Tag Archives: thehistorycafe

The Hedgehog and the Fox with Clare Gillis

lemon_tart_-_star5112This month (bi-month?  Something like that – I wish these happened
a little more frequently) I’m again talking with my friend, medievalist and journalist Clare Gillis.  In part in response to the topic popping up in the news from time to time, I figured we should have a conversation about Isaiah Berlin’s essay on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace titled The Hedgehog and the Fox.   Continue reading The Hedgehog and the Fox with Clare Gillis

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Islam, Pirenne, and Historiography with Clare Gillis

Welcome to 2016!Orange-Duck

I’ve been a bit delinquent with podcasts for a couple of months, but here, finally, is a new one.  This one was inspired a few months back by the youtube comment stream (crazy but true!) on a John Oliver Last Week Tonight clip: the “How is this still a thing?” on Columbus Day.  Don’t ask how I ended up reading that far into the comment stream…in general I’m a fan of John Oliver, but not an avid reader of youtube comments. Continue reading Islam, Pirenne, and Historiography with Clare Gillis

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History Cafe visits the Met with Lauren Mancia – Archeological Reconstruction

Here is the last installment of the History Cafe visits the Smoked Salmon Platter with BagelsMetropolitan museum in New York.  If you didn’t hear the first two, they are all separate topics.  The first two cover the twelfth century, and late-medieval mysticism.  This time, we’re talking about archeological reconstructions.  Most of the archeological sites and many of the ruins we look at are in part repaired or reconstructed and it isn’t always obvious how.  Continue reading History Cafe visits the Met with Lauren Mancia — Archeological Reconstruction

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Medieval Bells in Valencia Spain

This month I have another “live” cast recorded in the city of Black RiceValencia.  Over the course of the podcast, I walk up the main bell tower of the Cathedral of Valencia to listen to the huge bell at the top, nicknamed the “micalet,” strike noon.  Along the way, with a few other bells woven in for good measure, I talk about how large cast bells first came to be used in late Medieval Europe and what they symbolized for the Christians who rang them.  Continue reading Medieval Bells in Valencia Spain

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History Cafe Shot – What do we mean by Violence in history?

This month on the History Cafe, we’re trying something new.  This isTurkish Coffee 4 - Tulip Cafe Brattleboro a relatively short podcast (10 minutes) that asks a question with a handful of examples.  It is in no way exhaustive, but hopefully sparks a fair amount of thought.  It is also an example (to me, anyway) of how history often plays out in its roll as an explainer of the world today.  The podcast is about historical violence – I ask the question: how do we argue that a certain ideology, religion, or group is violent?
Continue reading History Cafe Shot — What do we mean by Violence in history?

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History Cafe visits the Met with Lauren Mancia – Medieval Mysticism

This is part two of our History Cafe Visits the Met series and Lauren Mancia is back to talk about how objects and images interacted with Medieval ideas of mystical experience.  This is the podcast where we talk about the little bed (see the image below).  We were down in the main museum, not in the cloisters, and we looked at a seemingly random set of images connected by their very close connection to the spiritual practices of mysticism.

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History Cafe visits the Met with Lauren Mancia – The Cloisters Gothic Chapel

Lauren Mancia is back and for a whole series we are calling The History Cafe Visits the Met!  We recorded several podcasts live at the Met Museum looking at specific items in the collections ranging from the Gothic Chapel to the Temple of Dendur to a little tiny doll’s bed used for mystical contemplation (this will be coming up soon!)  For today, we have our discussion of several objects in the Gothic Chapel at the Cloisters Museum.

Continue reading History Cafe visits the Met with Lauren Mancia — The Cloisters Gothic Chapel

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The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba Spain

This is another live-in-Spain podcast, this time from the famous monumental mosque-cathedral in Cordoba.  Cordoba was an important Roman provincial town, a military outpost of the Visigoths, and for centuries one of the most important seats of Islamic culture in Spain until it was conquered by Ferdinand III of Castile in 1236.  The main Christian administration of Andalusia, the southern province on the Spanish peninsula, came to be in Sevilla, especially after Sevilla became the main port for communication Continue reading The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba Spain

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The Great Famine in England with Philip Slavin

This episode is an interview with a friend of mine who also studies famines, although he specializes in England.  The Great Famine hit most of Northern Europe – from England to Poland, Central France and parts of Northern Italy to Sweden – in 1315.  The bad harvests lasted for at least two years and included such heavy rain and wet weather that salt made meat, fish, and milk preservation more difficult at the same time.  A few years later, a major cattle epidemic hit, wiping out large numbers of animals across the same region.  The result was either acute food shortage or general malnutrition for years.  Continue reading The Great Famine in England with Philip Slavin

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Church and State in Early Modern Spain

It has been a while now, but I’m back with hopefully a string of new podcasts.  First off, I have a small, on-location, observation about the relationship between church and state power in Spain.  This is a topic that has lots of depth to it, and this little intro only scratches the surface, but standing between the Cathedral of Madrid and the Royal Palace seemed like a good place to at least contemplate the symbolic relationship between those two institutions, something that Spain has dealt with in several ways over the last few hundred years.  Much of Spanish history over the last five hundred years has been competition between centralizing forces and centripetal forces pulling away from centralized power.  Continue reading Church and State in Early Modern Spain

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