The Great Courses and Caliphate

I have been listening to reporter Rukmini Callimachi unveil fascinating accounts of her team’s work on the frontlines of the war against ISIS in a new podcast from the New York Times, Caliphate, which explores the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul. The approach is intimate and personal, building from the opening episode’s posed question, “Who are we fighting?” to this week’s meeting and interview with a young ISIS recruit from Toronto. Looking to learn more, I set out to explore a Princeton Public Library resource where I could find related audio and video — The Great Courses on audio and video.

The Great Courses? Do you know we have lectures  available from top scholars at universities throughout the world?

If you’ve discovered The Great Courses, keep reading because we’ve expanded the ways to get this material from our collection. Please explore this series of lectures from some of the best college-level courses on both audio and video.

We have over 100 audiobook titles on CD to borrow. Even better, you can find over 3,200 of The Great Courses on audio at hoopla without even coming into the building, always available for multiple people to borrow simultaneously so there’s no waiting on a hold line.

We also offer over 3,400 of The Great Courses on video at Kanopy to watch as streaming video from your computer or mobile device, instantly, with no holds or waiting. These video classes are only available online, through the library. Our DVD collection has only a small fraction of the content.

Why borrow The Great Courses on audio via hoopla?  

Our audiobook collection on CD gets tremendous use, and we try our best to clean and replace damaged discs. Even so, wear and tear over time makes for skips and blips on CD that you won’t find listening to the digital version from hoopla.

Also consider the convenience of borrowing a course any time with no need to place a hold for a course that is checked out, ever.

Fun fact: Look on hoopla for an extensive selection of titles. There are over 3,200 courses on hoopla — so many more than we have shelf space or budget to purchase for our audiobook on CD collection.

What topics can I explore? What’s popular?

On hoopla audio, our cardholders are borrowing courses with titles varying from The Art of Investing  to Why We Eat What We Do  to Developing Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence  to Great Minds Of The Western Intellectual Tradition  and The Origin And Evolution Of Earth: From The Big Bang To The Future Of Human Existence.

One of our most popular film suppliers on Kanopy, the most popular streaming video from The Great Courses on our site are The Meanings of ColorIntroduction to India (Part of the Series: A History of British India), Western Yoga (Part of the Series: Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body), Algebra IWhy Mindfulness Matters (Part of the Series: The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being), Europe on the Brink of the Black DeathAn Introduction to DrawingCognitive Behavioral Foundations,  Jesus – The Man Who Became God and Introduction to the Spanish Language (Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language).

A look at my results

I set out to learn more about both the historical and current conditions and operatives described in the Caliphate podcast with The Great Courses and Kanopy. A quick keyword search on ISIS led me to some relevant documentary films, including PBS Frontline’s The Rise of ISIS and others from independent film producers.

Voila. Among the “related videos” was Muslim Empires Land, Language, Religion, from The Great Courses. This course has over 30 episodes, varying from a half hour to an hour in length, and offers the historical background I was looking for.

Viewing other Kanopy documentary films covering contemporary news and times, my research can unfold. I can return to view more films as The New York Times releases more podcasts from Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting.

If you want to delve into the fascinating story of Callimachi’s team’s research in Iraq and the documents collected over five harrowing trips to retrieve thousands of files abandoned by the militants as their ‘caliphate’ crumbled, you can read more about the inspiration for my research.

Photo via Creative Commons license from The U.S. Army  Micronesian native, Staff Sgt. William P. Skilling, tank commander, Company D, 3rd Brigade, 8th Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment, minimizes his physical presence by kneeling during a dismounted patrol in Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 15, 2008. Company D teamed up with their Iraqi counterparts for the joint mission conducted in the Yarmook neighborhood.

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