A History of India [TTC Video]

A History of India [TTC Video]
A History of India [TTC Video] by Michael H Fisher
Course No 8350 | .MP4, AVC, 1024x576 | AAC, 70 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.5GB

India is home to some of the world’s oldest, greatest, and most successful civilizations. Today the South Asian subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world’s population and is a thriving center for global business. Over the next decade, India alone is expected to surpass China in population, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world.

Beyond the globalization of the 21st century, the region has always played a critical role on the world stage. Over the past 5,000 years, the subcontinent has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world’s great religions—Hinduism and Buddhism—as well as some of humanity’s most significant wisdom literature all have their origins in South Asia. And with its strategic location and unique geography, the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange.

Go inside this thrilling story with A History of India, a breathtaking survey of South Asia from its earliest societies along the Indus and Ganges rivers through the modern challenges of the 21st century. Taught by Professor Michael H. Fisher of Oberlin College, these 36 sweeping lectures enable you to understand the epic scope of the subcontinent’s history. Perhaps the most important facet of this history is how diverse the region truly is. Roughly the size of continental Europe, India—along with its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh—contains a myriad of ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, religions, and cultural mores.

What’s more, the subcontinent has seldom been unified under a single empire or government, making its history complicated and difficult to navigate. With the expert guidance of Professor Fisher, you will:

  • See how geography and climate shaped the development of its civilizations—sometimes facilitating contact between groups, but often isolating them, which entrenched local cultural and governance systems.
  • Trace the migration of varied peoples over the mountains from Asia and Europe, as well as in through the coasts, creating areas of dynamic cultural exchange.
  • Delve into the legacies of the Mauryan Empire, the Mughal Empire, and British colonialism, three of the few governments that ever unified the subcontinent.
  • Witness the fight for independence from European powers and the partition of the region into the countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the 20th century.
  • Review some of the largest challenges and opportunities faced by this area today, from expanding urbanization to the vast need for energy sources to the ongoing, heated political and ideological debates about national identity.

Professor Fisher reveals this complex narrative with skill and compelling insights. By the end of A History of India, you will understand the full scope of the region, its people, and its cultures, across time and today.

Discover Diverse Cultures with Complex Origins

Professor Fisher takes you back to reflect on the very beginning of human history, shedding light on the earliest societies on the subcontinent:

  • the Adivasi forest dwellers
  • the urban civilizations in the Indus Valley
  • the Vedic cultures that were the ancient cultural forebears of today’s Hindus

Few artifacts have survived to tell us about these societies, so scholars have relied on DNA evidence and linguistic analysis to provide clues about their mysterious origins. Much of our cultural understanding of ancient India has been passed down in two national epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. While not strictly fact-based histories as Westerners understand the term, these texts give us remarkable insight into the origins and development of India’s history, particularly the Vedic tradition.

One of the most fascinating topics of this course is its overview of the subcontinent’s religions, starting with the Vedic cultures. Hinduism is the religion of those who revere the Vedas as sacred truth, and this tradition had and continues to have a profoundly deep influence on South Asian societies, governments, and even economies. The rise, expansion, and influence of Jainism, Buddhism, and Islam occurred in dialogue with the Hindu ethos, and you’ll come to understand how these religions served the needs of many who felt disenfranchised by the dominant milieu. You’ll also uncover the lives of Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) who created thriving communities that endured for centuries, mostly in trading ports. Professor Fisher skillfully offers both an “etic” and an “emic” perspective—that is, history as it is understood from our perspective as outsiders and history as it is known within the culture—which ultimately yields a comprehensive, nuanced, and multi-voiced account of South Asia’s story.

Professor Fisher unpacks these nuances and offers profound insight into some of the great religions found on the subcontinent:

  • Learn about the Vedas and how the idea of the “cosmic man” gives division and order to social classes (“castes”).
  • Gain wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita and see why it is one of the world’s best-known texts.
  • Find out why the economic and political situation in the year 500 B.C.E. led to the rise of new religions such as Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Meet Siddhartha Gautama and follow the growth of Buddhism across Asia.
  • Consider why Islam spread so mightily throughout the subcontinent—and what the current status of Muslims is throughout the region.

Navigate a Bustling Political and Economic Hub

Because of its size and diversity, South Asia traditionally has been divided into numerous kingdoms. Nonetheless, its strategic location has also made the subcontinent an important trading center and economic hub. For instance, the Silk Road connecting China with Europe had a branch that ran through northern India. And in the 15th century, when Vasco da Gama sailed around the horn of Africa, he landed on India’s coasts, ushering in a new era of global commerce.

Professor Fisher takes you through a series of developments as people from around the world migrate in and out of the subcontinent, leading to great political upheavals as well as economic and cultural exchange.

  • Watch as myriad invaders travel through the Khyber Pass from Afghanistan to set up—or conquer—kingdoms in India.
  • Investigate how Islam spread so quickly throughout South Asia, leading to many years of sultanate rule, and examine how this new paradigm changed social relations and patterns of governance across the region.
  • Peer into the reign of the Mauryans, starting with Chandragupta, who consolidated the subcontinent’s first major empire, and continuing with the rule of his grandson, the renowned Buddhist Emperor Ashoka.
  • Witness the beginnings of the Mughal empire, as a Central Asian warrior named Babur conquered the Delhi sultanate, and follow the rise and fall of this dynasty, tracing the lives of the emperors Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan (who created the gorgeous Peacock Throne and the Taj Mahal), and Alamgir.
  • Reflect on the religious, social, and economic differences between northern India, the Deccan Plateau, and the many southern kingdoms.
  • Follow the development of European trade and colonialism, including multiple East India companies, and consider how their practices affected the local economy and politics.
  • Explore the circumstances that led to the British crown claiming rule over India, and consider the lasting consequences of the Raj for the subcontinent.

Over the past 100 years, the region has seen some astonishing developments. British rule may have unified the subcontinent, but racist policies and economic siphoning of resources did much damage to the spirit and economy of India. From the 1857 sepoy uprising through the chaotic events that led to independence and partition in 1947, Professor Fisher takes you inside the Indian and Pakistani nationalist movements.

You’ll explore the legacies of key nationalist leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and you’ll see how the quest for independence was not only a political movement—but also a question of ethnic and religious identity. Finally, you’ll also travel the world to consider the lives of Indians in Europe, Africa, and elsewhere—and how Indians in Britain often fared better than Indians under British rule on the subcontinent.

Explore India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh Today

Following the independence and partition of India and Pakistan (which was divided into East and West Pakistan) in 1947, you’ll witness great turbulence as each nation struggled to develop its own system of government in the wake of British colonialism.

In India, you’ll trace the recent history of what is now the world’s largest democracy, from Prime Minister Nehru’s five-year economic plans to boost food production through the rule of Indira Gandhi and her sons. You’ll gain new perspective on the State of Emergency in the 1970s, the three wars with Pakistan and insurrections in tribal regions, and the outlook of India’s government today.

Meanwhile, in modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, you’ll explore the development of their Islamic governments, witness numerous coups and shifts of power, and reflect on some of the key crisis points in recent years, from the 1971 split of East Pakistan into Bangladesh to Pakistan’s nuclear arms race with India to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

In the end, Professor Fisher projects what might be on the horizon for each of these nations. It is clear that South Asia is on the verge of another great boom in terms of economic and sociopolitical power. True to its history, it remains one of the world’s most important clusters of civilizations, and it will continue to play an integral role in humanity’s ongoing story. A History of India is a must-have course for understanding this powerful region and its profound influence on the rest of the globe.

A History of India [TTC Video]

Writing Creative Nonfiction [TTC Video]

Writing Creative Nonfiction [TTC Video]
Writing Creative Nonfiction [TTC Video] by Tilar J Mazzeo
Course No 2154 | MP4, MPEG4, 430x320 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 4.68GB

We all have a story we want to share with others. Maybe it's a funny or dramatic moment in your everyday life. Perhaps it's an unforgettable trip overseas or a heartwarming family reunion. Or possibly even the life of a close relative or public figure that has inspired you in some unique way. Regardless of the story or experience, there's no better way to write, record, and share it than through the power of creative nonfiction.

Bringing together the imaginative strategies of fiction storytelling and new ways of narrating true, real-life events, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing part of the creative writing world—and the fastest-growing part of the market for books as well. It's a cutting-edge genre that's reshaping how we write (and read) everything from biographies and memoirs to blogs and public speaking scripts to personal essays and magazine articles.

But learning the secrets and techniques of creative nonfiction offers you so much more than just insights into this exciting style of writing. Mastering the art and craft of creative nonfiction can

  • help you write more effectively in a variety of professional and personal situations,
  • provide dynamic new ways for you to preserve life experiences as they truly occurred or as you felt them,
  • allow you to share your stories in ways that other people are sure to find compelling, and
  • open up new windows on how you think about your own personal history—and the personal history of others.

Whether you're looking to launch into a new professional career as a creative nonfiction writer, dabble in the genre as a pastime, start a personal blog, or simply get inside the mind of a creative nonfiction writer at work, you'll find much to learn from and enjoy in Writing Creative Nonfiction. These 24 lectures by award-winning writing instructor and Professor Tilar J. Mazzeo of Colby College, a New York Times best-selling author, are a chance for you to explore the entire process of writing creative nonfiction, from brainstorming for the perfect idea to getting your final product noticed by literary agents and publishers. Filled with helpful tips and techniques, memorable examples from well-known writers, and engaging exercises, it's a learning experience that proves that—with the right instructor—writing creative nonfiction can be mastered, practiced, and enjoyed by anyone with a desire to share his or her personal story.

Explore All Aspects of the Creative Nonfiction Craft

More dynamic than a simple how-to writing guide you could find in a bookstore, Professor Mazzeo's interactive lectures are a chance for you to learn right alongside a master professor and best-selling writer as she guides you through all aspects of the process.

  • Fundamentals of creative nonfiction: Many of the lectures unpack fundamental concepts and principles involved in writing creative nonfiction. These include narrative arcs, captivating beginnings, sentence variation, perspective, characterization, dialogue, and metaphors. You'll uncover ways to decide how to best employ them to fit your particular work as well as to make your writing more engaging—without breaking the nonfiction contract with your reader.
  • Writing process: Pulling from her own personal experience as a writer, Professor Mazzeo guides you through each stage of writing creative nonfiction, from researching your topic to revising your first draft. Along the way, she offers tips and advice for everything from working around the problem of missing sources to pushing your way through writer's block to finding a community of writers who can offer you constructive criticism.
  • Publishing tips: How do you find the right agent? What goes into a successful book proposal? How can you find out which publications are the right venues for your pieces? In a series of lectures centered on the practical business of marketing and publishing your work, you'll discover the answers to these and other questions about getting your start as a published—and maybe even professional—writer.

Learn Tricks of the Creative Nonfiction Writer's Trade

"I'm an English professor and a writer myself,"notes Professor Mazzeo at the start of her course. "And what I can tell you is that there are tricks of the trade; things that published writers—the people whose books you've read and enjoyed and recommended to friends—learn from doing over and over.”

Every lecture of Writing Creative Nonfiction is filled with these tricks of the trade; nuggets of information, insight, and advice that you can learn from and use whenever you sit down to tell a personal story. Whether you're planning on tackling a memoir, a piece of travel writing, a personal essay, or nearly any project in which effective (and truthful) storytelling is required, these and other tips and tricks revealed in this course will go a long way toward building a powerful toolkit you can use any time you sit down to write.

  • Include three things every good story needs: You know you've got a good story to work with when it has a narrative arc, dramatic tension (conflict that works as an obstacle), and interesting characters who experience and try to surmount obstacles.
  • Introduce ambiguity: Free indirect discourse doesn't require attribution of speech or thought and invites readers to attribute your thoughts to the thoughts of the character. Whether your readers accept or reject the invitation, you've been truthful about not making claims of fact and have maintained the nonfiction contract.
  • Write the "gutter”: Giving your readers two pieces of information and trusting them to use their imaginations to transform them into a single storyline (filling in the "gutter”) is a great way to avoid overnarrating. Engaging their imaginations also makes them a more active participant in the story you're telling.
  • Draft a pitch instead of an outline: While pitches are normally written to secure contracts for nonfiction works, they can also be a helpful way for you to avoid getting stuck when you're having difficulty outlining your story.

Practice with Exercises Crafted by a New York Times Best-Selling Author

With Writing Creative Nonfiction, you're not just learning from a dynamic writing instructor. You're learning from a prolific nonfiction writer whose books—including the New York Times bestseller The Widow Cliquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It—are examples of the form at its best: factual and honest while being genuinely engaging reads.

Professor Mazzeo brings the same skill and experience to her course that she's brought to her creative nonfiction work. And to help you practice and hone your newfound skills, she has crafted specific exercises to help you tap into your inner writer. For example, you'll

  • take an event in front of you and write a page of detailed description (without actually saying what's happening) to witness the effects of showing, not telling, about specific moments;
  • write a couple of paragraphs using both direct and indirect discourse to learn the strengths and weaknesses of either approach to storytelling; and
  • write a pitch for an imaginative travel piece (its story, its characters, its arc) in 100 words or less to see how well you can propose a piece of writing to a prospective editor.

Who knows? Perhaps one of these or the other exercises will spark that great idea that sets you on your way to writing creative nonfiction that engages your reader—and even sells.

Throughout the entire course, Professor Mazzeo's passion for her craft and her devotion to sharing her knowledge and instilling confidence in fellow writers are constant. "You need to write what's in you; in your mind and in your imagination,"she says. "And you need to tell a great story.”

And that's exactly what you'll learn how to do in Writing Creative Nonfiction. By the conclusion of these rewarding lectures, you'll have the knowledge, tools, and, most important, inspiration you need to discover your stories and finally start telling them the right way.

The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You [TTC Video]

The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You [TTC Video]
The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You [TTC Video] by Paul Rosenzweig
Course No 9363 | M4V, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 153 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.44GB

A police officer places a GPS device on a suspected drug dealer’s car to trace his whereabouts and build a case against him. A popular retail store uses predictive analytics to send pregnancy-related advertising to a teenager who has yet to tell her parents about her condition. A Kentucky man shoots down a neighbor’s drone that is flying over his private property.

The news is full of stories like these, in which new technologies lead to dilemmas that could not have been imagined just a few decades ago. The 21st century has seen remarkable technological advances, with many wonderful benefits. But with these advances come new questions about privacy, security, civil liberties, and more. Big Data is here, which means that government and private industries are collecting massive amounts of information about each of us—information that may be used in marketing, to help solve criminal investigations, and to promote the interests of national security. Pandora’s Box has been opened, but in many ways the government is behind the times, relying on legislation from the 1970s to inform its stance on regulating the collection and use of this information. Our society now faces a host of critical questions, including:

  • Where is the line between promoting national security and defending personal liberty?
  • What information may the government collect about you from your Internet service provider?
  • When it comes to search and seizure, is a cell phone any different from a diary?
  • How will we respond to future technologies such as quantum computers and artificial intelligence?

Explore these questions and more in The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You. Taught by Paul Rosenzweig, J.D., esteemed legal expert and professorial lecturer at The George Washington University School of Law, these 24 revealing lectures tackle the tough questions about surveillance and data in the 21st century. Get an insider’s look at how technology from search engines to your car’s toll road transponder gathers information about American citizens. With Professor Rosenzweig’s guidance, you’ll scrutinize our system of oversight for intelligence agencies, and you’ll consider the ways in which the information that is collected impacts (or potentially impacts) our civil liberties. He presents the facts objectively, giving you the information you need to draw your own conclusions.

Covering everything from the legal framework for surveillance to the structure of the U.S. intelligence community to the myriad technologies that capture and analyze data, The Surveillance State offers a window into crucial events that are happening around us right now—and shows the challenging balance we all confront between personal privacy and national security.

Examine the Legal Framework for Surveillance

Technology has made our lives easier in recent years so that now, via a computer in our pockets, we can search nearly the entire corpus of human knowledge, connect with friends around the world, monitor our health, and much more. One theme running through this course is the way technology often outpaces the law. As predicted by Moore’s Law, our processing power is doubling every couple of years while the cost of data storage is dropping rapidly. This has ushered in the era of “Big Data,” enabling tech companies and intelligence agencies to collect and analyze countless points of information about everyone—our habits, our preferences, our interests.

Big Data represents a significant challenge to our concepts of privacy, and it threatens the possibility of preserving any kind of anonymity. But the laws that might protect us were written in the 1970s, before the invention of cell phones, the Internet, and even the personal computer. Mr. Rosenzweig gives you the history of laws from FISA legislation in the 1970s to the Patriot Act after 9/11, and he brings in relevant Supreme Court cases and executive actions to paint a picture of the laws and policies around surveillance today—and the questions for law- and policy-makers tomorrow.

Related to law, the structure of the intelligence community itself—and its oversight—plays a major role in how surveillance works. You’ll take a detailed look at what the intelligence community does and how it operates in practice, looking at such things as:

  • physical surveillance (eavesdroppers, satellite imagery, wiretapping)
  • electronic or signals intelligence (code-breaking, intercepting emails, metadata)
  • “dataveillance” (the collection and analysis of data)
  • security classifications
  • special operations
  • oversight committees

Who Watches the Watchers?

The questions of oversight and restraint are key challenges for the surveillance state. For instance, there was, beginning in the 1970s, a legislative wall between surveillance for national security and for criminal investigation. While this wall was designed to protect our constitutional rights, it makes it difficult for agencies to “connect the dots” when terrorists orchestrate plots such as 9/11.

So who watches the watchers? And what is the psychological effect of surveillance, both on the watcher and the watched? To help frame the discussion, Mr. Rosenzweig examines Jeremy Benthem’s Panopticon, a theoretical prison with an all-seeing eye, which has become a metaphor for a state of total (and anonymous) surveillance. A riveting lecture on the East German Stasi state shows just how terrifying such a state could be.

The opposite situation, however, can be just as dangerous. If our government offers too little transparency, it risks abuses of power. But too much transparency presents a general security risk. Imagine if the details of the Osama Bin Laden raid had been leaked ahead of time—it would have compromised the entire operation.

To help frame this debate, you’ll examine challenges to the law and the efforts journalists and other whistleblowers have made to ensure greater transparency, including issues around:

  • the Pentagon Papers
  • WikiLeaks
  • Bradley (Chelsea) Manning
  • Edward Snowden

What right do we have to access the information these leakers released? Are there times when journalists should show restraint? And in an age of citizen-journalism, what responsibilities does each of us have in this ethical dilemma?

Make Your Own Decisions about Policy and Ethics

The debate over surveillance and privacy is hardly limited to the government. In fact, private industries likely have even more information about us on file—and with less oversight and regulation. The “Internet of Things” holds great promise for the future, where “smart” thermostats can maintain an optimal temperature in our home and self-regulating insulin machines can free diabetics from routine shots. But these technologies leave intimately revealing data trails, so private companies know what we are searching for and how we spend our days—as well as some of our deepest, darkest secrets.

Who owns this data? Should private industries be allowed to sell this information to third parties? Does the government need a warrant to access it in the name of national security? How transparent do private companies need to be when gathering data about us? And is it possible to go completely off the grid via methods such as the TOR network or Bitcoin?

These are difficult questions, and our society will continue to face even more challenges as technology continues to advance. While this course offers you a framework for answering these questions, as well as the tools and examples to fully understand the issues, Mr. Rosenzweig leaves it to you to reach your own conclusions. When you complete The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You, you will have all the facts you need to make your own reasonable choices—and take a first step toward an empowered future.

The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You [TTC Video]

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