179 episodes

History lectures by Samuel Biagetti, a historian (and antique dealer) with a Phd in early American history; my dissertation was on Freemasonry in the 1700s. I focus on the historical myths and distortions, from "the Middle Ages" to "Race," that people use to rationalize the world in which we live. More info at www.historiansplaining.com

Please see my Patreon page, https://www.patreon.com/user?u=5530632, if you want to keep the lectures coming, and to hear the patron-only materials.

Historiansplaining: A historian tells you why everything you know is wrong Samuel Biagetti

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 101 Ratings

History lectures by Samuel Biagetti, a historian (and antique dealer) with a Phd in early American history; my dissertation was on Freemasonry in the 1700s. I focus on the historical myths and distortions, from "the Middle Ages" to "Race," that people use to rationalize the world in which we live. More info at www.historiansplaining.com

Please see my Patreon page, https://www.patreon.com/user?u=5530632, if you want to keep the lectures coming, and to hear the patron-only materials.

    Myth of the Month 22: Culture

    Myth of the Month 22: Culture

    Unlocked after one year on Patreon for patrons only:

    What is "culture"? And how did a metaphor from gardening invade social-science discourse in 19th-century Germany and America and then take the world by storm? We consider the myriad, often contradictory, ways that "culture" is deployed in current rhetoric, usually to sneak in hidden value judgments; then we trace how an ancient Latin term for gardening came to refer to the "cultivation" of good character, then to the shaping of society by high art and refined customs, and then ultimately, under the influence of German and American imperial politics, to a purportedly unified, organic whole encompassing the sum total of all learned behaviors in a given society.
    However you define it, I make the case that it is the defining myth of our time, and that we should get rid of it.

    You can also play this episode on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/posts/myth-of-month-22-82746773

    Image: "Old New York" diorama, Museum of Natural History, New York

    music: "Fandango," by Scarlatti or Soler, early 18th cent.; Midi version by El Gran Mago Paco Quito

    Suggested further reading:
    --Michael A. Elliott, "The Culture Concept: Writing and Difference in the Age of Realism"
    --Hammersley, "The Concept of Culture: A History and Reappraisal."

    • 1 hr 59 min
    Audio from video -- "Red White and Royal Blue" pt. 1 -- The Historical Context of RWRB

    Audio from video -- "Red White and Royal Blue" pt. 1 -- The Historical Context of RWRB

    This is the audio track of my latest video:
    "Red, White & Royal Blue: A Historian's Analysis, pt. 1: "We Really Need to Get You a Book on English History" -- The Historical Context of RW&RB"

    We start our detailed analysis of the recent gay romcom, Red White & Royal Blue, by considering the expansive historical background that gives meaning to the fictitious love affair between a British prince and a son of the US President -- from the constant scrutiny of royals' bodies and love lives, to the political symbolism of royal marriages, to the reactions to homosexuality in the palace, to the awkward and paradoxical role of the American presidency and the so-called "first family," and finally to the shifting and fraught diplomatic relationship between Britain and America in the two World Wars. We conclude with a comparison between RW&RB and its post-war forerunner, "The Americanization of Emily."

    See an edited version of this video on youtube (with ads) here -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAWtgmGyk-w

    See this video in full without ads here --https://www.patreon.com/posts/103674430

    Watch the introductory video of this series ("I know I Owe You an Explanation") here -- https://www.patreon.com/posts/red-white-royal-98784602

    music: J.S. Bach, "Shafe Konnen Sicher Weiden," performed by Marco Cera. Marco Cera's youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@marcocera993

    • 2 hr 9 min
    Origins of the First World War, pt. 12 -- War Planning & Strategy

    Origins of the First World War, pt. 12 -- War Planning & Strategy

    We examine the prophetic warnings from scholars and bureaucrats that a great-power war in the twentieth century would lead to bloody stalemate, mass destruction, and a wave of revolutions; and we trace how war strategists and generals reacted to the prophets of doom, formulating new war plans, from Russia’s blundering steamroll, to Germany’s precarious and ill-fated Schlieffen plan, to Britain's devious and mercurial scheme of economic warfare.

    Suggested further reading: Barbara Tuchman, “The Guns of August”; Nicholas Lambert, “Planning Armageddon”

    Nicholas Lambert’s discussion of Britain’s hope of economic warfare, “The Short War Assumption” -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kp7jJ-POo90&pp=ygUQbmljaG9sYXMgbGFtYmVydA%3D%3D

    Margaret MacMillan’s lecture on war planning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RUFHkal6Jk&pp=ygUbbWFyZ2FyZXQgbWFjbWlsbGFuIHBsYW5uaW5n

    Image: Cartoon of the dispute over Alsace-Lorraine as a medieval romance, Puck Magazine, 1898

    Please sign up as a patron to support this podcast, and hear recent posts on Germany and Japan in the lead-up to World War I -- https://www.patreon.com/user?u=5530632

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Origins of the First World War, pt. 11 -- The 19th-Century Revolution in Warfare

    Origins of the First World War, pt. 11 -- The 19th-Century Revolution in Warfare

    The scale and horror of the First World War were possible only after the Nineteenth Century's double revolution in the nature of war. Warfare -- including weaponry, strategy, and command -- had remained mostly unchanged for three centuries, from the early integration of firearms in the 1400s until the French Revolution; the campaigns of Napoleon unleashed a new era of mass mobilization and nationalistic fury, while a series of haphazard improvements massively multiplied the killing power and reach of firearms, tearing open a battlefield "killing zone" unlike anything that prior generations of soldiers could have imagined. We follow both the breakdown in the old distinctions between war and civil society and the breakneck advance in land and sea warfare that set the stage for the nightmare of World War I.

    Image: Japanese riflemen defending a breastwork embankment, Russo-Japanese War, 1904-5.

    Margaret MacMillan on war & 19th-century society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJVe0KLONJU

    Nicholas Murray on the emergence of trench warfare: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cbq7iu8FrI

    Suggested further reading: Nicholas Murray, "The Rocky Road to the Great War"; Margaret MacMillan, "The War That Ended Peace"; Hew Strachan, "A Clausewitz for Every Season," https://www.the-american-interest.com/2007/07/01/a-clausewitz-for-every-season/

    Please sign on at any level to support this podcast and to hear the recent lectures on Germany, Bosnia, and Japan -- https://www.patreon.com/user?u=5530632

    • 1 hr 44 min
    Article: "In the American Tempest: Democracy, Conspiracy, & Machine"

    Article: "In the American Tempest: Democracy, Conspiracy, & Machine"

    In 2022, I was asked to contribute to a symposium at Yale Law School on the question, "How can the humanities inform tech policy and design to promote 'healthier' discourse and democracy online?" The ultimate result was this article, published in the 2023 symposium issue of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.
    A scanned pdf of the article can be found as an attachment here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/100047377

    I also gave a short presentation at the symposium in 2022; since visual evidence is important to the argument of this article, I hope to expand upon the slides that I used in that presentation in order to produce a video with a full-length visual track to accompany the article.

    Film of Sumi Jo performing second half of Olympia's aria, "Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille," in Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann," at Opera de Lille, 1997: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW2iiZ8MyGI

    Thank you to the editors and staff of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities and the Justice Collaboratory.

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Teaser: "Origins of the First World War -- pt. 10: Japan"

    Teaser: "Origins of the First World War -- pt. 10: Japan"

    A sample from, "Origins of the First World, pt. 10 -- Japan"
    To hear the entire lecture, sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/origins-of-first-99483180

    We trace the evolution of Japanese society -- including the tensions between its peaceable, Buddhist-inspired aspect and its martial aspect; its extraordinary transformation in the Meiji period, from an antiquated hermit kingdom to a dynamic modern power; and its crucial alliance with its European mirror image, Great Britain – which set the stage for its role in the First World War.

    Dan Carrick & Japanese singers’ performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1885 adaptation of the Meiji anthem, “Miya Sama” -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOh5MIVP1bU

    A Japanese rendition of “Miya Sama” -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DpgzFtHuBg

    Image: the grand receiving room of Nijojo, Kyoto

    Suggested further reading: Perez, “The History of Japan”; Mason & Caiger, “A History of Japan,” 2nd ed.

    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
101 Ratings

101 Ratings

shikawgo ,

Great podcast

I’m giving a 5 star review just based on the Göbekli Tepe episode alone, which was my introductory episode to this podcast. It was laid out in a very informative and descriptive manner but was also concise and strayed from unnecessary babble. Just the facts, without hyperbole or subjective speculation. I’ve subscribed and have saved a bunch of back episodes. Looking forward to listening to those.

Milomudgeon ,

Unbiased concise history!

This podcast puts so many things into a proper context for me. In our current time, the lack of context seems to be at the root of so many of our problems. Just a little extra understanding goes a long way. Thank you, Sam!

traveler1066 ,

Excellent commentator

Very well researched, very well presented, and great attention to detail. Excellent podcast for 5hose serious about history and unbiased historical facts

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