132 episodes

Four women historians, a world of history to unearth. Can you dig it?

Dig: A History Podcast Recorded History Podcast Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 13 Ratings

Four women historians, a world of history to unearth. Can you dig it?

    None of Woman Born: Cesarean Birth before 1900, A Pre-History

    None of Woman Born: Cesarean Birth before 1900, A Pre-History

    Birth Series. Episode #4 of 4. In his occupation as a swineherd, Jacob Nufer had performed countless genital surgeries on his pigs. He was an expert gelder. He was convinced he could deliver his child abdominally so that both his wife and child would survive. For this, there was no precedence. Most observers must have believed that Jacob was about to murder his wife and that his child might already be dead. Few people would have had confidence in his success. But Jacob was desperate. Using his gelding tools, Jacob made an incision in his wife’s abdomen, with no anesthesia and rudimentary sanitation, to deliver his infant daughter. Shockingly, the historical record asserts that both mother and child survived the operation. Even more shocking, Elizabeth is recorded as having five more children, all delivered vaginally. Their baby born by cesarean also thrived. She lived to the ripe old age of 77. This is the first recorded incidence of a cesarean section performed where both the mother and child survived the procedure. Or is it? You’ll have to keep listening to find out. Today we’re discussing the surprisingly long history of cesarean birth in western medicine.

    Find transcripts and show notes at: www.digpodcast.org

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    • 1 hr 15 min
    A History of Childbirth in America

    A History of Childbirth in America

    Birth Series #3 of 4. Childbirth is such a routine part of life that in some ways it can become invisible, especially historically. History, people often assume, is made up of major events, political elections, wars, etc. – not routine biological processes. But for something so invisible, it has made up a significant portion of the lives of women across time. Through American history, birthing women have advocated for the right to shape their own birth experiences, whether through home births surrounded by female kin or hospital births under twilight sleep. And the choices our foremothers made aren’t always the ones we might guess. Today, we present a history of childbirth in America.
    Bibliography
    Leavitt, Judith Walzer. Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Birth of a Nation: Everyday Racism in 20th-Century America

    Birth of a Nation: Everyday Racism in 20th-Century America

    Birth Series. Episode #2 of 4. The 1915 silent-film The Birth of a Nation is one of the most popular and controversial films ever made. It’s success catapulted director D.W. Griffith into stardom while cementing the film, a piece of racist propaganda, into the annals of film history. It’s an amazing film with a horrifying message, which claimed that America’s rebirth after the Civil War was possible only through the power of white supremacy. The Birth of a Nation is still studied in film schools because of Griffith’s early use of dramatic camera and editing techniques. In 1992 the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Archives because it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” But why was such a blatantly racist film so popular and why is it still relevant today? That’s what we hope to shed light on in this episode. Let’s dive in….

    Find transcripts and show notes at: www.digpodcast.org
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    • 57 min
    Obstetric Violence: Childbirth and Symphysiotomy in Catholic Ireland

    Obstetric Violence: Childbirth and Symphysiotomy in Catholic Ireland

    Birth Series, Episode #1 of 4. Symphysiotomy. Probably not a word you’ve heard before - and if you have, I’m sorry? Symphysiotomy is an obstetric procedure in which a person’s pubic symphysis cartilage is cut to widen the pelvis for childbirth. Yes. Gross. I know. For most of the 19th century, symphysiotomy was a new solution to difficult births, and, to some doctors, preferable to Caesarean section, and certainly to the gruesome craniotomy. By the 1930s, though, in countries where childbirth had been medicalized, the symphysiotomy was phased out in favor of the safer C section - except Ireland. While surgical solutions to difficult childbirths increased in American and European obstetrics throughout the twentieth-century generally, it was only in Ireland that the use of symphysiotomy increased. Why, for the love of God, WHY, you ask? Let’s dig in.
    For a complete transcript and bibliography, visit digpodcast.org
    Select Bibliography
    Cara Delay, “The Torture Began”: Symphysiotomy and Obstetric Violence in Modern Ireland, Nursing Clio, May 31, 2016
    Cara Delay and Beth Sundstrom, “The Legacy Of Symphysiotomy In Ireland: A Reproductive Justice Approach To Obstetric Violence,” Reproduction, Health, and Medicine: Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 20, 197-218 (2020).
    Marie O’Connor, Bodily Harm Report: Symphysiotomy and Pubiotomy in Ireland, 1944-1992, (2011) 
    Adrian Wilson, Ritual and Conflict: the Social Relations of Childbirth in Early Modern England, (Taylor & Francis Group, 2013).
    Adrian Wilson, The Making of Man-Midwifery: Childbirth in England, 1660-1770 (Harvard University Press, 1995).
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    • 54 min
    France's League of Nations Mandate in Syria and Lebanon

    France's League of Nations Mandate in Syria and Lebanon

    Border Series. Episode #4 of 4. In 1919, the idealistic American President Woodrow Wilson brought with him to the Paris Peace Conference his 14 Points. Among these points were the doctrine of self-determination (the idea that all peoples have the right to determine the nature of their own governance) and an idea for a coalition that enhanced international security (the League of Nations). While progressives lauded Wilson’s ideas in principle, the European powers who had won The Great War were skeptical and bitter. Unlike the United States, Britain and France had suffered immensely during the war and they wanted reparations for their losses. Moreover, most of the officials who made up the French and British states were not ready to surrender their empires. Even though anti-colonial movements had gained strength during the war, they were still the minority, and very few activists were in positions of power. To limit colonial power in a world that was apprehensive about it, a liberalized colonial schematic was created and called a mandate. The mandate would be granted by an international coalition that would be known as the League of Nations. These events transformed the peace-making process into something that was quite different from those of the past… or WAS it? We’ll soon find out! This week, as part of our border series, we’re telling the story of France’s League of Nations mandates in Syria and Lebanon.

    Find show notes and transcripts here: www.digpodcast.org
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    LULAC, Adela Sloss-Vento, and the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

    LULAC, Adela Sloss-Vento, and the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

    Borders #3 of 4. If we look for women of color in national women’s rights organizations before the 1970s, we don’t see very many. Once it was assumed that women of color did not participate in twentieth century feminism. Of course that wasn’t the case at all and the historical record is righting itself, as historians and other social scientists complicate the narrative of twentieth century feminism, arguing that feminisms were at play. Sociologist Benita Roth even titles her book Separate Roads to Feminism, showing that women of color acted in feminist ways but were not largely involved with national and white feminist organizations. Historian Cynthia Orozco has a new book out titled Agent of Change: Adela Sloss-Vento, Mexican-American Civil Rights Activist and Texas Feminist, which excavates the importance of a feminist figure of the Mexican American Civil Rights movement, adding to the scholarship that unearths the “forgotten” history of women’s importance in major American social movements. In today’s episode we’ll be exploring the Mexican-American Civil Rights movement of the early to mid-twentieth century and two women important to that movement, Adela Sloss-Vento and Alicia Dickerson Montemayor, whose work to establish women as authoritative figures in the Mexican American Civil Rights movement paved the way for the Chicana Movement of the 1960s and 70s.
    Find a transcript, complete bibliography, and teaching resources at digpodcast.org

    Select Bibliography
    Hernandez, Kelly Lytle. Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol. University of California Press. 2010.
    Kaplowitz, Craig A. LULAC, Mexican Americans, and National Policy. Texas A&M University. 2005.
    Márquez, Benjamín. LULAC: The Evolution of a Mexican American Political Organization. University of Texas.1993.
    Ngai, Mai. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton University Press. 2004.
    Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. University of Texas Press. 2009.
    Orozco, Cynthia E. Agent of Change: Adela Sloss-Vento, Mexican American Civil Rights Activist and Texas Feminist. University of Texas Press. 2020.
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    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

Boo-991 ,

The best podcast 💜 I’m addicted.

Want sound historical research presented in an interesting, enlightening yet accessible and relaxed way? Discussing topics that you actually want to know about and make you sound super interesting? You’ve found it ✅ Dig; You ladies never fail to give me both my history fix and improve my mood with your wonderful approach to all things; academia, podcasting, life... I’ve listened to everything in the catalogue, I’ve listened to the previous podcasts on the website. I now must wait weekly for new episodes like an impatient puppy! Fortunately with the Super Secret DIG History Pod Squad to join I can still get my history fix whilst I wait. Apologies for the drug analogies, but I can’t help it, I’m addicted to Dig. Keep it up ladies, you rock 🪨 (Pun unintended, but left as payback for all the times ‘dig a little deeper’ plays back as a jingle in my mind...) Much love! 💜

UK HISTORY GEEK ,

My favourite podcast

I love these woman! I have been on parental leave this year and these podcasts have in all honesty kept me going, on long long walks going round and round the park with a sleeping babe, I feel like I still have a brain, I can still engage with history which I love, and I still have so much more to find out about the world. Thank you, keep doing what you’re doing.

Miranda Fay ,

Perfect Podcast Pick-me-up

This podcast is not just informative, but fun to listen to. They’re able to take a wide range of topics (some more bleak than others) and make it something I look forward to learning about!
I get so excited to see a notification for a new episode! Thanks so much, and please keep up the good work!

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