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Video stars

This year we pondered the future of the union, revisited Natural Religion and theorised about violence and human nature. Join us for a review of 2013 on the University's YouTube channel.

The University's YouTube channel is a constantly expanding resource of videos about the University and the city of Edinburgh. It includes lectures by world-leading thinkers and coverage of our latest news and events.

What did you watch in 2013?

Below are the top five most viewed videos that were added to the channel in 2013. It includes, at number one, the public lecture and debate around Scottish independence that formed the centrepiece of our alumni weekend in June.

Professor Tom Devine, Senior Research Professor in History and Director of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, delivers his lecture entitled "In bed with an elephant: why has the Union survived for over three centuries?".

The lecture is followed by a debate, on the subject "Is the UK falling apart? Scotland and the future of the Union". Professor Charlie Jeffery, Director of the University's Academy of Government, chairs a panel debate on the future of the Union.

Recorded on 22 June 2013 at the University of Edinburgh's McEwan Hall.

10,175 views.

Lecture 1: 'Once Out of Nature' - Natural Religion as a Pleonasm

The set of questions around the two words "natural religion" implies that only the second word is a coded and thus a disputed category, the first one being taken for granted and uncoded. But if it can be shown that the very notion of nature is a theological construct, we might be able to shift the problem somewhat: the question becomes not to save or resurrect "natural religion", but to dispose of it by offering at last a ''secular'' version of nature and of the natural sciences.

Recorded on Monday 18 February 2013 at St Cecilia's Hall, the University of Edinburgh.

6,910 views.

Professor Pinker explores ideas drawn from his book entitled The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined.

This lecture discusses the notion that contrary to popular belief that we live in exceptionally violent times, rates of violence have been in decline over the course of history.

Professor Steven Pinker is an award-winning experimental psychologist who works at Harvard University.

He has been named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Society and has been listed among Prospect magazine's top 100 public intellectuals in the world and Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world today.

Recorded on Wednesday 29 May 2013 at The University of Edinburgh's McEwan Hall.

6,478 views.

Professor Bruno Latour delivers the Gifford Lecture series entitled "Facing Gaia. A new enquiry into Natural Religion".

Lecture 4: The Anthropocene and the Destruction of the Image of the Globe

The paradox of what is called "globalization" is that there is no "global globe" to hold the multitude of concerns that have to be assembled to replace the "politics of nature" of former periods. What are the instruments —always local and partial— that are sensitive enough to Gaia's components for the limited technical and emotional apparatus of assembled humans?

Recorded on Monday 25 February 2013 at St Cecilia's Hall, the University of Edinburgh.

3,736 views.

Professor Bruno Latour delivers the Gifford Lecture series entitled "Facing Gaia. A new enquiry into Natural Religion".

Lecture 2: A Shift in Agency - with apologies to David Hume

Once nature and the natural sciences are fully ''secularized'', it becomes possible to revisit also the category of the supernatural. Then, a different landscape opens which can be navigated through an attention to agencies and their composition. Such a freedom of movement allows the use of the rich anthropological literature to compare the ways different "collectives" manage to assemble and totalize different sets of agencies.

Recorded on Tuesday 19 February 2013 at St Cecilia's Hall, the University of Edinburgh.

3,552 views.

Alumni highlight

A thirty minute documentary reflecting on the experiences of students at the University of Edinburgh from 1965 to the present day.

Each featured graduate received some form of financial assistance to support their studies and in their interviews they explain the impact that this had on their time at Edinburgh.

The narrator is journalist, broadcaster and English Language and Linguistics alumna, Sheena McDonald.

You can view the individual interviews on the Edinburgh Up website.

Visit the Edinburgh Up website