Context with Brad Harris

By Brad Harris, Historian

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Description

What led to the rise of the modern world? How have we made so much progress? There are countless great books exploring these critical questions... we know we should read them, but most of us don't have time. Join historian Brad Harris as he distills their insights in a captivating, accessible way. Unless we understand our historical context, our discourse will be bloated with bad assumptions and progress will stall. We each owe it to our future to be a better historian, and Brad Harris helps us think like one.

Episode Date
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford
38:25

Genghis Khan was so influential that, to understand how Europe began to shake off its medieval provincialism, how the Islamic world lost much of its momentum, and how China's unparalleled technology trickled beyond its borders and reshaped the fortunes of the West, it's well worth studying the legacy of this single Mongolian man.

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Aug 06, 2018
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn
24:20

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a classic in the history of science, and one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Thomas Kuhn insightfully challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself. 

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through https://bradharris.com.

 

Jul 24, 2018
Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, by Margaret Jacob
32:58

Margaret Jacob’s book helps us understand how scientific knowledge became integrated into the culture of Europe through the 1600s and 1700s, and how the different social and political conditions of different European countries influenced the application of science to material prosperity. Jacob enhances our understanding of the role of science in the Industrial Revolution, and provides insight on why Britain’s distinctive approach to the utility of science enabled it to industrialize generations earlier than any other country.

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through https://bradharris.com.

Jul 10, 2018
The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes
36:52

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations was published by David Landes in 1998, and it has occupied a preeminent place on the bookshelves of scholars ever since. Landes boldly argued that historically unique cultural values of curiosity, novelty, and private property empowered European society to lead the modern world; a history that offers invaluable lessons for our own time.

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through the show's website at https://bradharris.com

Jun 26, 2018
Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond
26:52

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies was published by Jared Diamond in 1997. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998, along with several other awards. The fundamental question that Diamond seeks to answer through this book is, why did history unfold so differently on different continents such that Eurasian societies became so disproportionately influential in creating the modern world? 

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through the show's website at https://bradharris.com.

 

Jun 06, 2018