I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 9-16 January 2021

The Daily (New York Times) What does it mean to be the last two females of a species? A Mother and Daughter at the End is about Najin and Fatu, the last two remaining Northern White Rhinos. (Interestingly, the Guardian also had a different article about them recently too). Born in a European zoo and with numbers falling precipitously, they were sent back to Kenya in the hope that going ‘home’ might spur procreation, even though Kenya did not have Northern White Rhinos. They needed to be taught rhino behaviour by a southern white rhino. The only hope for survival of the species is through assisted reproduction.

The Documentary (BBC World). The episode The Digital Human: Sacred looks at objects that are imbued with special meaning because of the memories they hold. Some end up in museums, some are cherished personally: a camera, a mobile phone.

Latin American History Podcasts Back to The Conquest of Mexico, Episode 2. The Aztec were already on edge before Cortez even set foot on land, with a number of strange happenings and premonitions presaging momentous events. Imagine Cortez’ surprise when what he should stumble upon but Spanish-speaking shipwreck victims who had been in Mexico for years, who acted as very handy intermediaries.

Heather Cox Richardson. With all that’s happening in America at the moment, I’m hooked again on her current affairs chats. You can find them on her Facebook page. The Tuesday videos are her responses to current questions, and at the moment all the questions are about what is happening in America today.

History West Midlands. I enjoy these history podcasts from the Midlands of England (Birmingham etc.) which mainly focus on industrial-revolution era social history, with a mattering of Roman and English Civil War history. Women Chainmakers: the ‘White Slaves’ of England looks at the system of outwork in the manufacture of chains by women working in small forges attached to their houses in the town of Cradley Heath. In 1910 they achieved the breakthrough wage of two and a half shillings an hour, but had to strike against their employers to actually receive it as the bosses tried to finagle their way out of paying. There’s a fascinating page showing different types of sweated domestic labour here. It was part of a 1906 public exhibition to raise awareness of the conditions under which small items of manufacture were made.

Radiolab. I actually heard this being played on Earshot during their summer season of repeats. More Perfect: Sex Appeal is about the way that Ruth Bader Ginsberg used a court-case of discrimination against men to establish the principle that the 14th amendment could apply to gender as well as to race. RBG’s case went down in history, but immediately prior to that case in court that day was another case (Craig v Borum) based on drinking laws and a Honk and Holler outlet. This is the story of that largely-forgotten and rather fumbled case.

Full Story (Guardian Australia) I was surprised to learn that ethnographers and linguists were still studying the Noongar people of south-western Australia until the 1930s. In Kim Scott on reconnecting to Noongar identity through story, author Kim Scott talks about a project linking government and European historical records, with Noongah stories of country. These Noongah stories are based on interviews with the children and grandchildren of the informants to ethnographers, and family stories handed on through generations. It is linked to Scott’s essay that he wrote in the Guardian in August 2020 as part of the Fire, Flood and Plague anthology, edited by Sophie Cunningham

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