History

Reconstructing Seapower

Andrew Lambert— In the late 1880s, American strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan coined the term “sea power” by purposefully splitting the word “seapower,” a direct translation of the Greek thalassokratia, to sustain his agenda. The Greek word had been used by Herodotus and Thucydides to describe states which were

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Armistice Attire

Guy Cuthbertson— When the fighting on the Western Front ended on November 11, 1918, and people celebrated wildly back at home, unusual outfits featured prominently in those celebrations. Flags became clothing, and there was plenty of improvised fancy dress. Adults and children dressed as the Kaiser, for instance, or students

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Political Tribalism: The Art of Divide and Rule

Michelle Baddeley— How did Donald Trump manage to become president? If we look to psychology for an explanation, we can understand Trump as the populist leader of a modern-day tribe of voters. These voters define themselves according to a specific set of attitudes. On social media, they have a level

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The Origin of Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— Is it possible to empathize with lines in an abstract design, with the expansive reach of a tree, the sweep of a bird’s flight, or the imposing rise of a range of mountains? Can we “feel into” forms and shapes? If today we know empathy as a way

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Gershom Scholem: The Private Life of an Intellectual

David Biale— While researching my biography of the historian Gershom Scholem for Yale’s Jewish Lives series, I came across virtually unknown evidence that Scholem fell in love in 1934 with a friend named Kitty Steinschneider. What was I to do with this evidence that appeared in his unpublished diary from

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Standing Rock

Thomas Grillot— The mobilization against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the winter of 2016-2017 has made headlines throughout the world. In the first days of September 2016, the challenge raised by members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to the unbridled exploitation of natural resources in their region and

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The Many Gods of Ancient Monotheism

Paula Fredriksen— How is the ancient Jew—and, later, the ancient Christian—distinguished from his contemporary neighbor, the pagan? Biblical communities were monotheist, many people will answer; pagan communities were polytheist. For majority culture, many divinities populated the heavens. Biblical religions, more austere, clung to belief in a single god. Belief that

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A History of Servers: From Lazy Suzan to Alexa

Markus Krajewski— When Amazon introduced the world to a black, cylindrical cartouche with built-in ears and a female voice that answers to the name of Alexa in 2015, more than a few people have been looking forward to its promising and, more importantly, affordable services as a so called virtual

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Ep. 65 – The History of Intelligence

A look at the history of intelligence and espionage from Biblical times to social media misinformation.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud

Ep. 63 – The History of Vampires

We’re discussing where vampires came from, how they’ve evolved, and why they continue to fascinate us today.   Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud