, but it is also at times funny. Most importantly it does what few other podcasts about history do: it puts things into modern perspective. For example in one of the first episodes it explains why Cesar needed the approval of the senate to invade Britain: in a modern context the governor of California can’t just invade Mexico just because he wants to. When you see (hear ?) this comparison it becomes rather obvious why there were laws against taking such an action without prior approval. This approach certainly gives a better understanding of history and allows a modern listener to relate to the situation. This makes the facts much more memorable. I’m obviously very happy about it, because it means I won’t have to relearn it again in the near future. Although the exam that I have to take focuses on literature and culture, having a solid historical background while talking about those is never a bad idea.

The one serious drawback is that this podcast is fairly new (it started in 2011), which means there is nothing on modern history yet. But no matter – I can (and probably will) find another to review that. Another issue is not necessarily problematic for everyone, but to me it is a disadvantage: Jamie Jeffers is American. Now, I really do not have anything against Americans themselves, I just prefer listening to people with a British accent. Fortunately he makes up for it with his brilliant storytelling :-).

So, as always, go listen, enjoy and please comment.

by Izabela


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Title: MSt English Language

Provider: University of Oxford

Since taking History of the English Language is obligatory this year at my university I thought it would be good to find something interesting to listen to. Although the very first post I wrote on this blog is about Old English, I think the subject is really interesting and I wanted to find something more. And here it is. The podcast not only contains useful and interesting information, it also allows the listeners to see how linguists work.

For example, the one about old English was particularly insightful for me. I finally understood how people know how things were pronounced back then. I get grammar and spelling –  there are the manuscripts. But it was fascinating to find out how we know how people spoke in the Middle Ages. And no, I’m not going to elaborate – that would be a spoiler. Just go listen yourself, come back and comment.

And I would appreciate some suggestions on what subject should I find podcasts next. I mean there are only so many thing you can listen to about the language, especially with exams in those very subjects coming up. I need some fun. Pretty please?

by Izabela

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Title: A Romp Through The History of Philosophy

Provider: Oxford University

Speaker: Marianne Talbot

Finally something useful for a class at my home university (2nd year now!). I’ve been searching for some time for something like this and, although there is plenty of interesting material about philosophy out there, most of it is either modern (and I needed history) or too detailed for my taste. So here it is: A Romp Through The History of Philosophy. It is exactly what the title states it to be. A long (I couldn’t find time to listen to all of it at ar once) introduction to philosophy about the history of the subject, and more importantly the patterns of thinking necessary for understanding the ‘love of knowledge’. It genuinely helped me with the lectures at my home university. I like philosophy, really I do. But apparently I was dealing with simplified versions of theories so far and wasn’t quite up to the challenge of philosophy at university level. This podcast helped me to understand the philosophical way of thinking better.
The lecture itself is great. Normally I avoid podcasts this long (an hour and a half!) but I’m glad I listened to this one. It is insightful, interesting and entertaining, which is a rare thing among university lectures. Most lecturers are all facts and no fun, but this podcast is an exception. I had fun while listening to it and my mind did not drift off to other subjects. By interacting with students Ms Talbot made this lecture marvelous. The one drawback I could find is that the answered given by students are hard to hear and sometimes I had to go on what the professor was saying to deduce what the student said.
I believe it will be helpful to any student that listens to it and interesting for everyone. So, as always go listen and tell me your thoughts. Pretty please?
by Izabela
P.S. I found this lecture through iTunes and there it was provided by the Oxford University, but the link I offer at the beginning of this post leads to the Official Website of Marianne Talbot.

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We are all human

Title: A History of The World in 100 Objects

Provider: BBC 4

As promised – a broader version of the podcast I’ve written about in the last post. It is extraordinary – especially compared to some history lessons. Through this podcast you get to learn, not as usual the history of the western culture, but the history of humanity. The entire humanity – beginning with a simple tool found in the heart of Afrika and going through objects found across the world. It is a good reminder that we – humans – all come from the same place, and though we traveled different paths, we are at core the same.

The podcast allow us to glimpse at the everyday lives of people long gone. The stories are made around  100 objects, all from the British Museum, which you can see photos of (if you’re not lucky enough to live in London) here. I must admit I’ve listened to the first 7 episodes without looking at them, and while it is good to see what they are talking about, it is not necessary. In each track the object at hand is described in detail and it is not difficult to imagine it. For me personally it was outstanding how much can you learn about the human society from a single object. It never ceases to amaze me how much scientists know about the history of our race – and from so little evidence.

Perhaps I’m so amazed because I’m still at the very beginning of the podcast – still at the very beginning of humanity, and there is very little left of those times. I’m looking forward to listening about all 100 objects – and impatient too since I’ve seen that one of the last objects is a credit card I wonder what can be said about humanity from that little pice of plastic.

So, as always, go listen and tell me your impressions, or if you want to tell me about a podcast I should check out, or a subject you want me to find something on.

by Izabela

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