Cover image of The Reith Lectures: Archive 1948-1975
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Society & Culture

The Reith Lectures: Archive 1948-1975

Updated 7 days ago

Society & Culture
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Annual radio lectures on significant contemporary issues, delivered by leading figures from the relevant fields. Please note relatively few recordings survive from this period.

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Annual radio lectures on significant contemporary issues, delivered by leading figures from the relevant fields. Please note relatively few recordings survive from this period.

iTunes Ratings

6 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
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0
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Epitome of the genius of podcasting

By Ed L - Apr 08 2014
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Nice to have access to.

Some excellent lectures, some missing

By Flash Sheridan - Sep 25 2012
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There are some magnificent lectures in this series, but sadly some are missing, e.g., the first four of Toynbee’s and the first three of Galbraith’s

iTunes Ratings

6 Ratings
Average Ratings
6
0
0
0
0

Epitome of the genius of podcasting

By Ed L - Apr 08 2014
Read more
Nice to have access to.

Some excellent lectures, some missing

By Flash Sheridan - Sep 25 2012
Read more
There are some magnificent lectures in this series, but sadly some are missing, e.g., the first four of Toynbee’s and the first three of Galbraith’s
Cover image of The Reith Lectures: Archive 1948-1975

The Reith Lectures: Archive 1948-1975

Latest release on Nov 12, 1975

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: The Sciences and Man's Community

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This year's Reith Lecturer is American theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer. Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, he has been described as the "father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project while Director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory between 1943–45. In his Reith lectures entitled 'Science and the Common Understanding', he examines the impact of quantum and atomic theory on society.

In his sixth and final lecture entitled 'The Sciences and Man's Community', Professor Oppenheimer explains how the "House of Science" helps us to understand the underlying profundities of the earth and our lives. He draws parallels between the construction of human society and the atom: each man is dependent on the next, and through the power of the collective, Man's power grows with the shared knowledge of individuals.

Dec 20 1953

30mins

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Rank #2: The Geography of Art

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Dr Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his first lecture, Dr Pevsner examines the reasons for the study of history of art. He argues that an understanding and appreciation of the work of the artist is truly life-enhancing, and he goes on to explore the English national character as it is expressed in terms of art.

Oct 16 1955

28mins

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Rank #3: Blake and the Planing Line

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

Dr Pevsner explores the 'Decorated Style', which seems in every respect to be the opposite of the Perpendicular style which he examined in his previous lecture. Through illustrations ranging from English church architecture from 1290-1350 to the gentle curves of painters such as Gainsborough and Reynolds, Dr Pevsner places the artist William Blake (1757-1827) in the context of a very English tradition.

Nov 13 1955

28mins

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Rank #4: The Atlantic Bridge

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This year's Reith Lecturer is the Chairman of Lloyds Bank, Sir Oliver Franks. He is the former Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, and the former Professor of Moral Philosophy at University of Glasgow. He was the British Ambassador in Washington, DC, between 1948 and 1952, and has been described as "one of the founders of the post-war world". He delivers his Reith series entitled 'Britain and Tide of World Affairs'.

In his third lecture entitled 'The Atlantic Bridge', Sir Oliver explores the relationship between the United States of America and Britain. He discusses the frictions between the two countries and their mutual interdependence. He analyses the discomforts of the passage of power, McCarthyism, and the fear that the United States will land us in a third world war.

Nov 21 1954

30mins

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Rank #5: The Search For A New Order

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Alastair Francis Buchan, the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations for Oxford University, explores the concept of 'transnationalism' in his sixth Reith lecture. Speaking from his series entitled 'Change without War', he concludes his lectures on international relations.

In this lecture entitled 'The Search for a New Order', Professor Alastair Buchan speculates whether we might be able to control and adapt the dynamic process of change in order to reduce the eruptions of conflict around the globe. He explores whether functional co-operation and changes in national attitudes could lead to a more open, transnational society.

Dec 19 1973

28mins

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Rank #6: Impact of Man on His Environment

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The Vice-President of the Conservation Foundation in Washington, DC and renowned ecologist Sir Frank Fraser Darling explores the concept of Man's responsibility for his natural environment in his Reith series entitled 'Wilderness and Plenty'.

In his second lecture entitled 'Impact of Man on His Environment', Sir Fraser Darling explores the continuous affect of man on his natural habitat. Taking examples from prehistoric man, the industrial revolution and modern day technology, he considers whether man has taken all he can from the world to increase growth and development. He explores and criticises how politics and political policies have had a lasting affect on the contamination of the world and its ecology.

Nov 16 1969

28mins

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Rank #7: The Troubled Giant

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Alastair Francis Buchan, the Montague Burton Professor of International Relations for Oxford University, reflects on the global power of the United States of America in his third Reith lecture. Speaking from his series entitled 'Change without War', he reflects on new international relations.

In this lecture entitled 'The Troubled Giant', Professor Alastair Buchan explores why the United States of America is still the largest and strongest world power. He analyses how its decisions continue to affect the climate of world politics more than any other country and asks why this continues to be true. He examines the USA's relationship with the power structures within the Soviet Union and China, as well as looking at the triangular economic relationship between the USA, Europe and Japan.

Nov 28 1973

28mins

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Rank #8: Wanted: An Instrument For Crisis Management

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Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield gives the sixth of his Reith lectures from his series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

In this lecture entitled 'Wanted: An Instrument for Crisis Management', Sir Shonfield considers the long-term future of the European Community. Analysing the effect of Britain's entry, he also anticipates an adaptation of the role of the European Commission into the next level of European cohesion. Sir Shonfield concludes his series by exploring the practical measures which should be taken in order to create a democratic, forward thinking and cohesive Europe.

Dec 12 1972

28mins

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Rank #9: Constable and the Pursuit of Nature

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his sixth and penultimate Reith lecture, Dr Pevsner describes the attitude of the English Romantic painter John Constable (1776-1837) and some of his contemporaries to Italian art, and compares his Englishness with that of Blake and Hogarth. He examines the sudden flowering of English landscape painting which began with Richard Wilson (1714–1782) and his Welsh landscapes, and argues that this concentration on landscape is a direct result of the temperate English climate.

Nov 20 1955

28mins

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Rank #10: Hogarth and Observed Life

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Dr Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his second lecture, Dr Pevsner considers the 'Englishness' of the artist and satirist William Hogarth (1697-1764). He explores the characteristics which he says make Hogarth a particularly English artist, and argues that his work embodies the ideals of the Age of Reason.

Oct 23 1955

29mins

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Rank #11: Reynolds and Detachment

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his third lecture, Dr Pevsner examines the work of the portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), and argues that the far-reaching contrast between his promotion of painting in the Grand Manner, and how he actually painted, is eminently English.

Oct 30 1955

28mins

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Rank #12: Perpendicular England

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This year's Reith lecturer is Dr Nikolaus Pevsner, the German-born British scholar of history of art and architecture, and author of the county guide series, The Buildings of England (1951–74). In this series, Pevsner explores the qualities of art which he regards as particularly English, as illustrated in the works of several English artists, and what they say about the English national character.

In his fourth lecture, Dr Pevsner examines the Perpendicular style, formed in England in about 1330, and which he calls 'the most English creation in architecture'. It represented a complete break with what had gone before, but once it had been established universally in the country by the 1380s, it remained virtually unchanged for 150 years, so much so that even specialists struggle to determine accurate dates for this style of work.

Nov 06 1955

29mins

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Rank #13: From Technocracy to Democracy

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Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield gives the fifth of his Reith lectures from his series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

In this lecture entitled 'From Technocracy to Democracy?', Sir Shonfield considers how the inclusion of the British into the European Community could lead to a more politically democratic form of governance. Taking this into consideration, Sir Shonfield questions whether the European Community will achieve greater democratic legitimacy.

Dec 05 1972

28mins

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Rank #14: European Foreign Policy Towards Asia & the Soviet Bloc

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Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield gives the fourth of his Reith lectures from his series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

In this lecture entitled 'A European Foreign Policy towards Asia and the Soviet Bloc', Sir Shonfield explores the policy problems of the enlarged European Community in relation to the rest of the world. Shonfield explores how external economic relations and different foreign policies must be created for different areas. Exploring how this could be done, Sir Shonfield analyses industrial powers like Japan, underdeveloped countries in the Indian sub-continent and problematic Eastern European countries.

Nov 28 1972

28mins

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Rank #15: The American Connection

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Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield gives the third of his Reith lectures from his series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

In this lecture entitled 'The American Connection: a Grumbling Alliance', Sir Shonfield explores the European Community's relations with the rest of the world and in particular, The United States. He explores how currency, business and trade all affect the working relationship between the two powers, and asks how the European attitude towards the United States might develop during the 1970s in the face of new American policy pressure.

Nov 21 1972

28mins

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Rank #16: The French Spirit and the British Intruder

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Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield gives the second of his Reith lectures from his series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination'.

In this lecture entitled 'The French Spirit and the British Intruder', Sir Andrew Shonfield identifies the problems in creating a European Federation. He explores how political identity is mixed up with national identity, and explains why certain countries find it harder to join the European Community than others. Looking at the British and French feelings toward the union, he argues that compromise is the only way that the European Community can work effectively.

Nov 14 1972

28mins

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Rank #17: Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?

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This year's Reith lecturer is political economist Sir Andrew Shonfield. Currently the Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), he has previously worked as economic editor and foreign editor for The Observer (1958–61) and the Financial Times (1947–57). After fifteen years in journalism, he became the Director of Studies at the RIIA before a brief stint as Chairman of the Social Science Research Council from1969–70.

In his Reith series entitled 'Europe: Journey to an Unknown Destination', he debates British entry into the European Community.

In this lecture entitled 'Melting Pot or Bag of Marbles?', Sir Andrew Shonfield explores integration between the European nations and questions the reasons for of the European Community. He explores the power structures which create the Community's foundations and asks how joining the EC will affect Britain. He advances the debate about what the future will hold for all the European nations.

Nov 07 1972

28mins

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Rank #18: A Common Ground

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The British academic and Assistant Director General of UNESCO Richard Hoggart explores the concepts of communication in his Reith lecture series entitled 'Only connect'.

In this lecture entitled 'Common Ground', Richard Hoggart evaluates the role of passing information to each other via a system of communication. He asks, now that we have developed at an almost unbelievable speed, what happens next? Are we really more in touch now than previously? How will new technologies bring us closer? Centralised mass societies are keen to show they understand the human scale but can human societies remember to interact with each other in a fundamentally kind and moral way?

Dec 21 1971

28mins

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Rank #19: The Loss of the Stable State

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This year's Reith lecturer is the influential thinker Donald Schon. Previously a Professor of philosophy at the University of California, he was the director of the Institute for Applied Technology in the National Bureau of Standards, Department of Commerce. He is currently the co-founder and director of the Organization for Social and Technological Innovation (OSTI), a non-profit social research and development firm in Boston.

He delivers his Reith lecture on industrial technology and social change from his series entitled 'Change and the Industrial Society'.

In this lecture entitled 'The Loss of the Stable State', Donald Schon describes how society needs a belief in a calm and constant identity and structure. Exploring times when this stability has been lost, he analyses the human need for the belief of a better time.

Nov 15 1970

43mins

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Rank #20: Where Does Responsibility Lie?

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The Vice-President of the Conservation Foundation in Washington, DC and renowned ecologist Sir Frank Fraser Darling explores the concept of Man's responsibility for his natural environment in his Reith series entitled 'Wilderness and Plenty'.

In his final lecture entitled 'Where Does Responsibility Lie?', Sir Fraser Darling argues that population is almost certain to increase but pollution does not necessarily need to. He argues that technology should use its own inventiveness to decontaminate the world, but asks who would be responsible for enforcing such a policy. Without all nations taking the ethical responsibility for the environment, he concludes, it will take many years for intellectually-led change to filter through and become concrete action plans.

Dec 14 1969

28mins

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