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Title: ENGL 205: World Literature I

Author: Dr. Rick Albright

This in another recommendation based on my obsessive review routine for the exams. This is a comprehensive, clear and absolutely wonderful podcast about, as the title states, world literature. However, I only listened to the 4 episodes about “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” and this is the part I’d like to recommend. I can honestly say it contains everything I might need to know about the work and I love it. Perhaps it is not the most exciting podcast I have ever listened to, but it is full of information and this is precisely what I’ve been looking for. Everything is clearly outlined and analyzed.

I know this post is shorter than usual but there is nothing more to add – the podcast is perfect the way it is and I’m not going to spoil it by trying to write about “Sir Gawain” in my own words. So, go listen and especially to my university friends: enjoy!

P.S. – I’m sorry, but I’ve only been able to find the link to iTunes.

 

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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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This time I’d like to make this post a little more personal and recommend three Ted talks that touched me deeply. They are especially relevant to what is now happening in the media in Poland. There is this huge movement against the so called ‘gender ideology’ and the television and the newspapers are full of hate-filled words against homosexuals, single parents, in vitro. Even giving children the opportunity of choice whether they want to play with blue blocks or pink dolls is being attacked. Not to mention going against the ‘traditional’ and ‘natural’ gender roles or God forbid calling yourself a feminist.

The first two talks I’d like to recommend address those issues. First is a short speech delivered by Colin Stokes about children’s films that his children watched titled “How movies teach manhood“. I do not want give too much away, but suffice to say there is a dramatic twist halfway into the talk which left me speechless.

The second talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “We should all be feminists” is longer and just as insightful. What struck me the most was the attitude of many men that the lecturer described. They often think that no one discriminates women anymore and dismiss any protests. Women are still discriminated. It’s true, that it’s much better nowadays that it’s been, say 50 years ago. However, as she said: “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.” It should not matter whether you are a woman or a men – you should be free to do as you please. You are a man and love to cook – great!. You are a women and hate it – it’s ok too.

Which leads me to the third talk, “Let’s try emotional correctness” by Sally Kohn while not strictly about feminism is still relevant to the current situation in Poland. Unfortunately the language in the media is now hate-filled and words like ‘traitor’ are used shockingly often. The talk “Let’s try emotional correctness”, I think, should made obligatory to watch for all people speaking in public. I do not begrudge anyone their own opinion. I accept that my viewpoint is not universal, and is just that: my viewpoint. But I do want others to respect me and to respect that my opinions may be different than theirs.

I hope You’ll go and listen to my recommendations and maybe find something else you like on Ted talks.

by Izabela

P.S. Sorry about the rant at the end – even with the events happening in Ukraine the “gender” topic seems to prevail.

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Title: BC: Andrew Motion

Series: Bookclub

Provider: BBC 4

I am very sorry about the huge break in writing. As an apology I am going to recommend a truly remarkable podcast this time – an episode of what is, without a doubt, a great series by BBC Radio 4. I truly adore poetry, but only the right kind (what exactly is the right kind you have to decide for yourself – I’m talking about my tastes). I came upon the poetry of Andrew Motion is high school and was instantly enthralled. He held the position of poet laureate, but I find that I prefer his personal poems. They are deeply emotional, personal and yet touch upon universal truths and touch my heart, as corny as that sounds.

His first selling point for me was his voice – I found some of his poems at the poetry archive (which is, as I later found out, his brilliant creation) and there were recordings accompanying them. By the author himself in his deep, soothing voice. I love listening (as I’ve said many times before) and so when someone has a nice voice I must admit I can listen to them (ok, mostly him – I prefer male voices) for a very long time, no matter what they are talking about. Fortunately this particular podcast is full of meaning.

The poet talks about his art, about laureateship, and shares his passion for poetry. As I’ve said before I like listening to people who are passionate about their subject and he definitely is. I rarely listen to a podcast more than once, but here I made an exception. A poet that I greatly admire, talking about his art and passion in a deep voice, slowly as if contemplating each and every word… It does not get much better than that.

Even if you have not listened to any of the podcasts I recommended so far (and I know that from the stats telling me that there were only a couple of clicks on the links I provided) please, please listen to this one.

If this cannot convince you to start listening, I don’t know what can (unless you are a very exuberant person expecting excitement and action – then go listen to Stuff You Should Know). But really, this is THE podcast for me.

So go listen to the podcast, or visit the poetry archive and listen to a poem of his first.

by Izabela

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Name: Wissenschaft | Deutsche Welle

Provider: DW.DE | Deutsche Welle

Another podcast in German (let’s pretend for a minute that the semester has not started yet). This summer I attended an intensive course in German and afterwards began searching for something interesting to listen to. This is what I’d found. It is, as the name suggests, a podcast about the new developments in science and technology. Normally I wouldn’t be able to listen to something as advanced as this – my German is not that good yet – but fortunately the scientific vocabulary is fairly international, so at least I get the technical stuff. As long as the reporter is speaking I can manage reasonably well. The trouble comes when he is interviewing an expert – then that person speaks fast and I really have trouble keeping up.

Nevertheless it is something in German and the subjects interests me so I can’t complain, can I? After all, it would be incredibly stupid of me if I did not work on the language after investing so much time and effort in it.

This is not the usual raving review I write and I do like this podcast. It’s just that it is (was) summer and this is a chore – two words that don’t go well together.

By Izabela

P.S. I promise the next post will be about English again.

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Achtung, Achtung!

Title: Slow German

Speaker: Annik Rubens

As you probably guessed from the title I’m going to make a little detour this time – that’s right I’m going to write about a podcast that is not in English, or even in Polish. This was my very first podcast in German. I felt so proud of myself. This is just what the name said: slow German. Basically they pick a subject and than talk about it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I have to admit I only listened to one episode – the one about cars. It was not quite what I had in mind (I’m interested mostly in small, beautiful, ridiculously expensive sport cars like Aston Martins) but it was a start. If someone is not sure of their abilities in German this is a great place to start. Listening to this podcast gave me the courage to try something more advanced and I found a podcast I’m going to write in my next post.

The vocabulary is fairly easy, and really the main advantage of this podcast is that they speak very slowly. Usually when looking for podcasts in German I found either very basic ones (let’s say hello in German) or very advanced – clearly meant for Germans themselves. This is somewhere in the middle. I can recommend it to anyone who has learned German, but is not advanced enough for German radio or tv.

I know it’s summer – but please comment anyway?

by Izabela

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Title: Women in Science

Provider: The Open University

I’ve written about science before and I’ve written about feminism before. This podcast is in a way about both. For me, as a university student and a woman, this is a true inspiration. Women scientists talk about their predecessors that were an inspiration for them. Not many people think how we as women are blessed to be able to pursue a higher education. This podcasts consists of stories of women who made a difference and who carved that path that we now walk. Without them by now I’d be looking for a husband and realising my dream to further explore the English language, literature and culture would be impossible. While I’m not interested in the fields they excelled in professionally speaking (that sounds a bit majestic, doesn’t it?) as I’ve written before – to claim a higher education you have to  be interested in a little of everything. So, even though I have no desire to find out more about those subjects, I still found listening to this podcast enjoyable. And, anyway, the first of the series is about Maria Skłodowska Curie – a so I was feeling patriotic. And it is her bust that stands in CERN. Only hers. Go Poland!

As always go listen and please come back and comment.

By Izabela

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