Stuff the British stole (ABC) Shots Fired I heard this program advertised some time ago on the radio, but I could never catch the title! However, I finally tracked it down and listened to this episode on Invasion/Australia Day. I can remember feeling angry that the Gweagal shield was being returned to the British Museum after being on exhibition in Canberra as part of the Encounters exhibition at the NMA, where it was identified as being ‘collected’ at Botany Bay. But now that the custodianship of the shield by the British Museum is being challenged, it seems that it was probably not the shield dropped as part of the first contact at Botany Bay in 1770 after all. It raises questions about the relative worth of an artefact, the stories attached to it, and the politics of retaining or repatriating it.
The Daily (NYT) One of the first things that Joe Biden did on becoming president was tear up the Keystone Oil Pipeline. Good thing, too. This article from February 2018 has been read as a podcast and it goes through the history of American climate change activism, starting with Bill McKibben and 350.org, and focussing on five activists called The Valve Turners who deliberately trespassed while shutting off pipelines to ensure that they would front a court so that they could argue the necessity to act against climate change. Middle aged, upper middle class, educated Quakers and Unitarians… I’m proud to hear this, and I doff my cap to their bravery.
My Anne Lister-fest I finished watching Gentleman Jack (starring Suranne Jones) last night and I was curious to know more about Anne Lister and how accurate the Sally Wainwright-directed depiction was. First I listened to the History Extra Podcast Anne Lister, the Real ‘Gentleman Jack’ which featured Anne’s most recent biographer Angela Steidele. I think that her biography, Gentleman Jack: A biography of Anne Lister, Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist was originally written in German and translated by Kate Derbyshire. I wasn’t quite convinced by Steidele’s unfamiliarity with English gentlewomen’s diaries which (from the limited experience I have with them) are almost always boring, and there seemed a lot of emphasis on the ‘coded’ part. This same Kate Derbyshire the translator was a guest on The Dead Ladies Show Episode #12 Anne Lister where I was disconcerted by the tittering and male guffawing in the audience, something that the presenter seemed to be playing up to. I noticed that in the TV series, credit was given to Jill Liddington, so I sought her out. I found a series of videos on ALBW – Anne Lister Birthday Week- which was planned for 2020 before COVID intervened. They have bravely rescheduled it for April- then, July 2021- I am not hopeful. Jill Liddington seemed more a historian’s historian, who gave equal weight to the context of diary-writing and the English class system. Jane Liddington: The Inspiration of History is a one-hour interview with Pat Esgate (American organizers of the ALBW).
The Guardian. I have a friend from Brazil, and since I’ve been learning Spanish I am more interested in Latin American/South American affairs. I saw the appalling news about the shortage of oxygen in Brazil, so I was interested in Why Brazilians are taking the Covid crisis into their own hands. The reporter in this podcast, Tom Phillips, thinks that the tide has turned on Bolsonaro because of his handling of Covid. I’m not so sure.
Latin American History Podcast Continuing on with The Conquest of Mexico- Part 4, the podcaster Max Serjeant pulls a bit of swiftie here. He starts off telling the story of a European explorer meeting with an indigenous culture, going off, returning, getting killed and that’s the end of the story. This explorer is not Cortez of course, (I’ll let you guess or find out who it is) but he raises some interesting questions about how the appearance of a ‘stranger’ fits into pre-existing cosmology. Cortez meets envoys from the Aztecs, and is rebuffed in his efforts to meet with Montezuma, who rather foolishly keeps sending him gifts which just happen to include gold – thereby highlighting the desirability of Aztec wealth. Cortez teams up with the Totonacs, who had been defeated by the Aztecs in the old “enemy of my enemy” scenario.
Heather Cox Richardson. Returning to her Thursday series on Reconstruction in America, on 31 December she looked at two groups who were excluded by the 14th Amendment: the indigenous American tribes and women. For some reason, I always avoided doing American history and I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize that the ‘Indian’ Wars took place during (as well as before and after) the Civil War. It was interesting to juxtapose these wars, treaties and land swaps with what was happening in Australia with our indigenous people. However, I disagree with her definition of ‘suffragist’ vs ‘suffragette’ (she sees it as a US vs UK thing) rather than a difference in strategy.