39 episodes

A podcast about nomadism and nomadic peoples, around the world and throughout history.

Nomads, Past and Present Maggie Freeman

    • History
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

A podcast about nomadism and nomadic peoples, around the world and throughout history.

    Fantastic Fauna from China to Crimea: Image-Making in Eurasian Nomadic Societies, 700 BCE-500 CE

    Fantastic Fauna from China to Crimea: Image-Making in Eurasian Nomadic Societies, 700 BCE-500 CE

    Numerous Iron-Age nomadic alliances flourished along the 5000-mile Eurasian steppe route. From Crimea to the Mongolian grassland, nomadic image-making was rooted in metonymically conveyed zoomorphic designs, creating an alternative ecological reality. The nomadic elite nucleus embraced this elaborate image system to construct collective memory in reluctant, diverse political alliances organized around shared geopolitical goals rather than ethnic ties. Largely known by the term “animal style,” this zoomorphic visual rhetoric became so ubiquitous across the Eurasian steppe network that it transcended border regions and reached the heartland of sedentary empires like China and Persia. 
    In Fantastic Fauna from China to Crimea: Image-Making in Eurasian Nomadic Societies, 700 BCE-500 CE (Edinburgh UP, 2024) Art historian Petya Andreeva’s research shows how a shared fluency in animal-style design became a status-defining symbol and a bonding agent in opportunistic nomadic alliances, and was later adopted by their sedentary neighbors to showcase worldliness and control over the nomadic “other.”
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East (Cambridge UP, 2023)

    Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East (Cambridge UP, 2023)

    Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East (Cambridge UP, 2023) focuses on the intersections of three entities otherwise deemed marginal in historical scholarship: the Jazira region, the borderlands of today’s Iraq, Syria, and Turkey; the mobile peoples within this region, from nomadic pastoralists to deportees and refugees; and locusts. Sam Dolbee’s research traces the movements of people and insects within this region, and how the social “problem” of mobile peoples and the environmental problem of pests were conflated in the eyes of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman states. Following the path of the locust across this region reveals how the desert of the Jazira and its inhabitants were bordered, transformed by, and participated in both environmental and political projects.
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    • 46 min
    "Akmaral" (Regal House, 2024): A Discussion with Judith Lindbergh

    "Akmaral" (Regal House, 2024): A Discussion with Judith Lindbergh

    Inspired by the legends of Amazon women warriors told by ancient Greek historian Herodotus and evidenced by recent archaeological discoveries in Central Asia, Akmaral (Regal House Publishing, 2024) is the latest historical fiction novel by author Judith Lindbergh. Through the story of its eponymous main character, a nomadic warrior woman living in the Central Asian steppe in the 5th century BCE, Akmaral vividly brings to life the histories, cultures, and lifestyles of the ancient Sauromatae. In this episode, Judith joins me to talk about the Sauromatae, conducting historical research as a fiction writer, and what contemporary readers can learn about our current world through stories of the past.
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    • 49 min
    Photography and Making Bedouin Histories in the Naqab, 1906-2013:: An Anthropological Approach

    Photography and Making Bedouin Histories in the Naqab, 1906-2013:: An Anthropological Approach

    In Photography and Making Bedouin Histories in the Naqab, 1906-2013:: An Anthropological Approach (Routledge, 2023), Emilie Le Febvre takes us to the Naqab Desert where Bedouin use photographs to make, and respond to, their own histories. She argues Bedouin presentations of the past are selective, but increasingly reliant on archival documents such as photographs, which spokespersons treat as evidence of their local histories amid escalating tensions in Israel-Palestine. These practices shape Bedouin visual historicity; the diverse ways people produce their pasts in the present through images. 
    The book charts these processes through the afterlives of six photographs as they circulate between the Naqab’s entangled visual economies – a transregional landscape organized by cultural ideals of proximity and assemblages of Bedouin iconography. She illustrates how representational contentions associated with tribal, civic, and Palestinian-Israeli politics influence how images do history work in this society. Here, Bedouin value photographs not because they evidence singular narratives of the past; rather, the knowledges inscribed by photography are manifold as they support diverse constructions of Naqab Bedouin history and society. In this episode, Emilie joins me to discuss the ethics of photographs of the Naqab Bedouin as a historical source; the nuances of gender norms around photographing Bedouin women; and how social media and modern technology have changed how photographs are used and understood.
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    • 49 min
    Dune, Part Two: An Interview with Dr. Kara Kennedy

    Dune, Part Two: An Interview with Dr. Kara Kennedy

    Part Two of director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune films embeds viewers among the Fremen, the Indigenous inhabitants of the planet Arrakis. The sole source of the valuable drug spice, Arrakis has been colonized and its resources extracted by the Imperium. The Fremen fight to liberate themselves and their planet from Imperial control under the messianic leadership of Paul Atreides. In Frank Herbert’s original series of Dune novels, the Fremen were inspired by the Bedouin, nomadic pastoralist inhabitants of the Middle East. Aspects of Bedouin culture and lifeways as well as episodes from Bedouin history, such as the effects of resource extraction on Bedouin landscapes and Bedouin participation in the Great Arab Revolt, heavily informed the novels’ themes and narratives. In this episode, Dr. Kara Kennedy joins me to discuss representations of nomadic peoples in the Dune novels and their onscreen adaptations as well as her latest book Adaptations of Dune: Frank Herbert's Story on Screen (Blue Key, 2024).
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    • 47 min
    Nicholas Morton, "The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Nicholas Morton, "The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Nicholas Morton’s The Crusader States and their Neighbours: A Military History, 1099-1187 (Oxford UP, 2020) explores the military history of the medieval Near East, piecing together the fault-lines of conflict which entangled this much-contested region. This was an area where ethnic, religious, dynastic, and commercial interests collided and the causes of war could be numerous. Conflicts persisted for decades and were fought out between many groups including Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Arabs, and the Crusaders themselves. Nic Morton recreates this world, exploring how each faction sought to advance its own interests by any means possible, adapting its warcraft to better respond to the threats posed by their rivals. Strategies and tactics employed by the pastoral societies of the Central Asian steppe were pitted against the armies of the agricultural societies of Western Christendom, Byzantium, and the Islamic World, galvanising commanders to adapt their practices in response to their foes. 
    In this episode, Nic joins me again to discuss histories of nomadic peoples fighting with and against the Crusader armies; what military history can tell us about the economic, social, and cultural history of the medieval Near East; and why Crusader history is still relevant to us today.
    Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.
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    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

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7 Ratings

7 Ratings

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