Here’s a gem I recently discovered while rummaging around in iTunesU.
George Mason University historian T. Mills Kelly has posted 7 lectures from his course Nationalism in Eastern Europe (iTunes), which open a window into an area usually glossed over or ignored in more general European history courses.
Kelly has an engaging teaching style and his interaction with students adds verve and energy to the podcasts. The first lecture taught me a lot about World War II in Eastern Europe. (Hint: if you want to skip Kelly’s explanation of his teaching methods, start the lecture at the 20 minute point.) Here are some interesting tidbits:
- While Slovakia had a pro-fascist regime during most of the war, the Slovak army clashed with the Germans near the end of the war in the ill-fated Slovak National Uprising. Kelly says that Slovaks like to think of this uprising as a redemptive moment which cleansed their country from the taint of collaboration with the Nazis.
- During the course of the war, every Yugoslav family lost a family member killed by another Yugoslav. This legacy would help fuel the nationalist passions that tore the country apart in the 1990s.
I couldn’t find a current syllabus for the course, but if you want to check out the recommended reading, you can peruse this old syllabus from 2005 in the Internet Archive. It’s also interesting to browse the student blog and see their reactions to the course.
You also might want to check out Kelly’s blog Edwired about computer technology and history. Kelly is also associate director of the Center for History and New Media which sponsors a number of interesting websites including Making the History of 1989 and World History Matters. These websites have lots of great resources for history teachers, but even if you’re not a teacher you can have fun browsing the primary sources and learning about techniques for teaching history.