150 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 • 312 Ratings

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

    Domesticity and Depression: Kentucky Coal Mining, Song, and Organizing During Bloody Harlan

    Domesticity and Depression: Kentucky Coal Mining, Song, and Organizing During Bloody Harlan

    This is a special episode researched and written by one of our interns, Olivia Langa.
    Intern Episode! #2 of .... To find out more about the everyday lives of women in coal mining families we must look at the songs of less popular female Appalachian singers from the 1930s. One such place to look is in Depression-era Harlan County, located in the southeast corner of Kentucky, situated within a valley between the Pine and Black Mountains on the Kentucky/Virginia border. Most of the folklore that came out of Harlan County tell stories of the horror faced by the miners under the foot of the elite. However, three women, Aunt Molly Jackson, Florence Reece, and Sarah Ogan Gunning, wrote songs in response to the Harlan County upheaval and about the lives of coal mining families. Their work differs from that of the coal mining men because they were not directly involved in coal mining as their occupation. Instead, they occupied spaces within the home and family unit, bearing the responsibility of domesticity. However, with no money, no food, and the constant threat from outside forces, they carried a tremendous burden. Looking at their songs provides a look into their lives as coal miners’ wives and daughters and gives us a look into the devastation they witnessed.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 42 min
    One Medicine: Animal Experiments and the Making of Modern Medical Science

    One Medicine: Animal Experiments and the Making of Modern Medical Science

    Animals Series. Episode #4 of 4. The interplay between human and veterinary medicine was incredibly common by the second half of the 19th century. While human medicine and veterinary medicine were distinct professions, they were inextricably linked in the latest experimental turn. Not only were animals involved in the experiments that led to medical breakthroughs, they were crucial to the ethical, and public health policies that shape modern medicine. Today we’re exploring the history of animals and medical science but we'll start at the beginning. 

    For transcripts and show notes visit www.digpodcast.org
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Canary in a Coal Mine - Literally

    Canary in a Coal Mine - Literally

    Animals Series. Episode #3 of 4. The term “canary in a coal mine” is ubiquitous for any early warning signal. Like our fictional vignette of a miner carrying a canary into the coal mine, canaries were often taken into mines during the first part of the 20th century to test the air for poisonous gasses. The practice was so commonplace that it's become a cliché. Metaphors aside, canaries are a sentinel species, used by humans to detect environmental risks by providing advance warning of a danger. Often animals are used as sentinels because they are more susceptible to environmental hazards that humans may be in the same environment. In the case of coal mining, canaries -- or really any small bird -- are very susceptible to changes in air quality because of their rate of respiration, anatomy, and small size. Contrary to popular belief, canaries in coal mines do not have a very long history. They were only used as sentinel animals in British and American coal mines for roughly 100 years. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a long time at all. Yet, canaries have become ubiquitous with mining in general and as a figure of speech.
    Find transcripts and show notes at www.digpodcast.org
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 37 min
    Remember Rutterkin? Witch’s Familiars, Religious Reformation, and Sexy Beasts in Early Modern Europe

    Remember Rutterkin? Witch’s Familiars, Religious Reformation, and Sexy Beasts in Early Modern Europe

    Animals, Episode #2 of 4. Toads, dogs, cats, ferrets, rats, and occasionally even butterflies were depicted in the 16th and 17th centuries as “witch’s familiars” throughout Europe. A servant of the witches, whose purpose was to help them stir up trouble and cause harm in their enemies, familiars were particularly important in English witch lore. Some were conjured by witches, some sent by the Devil to tempt a woman into maleficence, some were supposed to be the Devil himself in the form of a common black dog. Whatever their origin and intent, familiars were not just background characters in English witch trials. They were presented as evidence and used to sentence hundreds, probably thousands, of people to death for witchcraft - in England. Not so in France or Denmark or Italy. It was only in England that the familiar’s significance was codified in law. Why, you ask? Great question. Let’s find out.
    For a complete transcript and bibliography, visit digpodcast.org
    Bibliography
    Maeve Brigid Callan, The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish (Cornell University Press, 2017)
    Alan Dures and Francis Young, English Catholicism, 1558-1642 (Taylor and Francis, 2021)
    Elizabeth Ezra, “Becoming Familiar: Witches and Companion Animals in Harry Potter and His Dark Materials,” Children’s Literature, 47 (2019) 175-196
    Erica Fudge, Quick Cattle and Dying Wishes: People and Their Animals in Early Modern England (Cornell University Press, 2018).
    Charlotte Rose Millar, “The Witch’s Familiar in Sixteenth-Century England,” Melbourne Historical Journal 38 (2010) 113-130.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 44 min
    War Elephants from Ancient India to World War II

    War Elephants from Ancient India to World War II

    Animals Series, #1 of 4. In mid-March of 2022, a video spread virally across social media platforms: an elephant with its trunk wrapped around the top bar of its enclosure, its eye casting an anxious look out. A keeper pats his cheek and holds an apple, trying to comfort the distressed animal. The elephant was trapped in his enclosure in a zoo during the Russian bombardment of Kyiv. Animals are victims, transportation, weapons, mascots, heroes, and soldiers in human conflicts – and have been for as long as humans have made war. But perhaps the most dramatic has been the elephant, the massive, intimidating, trumpeting beast of ancient warfare. Elephants are the largest land animals on earth, but not only are they huge and powerful, they have experience human-like emotions, are extremely intelligent, and have long memories. The combination of their extreme power and deep intelligence have long made them valuable to humans, especially as military machines. Today, we’re talking about the history of war elephants in ancient and modern warfare. For the complete transcript and bibliography, visit digpodcast.org
    Select Bibliography
    Thomas Trautmann, Elephants & Kings: An Environmental History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015)
    Konstantin Nossov, War Elephants (Bloomsbury, 2012)
    Vicki Constantine Croke, Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of An Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II (New York: Random House, 2014)
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Race in 1920s America: Hellfighters, Red Summer, and Restrictive Immigration

    Race in 1920s America: Hellfighters, Red Summer, and Restrictive Immigration

    Race Series. Episode #4 of 4. In today’s episode we’re going to explore race in the 1920s and dig into a few key moments and movements to see how race and ethnicity played a key role in shaping the American interwar years.

    Find transcripts and shownotes at www.digpodcast.org
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
312 Ratings

312 Ratings

TonyaNGM ,

Go Women Historians!

As a history teacher in a primarily male department, I love being able to feel like I’m part of your intellectual conversation (the outtakes and realness…OMG). Thank you for not just sharing great stories and sources, but doing it in such a conversational way. I can’t wait to use some episodes in a new elective next fall. 💛💜🤍

manyfreshhhh ,

can’t.

can’t even explain how much i love this podcast. the topics speak to everything my soul craves. ugh. <3

sooty chat ,

Need to invest in a pop filter …

Please realize that you are producing content in an aural medium and learn to adjust speech sounds for microphone.
Also, a little less labeling historical actors and a lot more source mentions and citations would provide the now lacking seriousness to this podcast.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

This American Life
iHeartPodcasts
New York Times Opinion
Crooked Media
WNYC Studios
Emma Chamberlain and Ramble

You Might Also Like

Sarah Marshall
iHeartPodcasts and Grim & Mild
Pushkin Industries
Aubrey Gordon & Michael Hobbes
chelsey weber-smith
Vox Media Podcast Network

More by Recorded History Podcast Network

Matt Breen
Recorded History Podcast Network
Recorded History Network
Wesley Livesay
Recorded History Podcast Network
Recorded History Podcast Network