Program Details

Turning Points: Events, Ideas and People Who Changed the Course of History

Stephen Berk
International Relations / History
Video Catch-up

Course Description

There are times in history when the lives of human beings change suddenly, either for good or for bad. Very often these turning points involve war and revolution. Sometimes, however, new ideas in science and the humanities have the same effect. This series deals with the great transformations of the modern period and their consequences.


  1. The French Revolution, Napoleon and 1848: The Revolution effected every part of the globe and transformed peoples and nations.
  2. Marx, Lenin and Revolutions: A down and out German of Jewish extraction wrote a manifesto and a turgid book on capitalism which captured the heart and mind of people every where and inspired revolutions.
  3. War is the Midwife of Change: The Great War and its Consequences - Why this war is considered the seminal event of the twentieth century.
  4. Hot War and Cold War:  Sixty Million Dead and the Emergence of the Soviet Union and the United States as Super Powers - The political, social and scientific results were enormous.

About the Instructor

  • Stephen Berk, PhD, is a Professor of History at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he holds the Henry and Sally Schaffer Chair in Holocaust and Jewish Studies. He is the author of Year of Crisis, Year of Hope: Russian Jewry and the Pogroms of 1881-1882. Berk has written articles on Russian and Jewish history, anti-Semitism, and the Middle East. In 2010, Berk was designated an Israel Hero for his defense and advocacy of the State of Israel by JERNY, the Jewish Educational Resources of New York. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Citizen Laureate Award from the University of Albany Foundation.  

Upcoming programs presented by Stephen Berk.

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