I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 8-15 July 2021

99% Invisible. One of the few things that I DO like about budget airlines is that no-one can put their seat back. Instead, everyone sits bolt upright, in full possession of the meagre space in front of your knees. This episode “Mine” is a cracker – talking about the concept of ‘owning’ something – a physical object, land, space, sunlight – based on the book of the same name by Michael Heller and James Salzman. They suggest that there are 6 deliberately-ambiguous conflicting ‘stories’ of ownership: 1. I’m here first 2. Possession 3. It’s attached to something that is mine 4. I worked for it 5. It’s part of my body 6. It belongs to my family. Really interesting.

China If You’re Listening (ABC) ‘Chinese Students: Commodity or Opportunity?’ looks at the dependence of universities on international students, especially from China. Education is seen as Australia’s third most important ‘export’ and this has skewed funding models and educational provision shamelessly, in my opinion. Not just in universities either- TAFEs too have allowed themselves to be compromised by their English language class provision. I hadn’t really thought of it from the students’ perspective either: that they don’t want to be in a class entirely of Chinese students any more than the few Australian students do.

Travels Through Time. I love this podcast but it’s steadily adding to my list of To Be Read books! In The Quest for the Lost City (1833), historian Edmund Richardson speaks about Charles Masson, a deserter from the East India Company, who after merging into Kabul society, is driven to search for Alexandria Under the Mountains, one of the many cities across the Middle East that Alexander the Great established in his own name. The book Alexandria: the Quest for the Lost City sounds fascinating.

Heather Cox Richardson It’s NAIDOC week in Australia, and it seemed appropriate to tune in to Heather Cox Richardson’s short series on Native American History (even though she recorded it in June). Her episode of June 4 starts off with the Plains Indians – I’m not really sure what terminology I’m supposed to be using here – during the Civil War. At the same time that Americans were fighting for human rights via the Civil War on the east side of the country, wholesale dispossessions were taking place in the middle of the country as settlers swarmed across indigenous traditional lands.

The Last Archive During the second season of the Last Archive, historian and writer Jill Lepore has been looking at the rise of doubt over the last 100 years of American history. The episode Epiphany brings this right up to date, with the storming of Congress on January 6. But before that, there was the little known Iron Mountain hoax of the late 1960s- a publication that lingers on far-right websites to this day.

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