Episode 36 – Margaret Sanger and Eugenics

A Eugenics Society poster (1930s) from the Wellcome Library Eugenics Society Archive.

Margaret Sanger founded the organization that later became Planned Pioneer. She has been widely lauded as a staunch advocate of women’s reproductive rights, but there’s more to the story. Join us this week as we delve into Sanger’s story as well as the simultaneous rise of eugenics. The United States in general and California pioneered the field of eugenics, and that is not necessarily a good thing! From forced sterilizations to medical experiments without the patient’s consent, many of the ideas and methods emerging within the eugenics movement later found expression in the gruesome experiments and ideologies of Germany in the 1930s.

Episode 35 – Second Wave Feminism

 Gloria Steinem at a women’s conference held at the LBJ Library on Nov. 9, 1975.

What is Second Wave Feminism? How does it differ from the First Wave? Join us as we do a deep dive into the ins and outs of Second Wave Feminism and its connections with Mary Wollstonecraft, Lucretia Mott, Simone de Beauvoir, and Betty Friedan. How did the Roe v Wade and Griswold v Connecticut change everything? And was the Houston Conference in 1977 really the end of the movement? Finally, how should we conceptualize the Third and Fourth Waves? Join us this week to find out!

Episode 34 – More Conspiracy Theories

Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines Building Paco Manila

This week we return to an often-requested topic – conspiracy theories. We discuss George Washington, QANON, COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, Henrietta Lacks, and Pearl Harbor. Why are Americans so obsessed with conspiracy theories? What happens when there is some truth to a particular theory? Join us this week to find out!

Episode 33 – Jim Crow and the Rise of Black Culture

Ma Rainey – Good Housekeeping 1923.

After a week off we return to our special series in honor of Black History Month. This time we discuss the two primary ways Black men and women have been characterized by white Americans for well over one hundred years: objects of desire and entertainment and subjects of scorn and suspicion. In the face of this stereotyping Black culture has responded, often quite opening, by exposing the white gaze and the inherent hypocrisy of Jim Crow. Along the way we discuss Ida Wells, Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, Collin Kaepernick, and Donald Glover.

Episode 32 – The Rise of Abolitionism – Black History from 1776 to 1860

Douglass argued against John Brown’s plan to attack the arsenal at Harpers Ferry – Jacob Lawrence, https://catalog.archives.gov/id/559102.

Join us for Part 2 of our series for Black History Month. We discuss the nation’s founding documents and the ways slavery was and was not addressed in each. We also discuss early abolitionists like Sojourner Truth and her connections to the Second Great Awakening, a period of religious revivalism, and William Lloyd Garrison. We also discuss the oppositional approaches towards ending slavery adopted by Nat Turner and Frederick Douglass. Finally, we discuss the unlikely friendship of Douglass and John Brown, the man hanged for his attack on the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.

Episode 31 – The First Africans in America – Black History to 1775

An Abstract of Evidence delivered before a select committee of the House of Commons in 1790 and 1791, reprinted in Phyllis M. Martin and Patrick O’Meara (eds.) (1995). Africa third edition. Indiana University Press and James Currey. ISBN 0253209846 and ISBN 0852552300. Page 119, plate 22. Photo courtesy of the Lilly Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana University.

Join us in the first of a four-part series delving into the complicated and often contentious history of African Americans. In this first part we cover the transition from indentured servitude to slavery. We also cover the emergence of the “Middle Passage” and the creation and eventual hardening of racial divisions in the British colonies, most notably Virginia. We introduce you to Estavanico the Moor, an early explorer in the Southwestern US, Antony Johnson a former slave turned slave owner who is posthumously deprived of the right to own property, and the thousands of Africans who perished in the figurative and literal death of forcibly being transported across the Atlantic in the 18th century.

Episode 30 – The 1776 Commission Report

Emanuel Leutze, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On January 17, 2021 as one of the last official acts of the Trump administration, the 1776 Commission Report was released. This report made an argument as to how the US education system had failed to educate the nation’s youth on the “proper” history of the country. Join us as we delve into the commission’s report and challenge some of its findings as well as its underlying premises.

Episode 29 – Political Violence in America

Judson McCranie, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Was January 6, 2021 an aberration or was it part of a long history of political violence in the United States? Join Hilary and Geoff as they discuss the role political violence played in the nation’s founding, its presence in the Capitol Building prior to January 6, and its potentially cyclical nature. Along the way we’ll cover Tulsa 1920, the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995, and the BLM movement. 

Episode 28 – Childhood in America

Freake-Gibbs Painter, Elizabeth Clarke Freake (Mrs. John Freake) and Baby Mary, 1671–1674, oil on canvas, Worcester Art Museum, 1963.134

Did you know celebrating a child’s birthday, telling children stories about pirates and fairies, and entire industries focused on children (i.e. Disney) would have been unthinkable in the 18th and much of the 19th centuries? Childhood, as we understand it today, is a fairly recent invention. Join us as we discuss Puritans, the Devil, agricultural work, factories, labor unions, and motherhood in this episode!

Episode 27 – January 6, 2021

A “Make America Great Again” hat sits in the debris left behind at the West Terrace entrance checkpoint. REUTERS/Erin Scott

Join us as we try to work through the momentous events of the armed assault on the US Capital. We throw in a bit of historical perspective, but be aware we’re working through this like everyone else.