I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-31 May 2021

Duolingo. These are joint Spanish/English podcasts, but you would get the gist of the podcast even if you can’t speak Spanish. Buscando a los 33 (Looking for the 33) is about the rescue of 33 miners who were trapped in a copper mine in the Atacama Desert in Chile in 2010. It is told by a young woman, Sandra Jara, who worked with the software to determine where to drill to find the tunnel in which it was hoped the miners were sheltering after the mine collapse. They were finally rescued after 2 months.

Travels Through Time. I read Giles Tremlett’s Ghosts of Spain before I visited Andalusia in the days when you could still travel. In this episode The International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, Tremlett chooses the year 1936, when the civil war broke out. He chooses July 19 1936 in Barcelona, on the day when Franco’s failed coup reaches Barcelona; October 10 in Paris when the poets and artists are milling around the Quai d’Orsay railway station, waiting to travel to Marseilles, and November 8 when the same people are now marching up the Gran Via in Madrid to the University City. His book The International Brigades, Fascism, Freedom and The Spanish Civil War sounds a good, but hefty (800 page) read.

Fifteen Minute History. It really IS a 15 minute episode this time. I’m on a bit of a Spanish Civil War kick at the moment. Foreign Fighters in the Spanish Civil War features Lisa Kirschenbaum who wrote  International Communism and the Spanish Civil War: Solidarity and Suspicion (Cambridge University Press 2015). Her focus seems to be on individuals who joined the International Brigade- not the poets, but the Communist Party members from America and European countries, following them through to their post-Civil War lives.

My Marvellous Melbourne This rather scratchy episode, Jewish Melbourne in the Nineteenth Century was recorded from a virtual seminar hosted by the Australian Jewish Historical Society on 20 August 2020. In it Sue Silberberg talks about her new book A Networked Community: Jewish Melbourne in the Nineteenth Century. She points out that most of the Jews who emigrated to Melbourne were English-speaking, and that they did not face the many political and cultural barriers that Jews in other countries did. And quite a few of them were Masons, which I didn’t realize. It sounds an interesting book. Just add that one to the To-Be-Read pile

Witness to Yesterday. This is a Canadian podcast, presented by the Champlain Society, whose mission is “deepening awareness of Canada’s documentary past and of the people who created it”. Beauty Contests and Settler Femininity is based on Patrizia Gentile’s book Queen of the Maple Leaf: Beauty Contests and Settler Femininity. The author talks about ‘settler femininity’ as the way that beauty contests championed the idea of the nation of Canada, both geographically and in terms of the shared identities of the participants (I think that’s what she said). She goes back to the 1920s in her analysis, although the trademarks of various beauty contests were not sold until the 1940s. She notes the paradox that the organizers of pageants clearly declaimed that they are not beauty contests, when they obviously are. An interesting concept- I wonder if a study of Australian beauty contests would come up with different findings?

Rough Translation is presenting a called Home/Front in their new season. It’s about the divide between the military and civilian population. Now only 1% of American families have a direct contact with someone in the military, and they are deployed for one tour after another because there are so few serving. I must admit that I know only one person who has served in the military. I don’t know if there’s much that can be said about the topic beyond this introduction, so I probably won’t persist with it.

How It Happened. This is a podcast by Jonathan Swan (son of Dr. Norman Swan). He hasn’t posted anything for a while after a series describing the last days of Trump’s presidency. But he recently added this podcast Trump’s Last Stand: An Off-The-Books Mission about Trump’s ad-hoc decision to withdraw all the troops from Afghanistan- something that he had wanted to do from the start. But not like this- and he was talked out of it, only to have Joe Biden announce it instead.

Archive on 4 (BBC) The presenter of The Tulsa Tragedy that Shamed America hadn’t heard of it, even though he grew up as part of the black community in Oklahoma (I had- thank you Heather Cox Richardson). It’s the centenary today (31 May) and this podcast has lots of oral histories recorded earlier this century with people who witnessed it as children. Apparently after the torching of the prosperous Black area of Greenwood in Tulsa, the suburb had rebuilt by the 1940s only to be decimated again by urban renewal, the placing of a freeway through the middle of it, and ironically, desegregation. For many years it was just not spoken of, by both white communities who threatened historians who spoke out, and black communities, who didn’t want later generations to be burdened by it.

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