Jul 02 2019201 Duncan Ryuken Williams on American Sutra

Duncan Ryuken Williams’s new book, American Sutra, explores Japanese Internment with a focus on Buddhism. Most Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans were Buddhists, and before and during internment these members of the Japanese-American community were treated very differently than those who’d converted to Christianity. Buddhists in internment camps found ways to practice their faith, despite it being discouraged, and Buddhist soldiers were crucial to the American war effort, both in Europe and the Pacific.

Jun 24 2019200 Q&A Dinosaur Party Extravaganza!

We’ve hit two hundred episodes! To celebrate we’re taking your questions. Designer, photographer, and all-around superhero Sarah Giffrow joined Joe to answer talk about how to think about history, the state of podcasting, and dinosaurs.

Jun 16 2019199 Melissa Kwasny on Putting on the Dog

Humans are the only animals to wear clothing, and much of that clothing is made out of other animals. In Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear author Melissa Kwasny explores the worlds of leather, wool, silk, feathers, pearls, and fur. Her research into the animal origins of clothing prompted an exploration of both the history of clothing as well as the ethical and environmental issues surrounding wearable animal products.

May 24 2019197 Joshua Specht on Red Meat Republic

Beef occupies a unique place in American culture. In his new book Red Meat Republic Joshua Specht examines the history of the American beef industry. He examines how ranching and range land was seized from Native Americans, how beef shaped industrial and labor history, and the role beef still plays in American ideas of class, gender, and identity.

Mar 18 2019189 Thom Wall on The History of Juggling

Thom Wall is a professional juggler and who’s known both for his feats of dexterity and his enthusiasm for old-style vaudeville performance. His new book Juggling From Antiquity to the Middle Ages traces the history of the art across time and place. Juggling has been invented independently several times over in Ancient Egypt, Mesoamerica, and Polynesia. Wall traces its myriad histories into, eventually, the art of throwing and catching we know today.

Feb 04 2019186 Crystal King on The Chef’s Secret

Crystal King is the author of two novels about Italian food history. Her first book Feast of Sorrow delved into the world of food in ancient Rome, and her follow up moves forward over a thousand year to explore food in Renaissance Italy.

Crystal’s expertise extends beyond the page. Her Parthian chicken recipe has become a favorite of mine, and a go-to recipe when I’m cooking for company.

Nov 04 2018180 Lucy Bellwood on Sailor Tattoos

Lucy Bellwood is a cartoonist and author in Portland, Oregon. Last year her illustration of sailor tattoos went viral. We talked about nautical tattoos, their meanings, and what it means to get well-known on the Internet very quickly. We also touched on how one researches and studies history, especially in the context of tattoo myths about James Cook and a book Bellwood recommends, The Discovery of Jeanne Baret.

Letterpress versions of Bellwood’s print are available here, and regular prints are here.

Apr 30 2018162 Michael P. Daley on Bobby Bluejacket

Michael P. Daley is the author of Bobby Bluejacket, a book about a man who, in 1948, was the subject of one of the most covered trials in Tulsa history. We talked about Bluejacket’s life in the Tulsa underground, his time in prison, and why figures like him are worth studying.

Jan 08 2018149 Sarah Fraser on The Last Highlander

Sarah Fraser is the author of The Last Highlander, which details the life of Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat. Fraser’s life was one of political intrigue, feuds, international deal making, and rebellion. He was eventually beheaded in 1747, the last British peer to face such a fate.

Dec 11 2017147 David Goldfield on The Gifted Generation

David Goldfield is an American historian and the author of almost twenty books. His latest, The Gifted Generation, chronicles the benefits that his peers received from the US federal government, and goes into detail about how the Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson administrations redefined the role and scope of what government does and means to Americans.

Nov 27 2017145 Bonnie MacBird on Unquiet Spirits

Bonnie MacBird (the co-writer of Tron) is writing new, novel-length Sherlock Holmes adventures. We talked about her experience with Conan Doyle’s stories, how she adapted the author’s voice for a modern work, and other Sherlock media. We also discussed whiskey, which features prominently in her new book, Unquiet Spirits. The plot centers on a real-life catastrophe in the French wine industry, that led to more widespread consumption of whiskey in European upper classes.

Nov 11 2017143 Brandon Seifert on Werewolves

Brandon Seifert has written horror comics such as Witch Doctor, Hellraiser, and The Fly. Lately, he’s been studying werewolf folklore. We talked about the history of werewolf stories, werewolf witch trials, why people believed in werewolves, and what to do if you live in the 1500s and someone accuses you of werewolfism.

Jun 19 2017132 Crystal King on Feast of Sorrow

Crystal King is the author of Feast of Sorrow, a novel about ancient Roman cooking that takes the first known cookbook as its inspiration. We talked about what it would have been like to go to a Roman dinner party, what the common people would have eaten, Roman fast food, and putting spices in your wine.

May 08 2017126 Jenni L. Walsh on Becoming Bonnie

Jenni L. Walsh is the author of Becoming Bonnie, a historical fiction novel about how Bonnie met Clyde, and what happened afterward. We talked about the real history of the outlaws, the 1967 movie, and what it’s like to craft actual events into a fictional narrative.

Mar 02 2017118 Italian Fascism Part Seven, Meagan Zurn on Antonio Gramsci

This week’s episode is an interview with Meagan Zurn (or “Zee,” co-producer of The British History Podcast) about Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci was a socialist, journalist, and briefly a member of the Italian parliament before getting thrown in jail by Mussolini’s regime in 1926. He died in prison in 1937. His writings, especially his prison writings, outlined the relationship of power and culture, and his insights are especially useful for understanding the rise of fascism in Italy, as well as how power and hegemony function everywhere else.

Jan 05 2017111 Heather Arndt Anderson on Chilies

This week’s show is an interview with Heather Arndt Anderson, author of Chilies: A Global History. We talk about the origins of chilies, their spread around the globe, how they were perceived and used by the people who found them, and how, occasionally, they have been used as a highly painful weaponized plant.

chilies-a-global-history

Oct 13 2016101 Kara Helgren on Witches, Puritans, and the Salem Tourist Experience

Kara Helgren has previously worked for the city of Salem, Massachusetts as a tour guide, leading visitors through the ominously-named Witch House. According to Helgren tourist expectations veered toward the lurid and macabre. Visitors expected tales of ghosts, black magic, and torture. Helgren (whose thesis was about the witch trials) gave them none of that. Instead, she crushed their dreams and broke their hearts with a bunch of historical accuracy.

salemwitchtrials

Jul 28 201691 Kory Bing on Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Megafauna

This week’s episode is an interview with artist and cartoonist Kory Bing about dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna. We talked about drawing dinosaurs, what dinosaurs are, and how dinosaurs and other extinct animals are portrayed in popular culture. Kory writes and draws the webcomic Skin Deep and regularly illustrates dinosaurs, pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and other extinct megafauna. Find her work here.

Theme music: Cowboy Surfer by the Vivisectors

Kory Headshot

May 05 201679 Cecelia Otto on the Music of the Lincoln Highway

Before the interstate highway system spread over the US, the country was knit together through a network of railroads and auto trails. One of the longest of these was the Lincoln Highway, a coast-to-coast collection of roads that linked New York to San Francisco at the dawn of the 20th century, and could take weeks for early automobiles to traverse. Given that this was a huge tract of land, people wrote songs about it.

Cecelia Otto is a classically trained singer who recently toured the remains of the Lincoln Highway and performed turn-of-the century popular music about the highway at various venues along the way. Otto wrote a book about and released an album after the tour, and is currently crowdfunding a project on the songs of World War I. I talked to her about her experience, how you crossed the country in an old automobile, and how popular music was distributed before electronic recording.

CeceOtto

Apr 21 201677 Molly Newman on Crafting Good Trivia Questions

This week’s episode is an interview with Quizmistress and Jeopardy! contestant Molly Newman. Molly runs multiple successful trivia nights in Portland, Oregon, hosts private trivia events, and knows what makes questions good, bad, boring, easy, hard, funny, and compelling. With hundreds of fans in the Portland area (including your humble podcaster) she has made a career about entertaining people with facts both widely-known and obscure. We talked about how to craft good trivia questions, why some questions are too hard or uninteresting, and the surprisingly scandalous origins of Trivial Pursuit.

Molly can be found at her website and on Facebook.

MollyNewman

Feb 13 201517 Jaime Kirk on Piratical History

This week we interviewed a pirate! Kind of. Jaime Kirk is the current captain of PDX Yar, a Portland organization dedicated to all things piratical. The crew does, indeed, dress up like pirates for the purposes of revelry carousing, but they also do quite a bit with historical reenactment. PDX Yar does demonstrations of black powder weapons, presentations on how ships were actually run and managed, and the leadership have immersed themselves in pirate history for years now.

Below is a engraving from the 1720s of Bartholomew Roberts, aka Black Bart, Jaime’s favorite pirate.

General History of the Pyrates - Captain Bartholomew Roberts with two Ships (alt)

Related Links:

Find Jaime and the rest of PDX Yar here.

More information on Black Bart.

More information on Black Caesar.

Get Under  the Black Flag, Jaime’s, recommended book on pirate history, from Powells.com.

Jan 29 201515 Heather Arndt Anderson on the History of Breakfast

This week’s episode has a slightly different format from previous entries. We sat down with food historian Heather Arndt Anderson, author of Breakfast: A History, and talked about this history of breakfast. Topics ranged from how orange juice became a breakfast drink, how bacon was marketed as an essential morning meat, the accidental invention of corn flakes, and the gender politics surrounding breakfast.

breakfastahistory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Links:

Get Breakfast: A History and Portland: A Food Biography from Powells.com

Follow Heather on Twitter

And, because I mentioned it on a tangent, here’s a time lapse of the Ottoman Empire over time.