Point for debate - Lecture 2

An anonymous guest joined in the community and expressed disappointment at the approach of Jonathan Spence to delivering the second of the 2008 Reith Lectures.

By: The OpenLearn team (Programme and web teams)

  • Duration 5 mins
  • Updated Thursday 24th September 2009
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under International Studies
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Detail from the Jade Record showing an assistant in scholar's clothes presenting a sinner's record to Biang-Cheng Copyrighted image Copyright: AxelBoldt via Wikimedia

Only marginally better––and still completely dumbed-down by the standards of previous Reiths. Why the Wikipedia history approach? Why the skating over complexity? In his answer to a question, JS expressed regret that 19th century China-Europe interactions were too often refracted through the Opium Wars, to the exclusion of much more vibrant forms of intercultural contact and exchange. But his lecture dealt with almost none of these on its dreary narrative of 'this happened then that happened' history.

A real wasted opportunity here.