I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 January 2020


The Founding of Australia, 26 January 1788, by Captain Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove. Original oil sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmage R.A. ML 1222.

Rear Vision (ABC) Well, January is Australia Day month, and no doubt we’ll reheat the old argument about the appropriateness of 26 January as our national day.  I’ve got in early by listening to a Rear Vision podcast from 20 January 2019  Sydney: first encounters which looks at the very first months of contact between the First Fleet and the indigenous people they had encountered. The program features top historians, and sheds some interesting perspectives. For example, Captain Cook didn’t encounter any aboriginal people at Sydney Cove when he visited it because it was winter, whereas when Arthur Phillip sailed in with the First Fleet, it was high summer and the place was teeming with people. Well worth a listen.

Shooting the Past. In a strange and gratifying turnabout, most of us know Claire Wright through her books but she’s also a very active media presenter. In Shooting the Past, she takes a photograph and contextualizes it.  In Bones, she takes a picture of a tattooed Richmond footballer, Robert McGie, sitting in the middle of the MCG at the 1973 Grand Final, doing up his shoelaces, with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.  You’re not likely to see that today! Sports historian Chris McConville and former ABC Sports Presenter Angela Pippos give their perspectives on the photograph, how football has changed, and the difference that women’s AFL has made.

Outlook (BBC) From Homeless Kid to hero of Africa’s biggest slum (Sept 2019) tells the story of Kennedy Odede, who grew up in Kibera, the slum right in the middle of Nairobi. (When I stayed in Nairobi, it was just a few suburbs across from us.)  Teaching himself to read, and inspired by Martin Luther King, he started a charity Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco). If you look at their website, you can see a video of little-girl’s-eye view of Kibera as she walks to a school provided by Shofco.  The Underground Network saving gay Iraqis (August 2019) tells the story of Majid and Ahlam, whose network originally assisted women facing domestic violence from their husbands, then women endangered by ISIS and eventually gay couples who faced death after being raped by ISIS soldiers (ah, the hypocrisy).

Reith Lectures 2016. In the final lecture of the 2016 series, Culture, Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges the idea of'”Western Culture’ (take that, Ramsay centre!) He argues that the concept of ‘Western Culture’ is a recent one, and that what is perceived as being ‘Western Culture’ incorporates Greek, Roman and Islamic cultures. Taken together, these four lectures have rejected the idea of the 4 Cs ( Creed, Country, Colour and Culture) as being unitary, essential entities, arguing that there is just as much variation within these markers of identity, as between them.


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