Saturday, August 31, 2019

Captain cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation. Post 19: recreating Cook's expedition

In the 1990s, a replica of Cook's ship Endeavour was built. It is in fully working order, and can be visited in Sydney. In keeping with a rising trend over recent decades of the interest in "experience" as an object of historical study, a recreation of a part of Cook's first expedition was undertaken a few years later, with a crew of volunteers. This series followed the example of a large number of "historical reality television series" such as "The 1900 House" or "Victorian Slum", which have turned out to be far more popular than had been expected.

The series on Cook's ship is entertaining, as well as having high quality historical content. It opens up a large number of key questions, which you will be looking at in more detail in class and in your reading. Episode 1 is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qo73ByQFoE&t=7s

All the episodes are worth a look, but as you are probably short of time, I do recommend you use one of the many sites which will convert YouTube videos to MP3 files. In this way you can listen to the episodes while knitting  a victory scarf in preparation for your success in the agrégation (for example).

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Constitutional crisis

Britain is living through the most severe political and constitutional crisis for many decades, perhaps even centuries. Here is one historical approach to the present situation:


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Captain cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation, post 18: history of the Royal Navy

Frequently, insufficient emphasis is put on the fact that Cook was a military man. This video is episode 3 of an excellent documentary broadcast by the BBC, on the history of the Royal Navy. It shows how horrific eighteenth century wars were, and their importance in transforming the economy and kick starting the industrial revolution. The first part of this episode deals with Cook, and the politics of his expeditions, but the whole episode is well worth watching. Episode 2 of the series is good, too, but deals with an earlier period.
You will find the video here:

Although the video has good visuals, if you do like I do and use one of the many websites which converts youtube videos to MP3 files, you can listen to it while jogging in the early morning.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation. Post seventeen: questions

Some questions to be thinking about. Some can easily be solved with a quick internet search? Some have no generally agreed answer ...

Why did Cook and his crew have an enormous technological advantage over the native peoples of Tahiti, Hawaii, New Holland etc?

Why did the different peoples die from European diseases, and not the Europeans from their diseases?

Why were Cook’s instructions secret both for the first and the third voyages?

Why did he have just one ship on the first expedition, and two on the second and third expeditions?

Why were there soldiers on board all the expeditions?

What light does Captain Cook’s story throw on the question of the role of the individual in history?

What would you make an axe with if you didn’t have any metal? What about an arrow?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Brexit season 2: Is Winter Coming?

If you  are following the somewhat confusing situation with the British Conservative government and Brexit, you might be interested in some amusing comment from comedian Mark Steel:


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 post sixteen: music

As Cook began his voyage in 1769, his sponsor the earl of sandwich and his milieu might well have been listening to the concerts of the latest music. Like this piece, out that year.


Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation. Post fifteen: A folk song

The expeditions of Cook have inspired a number of songs over the years. Not all of them are of high quality! This is perhaps one of the better ones.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Brexit saison 2

If you are unsure what is going to happen in the Uk this autumn, you are not the only one, as the country faces its biggest political crisis for decades, and the Conservative party, the oldest political party in Europe, shatters.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

200 years ago: Peterloo

One of the most important protests in British history happened just 200 years ago.
The BBC has made a radio programme about it.

Captain Cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation post fourteen: the invention of racism

Naturally to understand the complexity of first contact between "the West" and the native peoples of the places visited by Cook, it is essential to have some idea of where racism came from and how it works. This BBC documentary (part one of a three-part series on the history of racism) is helpful. You will find it here:

Parts two and three, which are about the 19th and 20th centuries, are also good, but less of a priority when studying Cook's expeditions.

Don’t hesitate to use one of the many sites which will transform a YouTube video into an MP3 file. Then you can work while practising your golf swing. 

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation post thirteen: first contacts

No doubt the most important part of Cook's story is the first contacts made with peoples who had not been in touch with the "Western world". By the end of the nineteenth century most peoples had had contact: but not all. This video shows a very recent experience of first contact between a few members of a tribe which had been completely isolated, no doubt for over a thousand years. Naturally today, when the aim of western first contacters is not specifically to take the land, the situation is different, but still thought-provoking. This video is only a few minutes long.