Cover image of Context with Brad Harris
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Education
History

Context with Brad Harris

Updated 1 day ago

Education
History
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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 the rise of civilization and the development of modern science to the spread of disease and the growth of globalization.

Read more

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 the rise of civilization and the development of modern science to the spread of disease and the growth of globalization.

iTunes Ratings

271 Ratings
Average Ratings
246
11
5
5
4

Informative?

By Who Writes Reviews, Anyway? - Oct 03 2019
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I don’t consider myself a scholar of history but maybe I should start, since the other reviewers keep commenting on how informative these podcasts are. If you are someone who just loves reading the Foreword in a book then you might like these podcasts. I say “might” because you will also have to get past the podcaster’s super cheesy vocal stylings. If this was a podcast of ghost stories it could work, but it just sounds silly here and got on my nerves very quickly. Save yourself, move right on past this podcast and pick up the actual books he recommends, or listen to the audiobook versions where possible.

Fascinating and informative!

By JxHaub - Sep 20 2019
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Excellent podcast giving you great insight and context into historical happenings and scientific breakthroughs you don’t get anywhere else!

iTunes Ratings

271 Ratings
Average Ratings
246
11
5
5
4

Informative?

By Who Writes Reviews, Anyway? - Oct 03 2019
Read more
I don’t consider myself a scholar of history but maybe I should start, since the other reviewers keep commenting on how informative these podcasts are. If you are someone who just loves reading the Foreword in a book then you might like these podcasts. I say “might” because you will also have to get past the podcaster’s super cheesy vocal stylings. If this was a podcast of ghost stories it could work, but it just sounds silly here and got on my nerves very quickly. Save yourself, move right on past this podcast and pick up the actual books he recommends, or listen to the audiobook versions where possible.

Fascinating and informative!

By JxHaub - Sep 20 2019
Read more
Excellent podcast giving you great insight and context into historical happenings and scientific breakthroughs you don’t get anywhere else!

The Best Episodes of:

Cover image of Context with Brad Harris

Context with Brad Harris

Updated 1 day ago

Read more

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 the rise of civilization and the development of modern science to the spread of disease and the growth of globalization.

Rank #1: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford

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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 momentum, and how China's unparalleled technology trickled beyond its borders and reshaped the fortunes of the West, it's well worth studying the legacy of this single Mongolian man.

Please complete this one minute survey to help me work with new sponsors I need to grow the show: https://survey.libsyn.com/contextwithbradharris

To support Context and access episodes ad-free, visit https://bradharris.com 

Aug 06 2018

38mins

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Rank #2: The Fall of Rome, and the End of Civilization

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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 civilization never collapsed, but was merely transformed by Germanic culture. Although this counter-narrative can illuminate intellectual developments of Late Antiquity, it verges on cultural relativism that threatens to obscure real differences in how people flourish or suffer. Ward-Perkins' book is a welcome reality check of how dark the post-Roman age really was.

For bonus content and ad-free episodes, visit my Patreon page.

For more information, visit my website.

Dec 12 2018

53mins

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Rank #3: Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West, by Margaret Jacob

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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 different social and political conditions of different European countries influenced the application of science to material prosperity. Jacob enhances our understanding of the role of science in the Industrial Revolution, and provides insight on why Britain’s distinctive approach to the utility of science enabled it to industrialize generations earlier than any other country.

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through https://bradharris.com.

Jul 10 2018

32mins

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Rank #4: Why the West Rules - For Now, by Ian Morris

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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 own terms. In Why the West Rules - For Now, Ian Morris counters that if we look beyond the facade of culture to how human biology, sociology, and geography interact, it is possible to discover a fundamental pattern in history to help us answer the biggest historical questions, from why the West rules for now, to what will happen next.

Access bonus episodes on Patreon.

Learn more at bradharris.com.

Jan 09 2019

1hr 31mins

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Rank #5: Plagues and Peoples, by William McNeill

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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 over our fate; most of us no longer suffer the death of half our children, among other nightmares. William McNeill’s book, Plagues and Peoples, was the first comprehensive history to capture this balance, and after more than 40 years it remains one of the most insightful narratives on how disease has both shaped and been shaped by civilization.

You can access all episodes of Context ad-free along with bonus content by supporting the show on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context or through the website at https://bradharris.com 

Sep 05 2018

42mins

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Rank #6: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn

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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 insightfully challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his opaque style ignited a cultural movement energized around the misinterpretations that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself. 

You can support Context on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context, or through https://bradharris.com.

Jul 24 2018

24mins

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Rank #7: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, by Charles Mann

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In 1493, Charles Mann shows us how Europeans emerged at the center of a modern, globalized world by establishing the Columbian Exchange; a system they created but could not control, and with consequences none of them could imagine.

You can access all episodes of Context ad-free along with bonus content, including a 20-minute interview with author Charles Mann himself, by supporting the show on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/context or through the website at https://bradharris.com.

Aug 20 2018

40mins

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Rank #8: Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, by Peter Atkins

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If civilization collapsed, and our descendants could rediscover a single work to get humanity back on track scientifically and technologically, Peter Atkins’ Galileo’s Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, would be a contender.

If there are miracles, Atkins would argue that they are not found in the surreal conjectures of things unexplained, but in the tangible power of our otherwise small minds to achieve cosmic insights through experiment and mathematics. Here, he distills his choices for the most profound of those insights.

Support Context at https://www.patreon.com/context

Learn more at https://bradharris.com 

Oct 08 2018

55mins

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Rank #9: The Square and the Tower, by Niall Ferguson

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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, from the Freemasons of the middle ages to Facebook in the 21st century, disrupt established hierarchies to divert the course of history, both for better and for worse.

Join me on Patreon for ad-free episodes and bonus content.

Visit bradharris.com to learn more.

Feb 07 2019

39mins

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Rank #10: Evolution's Other Narrative

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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 Narrative." Here is a link to the article: https://www.americanscientist.org/article/evolutions-other-narrative

Given our conversation last time about the importance of disease in the history of civilization, I thought this article would be an interesting supplement to our understanding of humanity's co-evolution with microorganisms.

To support Context and get access to all episodes ad-free along with bonus content, go to https://www.patreon.com/context, or https://bradharris.com for more information.

Sep 17 2018

28mins

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