Farewell to Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the everyman, has passed away at the ripe old age of 96. (Get the NYTimes obit here.) Below, we have a lengthy conversation with Terkel, recorded when he was 91. As you’ll see, being a nonagenarian did little to slow him down.

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From the Civil War to the Vietnam War – The Geography of US Presidential Elections

The Geography of US Presidential Elections keeps rolling along. With his well-crafted lectures, Martin Lewis shows you this week how America’s political map and its political parties changed dramatically following the Civil War. In the space of 90 minutes, he takes you through the Reconstruction period, The Gilded Age, the Depression, World War II and The Cold War, up through the Vietnam War.

You can download Lecture 3 via Tunes U in high resolution or watch the YouTube version below. And, as always, you can join the ongoing conversation with the professor and other students worldwide right here.

There are still two more lectures to come, including one that will offer a postmortem of next week’s election.

Lastly, if you missed the previous lectures, you can grab them on iTunes here and YouTube here.

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“Angels We Have Heard On High” Played with Broccoli


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The 13th Amendment

This week, CNN announced the winners of the iReport Film Festival, the network’s first user-generated short film competition. The festival “challenged filmmakers to document this year’s presidential campaign from their personal vantage point, whether they were volunteering for a campaign or had compelling stories about this election they wanted to document creatively.” And the Grand Jury Award went to a short film called “13th Amendment.” Here, Mike Dennis of Philadelphia, Pa., follows his 90-year-old grandmother, who is African American, on her journey to vote for the first serious black candidate for the American presidency. (And, by the way, in case you were wondering, the 13th Amendment banned slavery in the United States in 1865.) Here it goes:

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The Political Wire

I’ve spent the past several months working through The Wire on DVD. A simply brilliant show. (Here’s a recap of Season 1 in case you don’t know what you’re missing. And for even more recaps click here.) Now some members of the cast, the good guys and the bad, have rolled out a commercial encouraging North Carolina residents to get out the vote on Tuesday. It’s a good idea for all American voters, no matter who you support in this race. Thanks to Kottke for point it out. Here it goes:

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Darwin’s Legacy

For weeks, it’s been one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes: Created by the Cassiopeia Project, “Evolution” (iTunesU) offers a series of video podcasts that explains what scientists know about evolution in a visually appealing format. (If you don’t have an iPod, you can always watch the series on your computer by downloading iTunes here.)

This all gives me a good excuse to highlight another podcast coming out of my program at Stanford. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, we’re presenting a course called Darwin’s Legacy. (Access for free on iTunes here.) Led by Bill Durham, a MacArthur (“genius grant”) Prize Winner and Professor of Anthropology, the course brings together leading Darwin scholars from around the country and explores Darwin’s legacy in fields as diverse as anthropology, religion, medicine, psychology, philosophy, literature, and biology. Among others, you will find here talks (captured in video) by Daniel Dennett and Janet Browne (author of the definitive two-volume Darwin biography.) To access the complete course via iTunes, which is being rolled out in weekly installments, simply click here. Down the road, we will also be making the course available on YouTube. For many other free university courses, click here

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Elephant Jumping On Trampoline

This is half art/half random, or maybe it’s better to say half random/half art. Anyway, it calls to mind one of our popular posts (Elephant Painting) from months to go. So here it is, an animated short by Nicolas Deveaux.

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What Makes a Poem a Poem in 60 Seconds

A rather clever mini, mini-lecture from Charles Bernstein, poet and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wouldn’t you say?

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.