Several of you have asked whether I could record and post my lectures in my proposed Columbia course if in fact it actually comes to pass. I am flattered by the request but I am afraid I think it would be a bad mistake. Let me explain why. A classroom is or ought to be a protected space where students can explore ideas, ask questions, make comments, and in general open themselves up in ways that they might not wish to have recorded for all time and preserved in the cloud. If I were to record and post my classroom lectures, the students would cease to be students and would become an audience. Some years ago I watched a few lectures delivered at Harvard to an adoring mob of students by Michael Sandel and I think I commented on this blog that it seemed to me to be a very sophisticated form of stand-up comedy, not a classroom at all.
I feel badly about this because I have enjoyed enormously recording lectures on ideological critique, the thought of Karl Marx, the thought of Sigmund Freud, and Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The Kant lectures especially have found an international audience and have brought me many interesting questions and comments from viewers around the world.
If I do get to teach the course, perhaps when it is over I can record some lectures on Marcuse to complement my Marx and Freud lectures.