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E-Seminars: History


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The following state-of-the-art learning experiences were developed at Columbia University by distinguished faculty members working closely with our skilled instructional technology staff. Three to five hours in length, these in-depth multimedia e-seminars are free to Columbia students, faculty, and staff.

TitleSourceDescription
Crucible of Pluralism: Religion in Modern America
Columbia Learning Experiences
Randall BalmerSince the 1960s, the religious landscape of the United States has undergone striking changes. In recent decades, we have become the most religiously diverse nation on earth. Despite the American ideal of protecting religious diversity, these developments have challenged and disturbed many Americans. In this e-seminar Randall Balmer provides a larger historical context in which to consider the tension between religious conformity and religious diversity in our nation.

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Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the doctors at the front lines witnessed a sudden massacre and struggled to treat against an agent they didn't understand. What impact did this experience have on these doctors, and how did this first group of caregivers shape the evolution of the epidemic? To construct a collective biography of the early AIDS doctors, Ronald Bayer, Columbia University professor of public health, and Gerald Oppenheimer, associate professor of clinical public health, turned to oral history. In these two e-seminars, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer discuss the development of the oral history project from inspiration to publication.

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Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—E-Seminar 1, From Idea to Interview: Launching an Oral-History Project
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn the first of two e-seminars on their oral history of the AIDS epidemic, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer take the student on a tour through the planning of their oral-history project. Through anecdotes, constructive advice and tips, collected readings and resources, and sample planning documents, you will learn to conduct interviews for an oral-history project and to address sensitive issues that may arise during and after the interviews. You will also learn to use oral-history materials to construct a nonarchival project, and to present and evaluate your project.

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Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—E-Seminar 2, Talk to Text: Completing an Oral-History Project
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn this second of two e-seminars on their oral-history of the AIDS epidemic, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer take the student on a tour through the execution of their own oral-history project. Through anecdotes, constructive advice and tips, collected readings and resources, and sample documents, you will become well versed in the issues that need to be addressed before beginning an oral history project, and become equipped to complete the steps needed to plan your oral-history project to the point of conducting interviews.

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The Origins of the First World War
Columbia Learning Experiences
Volker R. BerghahnIn this e-seminar Volker R. Berghahn, Seth Low Professor of History at Columbia University, explores the international developments and pressures, and the decisions made by German leaders that inexorably led to the First World War. Photographs, maps, and primary documents complement Professor Berghahn's dramatic and lucid account.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 1, The Crisis of Victorianism
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeBetween the end of the Civil War and 1900, educated Americans reacted against Victorian values. In the first in a series of e-seminars, Casey Blake describes the new attitudes about the future, the separation of the sexes, masculinity, and the role of women. He concludes by reflecting on the beginnings of modernism at the end of the nineteenth century.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 2, The Search for a Scientific Culture
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeBy the end of the nineteenth century, science and technology were exerting a tremendous influence on life in the United States. In this second e-seminar of the series, Casey Nelson Blake explores why Darwin's ideas seemed so revolutionary and how Darwinism helped to move the United States toward a more secular and scientific modern culture.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 3, Pragmatism and Its Critics
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeIn this third e-seminar of the series Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890-1945, Casey Nelson Blake explores the philosophy of pragmatism, details the lives and contributions of James and Dewey, and describes the critiques of pragmatist thought.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 4, Ethnic Pluralism
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeIn this fourth e-seminar of the series Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890-1945, Casey Nelson Blake presents the range of early-twentieth-century responses to immigration, including arguments for diversity and the contribution of W.E.B. Du Bois.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 5, The Intellectuals and the First World War
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeIn this fifth seminar in the series Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945, Casey Blake explores the prewar intellectual scene and the repercussions of President Wilson's decision to join the conflict in Europe.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 6, The Rise of Consumer Culture
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeIn this seminar, the sixth of the series Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945, Professor Casey Nelson Blake describes the consumer culture of the 1920s and Middle America's ambivalent embrace of it.

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Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945—E-Seminar 7, The Culture of "The People"
Columbia Learning Experiences
Casey Nelson BlakeIn this seminar, the seventh of the series Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890–1945, Professor Casey Nelson Blake elucidates the impact of the Great Depression, the radical critiques that arose in response, and the legacy of a new form of culture celebrating "the people."

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America Since 1945—A Series of Ten E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn a series of ten e-seminars, America Since 1945, Alan Brinkley, Alan Nevins Professor of History, discusses the political, cultural, and social developments that occurred from the earliest years of the postwar era through the 1980s—a period in which the United States changed more rapidly and profoundly than at any other time in its history.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 1, The Post–New Deal Order
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyWhat was once routinely known as "the postwar era" is now a period of more than half a century, during which the United States has probably changed more rapidly and profoundly than during any other period of its history. Historian Alan Brinkley offers an introduction to and a framework for understanding the United States since 1945.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 2, The Politics of Anticommunism
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn this e-seminar, the second in a series of ten, Professor Brinkley examines the Cold War, a key event during the "the postwar era," a period of more than half a century, during which the United States has probably changed more rapidly and profoundly than during any other period of its history. He analyzes the Cold War as a force in American domestic life, one that had an important impact on the relationships among and the distribution of power within many of the central institutions of American life.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 3, The Stable Fifties
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Stable Fifties, the third e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, Professor Alan Brinkley examines the shift in American economics and culture that occurred after World War II. While many other combatant countries faced a slow rebuilding period after the war's end, the United States celebrated a vast and steady economic boom that began during the war and continued for the next twenty years. Professor Brinkley examines aspects of American middle-class culture during the Eisenhower years, including the rise of television and the expansion of the suburbs. He also offers a perspective on the Eisenhower presidency.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 4, The Subversive Fifties
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Subversive Fifties, the fourth e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, the eminent historian Alan Brinkley discusses a variety of early counterculture movements—literary, social, and environmental—whose origins date back to the 1950s and early 1960s. He also covers the roots of the civil-rights movement, discussing the Montgomery bus boycott, in which Martin Luther King Jr. first gained national attention.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 5, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society, the fifth e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, the eminent historian Alan Brinkley focuses on the administrations of Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Professor Brinkley compares and contrasts these two great figures of the 1960s and analyzes the social programs, such as the Great Society and the war on poverty, that became landmarks of the period.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 6, The Civil-Rights Movement
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Civil-Rights Movement, the sixth of ten e-seminars in the series America Since 1945, historian Alan Brinkley discusses one of the most important social movements in twentieth-century American history. He analyzes the events that propelled and shaped the civil-rights movement, the growing national awareness of racial inequalities in America, and the social policies that were created in response to those inequalities.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 7, The Vietnam War
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Vietnam War, the seventh of ten e-seminars in the series America Since 1945, historian Alan Brinkley discusses the policies and decisions that led to the expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 8, Cultural Revolutions
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn Cultural Revolutions, the eighth of ten e-seminars in the series America Since 1945, historian Alan Brinkley discusses the turbulent years of the 1960s and the broad social changes that altered cultural and individual expression in American society.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 9, The Age of Limits
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Age of Limits, the penultimate e-seminar in the series America Since 1945, Professor Alan Brinkley examines the shift in the prevailing outlook and worldview of Americans during the 1970s, as assumptions about economic abundance and American power gave way to a new awareness of scarcity and constraints.

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America Since 1945—E-Seminar 10, The Rise of the Right
Columbia Learning Experiences
Alan BrinkleyIn The Rise of the Right, the final e-seminar in the ten-part series America Since 1945, historian Alan Brinkley discusses the emergence of conservatism as a powerful political and cultural force in the United States during the past quarter-century.

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America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 1, Battles and Bibles: 1776-1913
Columbia Learning Experiences
Richard W. BullietThis e-seminar examines the history of America and its relation to the Muslim world. The series will analyze, from an American perspective, the legacy of misunderstanding between the two cultures; the forgotten wars, now over a century ago, between America and parts of the Islamic world; and the emergence of a significant Muslim population in the United States through immigration and conversion.

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America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 2, Wars and Fantasies: 1914–1960
Columbia Learning Experiences
Richard W. BullietIn the second installment of this five-part series, Professor Richard W. Bulliet, a leading scholar of modern Islam, contrasts the period after World War I with the period immediately following World War II, in terms of real and imagined American engagement in the Muslim world. Although a major American role as protector of Kurds, Armenians, and Syrians was proposed after World War I, it never came to pass. Britain and France instead became the mandatory powers in the region.

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America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 3, Getting It Wrong: 1953–1979
Columbia Learning Experiences
Richard W. BullietIn the third e-seminar in this five-part series, Professor Bulliet analyzes the period when Americans began to pay attention to Islam. While American awareness of the Muslim world increased, crucial misperceptions about Islam persisted into the 1970s among American tourists, government officials, and scholars, so that all were caught off guard by the Iranian revolution in 1979.

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America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 4, The Voice of Islam: 1979–1991
Columbia Learning Experiences
Richard W. BullietIn the fourth e-seminar in this five-part series, Professor Richard W. Bulliet analyzes the period between the Iranian revolution and the Persian Gulf War. During those tumultuous 12 years, wars and political events in the Muslim world repeatedly appeared on the front pages of American newspapers, and the Black Muslim movement took root in the United States, leading to an increased awareness of Islam.

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America and the Muslim World—E-Seminar 5, A Moment of Inclusion
Columbia Learning Experiences
Richard W. BullietIn this fifth and final e-seminar in the series America and the Muslim World, Professor Bulliet examines the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. He considers how they have affected the large Muslim population in the United States and argues that Americans now have an opportunity to learn more about Islam and make their society more inclusive of Muslims.

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Discovering Your Community through Oral History—E-Seminar 1, How to Create a Community Oral-History Project
Columbia Learning Experiences
Mary Marshall ClarkIn this online seminar, Mary Marshall Clark, director of the Columbia University Oral History Office, the world's first official oral-history archive, offers detailed instruction on how to perform an oral-history interview and how to organize and operate a community oral-history project. The seminar includes audio and text examples from the rich archives of Columbia's Oral History Office.

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Nonviolent Power in Action—A Series of Three E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dennis DaltonThis series of three e-seminars is based on Dennis Dalton's enormously popular course, which he has taught since the late 1960s, on the nature and power of the Gandhian political philosophy and practice of nonviolence.

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Nonviolent Power in Action—E-Seminar 1, Gandhi: Discovering the Power of Nonviolence
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dennis DaltonGandhi: Discovering the Power of Nonviolence is the opening e-seminar in a series of classes based on Dennis Dalton's extremely popular and chronically oversubscribed course on the nature and power of the Gandhian political philosophy and practice of nonviolence, which Dalton has taught since the late 1960s.

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Nonviolent Power in Action—E-Seminar 2, Martin Luther King Jr.: An American Gandhi
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dennis DaltonIn his second e-seminar, Professor Dalton examines the practice and theory of the man who has been called "an American Gandhi," Martin Luther King Jr. In this e-seminar, Professor Dalton grounds Martin Luther King Jr. in the historical backdrop of Montgomery, and discusses King's very explicit principles and tactics of nonviolence.

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Nonviolent Power in Action—E-Seminar 3, Gandhi's Disciples
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dennis DaltonGandhi's Disciples is the third e-seminar in a series based on Dennis Dalton's extremely popular and chronically oversubscribed course on the nature and power of the Gandhian political philosophy and practice of nonviolence, which Dalton has taught since the late 1960s.

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Slavery and Emancipation—A Series of Eight E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn his eight-part series Slavery and Emancipation, Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, explores a subject that is essential to understanding the history of the United States and the evolution of our concept of freedom.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 1, The Origins of Slavery in the New World
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerNearly 150 years after its abolition, slavery remains one of the central institutions defining American history and nationality. This e-seminar examines the origins and development of the transatlantic slave trade and the impact of slavery on colonial America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. New World slavery became more oppressive than previous forms, and the underpinnings of the institutionalization of slavery in America included new racist attitudes.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 2, The Struggle for Freedom
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn this second e-seminar of his Slavery and Emancipation series, Professor Eric Foner examines slavery and the American Revolution. He examines the dramatic struggle for freedom waged concurrently by American colonists against the British Empire and by blacks against the institution of slavery. While blacks seized the revolutionary rhetoric of liberty and equality to justify their natural right to freedom, the U.S. Constitution protected the institution of slavery.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 3, The Old South
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn the third e-seminar in the series Slavery and Emancipation, Professor Eric Foner discusses the expansion of slavery during the first half of the nineteenth century, when it became the most powerful economic institution in the United States. He describes the arguments that proslavery Southerners used to defend their "peculiar institution" and details the system of subordination they created whereby slaves had virtually no legal rights.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 4, Abolitionism and Antislavery
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn Abolitionism and Antislavery, the fourth e-seminar of the series Slavery and Emancipation, Eric Foner describes how in the nineteenth century the issue of slavery came to occupy a central place in American political life and a central role in the disruption of the Union. He describes the development of a militant abolitionist movement, the expansion of slavery, secession, and other events that led inexorably to the Civil War.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 5, The Civil War
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn The Civil War, the fifth in the series Slavery and Emancipation, Professor Eric Foner explores the combination of factors that propelled the Lincoln administration down the road to emancipation. Foner also describes how the service of black men in the Union forces contributed to the war's outcome and raised the question of black citizenship.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 6, The Meaning of Freedom
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn The Meaning of Freedom, the sixth e-seminar in the series Slavery and Emancipation, Professor Eric Foner explores the expectations and aspirations of freed blacks, the views of white Southerners, and the hopes of many Northerners in the years after the Civil War.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 7, Radical Reconstruction
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn this e-seminar, Professor Eric Foner argues against the depiction of Reconstruction as the low point of American democracy by examining the successes and failures of the Republican coalition that briefly governed the South.

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Slavery and Emancipation—E-Seminar 8, Retreat from Reconstruction
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric FonerIn this eighth and final e-seminar of the series Slavery and Emancipation, Professor Eric Foner traces the developments that brought Reconstruction to an end and discusses what that ending meant for Southern blacks and for the nation.

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The History of the City of New York—A Series of Eight E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn The History of the City of New York, a series of eight e-seminars, Kenneth T. Jackson, Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences at Columbia, has adapted his legendary semester-length course for the Internet.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 1, History as Destiny: The Case of New York City
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonNew-York Historical Society President and eminent Columbia University historian Kenneth T. Jackson has been teaching a course on the history of New York City for over thirty years. Through this series of online lectures, Jackson recreates the experience of his legendary Columbia University class with the complement of a wealth of documentary photographs, maps, and other illustrative material.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 2, Colonial City: Revolutionary Battleground
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn his second e-seminar, Kenneth T. Jackson traces New York City's commercial character back to the days of Dutch New Amsterdam. He then examines New York's role in the Revolutionary War and the remarkable growth it experienced largely as a result of the Erie Canal.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 3, Urban Crisis: Fire and Water
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonUrban Crisis: Fire and Water is the third e-seminar in The History of the City of New York, a series based on Kenneth T. Jackson's legendary course, which he has taught for over three decades, on the history of New York City. In this e-seminar, Professor Jackson examines the various ways that over the years New York City has responded to fires and water supply problems, two of the serious challenges faced by urban populations.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 4, Urban Crisis: Disease, Crime, and Space
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn this fourth in a series of eight e-seminars, Professor Kenneth T. Jackson, examines public space in New York and focuses on the creation of Central Park. He also discusses the creation of the Metropolitan Board of Health, the implementation of health and sanitary regulations as a response to outbreaks of cholera, and the founding of the New York City Police Department.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 5, City People
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn City People, the fifth e-seminar in a series on the history of New York City, Professor Kenneth T. Jackson looks at New York City in the nineteenth century, focusing on developments and innovations in the city's social life and infrastructure and discussing how they changed the everyday life of New Yorkers.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 6, Ethnic New York
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn Ethnic New York, the sixth e-seminar in an eight-part series, Kenneth T. Jackson traces the development of New York City's ethnic neighborhoods, particularly two of the most famous: Harlem and the Lower East Side.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 7, Bosses of All Kinds
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn Bosses of all Kinds, the seventh e-seminar in a series on the history of New York City, Professor Kenneth T. Jackson looks at Tammany Hall bosses, Robert Moses, and other political figures in the history of New York who, though unelected, have wielded extraordinary power.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 8, The Reinvention of New York
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn The Reinvention of New York, the eighth and final e-seminar in his series on the history of New York City, Professor Kenneth T. Jackson discusses New York in light of its ability to adapt to rapidly changing social, political, and economic conditions.

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Poverty, Wealth, and History in the East End of London—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Paul JohnsonIn his two-part e-seminar series, Poverty, Wealth, and History in the East End of London, Professor Paul Johnson explores the rich and dramatic history of the East End of London. Learn about the great surges of immigration, about the creation, destruction and re-creation of communities, about labor and toil, and consequently about the religious, political and social fault lines that have divided and defined British society in the East End community of Spitalfields.

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Poverty, Wealth, and History in the East End of London—E-Seminar 1, Life and Work
Columbia Learning Experiences
Paul JohnsonUsing Spitalfields, a historic corner of the East End, as a window onto the history of social and economic change, historian Paul Johnson explores the rich and dramatic history of the East End of London and uncovers the larger religious, political and social fault lines that have divided and defined British society.

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Poverty, Wealth, and History in the East End of London—E-Seminar 2, Revolution and Reform
Columbia Learning Experiences
Paul JohnsonHistorian Paul Johnson examines how East Enders reacted to their poor living and working conditions, most famously in the Dock Strike of 1889, and how middle class reformers attempted to help them.

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War Reporting—A Series of Three E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Tom LansnerIn War Reporting, a series of three e-seminars, Professor Tom Lansner, a former war correspondent, covers a broad swath of battlefield journalism, from Julius Caesar to contemporary reporting of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq.

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War Reporting—E-Seminar 3, Technologies and Responsibilities
Columbia Learning Experiences
Tom LansnerIn Technologies and Responsibilities, the third e-seminar in the three-part series War Reporting, Professor Tom Lansner, a former war correspondent, looks at the impact of lighter, faster, and more powerful digital communication tools on reporting from the battlefield, including how the increasing volume of coverage is often provided without the context and analysis needed to understand it.

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America's Battle for a Cure: The Culture and Politics of Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Columbia Learning Experiences
Barron H. LernerTo understand a disease, you must first understand the culture in which that disease exists. Understanding breast cancer in the United States requires understanding the war metaphor that defines it. In this e-seminar, Barron Lerner, associate professor of medicine and public health at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, reveals how America's fight against breast cancer has shaped our treatment of the disease from the turn of the nineteenth century to today.

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W.E.B. DuBois and the Black Experience
Columbia Learning Experiences
Manning MarableThis e-seminar is an exploration of the life and work of W.E.B. DuBois, the leading African American writer and political activist of the twentieth century and the author of The Souls of Black Folk.

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Life after Death: Malcolm X and American Culture
Columbia Learning Experiences
Manning MarableThis e-seminar considers the image of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X after his death by focusing on the popular view of his life and his treatment by historians and scholars. A generation after his assassination, Malcolm X's image and historical reputation have been profoundly transformed.

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Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance—A Series of Three E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Andrew NathanIn this three-part e-seminar series,Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance, Andrew J. Nathan, one of the leading scholars of modern Chinese politics and human rights, examines the most important event in the movement toward democracy in China—this time, explaining it from the point of view of the government itself. Professor Nathan's interpretation is based on a new understanding of the events of the Tiananmen uprising and its suppression, offered by the publication of hundreds of previously secret memos, minutes of meetings, and other internal government documents.

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Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance—E-Seminar 1, The Roots of Crisis
Columbia Learning Experiences
Andrew NathanFrom one of the leading scholars of modern Chinese politics and human rights, this seminar is a look at the most important event in the movement toward democracy in China—this time, explained from the point of view of the government itself. This examination, based in part on a new understanding offered by the publication of hundreds of previously secret memos, minutes of meetings, and other internal documents, sheds light on the perspective rarely considered when discussing the events of June 1989 in China.

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Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance—E-Seminar 2, Chinese Democracy and Its Future
Columbia Learning Experiences
Andrew NathanProfessor Nathan, one of the leading scholars of modern Chinese politics and human rights, traces the history of democracy in China in Chinese Democracy and Its Future, the second e-seminar of Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance. Professor Nathan analyzes the differences between Western and Chinese conceptions of democracy. He also investigates the history of constitutions in China, and the role that constitutions play in Chinese politics.

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Tiananmen: June 1989 and Its Significance—E-Seminar 3, Behind Red Walls: Changing Politics in China
Columbia Learning Experiences
Andrew NathanThis third and final seminar in the series examines what the Tiananmen Papers reveal about the workings of the Chinese political system. Professor Andrew J. Nathan discusses the process of internal documentation in the Chinese government and details its attempt to control any damage that might be caused by the publication of these highly classified documents. In the process, he looks at the question of political succession in China and considers the future of political reform and what form democracy in China might take if it is achieved there.

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A Political History of Pakistan
Columbia Learning Experiences
Philip OldenburgProfessor Oldenburg, a leading scholar of South Asian culture and history, unravels the story of Pakistan, delving into the tumultuous past of this Muslim nation. Carefully examining its struggle to establish a national identity throughout the half-century of its existence, he narrates Pakistan's history from the viewpoint of its Muslim majority population while also explaining the perspectives of those nations with whom Pakistan has been at war.

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The Politics of Pollution—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn their two-part series The Politics of Pollution, Professors David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz examine the impact of industrial production on the well-being of workers and consumers alike. They explain how corporations have sought to avoid regulation and scandal by concealing negative health effects associated with their product, and they discuss the public outrage and activism that results when such hazards are revealed.

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The Politics of Pollution—E-Seminar 1, Lead Poisoning and the Industrial Age
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn Lead Poisoning in the Industrial Age, the first e-seminar in a two-part series, Professors Rosner and Markowitz focus on the lead industry as emblematic of industrial pollution and industrial disease in the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.

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The Politics of Pollution—E-Seminar 2, The Modern Threat of Plastics
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn The Modern Threat of Plastics, the second e-seminar in the series The Politics of Pollution, Professors Rosner and Markowitz focus on plastics—in particular, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)—as the paradigmatic substance of industrial disease of the second half of the twentieth century.

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Iran—A Series of Three E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Gary SickIn his three-part series on Iran, Professor Gary Sick introduces us to a nation that is still actively struggling to find its balance between the competing influences of Islam and nationalism, economics and independence, and populism and autocratism. In the first e-seminar in the series, Professor Sick explores Iran's unique form of Islam; in the second he focuses on the tumultuous relationship between the United States and Iran; and in the third, he offers a firsthand account of how America's leadership reacted to the Iranian revolution.

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Iran—E-Seminar 1, Islam, Revolution, and the Modern State
Columbia Learning Experiences
Gary SickThe first in a three-part series on Iran, this e-seminar explores the fundamental question of how Iran can create a new form of Islam that will respond to the realities of the modern world. Gary Sick, adjunct professor of international affairs and acting director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, introduces us to the modern Iranian state.

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Iran—E-Seminar 2, U.S. Policy in the Persian Gulf
Columbia Learning Experiences
Gary SickIn the second e-seminar of his three-part series on Iran, Gary Sick, adjunct professor of international affairs and acting director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, traces the path of revolution, wars, political crises, and missed opportunities in the Persian Gulf that has led the United States from twin pillars to dual containment and beyond. By exploring the evolution of U.S. security policy in the Gulf, Professor Sick sheds light on America's policies in the region today and offers insights into possible future directions.

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Iran—E-Seminar 3, Revolution, U.S. Policy, and Cold War Politics
Columbia Learning Experiences
Gary SickIn the final e-seminar of his three-part series on Iran, Gary Sick, adjunct professor of international affairs and acting director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia University, focuses on the Iranian revolution of 1979. A member of the U.S. National Security Council during the Carter administration, Professor Sick offers a firsthand account of how U.S. political leaders perceived and reacted to the events leading up to the revolution.

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Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Naomi WeinbergerIn this e-seminar series, Professor Naomi Weinberger examines conflicts that have arisen in the Middle East and assesses the sources of conflict—nationalist, ideological, ethnic, sectarian, economic, territorial—on the interstate level and as precipitants of intervention in civil strife. The emphasis is on the attitudes of regional actors, but the role of outsiders, either in exacerbating regional hostilities or in serving as peacemakers or peacekeepers, is also considered.

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Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism—E-Seminar 1, Debates over Partition
Columbia Learning Experiences
Naomi WeinbergerThis e-seminar series looks at the history of Israeli and Palestinian nationalism and the resulting conflicts that have arisen in the region. In this first e-seminar of the series, Professor Weinberger discusses the legacy of the Palestinian mandate, the evolution of Zionist ideology and Palestinian nationalism, and contemporary debates among Palestinian factions and Israeli political parties. She examines the major interstate wars (1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973) and peacemaking efforts.

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Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism—E-Seminar 2, Competing National Movements
Columbia Learning Experiences
Naomi WeinbergerIn the second e-seminar of this series, Professor Weinberger examines Palestinian nationalism and the history of early Zionist thinking, outlining the debate over whether Palestinian nationalism developed as an independent philosophy or merely a reaction to Zionism. Professor Weinberger highlights critical differences as well as striking parallels between the two national movements.

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Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism—E-Seminar 3, Wars: Strategies and Outcomes
Columbia Learning Experiences
Naomi WeinbergerIn this e-seminar, the third in a series of eight, Professor Naomi Weinberger looks at the Arab-Israeli interstate wars of 1967, 1969-70, and 1973. After examining why 1967 in particular was a watershed in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians as well as a major turning point for Israel's national image, Professor Weinberger looks at the forgotten war, the War of Attrition of 1969-70, and shows how it helped Egypt prepare for the 1973 war.

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Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism—E-Seminar 4, The Israeli Foreign Policy Debate
Columbia Learning Experiences
Naomi WeinbergerIn this e-seminar, the fourth in the series Israeli and Palestinian Nationalism, Professor Naomi Weinberger examines the evolution of the complex Israeli system of political parties and elections, and the creation of new voter constituencies from Israel's more recent immigrants.

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These learning experiences were developed by Columbia University in collaboration with an affiliate. Three to five hours in length, these in-depth multimedia e-seminars are free to Columbia students, faculty, and staff.

Liberty and Slavery in the Early British Empire
Columbia Affiliate Learning Experiences
Simon SchamaThis e-seminar from Simon Schama voyages from America to the Caribbean and Africa in its exploration of the human struggles with liberty and slavery. Illuminating the triumphs and crises of the British Empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this e-seminar complements Schama's acclaimed BBC documentary.

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These learning experiences were developed by Fathom in cooperation with Columbia University, and are hosted by Fathom. They are typically one hour or less in length, and are offered free of charge.

George Washington and the Legacy of Character
Columbia Learning ExperiencesFathom Archive
Dorothy Twohig, Peter Henriques, and Don HigginbothamWhile George Washington's legacy influences the American public to this day, most of us know little about his character. What foundation does Washington's modern reputation have in his actual eighteenth-century behavior? This seminar attempts to reveal the man behind the legend, delving into the record of the public and private life of America's first president.

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Early Contributions to Aviation
Columbia Learning ExperiencesFathom Archive
Randy JohnsonIn this seminar, aviation expert Randy Johnson, explains why navigational instruments were necessary for the advancement of commercial aviation and describes the first successful blind flight, made by famed aviator James H. Doolittle. Selected excerpts from interviews housed in the Aviation Project collection at Columbia University's Oral History Research Office offer first-hand accounts of this formative period for the aviation industry

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