An ancient disease, tuberculosis experienced a major upsurge in Western Europe in the nineteenth century, corresponding with increasing industrialization and urbanization. Poor air quality and cramped living conditions increased susceptibility to the disease. Tuberculosis also had a significant impact on European culture. In this respect, the modern career of the disease can be divided into two eras: the first associated with artistic roma...more
Early Modern England: Politics, Religion, and Society under the Tudors and Stuarts (HIST 251)Professor Wrightson begins by discussing recent trends in English political history, which has expanded from focusing solely on institutions to include analysis of political culture. After this, the formal institutions of government, such as the various law courts, the offices of royal administration, and Parliament, are briefly defined and situate...more
The concept of sovereignty is discussed in Hobbesian terms. For Hobbes, "the sovereign" is an office rather than a person, and can be characterized by what we have come to associate with executive power and executive authority. Hobbes' theories of laws are also addressed and the distinction he makes between "just laws" and "good laws." The lecture ends with a discussion of Hobbes' ideas in the context of the modern state.
Sheer brainpower, strength in numbers, and good old fashioned networking is how the nature of world influence is established. Skewed and disproportionate, modern power structures that regulate global problems happen only when the elite meet, says author David Rothkopf. And decisions made based on these meetings often do not adequately represent the people or the interests that they are meant to serve.
Is the NHS medieval? Is this an insulting claim to make? Insulting to modern hospitals or those of the Middle Ages?Professor William Ayliffe considers modern health reform from the perspective of Tudor medical practice. He provides an overview of some of London's most important mediveval hospitals, including St Bartholomew's, St Thomas' and St Mary's Bethlem, and compares our own healthcare systems with those of the Tudors, in terms of cle...more
With Martin Luther King's assassination, the collapse of SNCC, and the self-destruction of the Black Panthers, one would think that all promise had faded in regards to the possibility of black political and social advancement. But in this lecture, Professor Holloway examines moments of hope for black political organization, including Carl Stokes's 1967 mayoral victory in Cleveland, the formation of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969, a...more
In this lecture, Professor Paul Fry examines the work of two seminal New Historicists, Stephen Greenblatt and Jerome McGann. The origins of New Historicism in Early Modern literary studies are explored, and New Historicism's common strategies, preferred evidence, and literary sites are explored. Greenblatt's reliance on Foucault is juxtaposed with McGann's use of Bakhtin. The lecture concludes with an extensive consideration of the project...more
John Stuart Mill's synthesis rights and utility follows naturally in the vein of neoclassical utilitarianism, and it attempts to compensate for many of the shortcomings of Bentham's classical utilitarianism. In the end, it turns out to be a doctrine that does not look very similar to Bentham's at all. An important component of Mill's doctrine is his harm principle, which states that the only purpose for which one can interfere with the lib...more
The historian Daniel Boorstin famously defined a celebrity as "a person who is well-known for his well-knownness." A person who is famous for simply being famous is hardly a modern phenomenon. On the publication of Childe Harold, Byron declared that he went to bed and woke up famous. However, Byron was a poet and subsequent celebrities generally had proven talent as well as the knack of achieving an exalted social status based on fame al...more
This lecture will explore the 'celebrification' of contemporary popular culture. In particular how the idea of celebrity is intrinsic to the making and marketing of popular newspapers. We will also examine how the so-called quality press has not remained immune from the lure of the celebrity. And more importantly how broadcasting appears to be reconfiguring our ideas about celebrity. We will analyse in detail particular examples drawn ...more
While there are many differences between modern science and philosophy, there are still a number of lessons in modes of thought that scientists can take from philosophy. Scientists' ideas about the nature of science have evolved over time, leading to new ideas about falsifiability, creativity, revolutions, and the boundaries and limits of what can be accomplished by different types of science.
There is a distinct possibility that humans are currently part way through an evolutionary transition between individuals and groups. The conflict between these two units of selection and levels of organization, between biology and culture, may explain some of the tensions in modern human life. Examples of selfishness and altruism exemplify how these types of selection act on humans.