Sunday, September 11, 2011

World History

While talking with mom about the Paris Commune today, I realized that my knowledge of history is sadly lacking. I would love to read more history, but I would love having people to talk about history with even more. The people at the central Clay house (mom, dad, Ben and Sam) are all aboard some sort of community history education, and were hoping to start with Chinese/far east Asian history. Would everyone else like to get in on this as well? And does anyone have any good book recommendations to start out with? This could be so much fun!


Blogger Booger Patrol said...

That does sound really cool. What exactly are you thinking about doing?

I've actually been somewhat obsessed with world history and especially East Asian history for the past couple of years.

If you are looking for good introductions, one of the nice things happening recently is a ton of colleges are posting entire courses online. Harvard has a cool one on Chinese history and culture:

YouTube is another good place to look for college courses, look up the YouTube channels for Harvard, Columbia U, UC Berkley, Princeton, MIT and others to find some good stuff. Actually the University of Houston's channel has a few really great World History courses posted as well. Another good place to look is iTunes U, which has a lot of podcasts of courses from various colleges.

For books, I have been enjoying History of the World by J.M. Roberts.

8:46 PM  
Blogger gwen said...

Right on, I'm on board - I know less than nothing about non-western history. And little about that (I had never heard of the Paris Commune!) Thanks Bredon those sound awesome. Maddo, do you want to assign us core readings as you find them? I would also enjoy it if the youngers (ben & sam) shared their more focused learnings with us in the form of seminars or articles on the blog or however they would like to present? Bredon could write us some little synopses of interesting events/themes/time periods that he knows about? This could be seriously awesome.

9:08 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

Reporting from the central Clay household. Ben and Sam already have a couple of great dynasty timelines they put together last week, I will ask them to get them into a form that they could post today. Those might give us some hooks to hang a little Chinese history knowledge. Bredon: some great stories would be wonderful from your research that you have done! Those courses sound amazing- are they free? That couldn't be...but if they are at least not too costly I am very excited. I am at a complete loss as to books- Madie, any you assign would be greatly appreciated! And Gwen do you think that Matt could delve into a little culinary history? A kind with practical application? Mom

6:04 AM  
Blogger Booger Patrol said...

The courses are in fact free.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

I've watched the first video of that lecture series and it's really good.

As far as assigning readings, does everyone have access to a library where they can get them, or should we all try to buy a book if it is cheap? One option is "The Cambridge Illustrated History of China by Patricia Buckley Ebrey". It's the coursebook that goes with that lecture series, and the 1999 paperback version is really inexpensive on Otherwise, I can peruse the library for something.

I've also found a few helpful websites on Chinese history, but they would serve more as general guides, I think, than source material.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

There may also be a way that I can access JSTOR articles and send them to everyone.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

In the meantime, I would suggest that everyone watch "Farewell My Concubine", which is good and is focused on more recent Chinese history (specifically, 1924 to 1977, or from Nationalist China to post-Mao China).

7:59 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

I can certainly access Jstore but I am not sure if I can share the articles. We will order Farewell My Concubine on Netflix unless it's on instant. Sorry B&S did not get those timelines up- hope for Wednesday! Thank you all of you for your enthusisam and ideas. I think we should all order that book!

9:42 PM  
Blogger gwen said...

Our library has that book!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

Here is a good reading to go with "Farewell My Concubine"
Chapter 9, "The Last Female Impersonator in Beijing Opera"
Also, the actor Mei Lanfang is an interesting character study.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

I have been seriously enjoying those Harvard lectures. Thanks.

10:28 AM  

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