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Turning Points in Modern History

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Turning Points in Modern History

Turning Points in Modern History
WEB-Rip | MP4 | AVC1 @ 900 Kbit/s | 426x320 | AAC Stereo @ 128 Kbit/s 48 KHz | 24 lectures, 31 minutes per lecture | 4.66 GB
Genre: History | Language: English

“Turning Points in Modern History takes you on a far-reaching journey around the globe—from China to the Americas to New Zealand—to shed light on how two dozen of the top discoveries, inventions, political upheavals, and ideas since 1400 have shaped the modern world. Taught by award-winning history professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 thought-provoking lectures tell the amazing story of how life as we know it developed—at times advancing in one brilliant instant and at other times, in painstaking degrees.”

Get a unique and rewarding view of world history by immersing yourself in the fascinating story of the discoveries, inventions, upheavals, and ideas that shaped the modern world.

What do the fall of Constantinople, the French Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and the invention of the Internet all have in common? If any one of these turning points had not occurred, or had occurred differently, the trajectory of modern history—and even your life—would have been dramatically altered.

Each event and innovation sparked a profound change in how entire societies viewed the world while signaling the dawn of a new political, economic, or cultural and social reality. Being aware of these turning points is critically important—but it's even more essential to comprehend the complexity of their causes and effects if you want to fully grasp how we arrived in the here and now. Only by understanding how these and other landmark moments and movements transformed our world and continue to impact it today, and by studying the creative ways humankind has found to adapt, can we get at the heart of what it truly means to be "modern."

takes you on a far-reaching journey around the globe—from China to the Americas to New Zealand—to shed light on how two dozen of the top discoveries, inventions, political upheavals, and ideas since 1400 have shaped the modern world. Taught by award-winning history professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, these 24 thought-provoking lectures tell the amazing story of how life as we know it developed—at times advancing in one brilliant instant and at other times, in painstaking degrees.

Starting in the early 15th century and culminating in the age of social media, you'll encounter astounding threads that weave through the centuries, joining these turning points in ways that may come as a revelation. You'll also witness turning points with repercussions we can only speculate about because they are still very much in the process of turning.

What It Means to Be Modern

So what is meant by "modern"? As opposed to ancient or premodern, modernity involves a mindset that stresses novelty, breaks with the past, and recognizes change.

In exploring these turning points, you'll see as the attributes of modernity and progress recur again and again, including

the growth of technology;
the autonomy of the individual;
reliance on experimentation and science over the dictates of tradition;
new concepts of popular sovereignty and equality; and
interconnectedness on an increasingly global scale.


Professor Liulevicius doesn't merely recount the greatest events of history, but rather has carefully selected true catalysts in provoking changes in worldview. Whether you're covering a turning point concerning

technological change, like the invention of the airplane, motion pictures, or the atomic bomb;
political history, such as the establishment of sovereign nation-states; or
social transformation, as in the abolitionist movement or the recognition of women's right to vote,


you'll focus on the impact the event had on its contemporaries and their hopes and fears regarding its effects. And you will see, in spite of the shock of the "new," society's remarkable ability to adapt.

A Unique Understanding of Our Shared Past

Some of the events presented in , including the discovery of the New World and the fall of the Berlin Wall, will immediately resonate as watershed moments. The global significance of other pivotal events may only become apparent through the professor's guidance, such as the publication of the Enlightenment-era Encyclopédie and the Russo-Japanese War—which has been historically overshadowed by the two world wars that followed.

Whether the events are familiar or surprising, you'll encounter a wealth of eye-opening insights throughout.

The voyages of Christopher Columbus: Despite what you may have learned in school, almost no educated European thought the world was flat in Columbus's day.
The printing press: Gutenberg's machine played a major role in launching the Protestant Reformation. For centuries, calls for reform within the church were slow to gain acceptance or were ignored. The printing press allowed Martin Luther's message to spread and take hold instead of quickly evaporating.
The American Revolution: Even by the time of the Boston Tea Party, few colonists were driving for independence. Most wanted the restoration of their rights as Englishmen.
The theory of evolution: Many people actually speculated on evolution before Charles Darwin. After he introduced his ideas, the Nazis and others took the concept in directions he would not have endorsed.


While any one of these or the other turning points featured are fascinating enough to warrant an entire course, this unique format allows parallels and links to be made across centuries and continents. You'll see how the building of the Berlin Wall intersects with the space race; trace how the Anglo-Dutch trade wars led to China's subjugation; and consider whether the Westphalian system of territorial sovereignty established in 1648 still applies in cyberspace as the Internet nullifies borders.

Learn What Might Have Been

As you discover how turning points such as the discovery of penicillin and the opening of East Berlin hinged on chance, accident, and, in some cases, sheer luck, you'll realize how easily history might have played out differently.

When Enrico Fermi and colleagues attempted to create a nuclear chain reaction in Chicago, no one knew with certainty it wouldn't run out of control. Had it gone awry, would their protection system—a technician with an axe and workers standing by with buckets of cadmium and salt—have been enough to prevent catastrophe?
If an "American missile launch" inadvertently detected by a Soviet satellite hadn't been declared a false alarm by a Russian official, how differently might the cold war have ended?
If the voyages of "the Chinese Columbus," Admiral Zheng He, had continued and reached the Americas, would we be speaking Mandarin today?


Having lived, studied, and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Dr. Liulevicius is uniquely qualified to draw unexpected connections between events and figures. In , you'll experience humanity's last 600 years as a sweeping narrative. By the final lecture, you'll see the big picture come into crystal-clear focus and possess an understanding of where we are, where we've been, and where we're headed like never before.”
Lecture 1 - 1433—The Great Voyages of Admiral Zheng He
Explore the idea of modernity and define “turning point.” Then, consider why Chinese admiral Zheng He’s voyages promoting the power of China’s authority did not continue as part of a larger campaign of discovery—and what the consequences might have been had he reached the Americas.

Lecture 2 - 1453—The Fall of Constantinople
Although many educated people think they know about the fall of the Roman Empire, Professor Liulevicius says the end actually happened 1,000 years later with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Delve deeper into this event and learn the trauma the loss created for Europeans.

Lecture 3 - 1455—Gutenberg’s Print Revolution
Trace how Johannes Gutenberg’s introduction of a press with movable type sparked a print revolution, becoming a key factor in the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the standardization of vernacular languages.

Lecture 4 - 1492—The Columbian Exchange
Without intending to, Christopher Columbus’s search for Asia initiated an event that has been called the most important historical turning point of modern times. Investigate how Columbus’s encounter with the Americas brought distant peoples together politically, culturally, and environmentally in ways that were simultaneously productive and deeply destructive.

Lecture 5 - 1600—The British East India Company
The English and Dutch East India companies coexisted in the Spice Islands as they worked to outflank the Portuguese, but their rivalry soon escalated into war. Examine the founding and meteoric growth of the East India Company and the violence that ultimately led Britain to establish an empire on which the sun never set.

Lecture 6 - 1648—The Treaty of Westphalia
The Thirty Years War involved some million soldiers and mass civilian casualties. Explore the significance of the Peace of Westphalia, the settlement that ended the war in 1648—a vital turning point that still shapes how international politics are handled.

Lecture 7 - 1676—Van Leeuwenhoek’s Microscope
Trace how Anton van Leeuwenhoek’s striking discovery fit into the larger Scientific Revolution and shifted intellectual authority from classic texts to that which is observable and measurable.

Lecture 8 - 1751—Diderot’s Enlightenment Encyclopedia
The Encyclopedie was the most ambitious reference work and publishing project of its time. Discover how the editors made knowledge accessible to a mass audience and championed the Enlightenment’s progressive, secular message, despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church.

Lecture 9 - 1787—The American Experiment
Learn how America’s founders established a model of a republic through debate, compromise, separation of powers, and a flexible Constitution.

Lecture 10 - 1789—The French Revolution
How did France’s fight for liberation from royal authority lead to Napoleon’s rise and even greater despotism? Contrast events in America with those in France to see how attempts at creating modern republics radically diverged.

Lecture 11 - 1838—The British Slavery Abolition Act
Confront the harsh realities of the African slave trade and consider the role social mobilization played in eradicating the institution across the British Empire.

Lecture 12 - 1839—The Opium War in China
Delve into the causes, conflicts, and consequences of the Opium Wars, in which China was psychologically devastated and subjugated by British imperialism.

Lecture 13 - 1859—Darwin and the Origin of Species
Discover how a simple observation inspired Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection, and why his Origin of Species was eagerly accepted by much of Victorian society. Then, look at how the Nazis and others distorted Darwin’s ideas.

Lecture 14 - 1869—Binding Continents
In 1869, two events connected the world through modern technology, giving science vast significance as a source of authority. Learn how the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States and the Suez Canal in Egypt revolutionized the way people perceived space and time.

Lecture 15 - 1893—First Women Voters in New Zealand
Follow the fight for women’s suffrage in New Zealand and America, as two global trends—the demand for women’s political voice and the growth of settler societies—intersected.

Lecture 16 - 1896—The Invention of Motion Pictures
Motion pictures revolutionized people’s view of the world. Survey early movie culture, along with the contributions of Thomas Edison, Georges Melies, and others, then see how the medium became “weaponized” by Bolsheviks in Russia and Nazis in Germany.

Lecture 17 - 1903—Kitty Hawk and Powered Flight
Witness the dawning of the air age and meet the Montgolfier brothers, the Wright brothers, and others who brought humanity’s dream of flying to fruition. Then, explore how aviation shaped the experience of modernity, from the relative ease of travel to the stark reality of “total warfare.”

Lecture 18 - 1904—The Russo-Japanese War
To the world’s surprise, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Learn how this conflict fought with industrialized weapons reconfigured world politics by igniting the process of global decolonization, establishing Japan as a great power, and setting the stage for two world wars.

Lecture 19 - 1928—The Discovery of Penicillin
The advance of antibiotics occurred amid the larger context of the development of germ theory. Trace how scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms of infection and disease evolved during the 19th century—and see how Alexander Fleming stumbled upon his life-saving discovery.

Lecture 20 - 1942—The Dawn of the Atom
When German physicists split the atom, Albert Einstein warned President Roosevelt of the potential for “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.” Chart the course of the nuclear bomb from this letter through the first nuclear chain reaction led by physicist Enrico Fermi, the Manhattan Project, and devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Lecture 21 - 1969—Walking on the Moon
The moon landing expanded humanity’s sense of the possible. Learn how the space program grew out of advances in rocketry during World War II and advanced rapidly due to cold war paranoia exacerbated by the launch of Sputnik.

Lecture 22 - 1972—China Enters the World Balance
Nixon’s meeting with Mao shifted the cold war’s balance and returned China to the world stage. Learn the reasons for Nixon’s trip, the consequences of which still reverberate, and plot the rise of Mao and communism in China. Then, see how Deng Xiaoping’s promotion of private enterprise began a trajectory of growth that continues.

Lecture 23 - 1989—The Fall of the Berlin Wall
How did a bureaucratic blunder by a Politburo member lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall? Find out as you examine the surprisingly peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union and Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe.

Lecture 24 - 2004—The Rise of Social Media
Are the Web and social media making us more globally connected or locking us into niche societies and creating an epidemic of loneliness? Probe both the power and the perils of the Internet—from aiding popular uprisings to rewiring our brains.”

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