I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 25-30 June 2021

China if you’re listening (ABC) Huawei and the new technology Cold War looks at the rise of Huawei as a global technology giant, and the fall-out from Australia’s decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network, a stance that America, NZ and Britain also took. Personally, I think it was a good call.

Rear Vision (ABC) I can remember protests at uni about the ‘Timor Gap’. I didn’t really know what it was (nor did I try very hard to find out, I confess) but what I have learned about Australia’s maritime borders with Indonesia and East Timor does not reflect well on us. How to carve up the riches of the sea- Australia, Indonesia and the sea boundaries looks at the advantageous treaties that Australia signed under the claims of the Continental Shelf, a policy of international law which has changed over recent decades. It doesn’t mention Witness K, but it will be interesting to see if Australia renegotiates with Indonesia, and it was pressured to do with East Timor.

The History Listen (ABC) How hypnosis brought the CIA to Australia. Martin Orne was a world-famous psychologist dealing in hypnosis and in the 1960s he came to the University of Sydney to conduct experiments there. He didn’t let on to his Australian colleagues that he was funded by the CIA, who were interested in mind-control as part of the Cold War arsenal. He may have taken their funding, but he largely acted as a brake on the CIA’s application of hypnosis by his emphasis on the scientific method.

Archive on 4 (BBC) I haven’t read Edward Said’s ‘Orientalism’ but I certainly have heard of it. Covering Edward Said: 40 years of Islam, media and the West looks at Said’s contribution as a public intellectual. He was originally a literary theorist and ‘Orientalism’ looked at the way the West defined ‘the East’ through art and literature. After the Iranian Embassy hostage situation, he turned his attention to the way the media conceptualized Islam, and continued to speak out as a counterbalance to the ‘othering’ approach of the Western media. When the fatwah was pronounced on Salman Rushdie after the publication of The Satanic Verses, he took a more nuanced approach than many others.

Saturday Extra (ABC) Once a month, Geraldine Doogue has a segment ‘A Foreign Affair’ where she looks at events in a particular country. Political shifts in Latin America features two commentators from American universities, discussing recent events in Colombia, Peru and Chile. In Columbia, it has been in response to a right-wing government’s attempt to repair the budget after coronavirus; in Peru it is a closely contested election between right and left wing extremes, and Chile it is a constitutional process to change the Pinochet-era constitution.

Latin America in Focus (AS/COA) I must admit that I’m not sure about the impartiality of this Free-Trade, private-enterprise-oriented group but they do have quite interesting podcasts. What Happened to Latin America’s Anti-Corruption Push looks at a recent study which ranks the capacity to combat corruption across Latin America. It identifies Uruguay, Chile and Costa Rica as the most robust, with Brazil, Mexico and Colombia declining over the last year. Bolivia and Venezuela come bottom of the pack.

Españolistos Speaking of Colombia, I don’t very often include the Spanish-speaking podcasts that I listen to, but Españolistos, produced by Spanishland School with whom I learn Spanish online, has a good 2-part series on current events in Colombia, Andrea’s home country called ¿Qué Está Pasando en Colombia? (ie. What is happening in Colombia?) You can ask for a transcript in Spanish.

History Hour (BBC) This is a magazine-type podcast that has four or five different segments dealing with recent (i.e. 1950s onwards) history. In the episode The Confederate Flag and America’s Battle over Race, they look at the young woman who pulled down the Confederate flag flying in the South Carolina state house, in protest at the Charleston church shooting in 2015, long before the recent protests involving flags and statues. It then examines the history of the East German Trabant car, the development of Mindfulness, and a ground-breaking documentary screened in the 1980s that changed many attitudes towards rape. There is also an interview with Liang Hong, the author of the best-selling (in China) book China in One Village: The Story of One Town and the Changing World which deals with the urbanization of China over the last 40 years. It sounds good.

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