111 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 • 242 Ratings

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

    W.I.T.C.H.: Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell

    W.I.T.C.H.: Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell

    Witches Series. Episode #4 of 4. On a brisk autumn day in New York City, 1968, roughly 13 women spent the morning of October 31st dressing in black cloaks and dresses. They stuck feathers, leaves, and furs in their long hair. One woman grabbed her enormous hat, roughly in the shape of a costume witch hat, but instead of a pointy top, it sported a paper mache pig’s head on a plate surrounded by dollar bills. These women were members of W.I.T.C.H., the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell and they were about to jump on their broomsticks and fly into the history books.

    Find show notes and transcripts at: digpodcast.org
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    • 41 min
    “Wicked Practises and Sorcerye”: Cunning Folk, Witch Trials, and the Tragedy of Joan Flower and Her Daughters

    “Wicked Practises and Sorcerye”: Cunning Folk, Witch Trials, and the Tragedy of Joan Flower and Her Daughters

    Witches Series, #3 of 4. In 1618, the Earl of Rutland and his wife accused three women of bewitching their family. They believed that bewitchment was the cause of death of their first son, and the long-term illness of their second. The women in question were former servants of their household at Belvoir (or Beaver) Castle near Bottesford, England: Joan Flower, a Bottesford cunning woman, and her two daughters, Margaret and Phillipa. Joan Flower died while being transported to the prison at Lincoln; her two daughters were interrogated mercilessly by the Earl and several other noblemen who also served as magistrates in Lincoln County until they confessed. The jury found both guilty, and the judge sentenced them to death. Less than a year later, the Earl’s second son succumbed to his long-term illness. The Earl had his family tomb inscribed with these words: “In 1608 he married ye lady Cecila Hungerford, daughter to ye Honorable Knight Sir John Tufton, by whom he had two sons, both of which died in their infancy by wicked practises and sorcerye.”[1] Francis Manners and his wife, Cecily, were convinced that their family had been cursed by a witch. Historian Tracy Borman suspects foul play of a non-magical sort. Ultimately, the motive mattered little to the Flower women. Their accusers were too powerful to be denied a conviction, and they were too inconsequential, with too few friends in Bottesford or Lincoln, to survive a witch hunt. Full transcript and bibliography at digpodcast.org

    Select Bibliography
    Bibliography
    Michael D. Bailey, Magic and Superstition in Europe, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006).
    Tracy Borman, Witches: James I and the English Witch-Hunts,(London: Vintage, 2014).
    Carlo Ginzburg, The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,(Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992).
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    • 57 min
    Both Man and Witch: Uncovering the Invisible History of Male Witches

    Both Man and Witch: Uncovering the Invisible History of Male Witches

    Witches Series. Episode #2 of 4. Since at least the 1970s, academic histories of witches and witchcraft have enjoyed a rare level of visibility in popular culture. Feminist, literary, and historical scholarship about witches has shaped popular culture to such a degree that the discipline has become more about unlearning everything we thought we knew about witches. Though historians have continued to investigate and re-interpret witch history, the general public remains fixated on the compelling, feminist narrative of the vulnerable women hanged and burned at the stake for upsetting the patriarchy. While this part of the story can be true, especially in certain contexts, it’s only part of the story, and frankly, not even the most interesting part. Today we tackle male witches in early modern Eurasia and North America!

    Find Show Notes and Transcripts here: www.digpodcast.org
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Doctor, Healer, Midwife, Witch: How the the Women’s Health Movement Created the Myth of the Midwife-Witch

    Doctor, Healer, Midwife, Witch: How the the Women’s Health Movement Created the Myth of the Midwife-Witch

    Witches, Episode #1 of 4. In 1973, two professors active in the women’s health movement wrote a pamphlet for women to read in the consciousness-raising reading groups. The pamphlet, inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves, looked to history to explain how women had been marginalized in their own healthcare. Women used to be an important part of the medical profession as midwives, they argued -- but the midwives were forced out of practice because they were so often considered witches and persecuted by the patriarchy in the form of the Catholic Church. The idea that midwives were regularly accused of witchcraft seemed so obvious that it quickly became taken as fact. There was only one problem: it wasn’t true. In this episode, we follow the convoluted origin story of the myth of the midwife-witch. Get the full transcript at digpodcast.org
    Bibliography & Further Reading
    Samuel S. Thomas, “Early Modern Midwifery: Splitting the Profession, Connecting the History,” The Journal of Social History 43 (2009), 115-138.
    Thomas Forbes, “Midwifery and Witchcraft,” The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 17 (1962), 1966.
    David Harley, “Historians as Demonologists: The Myth of the Midwife-Witch,” in Brian P. Levack, Witchcraft, Healing, and Popular Diseases: New Perspectives on Witchcraft, Magic, and Demonology (Florence: Taylor and Francis Group, 2001)
    Leigh Whaley, Women and the Practice of Medical Care in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1800 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
    Ritta Jo Horsley and Richard Horsley, “Who Were the Witches? Wise Women, Midwives, and the European Witch Hunts,” Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture 3 (1986),
    Barbara Ehrenreich and Dierdre English, Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers (New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1970),
    Monica Green, “Women’s Medical Practice and Health Care in Medieval Europe,” Signs 14 (1989), 434-473.
    Margaret Murray, The Witch Cult in Western Europe (London: Oxford University Press, 1921)
    Margaret Murray, The God of the Witches (London: Oxford University Press, 1931)
    Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Mental Illness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1970)
    Jacqueline Simpson, “Margaret Murray: Who Believed Her, and Why?” Folklore 105 (1994)
    Jennifer Nelson, More than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women’s Health Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2015).
    Diane Purkiss, The Witch in History: Early Modern and Twentieth Century Representations (London: Taylor and Francis Group, 1996).
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    • 1 hr 11 min
    Slavery & Soul Food: African Crops and Enslaved Cooks in the History of Southern Cuisine

    Slavery & Soul Food: African Crops and Enslaved Cooks in the History of Southern Cuisine

    Food Series. Episode #4 of 4. In June 2020, Quaker Oats announced they were revamping their famous (infamous?) brand of breakfast products, Aunt Jemima. From the late 19th century to the late 1980s, Aunt Jemima products prominently featured the image of the Black mammy trope to sell the idea that all white families could have the comforting presence of a Southern Black cook in their homes. As always, there was immediately a backlash from Americans who appealed to the place Aunt Jemima holds in American nostalgia – but what many don’t realize is the way that the figure of Aunt Jemima was specifically created to provide that sense of nostalgia drawn from the long, racist history of Black women who were bound to serve white families. In this episode, we explore that history, and go back further to consider how even the staple foods of Southern cuisine originated in the horrors of slavery. 

    Find transcripts and show notes here: www.digpodcast.org.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    The Black Panther Party and the Free Breakfast Program: Feeding a Movement

    The Black Panther Party and the Free Breakfast Program: Feeding a Movement

    Food Series #3 of 4. The Black Panthers are often misrepresented or their significance is minimized in popular thought and opinion. The everyday organizing is often lost and an overemphasis on the Panther’s clashes with law enforcement overshadow the substantial community programs, the Service to the People Programs, offered by the Black Panther Party on the local level. Additionally, the dominant narrative highlights the men of the Panther party, yet women made up 2/3 of the membership and set a community-focused revolutionary agenda. Instead of viewing Black power movements like the Panthers as the antithesis of the non-violent civil rights movement, it is important to recognize that civil rights and Black power movements such as the Black Panthers, both emanate from a centuries-long Black freedom struggle. As former Panther Ericka Huggins states, “We were making history. It wasn’t nice and clean. It was complex.”
    Get the transcript and complete bibliography at digpodcast.org
    Select Bibliography
    Austin, Curtis. Up Against the Wall: Violence in the Making and Unmaking of the Black Panther Party. University of Arkansas Press. 2008.
    Bloom, Joshua, Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. University of California Press, 2016.
    Foner, Philip S. ed. The Black Panthers Speak. Lippincott. 1970.
    Harrington, Michael. The Other America: Poverty in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1962.
    Jones, Charles E. , ed. The Black Panther Party (Reconsidered). Black Classic Press. 1998.
    Katz, Michael B. The Undeserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
    Levine, Susan. School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
    Newton, Huey P. Revolutionary Suicide. Penguin Classics. 2009.
    Orleck, Annelise. Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006.
    Orleck, Annelise, and Lisa Gayle Hazirjian, eds. The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011.
    Peniel, E.Joseph, ed. The Black Power Movement: Rethinking The Civil Rights-Black Power Era. Routledge. 2006.
    The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation. Black Panther Party : Service to the People Programs. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009.
    Arinna Hermida. “Mapping the Black Panther Party in Key Cities.”
    An Oral History with Ericka Huggins, Interviews conducted by Fiona Thompson in 2007, Oral History Center University of California, The Bancroft Library.
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    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
242 Ratings

242 Ratings

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