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Reverb Effect

University of Michigan Department of History

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Reverb Effect is a history podcast exploring how past voices resonate in the present moment. How do we make sense of those voices? What were they trying to say, and whose job is it to find out? We'll dive deep into the archives, share amazing stories about the past, and talk with people who are making history now. Presented by the University of Michigan Department of History.
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Gather Round Podcast

Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums

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Hello and welcome to ’Gather Round’, the podcast series sharing stories from Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums. Each month we’ll be talking to members of the team about the collection, special exhibitions, the histories of our fascinating venues and tales of Aberdeen – sometimes they might be dark and dramatic, and hopefully always entertaining and informative.
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Have you ever seen an eclipse? I’ve seen numerous lunar eclipses and I’ve seen a few partial solar eclipse, but never a total solar eclipse. On 08 April 2024, Mexico, the United States and Canada will experience a total solar eclipse. It’s the first one in 7 years and the last one for 20 years. The next total solar eclipse in North America will be …
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In Prophets and Prophecy in the Late Antique Near East (Cambridge UP, 2023), Jae Han investigates how various Late Antique Near Eastern communities—Jews, Christians, Manichaeans, and philosophers—discussed prophets and revelation, among themselves and against each other. Bringing an interdisciplinary, historical approach to the topic, he interrogat…
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State-Building as Lawfare: Custom, Sharia, and State Law in Postwar Chechnya (Cambridge University Press, 2023) by Dr. Egor Lazarev explores the use of state and non-state legal systems by both politicians and ordinary people in postwar Chechnya. The book addresses two interrelated puzzles: why do local rulers tolerate and even promote non-state le…
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Following Art Spiegelman's declaration that 'the future of comics is in the past,' Drawing from the Archives considers comics memory in the contemporary North American graphic novel. Cartoonists such as Chris Ware, Seth, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and others have not only produced some of the most important graphic novels, they have also turned …
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The Black Hour: Solar Eclipse and the Medieval Mind 08 April 2024, a total solar eclipse will travel across North America. The path of totality stretches from Durango, Mexico up through Dallas, Texas, Arkansas, Southern Illinois, through Indianapolis, Ohio, Buffalo, New York, Toronto, Montreal and making it’s way over New Brunswick before leaving N…
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Set in Colonial Northern Nigeria, this book confronts a paradox: the state insisted on its separation from religion even as it governed its multireligious population through what remained of the precolonial caliphate. Entangled Domains: Empire, Law and Religion in Northern Nigeria (Cambridge UP, 2023) grapples with this history to offer a provocati…
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One person, missionary EW McDowell, influenced the fate of Syriac Christians ahead of the US Immigration Act of 1924. In this episode, Hannah Roussel interviews James Wolfe about McDowell, whose writings and testimony before Congress opened up the dialectics about the nature of the category “Asiatic.”…
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How do top-level public officials take advantage of immunity from foreign jurisdiction afforded to them by international law? How does the immunity entitlement allow them to thwart investigations and trial proceedings in foreign courts? What responses exist to prevent and punish such conduct? In Between Immunity and Impunity: External Accountabilit…
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Our privacy is besieged by tech companies. Companies can do this because our laws are built on outdated ideas that trap lawmakers, regulators, and courts into wrong assumptions about privacy, resulting in ineffective legal remedies to one of the most pressing concerns of our generation. Drawing on behavioral science, sociology, and economics, Ignac…
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Across the Green Sea: Histories from the Western Indian Ocean, 1440-1640 (University of Texas Press, 2024) by Dr. Sanjay Subrahmanyam presents a history of two centuries of interactions among the areas bordering the western Indian Ocean, including India, Iran, and Africa. Beginning in the mid-fifteenth century, the regions bordering the western Ind…
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Custom was fundamental to mediaeval legal practice. Whether in a property dispute or a trial for murder, the aggrieved and accused would go to lay court where cases were resolved according to custom. What custom meant, however, went through a radical shift in the mediaeval period. Between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, custom went from being…
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Presenting engaging, thought-provoking stories across centuries of military activity, Shakespeare at War: A Material History (Cambridge UP, 2023) demonstrates just how extensively Shakespeare's cultural capital has been deployed at times of national conflict. Drawing upon scholarly expertise in Shakespeare and War Studies, first-hand experience fro…
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State of the Arts: An Ethnography of German Theatre and Migration (Cambridge UP, 2023) is a bold and wide-ranging account of the unique German public theatre system through the prism of a migrant artistic institution in the western post-industrial Ruhr region. State of the Arts analyses how artistic traditions have responded to social change, racis…
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Law. How does the state form and use it? How do people use and shape it? How does law shape culture? How does the practice of law change over time in a modernizing colony? What was stable and what was malleable in the application of law in early modern Russia versus its Central Asian colony in the Empire’s final century? What’s the difference betwe…
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In a radical and ambitious reconceptualization of the field, Colonialism, World Literature, and the Making of the Modern Culture of Letters (Cambridge UP, 2024) argues that global literary culture since the eighteenth century was fundamentally shaped by colonial histories. By introducing the concept of ‘literary sovereignty’, the book argues that p…
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The marvellous, a key concept in literary debates at the turn of the seventeenth century, involved sensory and perspectival transformation, a rhetoric built on the unexpected, contradictory, and thought-provoking. The composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) created a new practice in which the expressive materials of music and poetry were placed in …
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How did democratic developing countries open their economies during the late-twentieth century? Since labor unions opposed free trade, democratic governments often used labor repression to ease the process of trade liberalization. Some democracies brazenly jailed union leaders and used police brutality to break the strikes that unions launched agai…
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States are often minimally present in the rural periphery. Yet a limited presence does not mean a limited impact. Isolated state actions in regions where the state is otherwise scarce can have outsize, long-lasting effects on society. The Scarce State: Inequality and Political Power in the Hinterland (Cambridge University Press, 2023) by Dr. Noah N…
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The Jewish Imperial Imagination: Leo Baeck and German-Jewish Thought (Cambridge UP, 2024) discusses the life and work of Leo Baeck (1873–1956) the rabbi, public intellectual, and the official leader of German Jewry during the Holocaust. The Jewish Imperial Imagination shows the myriad ways in which the German imperial enterprise left its imprint on…
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Japan is often imagined as a nation with a long history of whaling. In The Gods of the Sea: Whales and Coastal Communities in Northeast Japan, c.1600-2019 (Cambridge UP, 2023), Fynn Holm argues that for centuries some regions in early modern Japan did not engage in whaling. In fact, they were actively opposed to it, even resorting to violence when …
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British Myths & Legends Medievalist and Art Historian Dr. Amy Jeffs joins the show to discuss her books Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain and Wild: Tales from Early Medieval Britain In Amy’s first book, Storyland she examines the origins of Britain from Noah’s flood to the Norman invasion. And there are some good stories to tell, including the …
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Sir Stanley Wells is one of the world's greatest authorities on William Shakespeare. Here he brings a lifetime of learning and reflection to bear on some of the most tantalising questions about the poet and dramatist that there are. How did he think, feel, and work? What were his relationships like? What did he believe about death? What made him la…
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In The Human Rights Dictatorship: Socialism, Global Solidarity and Revolution in East Germany (Cambridge UP, 2020), Ned Richardson-Little exposes the forgotten history of human rights in the German Democratic Republic, placing the history of the Cold War, Eastern European dissidents and the revolutions of 1989 in a new light. By demonstrating how e…
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In his new book, Democracy, Nazi Trials, and Transitional Justice in Germany, 1945-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Dr. Devin O. Pendas examines how German courts conducted Nazi trials in the immediate postwar context. His work combines close readings of legal discourses in conjunction with very human stories to present a narrative of both …
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The dissolution of the monasteries was recalled by individuals and communities alike as a seismic rupture in the religious, cultural, and socio-economic fabric of early modern England. It was also profoundly important in shaping contemporary historical consciousness, the topographical imagination, and local tradition. Memory and the Dissolution of …
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Knut A. Jacobsen's edited volume The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Diaspora (Oxford UP, 2023) presents the histories and religious traditions of Hindus with a South Asian ancestral background living outside of South Asia. Hinduism is a global religion with a significant presence in many countries throughout the world. The most important cause o…
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Alexander McConnell talks with Olga Medvedkova, a Soviet antiwar activist whose arrest garnered worldwide attention in 1983. In light of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, what can we learn from Medvedkova and the Soviet peace movement?By University of Michigan Department of History
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In his new book, Transnational Nazism: Ideology and Culture in German Japanese Relations, 1919-1936 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University Ricky W. Law examines the cultural context of Tokyo and Berlin’s political rapprochement in 1936. This study of interwar German-Japanese relations is the…
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Ingrid Piller speaks with Aneta Pavlenko about her new book Multilingualism and History (Cambridge UP, 2023). We often hear that our world 'is more multilingual than ever before', but is it true? This book shatters that cliché. It is the first volume to shine light on the millennia-long history of multilingualism as a social, institutional and demo…
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The dawn of the Tudor regime is one of most recognisable periods of English history. Yet the focus on its monarchs' private lives and ministers' constitutional reforms creates the impression that this age's major developments were isolated to halls of power, far removed from the wider populace. Royal Justice and the Making of the Tudor Commonwealth…
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The Gift: How Objects of Prestige Shaped the Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism (Cambridge University Press, 2023) explores how objects of prestige contributed to cross-cultural exchanges between Africans and Europeans during the Atlantic slave trade. An eighteenth-century silver ceremonial sword, commissioned in the port of La Rochelle by French…
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In this vivid and highly original reading of recent Chinese history, Scents of China: A Modern History of Smell (Cambridge University Press, 2023) Dr. Xuelei Huang documents the eclectic array of smells that permeated Chinese life from the High Qing through to the Mao period. Utilising interdisciplinary methodology and critically engaging with scho…
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Creative storytelling is the beating heart of Darwin's science. All of Darwin's writings drew on information gleaned from a worldwide network of scientific research and correspondence, but they hinge on moments in which Darwin asks his reader to imagine how specific patterns came to be over time, spinning yarns filled with protagonists and antagoni…
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Drawing from his experiences of having belonged to the faculty, administrative, and presidential circles of the university, author Nicholas B. Dirks offers his nuanced and comprehensive reflections on the solutions for the most pressing issues facing universities today. These range from issues with free speech, interdisciplinary work, budgeting cos…
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Hitler's decision to declare war on the United States has baffled generations of historians. In this revisionist new history of those fateful months, Klaus H. Schmider seeks to uncover the chain of events which would incite the German leader to declare war on the United States in December 1941. In Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation: Why Germany Declared…
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Until Jessica Hinchy’s latest book, Governing Gender and Sexuality in Colonial India: The Hijra, c.1850-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2019), there was no single monograph dedicated to the history of the Hijra community. Perhaps this silence can bear the loudest testament of the marginalization this gender non-confirming community was subjected …
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The East India Company was a unique entity in world history: More than just a commercial enterprise, the Company tried to act as its own government. Not many at the time–whether legislators or company officials in London, and certainly not Indian people—though this was a great idea. As Joshua Ehrlich notes in his book The East India Company and the…
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Undercover investigators have been celebrated as critical conduits of political speech and essential protectors of transparency. They have also been derided as intrusive and spy-like, inconsistent with private property rights, and morally or ethically questionable. In Truth and Transparency: Undercover Investigations in the Twenty-First Century (Ca…
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Professor and author Nicolas Morton joins the podcast to discuss his book, The Crusader States and their Neighbours. The Crusader States were founded during the First Crusade. The Crusaders conquered the land and claimed it as their own. There were four Crusader States established during the First Crusade; The County of Edessa, The County of Tripol…
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George Floyd's death on May 25th 2020 marked a watershed in reactions to anti-Black racism in the United States and elsewhere. Intense demonstrations around the world followed. Within literary studies, the demonstrations accelerated the scrutiny of the literary curriculum, the need to diversify the curriculum, and the need to incorporate more Black…
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In recent years, government agencies around the world have been forced to consider the role of competition law and policy in addressing various crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 financial collapse. There is no easy formula that a competition agency can apply to determine the appropriate response to a crisis; indeed, there is subs…
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Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are probably history’s most famous folklorists. Their collection of folk tales – the Children’s and Household Tales – is one of the world’s most translated literary works. Living in a time of upheaval and war, the Grimm brothers were also passionate German nationalists. They insisted that Germans must reject alien regimes an…
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How does human language arise in the mind? To what extent is it innate, or something that is learned? How do these factors interact? The questions surrounding how we acquire language are some of the most fundamental about what it means to be human and have long been at the heart of linguistic theory. Harry van der Hulst's book A Mind for Language: …
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Robert C. Post's book The Taft Court (10): Making Law for a Divided Nation, 1921–1930 (Cambridge UP, 2023) offers the definitive history of the Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930 when William Howard Taft was Chief Justice. Using untapped archival material, Robert C. Post engagingly recounts the ambivalent effort to create a modern American administrat…
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Scott Gac's Born in Blood: Violence and the Making of America (Cambridge UP, 2023) investigates one of history's most violent undertakings: The United States of America. People the world over consider violence in the United States as measurably different than that which troubles the rest of the globe, citing reasons including gun culture, the Ameri…
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Governments and consumers expect internet platform companies to regulate their users to prevent fraud, stop misinformation, and avoid violence. Yet, so far, they've failed to do so. The inability of platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon to govern their users has led to stolen elections, refused vaccines, counterfeit N95s in a pandemic, and ev…
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The history of Islamic mapping is one of the new frontiers in the history of cartography. Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration (University of Chicago Press, 2016) offers the first in-depth analysis of a distinct tradition of medieval Islamic maps known collectively as the Book of Roads and Kingdoms (Kitab al-Masalik wa al-Mamalik, or KMMS). Create…
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In Hajj Across Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture After the Mughals, 1739-1857 (Cambridge UP, 2023), Rishad Choudhury presents a new history of imperial connections across the Indian Ocean from 1739 to 1857, a period that witnessed the decline and collapse of Mughal rule and the consolidation of British colonialism in South Asia. In this hig…
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In Hajj Across Empires: Pilgrimage and Political Culture After the Mughals, 1739-1857 (Cambridge UP, 2023), Rishad Choudhury presents a new history of imperial connections across the Indian Ocean from 1739 to 1857, a period that witnessed the decline and collapse of Mughal rule and the consolidation of British colonialism in South Asia. In this hig…
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