By Dr. Kristie Patricia Flannery
I created this global history holiday ‘best podcast’ playlist for historians and history-lovers around the world who are stuck at home because of the pandemic. My suggestions range from the not-very-serious to the sober and challenging—so peruse and choose based on your thirst for historical knowledge at the end of a hectic semester and a difficult year.
“How do you research the seventeenth century and turn it into fiction?” How to write engaging stories inspired by the past is one of the many eclectic topics explored in episodes of History Hack, the light-hearted podcast that was started earlier this year to keep us all entertained (and educated) during lockdown. We are still stuck at home, and we are still listening. There are now more than 250 episodes that feature the hosts Alexandra Churchill and Alina Nowobilska interviewing historians specialising in an expansive range of regions and eras, from pre-history to the present. Some highlights: in episode #221, the Osteoarchaeologist Katie Tucker talks about using bones as historical evidence “how she came to specialise in decapitation.” The Australian National Maritime museum’s Inger Sheil chats about Titanic conspiracy theories in episode #39. There truly is something for everybody and every mood.
Historias, a SECOLAS Podcast
The Southeastern Council for Latin American Studies’ Historias podcast boasts over 100 episodes in Spanish and English that discuss new research and analysis in Latin American and Caribbean politics and history. For your holiday listening, I recommend tuning in to the interview with Pablo Palomino on the invention of Latin American music (episode #102).
Ben Franklin’s World
Liz Covart’s long-running Early American history podcast gets lots of shoutouts from historians when we ask what they are listening to. Check out the recent episode on the Jamaican slave rebellion Tackey’s Revolt, featuring an interview with Vincent Brown.
A pandemic could be a great time to get your unofficial major in the history of revolutions. Mike Duncan’s popular Revolutions podcast has been adding episodes since 2013. Each season is dedicated to a different revolution. The first episodes examine the history of the English civil war. The American and French revolutions are covered in season two and three. Season four and five look at the Haitian revolution and Latin American wars for independence. The most recent season 10 jumps into the Russian Revolution. There are many good hours of listening here.
New Books Network
What do you do when you really want to read a new history monograph but the library is closed and the international post is paralysed or has all but slowed to a trickle? You check out if that book has gotten the ‘New Books Network’ treatment. This is the historian’s history podcast, featuring in-depth discussions about new books with their author’s and an avid reader. The podcast has the feel of a graduate seminar or a dissertation defense, with a deep discussion (or interrogation?) of the author’s sources, method, major arguments, and interventions in historiography or scholarly literature. We are happy to see new global history titles get the attention they deserve, such as Quito Swan’s global history of Pan-African organizing Pauulu's Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice and Kaveh Yazdani and Dilip M. Menon’s Capitalisms: Towards a Global History. If you love this podcast and you don’t have a PhD in history, you may consider getting one.
The History of Egypt Podcast
If you are thinking of becoming an expert in the history of ancient Egypt, this is the podcast for you. University of Auckland PhD student Dominic Perry is the creator and host of this popular podcast. There are over one hundred episodes to tune into, running chronologically from the creation of the Egyptian world to Cleopatra, or over 2000 years of history. Dominic takes listeners on a deep dive into the histories of Egypt’s pharaohs in many episodes, and biographies prove a great vehicle for exploring the social, cultural, and economic history of the ancient kingdom. I’m a fan of mini-episodes that explore music and literature, such as the episode on love-songs. Featured interviews with experts on the history of Egypt and its legacies bring multiple perspectives on the past to light.