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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast

Professor Buzzkill is an exciting new blog & podcast that explores history myths in an illuminating, entertaining, and humorous way.
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Professor Buzzkill History Podcast
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Now displaying: Page 1
Jul 2, 2020

Current debates, protests, tensions, and turmoil in the United States have revived a number of ahistorical rants on social media about all kinds of things, including the history of American political parties. We explain why the Democratic and Republican political parties have the same names, but totally different attitudes and policies over the decades. Essential listening for the 2020 election!

Jun 30, 2020

Professor Sally McMillen explains why Lucy Stone should be restored to her rightful place at the center of the nineteenth-century women's rights movement. Stone did not relish the limelight the way Elizabeth Cady Stanton did, nor did she gain the many followers whom Susan B. Anthony attracted through her extensive travels and years of dedicated work. Yet her contributions to the woman's rights movement were no less significant or revolutionary than those of her more widely lauded peers. Listen!

Jun 24, 2020

The Irish slaves myth claims that Irish people were enslaved by the British and sent to the Americas (especially the Caribbean) to work on plantations. The history of Irish slaves has been buried by our politically-correct world, so the myth goes, and has been replaced by an over-emphasis on the enslavement of Africans in the New World. But is there any truth to it, Buzzkillers? Listen and learn.

Jun 24, 2020

We all love, and should live by the sentiment expressed in "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." But did Eleanor Roosevelt say it? Was it Confucius or an ancient Chinese proverb? Or does it come from the 19th century? We explore the origins of the ideas behind the quote, who said it, and how it got attached to Eleanor Roosevelt. Listen to this Quote or No Quote episode!

Jun 23, 2020

The protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong in recent months may have been overwhelmed by other world news. Many listeners have been asking us how Hong Kong came to have its special status over the last couple of centuries. Professor James Carter explains the immense complications in Hong Kong’s history, the difficult period between British colonialism and Chinese control in the 20th century, and what history can teach us about the possible courses of Hong Kong’s future.

Jun 17, 2020

Professor Adam Domby explains why the Lost Cause of the Confederacy is full of fraud, fabrication, and white supremacy. And he analyzes how it is expressed in statuary, memory, and commemoration in the American south in the Jim Crow era. This is a complete examination of the Lost Cause and its destructive effect on American life and culture. Listen and learn.

Jun 16, 2020

Operation Biting was a daring RAF raid to capture important German radar technology in France during World War II. Award-winning military historian, Damien Lewis explains the planning and execution of this overlooked incident in the war. More importantly, he shows us how complex and fraught with danger the whole operation was. The full context of this commando raid, the politics surrounding it, and its effect on war morale and the Allied war effort is gripping!

Jun 15, 2020

Dr. Ty Seidule, Brigadier General U.S. Army (Retired) and Emeritus Professor of History at the United States Military Academy (West Point), enlightens us about the founding of Confederate-named military bases in the United States. Forts Bragg, Lee, Benning, Gordon, Rucker, Hood, Pickett, Beauregard, Hill, and Polk are in the news now. Demands for them to be re-named get stronger every day. General Seidule explains all, and there is no higher historical authority than that!

Jun 12, 2020

The Great Escape (1963) is in the pantheon of World War II films, and deservedly so. Generations of Buzzkillers have grown up watching Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, and other film stars try to outsmart their captors at Stalag Luft III. But how true was the “Great Escape” story that became a best-selling novel and box-office smash at the movie theater? Listen carefully, or Professor Buzzkill will send you to the cooler!

Jun 11, 2020

When and why were statues to Confederate soldiers, generals, and politicians put up across the American south? Why is the Confederate Battle Flag so proudly waved and displayed in many parts of the US? Professor Nash joins us to explain why all of this happened, who was selected for commemoration, and what it all means for American history and culture. Listen and learn.

Jun 10, 2020

Frances and Charlotte (Lottie) Rollin occupied a special place in 19th century South Carolina. They were involved in politics, female suffrage, and civil rights for African-Americans. Cappy Yarbrough from the College of Charleston enlightens us on this Women Crush Wednesday!

Jun 3, 2020

We're seeing the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote “...riot is the language of the unheard” a lot on social media recently. Unlike most famous “quotes” that we see on the internet, this is genuine. Listen to the context and the full speech in this special episode.

Jun 2, 2020

The idea that Jesus handed the United States Constitution to the American Founding Fathers seems to have become more powerful in recent decades. Why? What was the role of religion in the founding of the country? What was the nature of the “Christianity” felt by the Founders Fathers and the colonial populations? Professor Craig Hammond from Penn State explains all. Listen and learn!

May 29, 2020

We're trying something new! Historical Fiction! Join us as we interview Ellen Marie Wiseman, the author of The Orphan Collector. It's a powerful tale of upheaval, resilience, and hope set in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak—the deadly pandemic that went on to infect one-third of the world’s population.

May 28, 2020

It's 80 years after the Battle of Dunkirk and the subsequent evacuation of allied troops from that area between the 26th of May and the 4th of June 1940. The evacuation has become a very famous and celebrated event in World War II history and especially in British history. "Dunkirk Spirit," the British refusal to give up in the face of disaster, and to keep plugging away at a problem until it's solved, comes from the whole Dunkirk experience. But Dunkirk history and Dunkirk myths are very important parts of World War II and the subsequent ways in which it has been taught. We examine some of the bigger Dunkirk myths and misunderstandings in this episode!

May 26, 2020

Professor Philip Nash tells us the broader context of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history. He takes the story up to the present day to explain the trajectory of gender parity in US foreign relations.

May 19, 2020

Professor Philip Nash tells us the history of America's First Female Ambassadors, the "Big Six," and how they carved out their rightful place in history.  He explains how these trailblazers helped pave the way for more gender parity in US foreign relations!

May 14, 2020

The “Non-Smoker” as a category of person seems obvious in the 21st century. But it wasn’t always this way. Professor Sarah Milov gives the history of the non-smoking movement, including the medical, legal, and political battles that eventually led to smoke-free public places. Hear about pressure groups like GASP, ASH, and the countless local movements that helped clear the air.

May 13, 2020

Have we all been fooled all the time by people applying this quote to Abraham Lincoln? Where did the quote originate? Honest Abe or someone else? When was it said? During the Lincoln-Douglas Debates? During the 1860 Presidential Election? Find out in this Quote or No Quote episode of Professor Buzzkill!

May 9, 2020

G. Gordon Liddy is the subject of our second Piece of Sh*t Saturday. An American political operative and extremist, Liddy was one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. But why was he so sh*tty? Find out!

May 8, 2020

On Christmas Eve, 1943. Roughly half-way through the United States’ involvement in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt reported to the American people about a war that was far from over, and that was about to cost even more Allied and American lives.

May 5, 2020

“The Wild West,” is one of the strongest conceptions in American history. But “where” was the west? How “wild” was it? “Who” settled it? Did settlers build the west with their hands? How many of the stories about settlers and Native Americans are myths or misconceptions? Professor Edward O’Donnell helps us explain it all, including the central role that Buffalo Bill played in creating and spreading the story of the “wild west.”

May 1, 2020

This Fireside Chat was FDR’s attempt to assure Americans that, at least in 1940, the government’s main concern was the defense of the United States. But, in “the name of our common humanity,” he also asked Americans to donate to the Red Cross to try to ease the suffering of European civilians. Roosevelt then went on to justify his calls for greater defense production in the United States, obviously because of the increased danger from the Axis powers, but also because it might eventually become necessary for the United States to enter the European war. 

Apr 28, 2020

Civil War historian, Kevin Levin, explains the history and development of the myth of black soldiers in the Confederate army. He analyses camp servants and slaves during the war, how their service was remembered after the war, and how it became fictionalized and mythologized in the 1970s. Yes, the 1970s, not the 1870s. A fascinating episode on Civil War history and memory!

Apr 24, 2020

Today’s show presents FDR’s 1936 Fireside Chat about drought conditions in the US during the "dust bowl" years of the mid-1930s. On September 6, 1936, President Roosevelt addressed the nation about his visits to drought-stricken areas, about the government’s plans for relief, and what he hoped for the future. 

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