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Seduction, Prostitution, Bastardy, and Child Abandonment in Georgian London

Georgian London was the epicenter of urban pleasure culture. Harlots leveraged their assets, rakes indulged in licentious sex, and brothels, molly-houses, taverns and bawdy houses were scattered all over the city. Behind all this reckless abandon lay a milieu of misery. Between 1756 and 1760, the Foundling Hospital of London admitted 15,000 infants. This amounts to 10% of all the births in London for those years. This week’s episode addresses the trope of seduction, the realities of...


Anthony Comstock: Sex, Censorship, and the Power of Policing the Subjective

Sex 2.0: Episode #3 of 4. Today’s episode is part of our sex series 2.0 and a continuation of one of our earliest episodes, Selling Sex: 19th Century New York City Prostitution and Brothels. In that episode, Sarah and Elizabeth discussed the vibrant sexual culture in New York City during the Gilded Age, roughly 1870 to 1890. Today Elizabeth and Ave are going to do a deep dive on the most famous antagonists of that sexual culture: anti-vice crusader, Anthony Comstock. A complete...


Rape and Race in Early America

In the age of #MeToo, rape and sexual assault have been consistently in the news. Debates abound about what counts as rape, whose testimony we should believe, and too often, men with power and privilege get away with it. But though it feels pressing right now, none of those debates are new. Join Sarah and Marissa as they look for context for today’s debates in Sharon Block’s important book, Rape and Sexual Power in Early America. Find show notes and transcripts here. Learn more about your...


Locked Up and Poxxed: THE Venereal Disease and Women who Sold Sex in the Victorian British Empire

Sex Series #1 of 4. Have you been tested? Averill and Elizabeth take a look at the long history of Europeans blaming women for sexual transmitted diseases, and the gendered and racially charged British imperial policies for locking up women to protect the penises of imperial men. A complete transcript and the full list of sources and further reading are available at digpodcast.org. Some of the key sources for this episode include: ed. Kevin Siena, Sins of the Flesh: Responding to Sexual...


Miscarriage in Nineteenth Century America

Bodies Episode #4 of 4. Shannon Withycombe's Lost: Miscarriage in Nineteenth-Century America puts miscarriage at the center of the study of nineteenth-century science, medicine, and women’s experience with their reproductive bodies. You may be surprised by the range of responses to pregnancy loss, motherhood, and reproduction in the 19th century. Get the transcript and complete bibliography at digpodcast.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Skull Collectors: Race, Pseudoscience, and Native American Bodies

Bodies #3 of 4. In 1996, two college students stumbled upon some skeletal remains in the Columbia River in Washington. The body, it turns out, was the oldest ever found in North America. In order to understand the story and controversy of the Kennewick Man, also known as The Ancient One, we need to go way back to the ethnographers, anthropologists, and archaeologists of the 19th century. These men sought to unlock the mysteries of race by collecting skulls and bones they could measure and...


Syphilis: Origin Story. Or, Early Modern Europeans Don’t Know Where It Came From, Current Scholars Don’t Know Where It Came From, and a Lot of Poxy Penises and Vulvas Suffered in Between

Bodies Episode #2 of 4. From whence came the poxiest of poxes? Averill and Marissa dive into the debates surrounding the origin of syphilis, with historians, paleobiologists, forensic anthropologists, and Shakespeare all weighing in. Further Reading: Kevin Siena, Sins of the Flesh: Responding to Sexual Disease in Early Modern Europe (Toronto: University of Toronto, 2005); Jon Arrizabalaga, John Henderson, and Roger French, The great pox : the French disease in Renaissance Europe (New Haven :...


“Walking Corpses”: Life as a Leper in Medieval Eurasia

Bodies #1 of 4. In this week's episode, we are going medieval. Conventional narratives tell us that medieval lepers were pariahs who lived out their days as rejected invalids, rotting away in decrepit asylums, quarantined from society. Some of this is true. The disease became so common in Europe, however, that medieval society was compelled to adapt to the presence of the chronically ill. Listen as we explore the lived experiences of medieval lepers on the Eurasian continent using...


Hearts of Darkness: Victorian Imperialism and Travel of the African Continent

Frontiers, Episodes #4 of 4. Find the transcript and complete show notes at digpodcast.org. Victorian-era European imperialism was facilitated by the thousands of missionaries, businessmen, soldiers, and private police forces employed by the religious, economic, and military institutions of “civilized” Europe, but there were also individuals that facilitated this process, such as Henry Morton Stanley, Joseph Conrad, and Roger Casement. These individuals were essential to the larger effort to...


Black Cowboys: People of Color in the American West

Frontiers #3 of 4. Black cowboys made up at least one third of the cowhands that drove cattle along the long trails from Texas to mid-western and northern points in the middle of the 19th century. But you’d never know that from the images of the “cowboy” in popular culture. Contrary to popular media depictions, black cowboys were integral to the transformation of the West. They joined the round-ups, cattle drives, and served on the ranch crews that define the era of the great trail drives in...


The Final Frontier: History, Science, and Space Exploration

Frontiers Series, Episode #2 of 4. Is space the new frontier? What are the links between the so-called “age of exploration,” the conquering of the American West, and the United States space program? We will be covering those questions and others in today's podcast, The Final Frontier: History, Science, and Space Exploration. Bibliography and transcript at digpodcast.org. Show Notes Howard McCurdy, Space and the American Imagination (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press,...


Fur Trading and Frontier Life in French Canada

Frontiers #1 of 4. Fur trading and frontier life in French Canada. As frontiers typically are, the story of the French Canadian wilderness has been a gendered one since its earliest iterations. If it ever existed in reality, this straightforward, masculine escape was complicated by complex alliances with matrilineal aboriginals and state-sponsored waves of immigration that brought radical women, authoritarian clergy, cloistered nuns, swashbuckling soldiers, skilled artisans, and eventually...


Cannibalism, Frostbite, and The Quest for the Northwest Passage

Creepy, Occult, and Otherworldly Episode #4 of 4. Get a complete transcript of this episode at digpodcast.org. Today we are discussing the bone-chilling fear that comes from knowing that all hope is gone, and your death – from the cold, or from a slow moving disease, or from starvation – is only a matter of time. We’re talking about the quest to explore the Arctic. Sources: George Lippard. The Greely Arctic Expedition as Fully Narrated by Lieut. Greely, U.S.A., and Other Survivors: Full...


Haunted Slavery: The Lalaurie Mansion

Creepy, Occult, and Otherworldly Episode #3 of 4. Get a complete transcript of this episode at digpodcast.org. The Lalaurie Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana, is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the French Quarter. The extreme and shocking stories that are told about the Lalaurie house are egregiously exaggerated and overwhelmingly gloss over the real issues of race, gender, and violence prevalent with the institution of slavery. Yet, we still voyeuristically consume these types...


Witches Brew: How the Patriarchy Ruins Everything for Women, Even Beer

Creepy, Occult, and Otherworldly Episode #2 of 4. Get a complete transcript and the show notes for this episode at digpodcast.org. An old woman with a pointy hat, cauldron, broom, cat, and smelly brew? Why, she must be a witch! This tableau has titillated and thrilled and terrified Europeans and Americans for centuries. But this woman is not communing with the devil or cursing her neighbors. She’s not even making herbal remedies to heal the ailments of her village, as did so many women...


Forensic Pathology and the History of Death Investigation

Creepy, Occult, and Otherworldly Episode #1 of 4. Get a complete transcript and sources for this episode at digpodcast.org. Instagram accounts like @Mrs_Angemi and @CrimeSceneCleanersInc boast hundreds of thousands of followers, all hoping to catch a glimpse of morbid pathology and the biohazardous remnants of foul play. This is obviously not a niche thing. We are just as much fascinated by violent death as we are scared by it. There is something about violence and death that is captivating...


Rebel Slaves and Resistance in the Revolutionary Caribbean

Slavery #4 of 4. complicated story. Enslaved people in the Caribbean resorted to active resistance much more often than their North American and South American counterparts. Haiti (known then as St. Domingue), Jamaica, Barbados, and the Dutch Guianas were particularly prone to slave revolts, averaging one major revolt every two years between 1731 and 1832. No other slave societies have quite so complex a history of resistance as those in the Caribbean. Historian Sir Hilary Beckles has said,...


Slavery and Freedom in New York City

Slavery #3 of 4. Show Notes and a complete transcript available at digpodcast.org. Today, we’re really excited to have an extra special episode for you. We’re honored to present this episode in conjunction with the PBS series, Secrets of the Dead. Coming up this October, Secrets of the Dead will be airing the story of the Woman in the Iron Coffin, in which a team of death detectives will reconstruct the Woman’s life. We’ve been lucky enough to see a preview, and let us assure you – you need...


Slave Codes, Black Codes & Jim Crow: Codifying the Color Line

Slavery #2 of 4. In today’s episode we are discussing some laws in the United States that governed the bodies and lives of enslaved people and follow how those laws changed, or didn’t change, through emancipation and into the late twentieth century. So buckle up for a long look at Slave Codes, Black Codes, and Jim Crow laws in America. Find show notes and transcripts here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


Devşirme: The Tribute of Children, Slavery and the Ottoman Empire

Slavery #1 of 4. Get the Show Notes or read the full transcript at digpodcast.org. Between 1522 and 1536, the second most powerful man in the Ottoman empire was Ibrahim Pasha.The most surprising thing about Ibrahim Pasha is not his diplomatic successes or his untimely demise. What is most surprising about Ibrahim Pasha, the second most powerful man in the Ottoman Empire between 1522-36, is that he was a devsirme slave. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices