Context with Brad Harris

20 EpisodesProduced by Brad Harris, HistorianWebsite

What led to the rise of the modern world? How have we made so much progress, and what are its consequences? What are humanity's best ideas? Join award-winning historian Brad Harris as he engages these fundamental questions and interprets the biggest historical forces that shape their answers, from t… read more

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What If Our Ignorance Outgrows Our Potential?

August 5th, 2019

35:03

There is an overlooked rule in history: far more is lost and forgotten than is preserved and remembered.

Humanity has made incredible progress - we …

A Battle Against Medieval Barbarism

July 1st, 2019

36:37

Today, we explore the origin of the modern concept of a fact.

We take facts for granted, but they represent an invaluable intellectual technology …

What's True?

June 3rd, 2019

1:26:56

Today I'm speaking with Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, a historian from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It would be hard to find a scholar better …

The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom

May 2nd, 2019

1:10:32

Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, published in 1987, became one of the most influential books of the last 50 years by instigating a …

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, by Joseph Ellis

April 4th, 2019

38:55

In this episode, we witness the debate that raged over the birth of what is perhaps the most powerful idea in history; the idea that supports our …

Applied Perspective: A Conversation with Niall Ferguson

March 7th, 2019

45:46

Niall Ferguson is one of the most influential historians of our generation. His professional effort extends well beyond academia to ensure that …

The Square and the Tower, by Niall Ferguson

February 7th, 2019

39:55

Niall Ferguson, perhaps the most famous historian of our generation, offers yet another breakthrough in his latest work, The Square and the Tower. Through groundbreaking research, Ferguson reveals how social networks, …

Why the West Rules - For Now, by Ian Morris

January 9th, 2019

1:31:42

Is there a logic to history? 

Many scholars balk at the idea of searching for such logic, insisting that each culture may only be understood on its …

The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization

December 12th, 2018

53:40

Today, I’m speaking with Bryan Ward-Perkins, author of The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization

It has become fashionable to argue that Roman …

The Two Cultures, by C. P. Snow

November 21st, 2018

28:24

The Two Cultures by C. P. Snow was one of the most influential lectures of the 20th century, triggering an intense epistemological debate within …

Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway

October 30th, 2018

41:07

Merchants of Doubt is not just a book about how illusions of scientific controversy have been constructed, it’s also about the people who constructed them, and its most shocking revelation is that the very same people …

Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, by Peter Atkins

October 8th, 2018

55:52

If civilization collapsed, and our descendants could rediscover a single work to get humanity back on track scientifically and technologically, Peter …

Evolution's Other Narrative

September 17th, 2018

28:34

In this episode, we're shifting gears and I'll read an article that I published in 2013 in the journal American Scientist called "Evolution's Other …

Plagues and Peoples, by William McNeill

September 5th, 2018

42:23

The history of disease demonstrates both the accidental nature of history and the triumph of human reason that can enable us to gain some control …

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, by Charles Mann

August 20th, 2018

40:39

In 1493, Charles Mann shows us how Europeans emerged at the center of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange; a system …

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford

August 6th, 2018

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 …

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

July 24th, 2018

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 …

Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, by Margaret Jacob

July 10th, 2018

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 Wealth and Poverty of Nations, by David Landes

June 26th, 2018

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 …

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

June 6th, 2018

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 …

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