Watch 94 Free Lectures From the Great Courses: Dystopian Fiction, Astrophysics, Guitar Playing & Much More

I can cer­tain­ly appre­ci­ate that many of us spend too much time read­ing news and opin­ion, seek­ing firmer foot­ing amidst alarm­ing cur­rent events. But let us not neglect our intel­lects, and become eas­i­er marks for the con-artists con­stant­ly prey­ing on our atten­tion. As we try to do our best at Open Cul­ture to show week after week, despite creep­ing online tox­i­c­i­ty, the web is still a great place to get an edu­ca­tion on vir­tu­al­ly any sub­ject, often up to the col­lege and grad­u­ate lev­el, often for free, and on your own time/at your own pace. Learn a lan­guage, learn to play an instru­ment, learn physics, math, biol­o­gy, phi­los­o­phy, read nov­els and poems, hear sym­phonies, see the world’s muse­ums….

Or here’s anoth­er option for you: Watch 94 half-hour lec­tures on the Great Cours­es YouTube chan­nel. As we have told you before, the Great Cours­es Plus (now called Won­dri­um) is a video sub­scrip­tion ser­vice that lets you watch free cours­es across a wide range of sub­jects, all taught by some of the best lec­tur­ers in the coun­try. The top­ics cov­er every­thing from lit­er­a­ture, physics, his­to­ry and eco­nom­ics, to math, pho­tog­ra­phy, cook­ing, draw­ing, stress man­age­ment, and “How to Grow Any­thing.” If you want to watch com­plete cours­es from the Great Cours­es Plus/Wondrium, feel free to try sign up for a free tri­al. But if you’re look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle less sus­tained, then the 47 hours of free lec­tures on Youtube might have some good options for you.

For exam­ple, learn the his­to­ry of the Islam­ic Gold­en Age, British India, the Fall of the Roman Empire, or the Ottoman Empire dur­ing World War I. And learn about the polit­i­cal imag­i­na­tion of ear­li­er peri­ods in his­to­ry, such as the first Gild­ed Age, at the end of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry, a peri­od of stag­ger­ing eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty and dizzy­ing indus­tri­al devel­op­ment. That’s when Edward Bel­lamy pub­lished his 1888 Look­ing Back­ward, a futur­ist utopi­an nov­el set in the year 2000, draw­ing on Marx and utopi­an social­ist Charles Fouri­er.

Bel­lamy fore­saw a tech­no­log­i­cal­ly advanced Amer­i­can utopia that reflect­ed, he wrote, “the true self-inter­est of a ratio­nal unselfish­ness, and [appeals] to the social and gen­er­ous instincts of men.” His book became the top-sell­ing nov­el of the 19th cen­tu­ry after Uncle Tom’s Cab­in and kicks off a lec­ture on “Great Utopi­an and Dystopi­an Works of Lit­er­a­ture” offered by the Great Cours­es and taught by Pro­fes­sor Pamela Bedore of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut. See her lec­ture at the top of the post, then leap to an entire­ly dif­fer­ent aca­d­e­m­ic frame with a talk on “Two Pro­to­type The­o­ries of Every­thing” by Don Lin­coln, Senior Sci­en­tist at the Fer­mi Nation­al Accel­er­a­tor Lab­o­ra­to­ry, fur­ther up, or on Astro­physics, just above, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

You can even learn to play gui­tar, or at least get a 30-minute les­son on how to prac­tice, with Col­in McAl­lis­ter, above. Take a look at all 94 of the Great Cours­es free video lec­tures on their YouTube chan­nel here. And again find out how to sign up for a free tri­al to watch com­plete cours­es here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Free Tri­al Offer for The Great Cours­es Plus: A Spe­cial Deal for Open Cul­ture Read­ers

1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties 

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es 

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.