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90 Second Narratives

History Podcasts

90 Second Narratives is a weekly podcast featuring engaging true stories told by trained historians. Each episode includes a short story interwoven with expert analysis of the story’s historical significance. The concise length and storytelling format of the episodes make history accessible, dynamic, and entertaining. The subjects of the stories are diverse—spanning the globe and ranging from the pre-historic to the modern age. While individual stories stand alone, the episodes in each season are linked thematically and combine to offer comparative perspectives that illuminate connections from across the human experience. Every episode also includes recommendations for further reading. 90 Second Narratives provides a novel way to hear historians share the wonders of the past in their own voices.

90 Second Narratives is a weekly podcast featuring engaging true stories told by trained historians. Each episode includes a short story interwoven with expert analysis of the story’s historical significance. The concise length and storytelling format of the episodes make history accessible, dynamic, and entertaining. The subjects of the stories are diverse—spanning the globe and ranging from the pre-historic to the modern age. While individual stories stand alone, the episodes in each season are linked thematically and combine to offer comparative perspectives that illuminate connections from across the human experience. Every episode also includes recommendations for further reading. 90 Second Narratives provides a novel way to hear historians share the wonders of the past in their own voices.

Location:

United States

Description:

90 Second Narratives is a weekly podcast featuring engaging true stories told by trained historians. Each episode includes a short story interwoven with expert analysis of the story’s historical significance. The concise length and storytelling format of the episodes make history accessible, dynamic, and entertaining. The subjects of the stories are diverse—spanning the globe and ranging from the pre-historic to the modern age. While individual stories stand alone, the episodes in each season are linked thematically and combine to offer comparative perspectives that illuminate connections from across the human experience. Every episode also includes recommendations for further reading. 90 Second Narratives provides a novel way to hear historians share the wonders of the past in their own voices.

Language:

English


Episodes

On the Doors of the U.S. Supreme Court, Part I

10/26/2021
“During a recent visit to Washington D.C. with my family, we visited the United States’ Supreme Court Building. It was a quiet Monday afternoon without a cloud in the sky…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: “The Bronze Doors” Information Sheet

Duration:00:03:45

Life’s Seasons and the Friendships of Frederick the Great

10/18/2021
“Many long-term friendships change over time with the seasons of life. This was certainly true in the case of Frederick II, King of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: Frederick the Great: King of Prussia by Tim Blanning (Random House, 2016)

Duration:00:02:55

The Friendship that Introduced a Heroine of Mexican Independence to the World

10/11/2021
“I want to tell you about the friendship between two women, nearly two centuries ago, that’s had a very long tail in Mexican history. On February first, 1840, shortly after arriving in Mexico City, Fanny Calderón de la Barca – the Scottish wife of the new Spanish ambassador – met doña María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Silvia Marina Arrom. For further reading: La Guera Rodriguez: The Life and Legends of a Mexican Independence Heroine by Silvia Marina...

Duration:00:05:00

Becoming a Friend of God in Eighteenth-Century North Africa

10/4/2021
“‘The true scholar,’ the 18th-century North African Sufi master Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani told his disciples, ‘is the one who gives form to what is clear, and clarifies what is ambiguous, and this from the strength of his knowledge, the breadth of his understanding, the soundness of his spiritual vision (naẓr) and his verification (taḥqīq)’…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Zachary Wright. For further reading: Realizing Islam: The Tijaniyya in North Africa and the Eighteenth-Century Muslim...

Duration:00:04:15

Narragansett Friendship, Roger Williams, and Religious Freedom in America

9/27/2021
“Historians point to the year 1648 as a watershed moment in the development of religious tolerance in Europe. In that year, the Peace of Westphalia brought an end to the Thirty Year’s War—one of Europe’s grimmest chapters of religiously-inflected violence…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: Michael Warren Murphy, “‘No Beggars amongst Them’: Primitive Accumulation, Settler Colonialism, and the Dispossession of Narragansett Indian Land,” Humanity &...

Duration:00:03:50

Otto von Bismarck’s Four-Legged Friends

9/20/2021
“Historians like to say, everything has a history. Recently, the history of animals, has seen some development. The history of dogs, living closely beside humans for millennia as guards, workers, hunting aids and companions, illustrates a relationship with nature over time and sheds light on how our species has understood our role on our planet as owners, custodians, or exploiters of the natural world, and it includes ambiguous friendships…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Claudia...

Duration:00:08:15

A Season of Stories 8: Journeys

9/14/2021
This special episode combines all the stories from Season 8… “A Black Woman’s Spiritual Journey to the City” – Dr. J. T. Roane, Assistant Professor of African & African American Studies at Arizona State University “Cotton: Connecting the Atlantic World” – Dr. Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University “Soju: A Liquor’s Global Journey” – Dr. Hyunhee Park, Associate Professor of...

Duration:00:31:20

Using Astrology to Plan Journeys

9/6/2021
"What factors do you take into consideration before going on a journey? Do you have any sense of when is a good time for a journey? Or, a good time for a specific type of journey? In sixteenth-century Germany, people had a way of systematizing the good and bad times for many of life’s activities, including travel…" So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: Der Bawren Practica oder Wetterbüchlein

Duration:00:02:30

The “Conflict Thesis”: A Resilient Idea’s Journey

8/30/2021
“When historians of science and religion write about the ‘conflict thesis,’ what are they talking about?” So begins today’s story from Dr. James C. Ungureanu. For further reading: Science, Religion, and the Protestant Tradition: Retracing the Origins of Conflict by James C. Ungureanu (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019)

Duration:00:06:30

Hotel Owners and the Shape of Japanese Transpacific Migration

8/23/2021
“At the turn of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of Japanese migrants left their island nation, landed in Hawai’i, only to depart for Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, or Victoria…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Yukari Takai. For further reading: Yukari Takai, “Recrafting Marriage in Meiji Hawai’i, 1885-1913,” Gender & History, 31, 3 (2019), 646-664.

Duration:00:03:55

The Columbian Exchange

8/17/2021
“One of the most famous, and consequential, journeys in the history of humanity was Christopher Columbus’ fateful journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 by Alfred W. Crosby (1972) Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:02:45

A US Consul on the Road to a Coup

8/9/2021
“When American soldier William Eaton started his search for Hamet Karamanli in late 1804, he had an audacious plan… So begins today’s story from Dr. Abby Mullen. For more, listen to the Consolation Prize podcast. Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:02:30

Cotton: Connecting the Atlantic World

8/2/2021
“I am looking at a square cotton canvas about 10 cm by 10 cm. A grid of black and white tiles – they look like domino counters - have been painted on it in alternating patterns. This canvas was given to me by the wonderful artist and Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid CBE…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Anna Arabindan-Kesson. For further reading: Black Bodies, White Gold: Art, Cotton and Commerce in the Atlantic World by Anna Arabindan-Kesson (Duke University Press, 2021) Episode...

Duration:00:07:00

A Black Woman’s Spiritual Journey to the City

7/26/2021
“Crossing the thresholds between worlds…” So begins today’s story from Dr. J. T. Roane. For further reading: “A Totally Different Form of Living: On the Legacies of Displacement and Marronage as Black Ecologies” Southern Cultures 27 (2021) by Justin Hosbey and J. T. Roane Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:05:00

Chinese Migration and the Shaping of Costa Rica

7/19/2021
“On November 20, 1930 the Ulúa arrived in Limón, Costa Rica with four Chinese passengers carrying Costa Rican passports…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Benjamín Narváez. For further reading: “The Power and Pitfalls of Patronage: Chinese Immigrants in Costa Rica during the Era of Exclusion, 1897–1943” Journal of Migration History 6 (2020) Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:03:40

Soju: A Liquor’s Global Journey

7/12/2021
“For those who have not yet tasted soju, or heard about it, soju is the distinctive national spirit of Korea, a clear and colorless distilled liquor similar to vodka. It was only available inside Korea in the twentieth century, but soju is now one of the world’s most popular drinks…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Hyunhee Park. For further reading: Soju: A Global History by Hyunhee Park (Cambridge University Press, 2021) Episode...

Duration:00:04:25

A Season of Stories 7: Community

7/5/2021
This special episode combines all the stories from Season 7… “Togolese Women in the Struggle for Independence” – Marius Kothor, PhD candidate in the Department of History at Yale University “Taungurung Community in Australia” – Dr. Jennifer Jones, Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies, Archaeology and History at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga Campus “Native Americans in Anti-Colonial Networks” – Dr. Justin Gage, Visiting Researcher at the University of Helsinki and...

Duration:00:26:14

Community in Loneliness

6/28/2021
“The story that I want to tell you is about loneliness…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Fay Bound Alberti. For further reading: A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion by Fay Bound Alberti (Oxford University Press, 2019) Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:04:15

The Church Order in the Protestant Reformation

6/21/2021
“Even someone who is well-versed in the history and theology of the Protestant Reformation might not know much about the subject of this story: the church order… So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. For further reading: James M. Estes, “Johannes Brenz and the Institutionalization of the Reformation in Württemberg,” Central European History 6 (1973) Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:03:00

Healers in Seventeenth-Century Angola

6/14/2021
“In 1698, a batch of denunciations was collected in the Jesuit college of Luanda, Angola…” So begins today’s story from Dr. Kalle Kananoja. For further reading: Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa: Medical Encounters, 1500–1850 by Kalle Kananoja (Cambridge University Press, 2021) Episode transcript: https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

Duration:00:03:10