Sad news: UCLA recently did some housecleaning on its podcast website, and cleared out all of its course podcasts prior to fall 2009.
Alert reader Andrew brought this to my attention and asks if anyone knows how to access the older courses. In pursuit of an answer I sent an e-mail to the UCLA webmaster, but have not yet received a reply. Happily some of the older courses are still available on UCLA’s YouTube channel, but alas not the course that Andrew was looking for.
There’s a moral here: if you think you might like an older UCLA course, download it now. Here are a few of my favorites among the still available older quarters.
Models of Cultural Evolution (feed), Robert Boyd, UCLA
In what ways is cultural evolution like genetic evolution? How do cultures evolve and adapt? This course attempts to answer these and other questions about how cultures change. A 2007 syllabus of the course is here.
Citizenship and Public Service (feed) Brian Walker – UCLA
This course surveys political philosophy of public service, from the ancient Greeks and Chinese to the present. Walker has a gift for explaining sometimes dense and difficult philosophic ideas with concrete and often entertaining examples. While some of this material is tough slogging, it’s worth the effort for the ample food for thought it provides.
Close Relationships (website), Thomas Bradbury, UCLA
Bradbury shows what recent psychological research can teach us about how intimate relationships develop and change over time. He moves from initial attraction, to formation of intimate bonds, and then on to how relationships grow or deteriorate. He uses a lot of video clips from his lab and from Hollywood movies to illustrate his points. (The audio on the video clips is often hard to hear, but watching the video feed makes it easier to follow.)
Public opinion, mass media, parties, and elections (audio feed) John Zaller, UCLA (Video links are at the course website.)
This is an interesting look at how political scientists analyze and explain American politics. Zaller tackles some of the enduring puzzles of American political life, such as why American politics is growing more and more polarized, so that compromise between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress seems all but impossible.
Sociology of Mass Communication (feed) Gabriel Rossman, UCLA
How does the American entertainment industry work and why does it work that way? Why are media conglomerates getting bigger and bigger? You’ll find the answers in this course. Rossman has an entertaining, conversational style and peppers his lectures with lots of examples. The syllabus has links to many of the assigned readings, which are available for free on the web.
Imperfect Rationality (feed) Mark Kleiman, UCLA
Much of economic theory is based on the idea that humans are rational actors who carefully calculate the pros and cons of each decision. But what gets left out such a world view? UCLA Public Policy Professor Mark Kleiman attempts to fill in the blanks in this course. A 2001 syllabus for the course is here.