Category Archives: What I've been listening to

I Hear with my Little Ear: Podcasts 8/9/18- 15/9/18

Sandra continues….but hold on! It just stops! Episode 7 then nothing! I haven’t felt this betrayed since the last episode of The Hour ( where I still don’t know -did Freddy die or not?) What ever happened to the obligation to round something off???

Revolutions. Episode 9.03 conservative-liberal-conservative (sounds a bit like Australian politics at the moment). No wonder Gabriel Garcia Marquez had so many clapped-out old generals to write about. But in Episode 9.04 all of a sudden – I remember from Revolutions 1 in first-year uni! Portfirio Diaz!

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC). Oh no! The last one in the series. Episode #17 Robert Mueller: ‘Trump’s Worst Nightmare’

The History Listen: (ABC). Plane Crash 1940: Living with the dead.  The plane crash ‘belongs’ to history and grandchildren now. What are the responsibilities in revisiting an event when the participants are still in living memory of a later generation?

Chat 10 Looks 3 Ep. 88: A Square Inch of Unkissed Arse. Of course, Leigh Sales and Anabelle Crabb are talking about the Liberal leadership change. What else would they talk about?

I Hear With My Little Ear: Podcasts 31/8/18- 7/9/18

Another In Our Time podcast, this time about the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861 in Russia. Not one of Melvyn’s better ones- he keeps coughing (most unpleasant because it’s so loud) and it was very top-down in its analysis.  It’s amazing to think that there were 40,000,000 serfs who were liberated. Some interesting links with Russian literature, parallels with the Emancipation of Slaves in British colonies in the 1830s (which they didn’t explore).

And yet another In Our Time, the episode about Bedlam, the ‘lunatic asylum’ that became a tourist attraction. Originally located at St Mary of Bethlehem in 1247 (thought to have been abbreviated into the epithet ‘Bedlam’), it later shifted to Moorfields in the 17th century.  Some of its practices were condemned for their cruelty, but they changed as the perceptions and explanations for mental illness altered over its 600 years of operation.

Billy Griffiths talking about his book Deep Time Dreaming on Episode #40 The Archaeology Show through the Archaeology Podcast Network.  A very low-tech podcast with mediocre sound quality with two young interviewers who obviously knew nothing about about Australian history or archaeology. Still, if you haven’t read the book it’s probably a good run-down on it, because I’m not sure that these interviewers had read it either.

Sandra. My husband mentioned this podcast after reading about it in New Scientist. It’s about a woman, Helen, who takes up a job being the voice of ‘Sandra’, a virtual assistant like Siri or Google. In Episode #1 Hope is a Mistake Sandra has her first day on the job and is assigned to the topic ‘birds’. In Episode #2 The User Experience, Sandra learns the ropes and receives some disturbing news about her ex-husband.  I’m not particularly keen that these podcasts are interrupted by advertisments of their other podcasts, but they’re well produced and even have actors I recognize- Ethan Hawke and Kristen Wiig.

Revolutions.podcast com  I’ve been listening to Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcasts for ages, following him through the English Civil War, the French Revolution and Simon Bolivar and independence in Latin America.  I’m taking him up again with the Mexican Revolution, something I did back in 1974 and can remember little about. Episode 9.01 New Spain reprises the Wars of Independence from the Spanish in Latin America in the early 19th century.  Episode 9.02 The Cry of Dolores looks at Father Hidalgo who rang the church bell in the small town of Dolores, calling the people to arms in what would become the Mexican War of Independence.

The History Listen (ABC) Plane Crash 1940: Menzies’ darkest hour. Just before 11am on 13th August 1940, a Hudson bomber carrying ten people, including three cabinet ministers and one army general, crashed into a ridge near Canberra airport. The crash had a great personal and political impact on P.M. Menzies, who lost his closest political supporters. Includes historians Judith Brett, Andrew Tink and Kim Beazley.

Rear Vision  (ABC).  As part of the ABC’s focus on China last week, this Rear Vision episode looks at Chinese immigration to Australia. I hadn’t been aware of immigration prior to the gold rushes, and the program gives valuable information about immigration after Tienanmen Square, and recent Chinese migration patterns.  Includes historians Kate Bagnall, Sophie Loy-Wilson

Russia If You’re Listening (ABC) Episode #16 Michael Cohen: The fixer with the hush money.  Hmmm…is this what will bring Trump down? What am I going to do when this series finishes after next week?

 

Podcasts: Wrongful

This is a series of Australian podcasts, produced by ABC Radio National for their Earshot program. They explore five cases of wrongful conviction that have occurred in Western Australia over recent decades.  They are well-produced and chilling.  Most of the time there was a journalist digging away in the background, sometimes for decades, and the wheels of justice creak very, very slowly.

You can download each of the podcasts from this link:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/features/wrongful-stories-of-justice-denied-and-redeemed/

 

Podcast: Tom Griffiths on ‘Radical Histories for Uncanny Times’

Tom Griffiths is one of my favourite Australian historians. He is the Director of the Centre of Environmental History ANU, and a fiercely intelligent and very human man. He’s a beautiful writer, who captures images so well in words, and he provides sharp insights and the telling anecdote. While listening to this program, we were driving through the bush around Marysville that had been ravaged by the 2009 bushfires, and it seemed particularly apposite to consider the anthropocene and the recuperative power of the earth that is so under threat through climate change.  His lecture at the Australian Museum is a clarion call for the humanities in a wide-ranging, erudite and thought-provoking podcast- well worth a listen.

Listen or download at http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/radical-histories-for-uncanny-times/9478670

UWA_Wheatbelt_Cover_RGB_1024x1024Griffiths was also featured briefly on Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra (an excellent program!). He picked up on one of the points he made during the Australian Museum address: that of the emergence of new regional histories that combine the environment and emotion, history and literature.  He was followed by Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, speaking about his new book Like Nothing on this Earth, which Griffiths praised highly, and which looks at the Western Australian wheatbelt through the eyes of regional writers like Dorothy Hewett, Tom Flood, Albert Facey and Jack Davis.

Saturday Extra is going to feature a historian writing one of these new regional/environmental histories each week during March.

Podcast: The Octoroon and Other Fantasies

I wish I could just pop over to The Jewish Museum of London to see their current exhibition ‘Blood’, which is open until 28 February 2016. Being on the other side of the world, there’s little chance of that happening, but it looks fascinating.

The next best option is to listen to Professor Roger Luckhurst, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birbeck, University of London. He  gave a presentation there on 26 November 2015 which riffed on the topic of blood, called ‘Blood Fractions: The Octoroon and Other Fantasies’.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the slave trade, colonial administration and racial science developed a whole structure and language for calculating the precise mixture of blood in the offspring of white Europeans and their subject populations. The official line was that mixing was impossible, but the improvised language of ‘half-bloods’, ‘quadroons’, ‘octoroons’, and other terms suggested otherwise. This was the vast mixed population that existed ‘beyond the pale.’ In Victorian culture, the octoroon (a person with one-eighth black blood) was a kind of vanishing point, a focus of anxiety about detecting the taint of ‘bad’ blood. While in the twentieth century, the Nazis sought to protect ‘pure’ German blood from becoming tainted by the blood of Jews. In this talk Professor Luckhurst explores literary and cultural representations of mixed bloods.

You can hear it at Backdoor Broadcasting at

http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2015/11/roger-luckhurst-blood-fractions-the-octoroon-and-other-fantasies/

After warning that much of his talk would be offensive and placed in air quotes, he starts with a digression on Dracula before moving on to the gradations of colour described in the literature of slave owners.  Calculations down to 1/512th ‘negro’ heritage were reflected in some of the sensation literature of the day, but were revisited in the research justifying the anti-semitism of Nazi Germany.  Lest we think that such concepts are firmly cemented in the past, he closes by looking at the blood quantum laws that define membership in some Native American nations today.

A wide-ranging and interesting podcast.

Podcast: Margaret Bird on time consciousness in 18th century England

margaretbird

Backdoor Broadcasting has a wonderful archive of  UK academic podcasts on a wide range of topics.  I enjoyed listening to historian Margaret Bird from Royal Holloway, University of London, speaking on “Inculcating an appreciation of time pressure in the young: the training of children for working life in 18th-century England.”

Abstract: The rearing of children has been a topic at the centre of academic debate since the Annales historian Philippe Ariès analysed le sentiment de l’enfance in 1960.
Margaret Bird’s exploration of the tensions between respecting children as individuals and the need to hurry them into maturity for working life relates to the mercantile and manufacturing class in England. Understanding time pressure, as in expecting six-year-olds to watch the clock, formed part of their moulding as useful members of society. Time-conscious capitalism and Calvinism lay behind much of the thinking. It draws in part on the newly published diary of Mary Hardy, wife of a farmer and manufacturer.

Bird challenges E. P. Thompson’s assertion that time-consciousness was a result of industrialization. Instead she argues that during the 18th century, before the rise of large-scale industrialization, middle-class mercantile families had a strong consciousness of time and inculcated it into their children from a very early age.  She uses as her source the family diary of Mary Hardy (see website), the wife of a Norfolk farmer, master and brewer. She kept a diary for 36 years, running to half a million words, detailing family life and business operations on a daily basis.A second diary penned by her apprentice covers four of those years. Working on the Mary Hardy diaries has been a long-term project (25 years!) for Margaret Bird, who has editted and published them in a four-volume set, with a detailed commentary to come.

It’s a lively presentation by someone who obviously loves her project, well-integrated into the academic literature.  The website has the powerpoint images that were shown during the presentation, and the question time that follows.

Podcast: Linda Colley on Magna Carta

magnacarta

The Magna Carta has had a Big Year Out in 2015, the 800th anniversary of its signing.  A search on ABC Radio National’s webpage will bring up lots of podcasts and programs, and arguably there’s quite enough podcasts about Magna Carta already.

But I was rather taken by this one delivered by historian Linda Colley in 2014 from Backdoor Broadcasting.

Professor Linda Colley CBE (Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, Princeton University) – Magna Carta in British History: Memory, Inventions and Forgetting

Abstract: 2015 will witness celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Yet how this iconic text has been understood, used and commemorated has changed markedly over the centuries, not just in England, but throughout the British Isles and in the one-time British Empire. This lecture explores some of these shifts over time, and discusses how – and how far – the cult that evolved around this text can be related to the UK’s lack of a written constitution.

She explores the nature of the Magna Carta as a written product and physical artefact and juxtaposes it with the American constitution.  It’s delivered very (very) slowly and deliberately, and takes it as a historical and political phenomenon rather than a strictly legal one.  Linda Colley (author of Britons and the excellent The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh which I reviewed here)  is a historian of empire, and so she particularly deals with the influence of Magna Carta on nineteenth century colonies.