Words of the World is a nice set of short films from the University of Nottingham; they take a series of words freighted with cultural history, from avant-garde and anti-Semitism to vindaloo and zeitgeist, and have one of their experts explain where they come from and what cultural role they play. The samovar one goes into some detail about how you set the thing up and make tea from it; the only disappointment is that the samovar used in the film is a modern electrical one, and Ms. Marsh has to keep saying “If this were a traditional samovar, it would…” This one, on Balkan and Balkanization, with David Norris, is extremely interesting; I hadn’t known some of the history involved. It’s a good way to spend a few minutes listening to scholars and trying to make out the books on their shelves. (Thanks, Sven!)


  1. Heh, we just finished up a wood-fired samovar tonight, flames shooting from the stack and all that. But then, it isn’t words, it’s the real world

  2. Interesting. Nottingham are also the ones doing the Periodic Videos. I wonder if that’s what inspired this project.

  3. Not the David Norris I was expecting, albeit a bearded academic as well, but extremely interesting all the same.

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