The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us [TTC Video]
31 January 2018, 13:26
Course No 3767 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.53GB
There are trials that don’t simply end with their verdict. There are trials that have a power that reverberates throughout history. Many have shaped and transformed the very social, political, and legal traditions we take for granted today. It’s trials like these that are deserving of the description “great.”
What makes a trial one of the great ones in world history? According to award-winning law professor Dr. Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, there are two main benchmarks.
First, the trial must have grabbed the attention of society in its own time and place, whether in the courts of ancient Greece or 20th-century Los Angeles.
Second, the trial must matter. Perhaps it matters because of how it shaped history; perhaps because it allows us in the 21st century to draw lessons that bring us closer to our highest ideals of justice; or perhaps because the trial provides an especially clear way of understanding a particular place or time.
No understanding of the past is complete without an understanding of the legal battles and struggles that have done so much to shape it. Inside a survey of world history’s greatest trials are the key insights to critical issues we still talk about today, including:
- freedom of speech,
- the death penalty,
- religious freedom, and
- the meaning of equality.
And even when trials illustrate grave miscarriages of justice, they still have much to teach us about how law is an ever-evolving aspect of human civilization.
Join Professor Linder for The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us, a 24-lecture investigation of important legal cases from around the world and across the centuries. From the trials of Socrates in ancient Athens and Thomas More in Henry VIII’s England to the Nuremburg Trials in the wake of World War II and the media frenzy of the O. J. Simpson murder case, you’ll discover what each of these fascinating and profound trials has to teach us about ourselves and our society. The horror of the Salem Witch Trials, the drama of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, the trial for Nelson Mandela’s life—inside these and other cases are enduring lessons that can help us avoid repeating the errors of the past and that will strengthen your appreciation for the goal of justice.
New Perspectives on Familiar Cases…
Varied in its scope, The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us brings together a fascinating range of cases. Some of them advanced great causes. Some of them raised profound questions. Some of them turned defendants into martyrs. Some of them not only decided the fate of defendants, but also changed the hearts or minds of the public. And some of them went horribly wrong.
Professor Linder, with his broad knowledge of legal history and his knack for telling great stories, takes you back in time to revisit some of history’s most famous trials from fresh perspectives that ground them in the evolution of human ideas of law and justice.
- The Trial of Socrates: One of the many interesting things about the philosopher’s trial is the procedural rules of ancient Athenian courts. Any citizen could initiate criminal proceedings. To discourage frivolous suits, Athenian law imposed fines on citizen accusers who were unable to win the votes of one-fifth of jurors.
- The Salem Witch Trials: These trials are rightly considered one of history’s greatest travesties of justice. Evidence that we would exclude from modern courtrooms—such as hearsay and unsupported assertions—was admitted. Accused witches also had no legal counsel or formal avenues of appeal.
- The Nuremburg Trials: This monumental event, which brought the Nazi’s crimes against humanity to the world stage, was actually composed of 12 trials. By far the most attention has focused on the first Nuremberg trial of 22 defendants—the major war criminals—and which set precedents for judges in subsequent trials to follow.
- The Trial of the Chicago Eight: No legal case is more emblematic of American cultural divisions during the late 1960s. The chasm between the world views of the defendants and Judge Julius Hoffman reflected the deep divisions of the time: establishment versus the counter-culture, police versus protesters, and political decorum versus political violence.
…and Insights into Unfamiliar Ones
While The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us contains trials you may already be well familiar with, the survey also includes those that may be less familiar—but which are nevertheless equally important to a complete understanding of the history-making role trials have played throughout the vast story of civilization.
- Trial by Ordeal: In one of three medieval trials you explore, you’ll learn how (according to the Annals of Winchester) King Edward the Confessor’s mother, Emma of Normandy, supposedly proved her innocence against charges of adultery by walking barefoot over red-hot ploughshares. Trials like these were designed to attract God’s attention. If the defendant was without guilt, God would step in and perform a miracle.
- The Trial of Giordano Bruno: The execution of this original Italian thinker represented a failure of the Roman Inquisition to perform its mission, which was to “admonish and persuade” (not to terrify or punish). The man responsible for Bruno’s death at the stake, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, learned from Bruno’s case and proceeded differently 15 years later when he dealt with another alleged heretic named Galileo.
- The Dakota Conflict Trials: These trials—392 in all—raise a number of intriguing questions. Were trials the appropriate end to a bloody conflict between a native population and a wave of settlers? When trials take place on the frontier, where no courts are operating, who should serve as judge and jury? Can we trust military officers to be impartial when they’ve just fought the men whose cases they will hear?
- The Trial of Louis Riel: The trial and execution of Riel, who took up arms against the Canadian government and led the 1885 North-West Rebellion, became a turning point in the country’s politics. Opposition to Riel’s execution helped break the Conservative hold on French Canada. It also illustrates cultural tensions that continue in Canada today.
Throughout these lectures, you’ll also meet famous historical figures who played lead roles in some of world history’s greatest trials, including:
- Cicero, who attacked the corruption of Rome’s tottering oligarchy during the Trial of Gaius Verres;
- John Adams, the future president of the United States who paid a price for deciding to represent British soldiers during the Boston Massacre Trials; and
- Clarence Darrow, perhaps America’s most famous defense lawyer, who championed the cause of defendants in both the Leopold and Loeb Trial and the Scopes “Monkey” Trial.
Explore the Crossroads of History and Law
“Apart from being terrific theater, great trials can shape history,” Professor Linder notes. “They can change attitudes and reinforce ideals. And they can provide a remarkably clear window for observing societies, both past and present.”
For years, Professor Linder has been fascinated by the stories behind the world’s great trials. He’s studied transcripts, examined facts, even collected exhibits from many trials—all in an effort to study the intriguing intersection between history and jurisprudence. Now he’s crafted The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us to share that fascination with you.
But these lectures are about so much more than just facts and narrative. They’re a chance for you to get to the beating heart of deeply human stories involving innocence and guilt, truth and deception, life and death. As momentous and (sometimes) bizarre as these trials can be, Professor Linder never lets you forget that human life—and human history—is always at stake.
Biological Anthropology: An Evolutionary Perspective [TTC Video]
31 October 2017, 06:51
Course No 1573 | AVI, DivX5, 1500 kbps, 640x432 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 3.57GB
When we consider ourselves, not as static beings fixed in time but as dynamic, ever-changing creatures, our viewpoint of human history becomes different and captivating.
The crucial element of "time depth" has revolutionized the very questions we ask about ourselves. "Who are we?" has turned into What have we become? What are we becoming?"
What makes this viewpoint possible is the evolutionary perspective offered by biological anthropology through the study of the evolution, genetics, anatomy, and modern variation within the human species.
A Discipline of Far-Ranging Questions
- Are the great apes a unique break point from the past—and toward the human—because they can understand other beings' mental states?
- Did we destroy the Neandertals?
- Did modern Homo sapiens evolve entirely on the African continent, replacing other hominid forms as they fanned out into Asia and Europe? Or did they evolve simultaneously and in the same direction on all three continents?
- Did hunting and its requirements for cooperation and intelligence make us human?
- What is the role of our evolution in determining social hierarchy? gender roles? obesity? morning sickness in pregnancy?
- How is evolution active in human development today?
As Dr. King addresses these and other questions in this scientific story, you will come to see evolution as not simply a textbook theory but a vital force.
Understand the Forces that Continue to Shape Us
In this course, award-winning teacher and scholar Barbara J. King—a William and Mary University Professor of Teaching Excellence from 1999-2002—delves into the story of how, why, where, and when we became human.
These lectures will help you understand the forces that have shaped, and continue to shape, our species.
"An evolutionary perspective on human behavior," notes Dr. King, "results in more than just knowledge about dates and sites—when and where specific evolutionary milestones likely occurred.
"It is also a window on the past and future of our species. An entirely new way of thinking comes into focus when we consider the human species within an evolutionary perspective."
Enjoy the Fruits of a Century of Scholarship
While covering these subjects in this 24-lecture series, Dr. King synthesizes the best that more than a century of scientific scholarship has to offer across a variety of disciplines.
Biological anthropologists study primate anatomy and behavior both to understand evolution and to learn more about our common ancestor.
Biological anthropologists are joined by molecular anthropologists to better understand hominids by studying fossils, ancient skeletal remains, and lifestyle information such as cave art and stone tools.
Case Studies that Clarify Evolution and Its Power
Dr. King begins by explaining key mechanisms through which evolution functions, citing famous and definitive case studies that demonstrate these forces.
In one such landmark study, for example, biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant returned to the Galapagos Islands more than 100 years after Darwin's first voyage to conduct research on island finches.
In 1977, a drought-induced scarcity of soft, edible seeds brought forth in the very next generation a population of finches with larger, stronger beaks capable of crushing larger, tougher seeds.
Extraordinarily, in 1985, heavy rains produced a surplus of softer seeds, and natural selection produced a succeeding generation of the smaller-beaked variety.
Evolution had occurred in two different directions within a decade. This "natural selection" is the theoretical tool of evolution, which helps us make sense of these facts.
Learn Why Evolution Remains Important to Us Today
Perhaps the greatest measure of this theory's power is its relevance to our lives today.
- Did you know that the gene which causes sickle cell anemia must be inherited from both parents to cause the disease but the disease does not occur when only a single gene is inherited?
- Or that the single gene, in fact, affords protection from malaria?
- Or that race, a category so securely ingrained in our consciousness, is practically meaningless in biological terms?
- Or how to evaluate the claim that a gene can be responsible for a certain personality trait?
Take a Glimpse Into Our Selected Primate Heritage
With an understanding of the basic mechanisms of evolutionary change in hand, the course looks at how our ancient primate ancestors adapted.
Consider the anatomical features we share with monkeys, great apes, and other primates. Our large brains, grasping hands, and forward-facing eyes allowing us to perceive depth are critical to the way we function in the world.
Yet the fossil record tells us that some 70 million years ago these distinctive primate features did not exist.
What caused the first primates to emerge from existing mammalian populations?
One proposed solution was that the appearance of insects living in the lower canopies of trees offered a plentiful food resource to those species adapted to procure it. Could depth perception and grasping ability have provided an advantage here, and hence been naturally selected?
This is the function of biological anthropology: confronting the facts, then suggesting and testing possibilities.
A Course as Much About the Present as the Past
With so much of evolutionary history taken up with the past, the insights gained in these lectures may tempt you to add questions of your own:
- Is human evolution still a force in today's world?
- Hasn't our modern, mobile culture rendered evolution irrelevant?
In fact, human evolution is a stronger force than ever, interacting with human culture in complex ways.
Issues such as obesity, AIDS, and genetics are all discussed. And you may well find these lectures opening your eyes to the extraordinary ways in which the biological power of natural selection is still at work in the world today.
Zoology: Understanding the Animal World [TTC Video]
27 October 2017, 09:00
Course No 1266 | M4V, AVC, 3000 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 256 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.93GB
For young and old alike, zoos are one of the most popular places to visit. Each year, over 185 million people visit accredited zoos and aquariums throughout the United States for close encounters with some of the most adorable, exotic, and strange animals on our planet.
Chief among these zoos is the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The overarching goal of this remarkable modern zoo is to educate everyday people about the astonishing range of animal species: how they live, how they develop, and how they impact the world. Thousands flock to this beautiful zoo every day to visit animals they’ve never before seen and, often, never knew existed.
Helping the average visitor navigate this exciting world are zoologists, the hard-working scientists whose research in areas like animal intelligence, ecology, behavior, and conservation are helping us make better sense of the animal world, from mosquitos and monarch butterflies to polar bears and great white sharks. Much of what we know—and are currently learning—about animals is thanks to the scientific field of zoology.
As much as we love an informative trip to the zoo, the truth is that you can’t learn everything there is to know about animals with the occasional visit. But by exploring zoology and the tireless work of zoologists at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo—and other zoological parks and aquariums across the country—you’ll find your next trip to the zoo more rewarding, more enriching, and much more satisfying.
In Zoology: Understanding the Animal World, The Great Courses teams up with the Smithsonian, the acknowledged leader in animal research, conservation, and education, to bring you 24 visually rich lectures that take you behind the scenes of not only the animal world but of the scientists trying to understand how it works. Dr. Donald E. Moore III—director of the Oregon Zoo and senior science advisor at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo—has crafted a wonderful introduction to the fundamentals of zoology through the eyes of a trained zoologist, bringing you up close and personal with a breathtaking variety of animal species: crocodiles, birds of prey, lions, dolphins, giant pandas, elephants, and more. Packed with exclusive footage from zoos, research parks, and animals in their natural habitats, as well as interviews with other Smithsonian scientists, these lectures will reveal the hidden world of animals in a way no textbook could ever hope to do.
Learn What Zoologists Do
According to Professor Moore, zoologists do a lot more than tend animals for the zoo.
“Modern zoological research is discovering subtle but important differences between species that aren’t necessarily apparent to the naked eye,” he says at the start of Zoology. “While most of the time, the public sees a zoo as an entertaining and educational way to spend a Saturday afternoon (and it very much is), your average accredited zoo is also a vital part of research and conservation activities going on across the world.”
To make this scientific field a little more manageable to grasp, and to guide your learning in a way that builds upon insights, Professor Moore has organized the lectures into three general sections.
- Start with the basics of zoology. Topics include the intriguing relationship between genetics and environment, sexual behaviors in different animal groups, parenting styles and their evolutionary importance, and the role conservation plays in our current research into the animal kingdom.
- Dive into the different orders of life on our planet. It’s a colorful tour that takes you from the ocean depths to the highest tree tops and reveals the characteristics of different animal orders (invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, fish, mammals) as well as the astounding diversity within them.
- Investigate special subjects intriguing today’s zoologists. How do animals interact with their environments and with one another (including human beings)? How do we study animal intelligence, and can animals think? What diseases threaten animals in the wild and in zoos? How can we ensure the survival of endangered species?
Meet Incredible Animals
Of course, the most fascinating part of Zoology: the animals themselves. Each of Professor Moore’s lectures features some of most incredible animals on Earth. And thanks to the special footage from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and others, you’ll be able to see these and other animals in action—without the crowds. Not only this, but you will see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage only available in this course, including a sneak peek at a baby giant panda filmed months before the first public viewing. Just a few of the animals you will meet include:
- Golden lion tamarins. One of the most amazing examples of unique parental care in mammals, golden lion tamarin family groups benefit from sub-adult helpers that act as “teenager” babysitters. This behavior also helps these “teenagers” become better parents when they have babies of their own.
- Corals. Important ocean resources, corals are the basis of an entire ecosystem—and they’re also a resource to human beings. Home to worms, conchs, spiny lobsters, fish, and more, the world’s vibrant and multi-colored coral reefs surpass even tropical rainforests in their levels of biodiversity.
- Crocodiles. Unlike most other non-avian reptiles, crocodiles provide extensive maternal care. A mother crocodile can hear the vocalizations from her hatching young and will actually open the nest to help them emerge more easily. She’ll then guard her young for up to two years after hatching.
- Giant Pandas. Normally, zoologists expect an animal’s diet to reflect its physiology, and vice versa. Not so with giant pandas, which are one of the most inefficient feeders on the planet. These animals have the physiology of a carnivore, but they eat a diet made almost entirely of tough, woody bamboo.
- Mosquitos. The lowly mosquito is considered the deadliest animal on Earth. According to research by the World Health Organization, mosquitos spread diseases—such as malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and dengue fever—that kill more than 2.5 million people each year.
You’ll also learn a host of other interesting facts about what zoologists now know of animal life. Did you know that biological outcomes like the average time until reproduction all scale to body mass? So, for example, a half-ounce mouse can have five or 10 litters of babies each year, while a five-ton elephant can only have one baby every five or so years.
In fact, you may be surprised to discover some things you thought you knew. Many people believe birds live in nests, however, this is mostly a myth. A bird creates a nest solely for the purpose of laying and hatching eggs. A larger, more ornate structure called a bower is designed to attract a mate for the unique bower birds (the avian equivalent of flowers and chocolate).
And what can learning about other animals tell us about humans? Well, for one thing human beings have one of the most dilute milks of all mammals, with low percentages of milk proteins and fat. In fact, dairy cow milk is fairly similar to our own, which is probably one of the reasons many of us can digest it. These are just a few of the amazing things zoology has to teach us.
Can’t-Miss Footage and Interviews
Dr. Moore has spent nearly 40 years as a zoo director and conservation biologist interacting with a plethora of animals. He brings these decades of experience in—and passion for—the animal kingdom to every lecture in Zoology.
Along with the animals and the exclusive, can’t-miss footage of zoo life, this course also takes you inside laboratories and research centers for interviews with other Smithsonian scientists. Their stories and insights will add additional layers to your understanding of cheetahs, pollinators, species conservation, and so much more.
It’s a wide, wild world out there. And with this engaging and informative series, you’ll be better equipped to get out there and discover the wonders that live in it, whether they’re in your local zoo, aquarium, a national park, or right in your own backyard.