Saturday, 19 January 2008

BBC Radio 4 online archives: history, philosophy, literature, thinking

Sadly, I haven't seen or listened to much of this, but with the archives online, I intend to work my way through more of the Open University and BBC Radio 4's collaborative history programme, the Things we Forgot to Remember, with studies of the French Revolution and the Suffragettes and BBC Radio 4's own in Our Time and Thinking Allowed (as well as keeping up with Today).

In Our Time has discussed philosophy from Anarchism to Stoicism (in so doing, surely making me far more sympathetic to Anarchism than most Anarchists I've ever met), literature like that of Albert Camus and ancient history, like that of Babylon and of the Sassanian Empire.

It has studied the medieval history of the Peasants' Revolt and Muslim Spain, imperial histories of tea (saving me from reading any one of the many books on particular imperial addictions), slavery and empire and archaeology and imperialism; it even investigated "the aristocracy - how the ruling class survives" (though I haven't listened to it yet, so I'm not sure if it's a manual for their survival or their destruction).

In Our Time also has a resource - in wonderfully plain English - on philosophers, from Thomas Hobbes, through Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Martin Heidegger to Jean-Paul Sartre, et al (although, sadly, no direct links to anything on Simone de Beauvoir).

That resource includes links to academic online sources, like the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (although neither of those had pages on Simone Weil, whose writings on the Need for Roots captivated me in the cafes of Istanbul).

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