Watch Two Courses by Beloved Yale Historian John Merriman (RIP): “France Since 1871” and “European Civilization, 1648 to 1945”

On May 22, his­to­ri­an John Mer­ri­man died at the age of 75. A pro­fes­sor at Yale since 1973, Mer­ri­man became an “ear­ly prac­ti­tion­er of the his­to­ry ‘from the ground up, that swept aca­d­e­m­ic study in the 1970s,” notes an obit­u­ary in Yale News. There, his­to­ri­an Alice Kaplan adds: “John Mer­ri­man became our great­est his­to­ri­an of the French left and its repres­sion, of the Com­mu­nards, the Anar­chists, and the French police, whose expe­ri­ences he brought to life in books and lec­tures informed by his work in archives in every region of France…”

The New York Times remem­bers him as “a rum­pled fig­ure who used his sto­ry­telling gifts to ani­mate his lec­tures on French and Euro­pean his­to­ry.” And they recall how author Ta-Nehisi Coates “watched some of Pro­fes­sor Merriman’s record­ed lec­tures online and described him … as a ‘kind of freestyle rap­per’ who riffed off his mate­r­i­al — anec­dotes, quotes and obser­va­tions — and ‘had this weird abil­i­ty to inhab­it the his­to­ry.’ ”

You, too, can watch his lec­tures online. A num­ber of years ago, Mer­ri­man made two of his beloved cours­es, “France Since 1871” (top) and “Euro­pean Civ­i­liza­tion, 1648 to 1945” (below) avail­able on Yale Open Cours­es. If you click on the pre­ced­ing links, you can find the syl­labus and books for each course. These cours­es are per­ma­nent­ly list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

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