On a recent browse through the loud, garish halls of YouTube I found several interesting history clips. Without diminishing the importance of LOL catz videos and the endless Fail compilations, I'd like to praise/point to some of the history gems on YouTube. In the last 5 years YouTube has served as a go-to source for me. Interviews, documentary films, and materials on teaching draw me in. It's been a boon to my teaching and research.
For example . . .
Hear the late esteemed historian and former master of Balliol College, Oxford, Christopher Hill speak about his work on 17th-century England. He also reminisces on why he became a historian, the nature of revolutions, and more. ("Conversations With Historians: Christopher Hill," BBC Radio 4, October 14, 1991)
In this much more recent video (April 11) see historian Taylor Branch discuss the critical year of 1963 and the context of the black freedom struggle. Branch pieces together this momentous year with the wisdom of 50 years of hindsight. He also wonders why historians have not explored some of the major issues of the era. (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS.)
And finally, Sam Wineburg and others in this clip, speak about "Teaching Students to Think Like Historians," Stanford University, March 4, 2012. (Several months back I interviewed Wineburg here on a related topic.) "The first thing that we need to do is to break the stranglehold of the textbook," says Wineburg. To play on the murder theme a little more, see Jonathan Rees's August 16, 2012 piece on this blog, "Kill Your Textbook." Do history textbook snuff the life out of history? Are students in history classes unfamiliar with, as Wineburg puts it, the "variety of voices" from the past? How can high school and university history instructors better teach about the past?