This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Priority Code

Cancel
New Releases
New Releases
  • Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures

    Professor Ann Williams, Ph.D., DEA

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    In Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures, you will gain a practical, in-depth introduction to a beautiful language. In these 30 step-by-step lectures, Professor Ann Williams has crafted an effective and engaging course that gives you the core building blocks while also giving you crucial insight into the relationship between language and culture—perfect for anyone serious about learning French.

    View Lecture List (30)
    30 Lectures  |  Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures
    Lecture Titles (30)
    • 1
      Welcome to the French-Speaking World
      Bonjour! Begin your voyage with a global look at the French language and French-speaking countries around the world. Learning a new language is an active process, and language is deeply connected to the cultures where it is spoken. In this first lecture, you will survey a few patterns and rules to jump-start your understanding of French. x
    • 2
      Ici, on parle français: French Is Spoken Here
      One important facet of the French-speaking world is that manners and politeness still matter. Discover a few essential phrases that will ensure you don't commit any faux pas before you've even had a chance to open your mouth. Then survey the basics of numbers, definite and indefinite articles, the alphabet, and geography. x
    • 3
      French around the World
      Continue your exploration of French manners and culture and build on the phrases from the first lecture. Then reflect on several “word families” that will help you build your vocabulary and make connections across the language. Along the way, you’ll also pick up a few common verb forms, adjectives, and adverbs. x
    • 4
      Francophone Towns and Villages
      When traveling in French-speaking countries, the verb aller – “to go” – is one of the most useful. Get to know this verb along with important question words such as “How much?” “Why?” and “When?” This lecture also gives you a chance to listen to a great deal of spoken French to help you practice your de-coding skills. x
    • 5
      Weather, Seasons, and Some Geography
      Find out how to discuss the weather, as well as what the weather is like in different parts of France. Then shift your attention to times of year—seasons, months, and dates. While you learn about the weather and time, Professor Williams also introduces you to a few new verb forms to help you talk about preferences and things to do. x
    • 6
      La Vie en France: Life in France
      Continue your study of time by examining the days of the week, times of day, and typical French routines throughout the day. More verb forms will help you express what you want to do, what you can do, and what you have to do. And of course, you'll also gain plenty of practice speaking and listening. x
    • 7
      Vacations and Leisure Activities
      In addition to teaching you the language, this course also serves as a cultural toolkit. You may know that the French enjoy their leisure time, so here you will discover the language of vacation and leisure, including the major French holidays. You’ll also get your first glimpse of the “imperative mood.” x
    • 8
      À table: Daily Meals
      You won't get far in a French-speaking country without being able to talk about food and drink, particularly given that mealtime is often sacred in the French culture. This lecture takes you through breakfast and lunch, showing you how to express hunger and thirst, how to order, and the necessary vocabulary to enjoy your meal. x
    • 9
      Buying Groceries
      Shift your attention from ordering food in restaurants to buying food (and other items) from the store. Find out how to count and calculate totals, and review the language and cultural considerations of making a purchase. Then tackle a few more regular and irregular verb forms to help you build your communications skills. x
    • 10
      Where to Eat
      Going to a market or restaurant is a culinary adventure. Here, you will put together several things you’ve learned from previous lectures and take a virtual trip to a restaurant. Professor Williams walks you through a typical dialogue with a waiter. You’ll also begin to examine different verb “moods”—the conditional, the indicative, and the imperative. x
    • 11
      The Life of the Traveler
      This first of several lectures on traveling through a French country arms you with the language around the daily routines of a tourist. Step into a Parisian hotel and have a conversation with a clerk to make sure you have somewhere to stay for the night. Continue your study of grammar with a look at pronominal and reciprocal verbs. x
    • 12
      Public Transportation
      This second lecture takes you on a journey around France to immerse you in the language of transportation to help you get from point A to point B. Professor Williams gives you a few common verbs and expressions to help you talk about where you came from, where you're going, and how to get there. x
    • 13
      Travel and Technology
      While values evolve very slowly, cultures often change quickly due to new devices. Round out the unit on life as a tourist with an examination of modern technology. Reflect on the French value of privacy and investigate the way smart phones and the internet have changed the nature of privacy—and the way we travel. x
    • 14
      Souvenirs de voyage
      In this lecture, you'll gain a few helpful tools for learning about other cultures and the objects you'll encounter. Discover the vocabulary to talk about clothing and houses, and then review the grammar you've learned thus far. In French, the verbs will always be with us, so take a few moments to survey some new verb forms as well as the subjunctive mood. x
    • 15
      Les Vêtements: How and Why to Dress
      Revisit some of the verbs you've already encountered to help you dress with style, particularly faire (to do or make), savoir (to know), and voir (to see). Build on what you've learned about the subjunctive mood to help you make your sartorial decisions. What you learn here will help you to dress your best for your travels. x
    • 16
      The Home and Private Spaces
      Your final cultural stop around France is the home. Tour the house to uncover the vocabulary of different rooms and their functions, as well as some regional differences in architecture. Then delve into a few “tricky translations” where you must choose the right word for the right situation. x
    • 17
      « Je fais des progrès en français ! »
      Visit the town of Lyon with Professor Williams to review what you've learned from the past few lectures and see how well prepared you are to navigate an unfamiliar city. Continue studying how get around and ask for directions. Learn a few additional nuances to the vocabulary you've acquired. x
    • 18
      La Musique, le théâtre et la danse
      You can't understand a culture without understanding its arts. Here, Professor Williams transitions to a multi-lecture unit on the arts, beginning with the world of performing arts. The great news is that much of the vocabulary of music, theater, and dance involves English cognates. This lecture also introduces the past tense. x
    • 19
      La Littérature et le cinéma
      Shift your attention from the stage to the realm of literature and cinema. Learn key words to help you navigate the bookstore and talk about novels, biographies, histories, poems, and more. Continue your study of verb tenses, which are the building blocks for telling a story. x
    • 20
      L'Art et les artistes
      Delve into the visual arts: sculpture, painting, and photography. As you build your vocabulary, you will also add new tools to your storytelling repertoire. With a particular focus on the verb “to be”—être—Professor Williams introduces the imperfect tense, which will better help you describe what is going on in a given situation. x
    • 21
      Le Patrimoine: Museums
      In addition to the arts, cultural heritage is important in French-speaking cultures. Your first stop is the museum, and your survey helps you put together much of what you learned in the previous unit. Review the major verb tenses—present, past, composé, and imperfect—and learn how to distinguish the different types of past tense. x
    • 22
      Le Patrimoine: Customs
      Consider the relationship between customs and heritage, and uncover the language for French myths and traditions. Then hone the necessary skills to help you follow a story in French. Find out how to make your descriptions livelier with adjectives and adverbs, including words of “degree”—très, trop, peu, and the like. x
    • 23
      Le Patrimoine: Places to Visit
      Travel through history and around French-speaking countries to explore several cultural heritage sites. You'll unpack how heritage refers both to the legacy of the past that we benefit from today, as well as what we will pass onto the future. On your tour, you will learn a series of new comparative adjectives. x
    • 24
      Le Tourisme et les régions
      Because of the connection between language and culture, there are many commonalities among French-speaking countries. But regional differences also abound. From food to everyday activities, explore what makes different countries and regions in France unique. From the Alps to Bordeaux, witness the diverse and exciting variety of the French-speaking world. x
    • 25
      Les Fêtes et les festivals
      One of the joys of travel is seeing the cultural connections and distinctions from one place to the next. In this lecture, use the language of celebrations to gain insight into the culture. Festivities include parties, commemorations, and…rodeos! You’ll also revisit the conditional “would” tense as well as a few verbs with irregular stems. x
    • 26
      Underlying Cultural Values
      While culture often changes, values tend to remain constant, with roots in major historical events such as the French Revolution. Reflect on important values in French-speaking countries, particularly hospitality. Your foray takes you through the language of government, politics, fraternity, and liberty. x
    • 27
      Aventures: Conversation
      The difference between mere tourist travel and adventure is that adventure is about immersion, which requires you to engage on a deeper level. This unit gives you that deep engagement, beginning here with the art of conversation. Discover the rhythms of French conversation and some of the cultural rules to set you up for success. x
    • 28
      Aventures: Telling a Story
      Continue your adventure by rounding out your skills to tell and follow a story. A new verb tense—the pluperfect—will help you tell personal stories, show the link between past and present events, and forge a connection with another person. Practice listening, reading and telling stories. x
    • 29
      Aventures: Reading Cultures
      You’ve already encountered the subjunctive tense Now take it to the next level to help you “read” a culture. Refine your ability to observe and analyze the world around you thanks to cultural artifacts. How do people dress? What do they eat? How do they greet each other? This crucial skillset will help you navigate almost any new place. x
    • 30
      Your Future with French
      You've come a long way in these 30 in-depth lectures. Learning a new language is a lifelong adventure, but before she leaves you, Professor Williams has one more lesson in verbs to impart. Walk through the ins and outs of the future tense and look to tomorrow. Then wrap up what you've learned so you can continue your adventures in learning French. x
  • Anthropology and the Study of Humanity

    Professor Scott M. Lacy, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    What does it mean to be human? Where did we come from? And what unites us in our diversity today? Tackle these questions and more in Anthropology and the Study of Humanity, a comprehensive survey one of the world’s most engaging sciences. In 24 wide-ranging lectures, Professor Scott Lacy of Fairfield University takes you on a journey through the world of anthropology, or the study of humanity across time and space.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Anthropology and the Study of Humanity
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Anthropology Matters
      Begin your course with a few of the big questions: Who are we as humans? Where did we come from? Anthropology is the study of humans over time and space, but it is also about bridge-building, connecting, and understanding ourselves and the world around us. Survey the biological, archaeological, linguistic, and cultural approaches to the field. x
    • 2
      Science, Darwin, and Anthropology
      Because anthropology is so strongly linked with other sciences, particularly biology, take a guided tour through the history of science over the past 3,000 years. From pre-scientific ideas through the theory of natural selection, see how the emergence of scientific ideas changed the way we understand ourselves and our origins. x
    • 3
      Our Primate Family Tree
      Travel back in time 63 million years to the beginning of our family tree. Because of our shared evolutionary history, modern humans and other primates have much in common, including our emotional range and our ability to communicate. Review the field of primatology to find out what studying other species can teach us about humanity. x
    • 4
      Paleoanthropology and the Hominin Family
      Shift your attention to the field of paleoanthropology, the study of our human ancestors. Here, trace the development of our species from the earliest bipedal hominids to modern Homo sapiens. Explore archaeological evidence of Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and other species. See how anthropologists continue to test and correct their theories. x
    • 5
      Tracing the Spread of Humankind
      Anthropologists have several theories for how Homo sapiens spread out of Africa and around the globe. In this lecture, examine three theories to explain the migration, and then turn to archaeological and genetic evidence to uncover the latest thinking on when and how humans arrived in the Americas. x
    • 6
      Anthropology and the Question of Race
      Conclude this first unit on biological anthropology by unpacking the ambiguities around race, skin color, and biology. After reviewing the history of Social Darwinism, you'll see how Franz Boas and other 20th century anthropologists shifted our understanding of race to show how it is a cultural construct, independent of biology and geography. x
    • 7
      Archaeology and Human Tools
      Shift your attention from biology to archaeology, where you will dig up several answers about the Homo sapiens family tree. Here, Professor Lacy introduces what archaeologists do and how they work. He then examines the history of tools such as the hand-ax and the microlith, which had a tremendous impact on human population. x
    • 8
      Agricultural Roots of Civilization
      Continue your archaeological studies with a fascinating look at the rise of farming. Why did humans shift from foraging to agriculture 10,000 years ago? How did changing ecology and technological inventions drive this transition? And what lessons does this story have for us today? See how humans must contend with producing more food with less arable land. x
    • 9
      Rise of Urban Centers
      Delve into the ancient urban experience. After the rise of agriculture, our ancestors invested in the future of humankind by building major cities and civilizations across the planet. After considering what constitutes a city in the first place, you'll take an archaeological tour of several early cities, including Jericho, Aleppo, Uruk, and Cahokia. x
    • 10
      Anthropological Perspectives on Money
      The classic story of money says that early humans transitioned from barter to money to credit, but the archaeological record shows we have that history all wrong—that credit emerged before actual money. Study the history of money from an anthropological angle, beginning with early number concepts through the development of paper cash. x
    • 11
      Anthropological Perspectives on Language
      Language has played a starring role in our continued survival as a species, so linguistics is a critical subfield of anthropology. In this lecture, you'll study the origins of language in our primate cousins and then survey the evolution of language in Homo sapiens. Then see how language has changed our evolution by increasing our capacity for information exchange. x
    • 12
      Apocalyptic Anthropology
      No history of humanity would be complete without a few thoughts about how it all ends. Reflect on how different societies have viewed the end of humanity, from the epic cycles of Buddhism and Hinduism to secular techno-apocalypses such as the Singularity. Then see what lessons anthropology may offer in how to avoid extinction. x
    • 13
      Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity
      Humans are all the same species, but we have a seemingly infinite cultural diversity. As an introduction to anthropology’s fourth major subfield, Professor Lacy takes you around the world to meet Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, and others who helped anthropology transition from “cultural evolutionism” to “cultural relativism.” x
    • 14
      Field Research in Cultural Anthropology
      Continue your study of cultural anthropology by looking at how the next generation of field researchers built on the foundation of Boas and Malinowski. See how Zora Neale Hurston, Alfred Kroeber, and Audrey Richards have broadened the way we think about culture, diversity, and social structures. x
    • 15
      Kinship, Family, and Marriage
      You likely have a concept for what “family” is, so you might be surprised to learn there is no universal concept for “family” around the world. Apply the anthropological lens to understand how and why different cultures have different ideas about how to structure a family—and what functional logic underlies these differences. x
    • 16
      Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
      By this point in the course, it should be no surprise that biological sex and our construct of gender are much more complicated than they seem. Here, Professor Lacy unpacks the cultural and biological questions of sex, gender, and sexuality using genetics, twin studies, and more to show the breadth of human diversity as well as a common humanity. x
    • 17
      Religion and Spirituality
      Anthropologists study religion as a way of studying humans, and this lecture surveys the origins and history of religion, from primate grieving and early human rituals through organized religions and the scientific worldview. Anthropology may not offer new answers about God and the great beyond, but religion offers a fascinating window into humankind. x
    • 18
      Art and Visual Anthropology
      Until recently, Westerners understood art in terms of progress, with non-Western art as somehow “primitive.” Survey the changing views toward world art throughout the 20th century and the role of art in anthropology. Then turn to explore the benefits and challenges that film brings to ethnographic studies. x
    • 19
      Conflict and Reconciliation across Cultures
      This course’s final unit examines several realms of “applied anthropology.” Here, discover how anthropology can assist with conflict resolution. After examining the history and nature of war, Professor Lacy offers several case studies around the world for resolving conflicts with anthropological methods. x
    • 20
      Forensics and Legal Anthropology
      Forensics is the science of analyzing and identifying unknown human remains. Using a hypothetical discovery as an example, you'll follow the stages of a forensics exam to see how anthropologists build a profile of the remains. Several test cases show forensics anthropology in action. x
    • 21
      Medical Anthropology
      Anthropologists recognize a difference between the subjective experience of an illness and the biological phenomenon of a disease. With this distinction in mind, learn how anthropologists study medicine, and how anthropology's four subfields can help us better understand human health and healing. x
    • 22
      Anthropology and Economic Development
      Using his own field research as an example, Professor Lacy takes you inside the powerful world of development anthropology. After grounding you in recent development theory, he takes a look at how anthropologists have thought about international development since World War II. x
    • 23
      Cultural Ecology
      As explorers of the human condition, anthropologists are particularly interested in the complex relationship between culture and the environment. The field of cultural ecology looks beyond mere environmental determinism and examines how the natural world inspires cultural differences. Review the methods and theory of this field of study. x
    • 24
      The Anthropology of Happiness
      What is the purpose of life? This is arguably the biggest question of all, and anthropology helps point the way toward a few answers. See how each of the four subfields—biology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology—approach the question of human satisfaction and what we can apply to our own lives. x
  • The Apocryphal Jesus
    Course  |  The Apocryphal Jesus

    Professor David Brakke, Ph.D., M.Div.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Much of what we know about Jesus today comes from apocryphal sources rather than the Bible. The Apocryphal Jesus is your chance to learn about the early Christian world from a variety of sources—many of which have been considered heretical. Over 24 revealing lectures, Professor Brakke explores the stories and ideas that shaped the foundations of early Christian thought—and continue to influence Christianity today.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Apocryphal Jesus
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Influence of Apocrypha
      The term “apocrypha” comes from the Greek and means “hidden” or “secret.” The apocryphal writings of early Christians have a reputation for being heretical because they are not part of the New Testament’s 27 canonical books. But as you will learn in this first lecture, these early Christian writings have contributed greatly to Christian culture and doctrine. x
    • 2
      Jesus and Mary in the Proto-Gospel of James
      Begin your foray into the early Christian apocrypha with an extended reflection on the Virgin Mary. You may think you know her from the New Testament gospels, but you might be surprised to find out that much of her life's story actually comes from the Proto-Gospel of James, which fills in many of the gaps from the canonical gospels. x
    • 3
      Young Jesus in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas
      The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is considered a bizarre book, offering what some see as troubling insight into the childhood of Jesus, portraying him as both amazingly divine but also troublingly human. Delve into some of the scholarly debates around this book and find out why it was so popular in the Middle Ages. x
    • 4
      Joseph and the Magi in the Apocrypha
      The New Testament gospels leave many questions on the table: Why was Mary a virgin if she was married to Joseph? How did Joseph feel about his wife bearing the child of the Lord? In this lecture, see how many early Christian apocryphal works humanize Joseph and resolve some of the questions—and contradictions—of the New Testament. x
    • 5
      The Apocrypha and the Cult of Mary
      While Mary is present in the canonical gospels, it's really in the early Christian apocrypha that she becomes the leader among the saints. Explore several key texts to uncover what we know about Jesus' mother, her relationship with the disciples, and what makes her unique among New Testament figures. Better understand her special place in Christianity today. x
    • 6
      Lost Gospels and Fragments
      Not all apocryphal works have survived, and many of the ones we have today exist only as fragments. Survey several important fragments and lost gospels—how we discovered them and what they say—to gain a fascinating glimpse of early Christian beliefs and controversies that we would not know about otherwise. x
    • 7
      Sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas
      The Gospel of Thomas is the most famous—even infamous—apocryphal gospel, suppressed by the Church for its supposed heresy. As you’ll find out in this lecture, the gospel compiles the sayings of Jesus and is modeled on the wisdom books from the Old Testament. This “living Jesus” provides a radically different angle on the meaning of Jesus’ life and teachings. x
    • 8
      Jesus's Statements beyond the Gospels
      Not all of Jesus’ words come directly from the canonical gospels. These words—known as “agrapha”—come from numerous sources: books of the New Testament other than the gospels, the works of early Christian authors such as Origen, and alternative manuscripts of the New Testament gospels. Examine several of these sources to gain new insights into Jesus. x
    • 9
      Conversations with the Living Jesus
      The gospel writers recorded much of Jesus’ life, but they also acknowledged that they didn’t record everything. Much of what he said is recorded in so-called “dialogic gospels,” accounts of Jesus in lengthy conversations with one or more of his disciples. Study three of these unique works and gain new theological insight into Christianity. x
    • 10
      The Gospel of Judas's Gnostic Vision
      Judas Iscariot is one of the most infamous figures in the Christian Bible, but the Gospel of Judas gives us a new perspective on this traitorous disciple. In this lecture, Professor Brakke introduces you to Gnosticism and shows how, in this gospel, Judas' betrayal of Jesus points to a greater truth about divinity and the material reality of the world. x
    • 11
      The Gospel of Peter and the Talking Cross
      Jesus designated Peter as the founder of the Church, which arguably makes him one of Christianity’s most important disciples. The Gospel of Peter, however, adds some complexity to Peter’s story—and it reframes the story of the Crucifixion to help make Christianity more compatible with the politics of the Roman Empire. x
    • 12
      The Apocrypha and Pilate's Sanctification
      In the early centuries, Christianity became a Roman religion, which created awkwardness given that the Roman Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus. Find out how certain apocryphal texts—including the Gospel of Nicodemus, also known as the Acts of Pilate—dealt with this problem by recasting Pilate as a sympathetic figure and, ultimately, a Christian saint. x
    • 13
      Dialogues with the Risen Jesus
      The New Testament tells us Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the apostles before ascending into heaven. While the canonical gospels left Jesus' words a mystery, many apocryphal writers filled in the gaps. Examine several of these dialogic gospels to learn what Jesus told his followers after the resurrection. x
    • 14
      Hope and Adventure in the Acts of John
      Many of the apocryphal gospels were essentially novels written during the early Christian era, and they were filled with adventurous tales of shipwrecks, necrophilia, self-mutilation, and other wild stories. Dive into the Acts of John to consider this fascinating genre of literature and what it offered audiences of the time—as well as historians today. x
    • 15
      Social Disruption in the Acts of Paul
      Historians agree that this fragmentary work presents us a largely invented character, yet the Acts of Paul also gives us a remarkable challenge to the basic structure of Roman society—the household, the city, the empire, and even the Church. Examine this subversive book and discover a version Christianity that completely upends the reigning social order. x
    • 16
      Thecla: Independent Woman of the Apocrypha
      Continue your study of the Acts of Paul and turn to his disciple, Thecla, who is one of the most interesting women in early Christian writing. Although she likely did not exist in real life, she represents many women who did, and her story gives us a powerful look at the role of women in early Christian society. x
    • 17
      Miracles and Magic in the Acts of Peter
      As you have seen, Peter may have been the first leader of the Church, but he was a flawed leader. The fragmentary Acts of Peter builds on his story from the canonical gospels and shows us a fascinating, if somewhat troubling, figure. Learn more about Peter and his miracles, and find out why he was crucified upside down. x
    • 18
      Peter versus Paul in the Pseudo-Clementines
      Each of the surviving apocryphal acts of the apostles make one apostle its hero, but they don't disparage the other apostles. However, the Pseudo-Clementine texts present a dramatic fight surrounding the early Church. This theological mess may pose a problem for historians, but it is nonetheless an important piece of early Christian literature. x
    • 19
      The Acts of Thomas and the Mission to India
      How did Christianity get to India? Did Thomas really travel across the Middle East and preach the gospel in South Asia? Historians debate these questions and more, but regardless of the literal truth, the Acts of Thomas provides spiritual guidance about humanity's place in the world and challenges us to liberate ourselves. x
    • 20
      Spiritual Love in the Acts of Andrew
      While it was not the most profound of early Christian writings, the Acts of Andrew contains some of the strangest stories in all of early Christian literature, including tales of cannibals, myriad seductions, jilted husbands, and a human-killing giant serpent. Learn about some of these exciting stories, consider the book's genre, and reflect on the role of women. x
    • 21
      Forged Letters of Jesus and the Apostles
      The letter is one of the most important forms of Christian communication, from the New Testament letters of Paul through today's Papal addresses. In the early Christian world, apocryphal letters abounded, many of them forged. Examine the content of some of these letters, including ones purportedly written by Jesus. x
    • 22
      Revelations That Didn't Make the Bible
      The New Testament Book of Revelation is not the only apocalypse narrative from the first centuries of the Common Era. In this lecture, you'll explore the content and theology of several other Christian apocalypses and consider why the Revelation to John made it into the canon while the many other apocalypses did not. x
    • 23
      Tours of Hell before Dante
      You might be surprised to learn the canonical New Testament does not present a single consistent picture of the afterlife in general or hell in particular, yet visions of damnation exist in much of the early Christian apocrypha, including the Apocalypses of Peter and Paul. Take a tour of hell through several of these works and review their continued influence. x
    • 24
      Apocrypha after the New Testament
      Although the New Testament was codified in the fourth century, apocryphal books continued to be written into the Middle Ages. Round out the course by surveying the later Christian apocrypha and witness the way the creative flourishing of Biblical writing continued through the Middle Ages and even into the present. x
  • International Economic Institutions: Globalism vs. Nationalism

    Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Taught by Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, this course spotlights the dizzying array of international economic institutions, their backgrounds, goals, and the important roles they play in the economic life of the entire world. You explore their successes and failures, getting a panoramic picture of globalization in all its complexity.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  International Economic Institutions: Globalism vs. Nationalism
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Politics of Economic Institutions
      Begin your survey of international economic institutions by seeking the reasons that some societies prosper while others fail. Explore different examples from the past and present, asking: What role do institutions play in economic prosperity? Which practices and policies promote growth? Which hinder it? x
    • 2
      Financial Regulation across Borders
      Survey three types of institutions involved in international financial regulation: organizations such as the World Bank; state-to-state contact groups such as the G-20 (which is comprised of leaders from the world's twenty major economies); and trans-governmental networks like the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. When are they most effective? When not? x
    • 3
      International Anarchy under One Roof
      International institutions are one way to manage rapid technological change and globalization. At their best, they can make the inherently anarchic nature of international politics run more smoothly. In this lecture, consider the many barriers such institutions face to accomplishing even a partial level of success. x
    • 4
      Messy Multilateralism
      Joining an international institution almost always involves some loss of sovereignty for the new member. So why do nations do it? Also, why do institutions allow themselves to grow in membership to the point that it becomes difficult to function? Examine these paradoxes as they play out in groups such as the European Union and World Trade Organization. x
    • 5
      The Fed and the Roles of Central Banks
      Study the role of central banks, focusing on the First Bank of the United States, championed by Alexander Hamilton, the Second Bank of the United States, rejected by President Andrew Jackson, and the evolution of the Federal Reserve System, established in the wake of bank panics around the turn of the 20th century. x
    • 6
      The Pre-World War II Rise of Big Government
      The rise of international economic institutions appears to be linked to the growth of big government. Explore the features of two prominent political systems: totalitarianism and democracy. Discover the reasons that supranational organizations appeal to each. Then look at the trend toward inflexibility in complex societies and the risk this poses for societal collapse. x
    • 7
      Interest Groups, the State, and Corporatism
      Around the world, nations have adopted big government and command economies to varying degrees, and countries have organized themselves in different ways. Focus on the fundamental features of capitalism, communism, and corporatism-the last involving political control by large interest groups. x
    • 8
      The World Bank, Poverty, and Violence
      Established at the end of World War II, the World Bank has achieved mixed results in its mission to reduce poverty in the developing world. Consider the difficulty of promoting growth in countries plagued by corruption, frequent regime change, and violence. In this light, explore the bank's recent change in strategy. x
    • 9
      Group Choices: Rock, Paper, Scissors
      Examine the steps needed to reach an agreement between an organization and a client nation, along with the incentives that smooth the way toward compliance. As a surprising but instructive example, look at a vote taken by the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805 and see how the voting rules and time of the vote affect outcomes. x
    • 10
      The United Nations: A League of Its Own
      Chartered in 1946, the United Nations rose from the ashes of its failed predecessor, the League of Nations. Trace the evolving mission of the UN, its financing, growing membership, and the division between the General Assembly and Security Council. Weigh the strengths and weaknesses of this quintessential supranational group. x
    • 11
      Exchange Rates and the Gold Standard
      Start a series of lectures that analyze the turmoil in international economic relations that led to the Great Depression and its aftermath. Here, focus on the function of the gold standard in stabilizing exchange rates, how this system began to break down after World War I, and the role of gold in the ensuing deflation crisis. x
    • 12
      What Caused the Great Depression?
      The Great Depression is the mother of many of today's international economic institutions. Comparable to a major war in its impact, this protracted era of suffering still eludes definitive explanation. Examine the events that helped trigger the Depression and the litany of policy mistakes that turned a bad situation into a catastrophe. x
    • 13
      Higgledy Piggledy: F. D. R.'s Stimulus Plan
      One popular school of thought credits President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal with putting the U.S. on the road to recovery during the Great Depression. But did it help or hinder recovery? Dig into Roosevelt's spending programs and his policies in areas such as anti-trust enforcement. Follow the economy through World War II and after. x
    • 14
      The Bank for International Settlements
      Founded in 1930, the Bank for International Settlements is the world's oldest international financial organization, established to help central banks coordinate monetary and financial stability. Chart its controversial history, starting with the bank's earliest mission to facilitate Germany's payment of war reparations after World War I. x
    • 15
      Intrigue at Bretton Woods: July 1944
      Learn how the post-World War II economic order was negotiated in 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. This international monetary and financial conference had all the elements of a political thriller: a desperate debtor (Great Britain), a cocky creditor (the United States), allegations of espionage, and last-minute deals-all against a backdrop of world war. x
    • 16
      The International Monetary Fund
      Membership in the International Monetary Fund has grown many-fold since the IMF was established in 1945. Study the operations of this influential body, which was designed to deal with a very different economic and political climate than exists today. See how its original mission to lend to countries with balance-of-payments problems has broadened, with mixed success. x
    • 17
      The Asian Development Bank
      Modeled on the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank is a consortium of mostly Asian countries established in 1966 and dedicated to fighting poverty in Asia and the Pacific. Go behind the scenes to see how political deal-making between nations works in such organizations, where loans often come with tacit strings attached. x
    • 18
      The World Trade Organization
      Established in 1995, the World Trade Organization formalized the post-World War II drive to reduce tariffs and promote freer trade. Analyze the advantages of free trade and the reasons many countries resist it. Look at regional trading agreements, which are a partial step toward free trade but with drawbacks. Close by charting the WTO's possible future. x
    • 19
      The Euro
      Probe the problems of the euro, the common currency of the 19 countries in the Eurozone. Focus on Greece as an example of the downside of surrendering the flexibility to adjust interest rates within one's own borders. Investigate the economic and political preconditions that underlie success for a common currency, comparing the Eurozone to the 50 states of the U.S. x
    • 20
      The Great Recession: Mismanaging Risk
      Watch as financial institutions take tried-and-tested tools-mortgages and derivatives-and, prodded by government policy, push them beyond the bounds of prudent risk-taking, sparking the greatest recession since World War II. Identify other contributing factors to the Great Recession, which started in late 2007. Ask why major institutions failed so spectacularly. x
    • 21
      After the Recession: A Bigger House of Cards
      Did the measures taken to speed recovery from the Great Recession help or hurt? What about new regulations passed to prevent similar crises in the future? Evaluate the track record of these steps and other hands-on approaches. One proposal is for a new international institution to enforce financial standards for multinational firms. Would that work? x
    • 22
      Banking Supervision and the Basel Accords
      Banks are supervised through a voluntary set of international rules known as the Basel Accords, which have been updated twice. In light of the inevitability of revisions to regulations, study a phenomenon called regulatory dialectic, which describes an endless cycle-from interest group demands, to government actions, to industry adaptation and exploitation of loopholes, and back to the beginning. x
    • 23
      A Unified Europe, and Then Brexit
      Underway since the end of World War II, European unification has progressed from the European Coal and Steel Community to today's expansive European Union, including the Eurozone monetary union. Explore the distinct advantages of unification, along with the drawbacks that led the UK to vote in 2016 to leave the EU in a step known as Brexit. x
    • 24
      The G-Zero Era of Instability
      The G" groups are informal blocs of countries that meet to decide economic issues of their mutual interest. Focus on the Groups of Seven and Twenty, comprised of the world's major economies. Consider whether we are now in an era of "G-Zero," when no single nation has enough power to take the lead. What might this mean for global economic stability?" x
Video title