Special Guest Conversations and Interviews Playlist

Latin America Inverts the World Map: A Conversation With Margarita Fajardo

Sam interviews historian Margarita Fajardo, a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College, about her new book, "The World That Latin America Created," which traces how a movement of scholars and statesmen centering around CEPAL, a UN economic commission based in Santiago, Chile, formulated a new world-view and far-reaching agenda to foster unity and development in Latin America; the so-called “Capalinos” rose to dominance and set the policy agenda in Brazil and other countries in the 1950s and ‘60s and then set the stage for dependency theory, which took the world by storm in the 1970s. We also discuss how the travails of the Cepalinos might shed light on the transformations currently happening in Chile, Colombia, and other Latin American nations and the horizons that they might open up.

Margarita's book opening will be at:
Location: Recirculation (a branch of Wordup Community Bookshop), 876 Riverside Drive, New York, NY
Time: Saturday Sept. 24th, starting at 11am.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Dissecting the "Dawn of Everything" - A Conversation with Geoff Shullenberger

I join with Geoff Shullenberger of "Outsider Theory" to discuss the sweeping and challenging new book, "The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity" by David Graeber and David Wengrow. We consider the book's marshalling of new archaeological evidence to debunk mechanistic and deterministic assumptions about the rise of civilization, its deep rejection of Marxism, and its insistence on the human ability to imagine and create an infinite range of social and political futures. We examine the weaknesses and limitations of the book, including its over-emphasis on personal freedom, its gross inaccuracy with regard to the eighteenth century, and its blindspot regarding the profound powers of myth, ritual, and the natural environment, all of which deeply guide and shape societies in ways that Graeber & Wengrow ignore or casually discount.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Uncovering the Medieval Slave Trade -- A Conversation with Hannah Barker

Before Columbus had even set foot in America, medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East already had a long history in trading and exploiting slaves. An important branch of the slave trade involved buying captives from the shores of the Black Sea and trafficking them through the Mediterranean to the commercial cities of Italy or to Egypt, where many of them became slave soldiers or even rulers (called "Mamluks"). We discuss the history of the trade, who these thousands of slaves were and what became of them with Hannah Barker of Arizona State University, author of "That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500." Image: Pillar capital with sculpted faces of foreign peoples, including Turk and Tatar, Doge's Palace, Venice.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Chasidic Judaism: What is it and where did it come from?

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the history of the Chasidic / Hasidic movement, a Jewish lay mystical and pietistic movement, which originated among Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe in the 1700s, flourished in the 1800s, survived the pogroms and world wars, and in recent years has been reborn as both a pillar of Orthodox Judaism and a bridge to the Reform and secular worlds. Suggested Further reading: "Hasidism: A New History," by Biale, Assaf, Brown, Gellman, Heilman, Rosman, Sagiv, and Wodzinski.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Doorposts and Gates: How Jews Have Subdivided Themselves Through History

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the different ways that Jews have distinguished themselves into groups and sub-groups, from the Biblical tribes to the Sephardic and Ashkenazi ethnic groups to the modern Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative movements. We lay the groundwork for an upcoming discussion of the origins and character of Chasidic Judaism.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Before Jamestown: When England Colonized the Amazon -- A Conversation with Melissa Morris

How did the early colonists in Virginia know that they could profitably grow a species of tobacco from South America? They learned about it from the series of mostly short-lived English, French, and Dutch colonies and outposts in tropical South America, between the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, in the area called "Guiana." We discuss with historian Melissa Morris of U. of Wyoming how these early colonies, despite being almost totally forgotten by historians, left a lasting imprint on the Americas, and reveal the haphazard and unpredictable nature of early global empires.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Becoming Modern: Dutch Batavia and the Ideology of Early Modern Empire - A Conversation with Deborah Hamer

Were the Dutch proto-capitalists? Were they Americans before America? What was the Dutch West India Company, and how did it work? I talk to Deborah Hamer -- historian, research associate at the Omohundro Institute, and associate editor of the New York history blog Gotham -- to discuss her work on marriage and gender in the early Dutch colony in Batavia (as they called the conquered city of Jakarta), how it illuminates the Netherlands' obsessive efforts to create a stratified, orderly, and moral Protestant society in Southeast Asia, and what it reveals about the wider European colonial mindset.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

The Sabbatai Zevi Messianic Movement

I discuss, with Michael of "Xai, how are you?", the life and times of Sabbatai Zvi, the purported messiah of the 1660s, and the massive messianic awakening that he sparked and that swept across the entire Jewish diaspora in 1666, drawing in men and women, wealthy and poor, clergy and laity, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, and even Jews and gentiles. We consider the development of messianic theology and kabbalah that paved the way for the Sabbatian movement, as well as the lasting imprint that it left on Judaism in the modern era.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

The Trials of Bolivia: A Conversation with Oliver Rhoads Murphey

Why did the US government support and supply substantial aid to a left-wing revolutionary government in Bolivia in the 1950s, at the same time that it was undermining or overthrowing similar regimes in other nations? What does this striking but forgotten incident reveal about American ambitions in Latin America? And what light does it shed on the strife engulfing Bolivia today, after yet another elected leader has been forced out of power? We discuss and find context with Oliver Rhodes Murphey, whose dissertation seeks to solve the puzzle of American involvement in the heart of Andean South America.

Read "A Bond that will Permanently Endure: The Eisenhower administration, the Bolivian revolution and Latin American leftist nationalism" -- academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D87D30RB

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Through a Glass Darkly: The 1980s in Current Television -- A Conversation with Sonia Saraiya

What's with the spate of 1980s themes on current "prestige" television? Is it Gen. X. nostalgia for their youthful days in suburban malls? Or something more? Television critic Sonia Saraiya discusses how our unresolved identity crises seem to have led us into a fascination with the last years of the Cold War, and with the secret mistakes and machinations that took place on both sides of the old Iron Curtain. (Also listen for contributions from Kali the cat.)
The pledges for this instalment will be split evenly between the two collaborators.
Television series discussed: "The Americans," "Stranger Things," "When They See Us," "Chernobyl," "Leaving Neverland"Correction: The famous quote that nuclear power is "a hell of a way to boil water" comes from journalist Karl Grossman's 1980 book, "Cover Up."

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Beyond Plymouth Rock: The Deep Beginnings of New England -- A Conversation with Michael J. Simpson

Anticipating the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Plymouth colony, Michael J. Simpson and I discuss the deep background of the creation of "New England" -- the long history of contact, exchange, violence, disease, and acculturation among indigenous and European peoples, both before and after 1620, that created a complex creolized world before any Puritans were even on the scene. Michael's instagram: @hiddenhistoryri (Payment for this installment will be split between the two collaborators)

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Full Episode Details

Latin America Inverts the World Map: A Conversation With Margarita Fajardo

Sam interviews historian Margarita Fajardo, a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College, about her new book, "The World That Latin America Created," which traces how a movement of scholars and statesmen centering around CEPAL, a UN economic commission based in Santiago, Chile, formulated a new world-view and far-reaching agenda to foster unity and development in Latin America; the so-called “Capalinos” rose to dominance and set the policy agenda in Brazil and other countries in the 1950s and ‘60s and then set the stage for dependency theory, which took the world by storm in the 1970s. We also discuss how the travails of the Cepalinos might shed light on the transformations currently happening in Chile, Colombia, and other Latin American nations and the horizons that they might open up.

Margarita's book opening will be at:
Location: Recirculation (a branch of Wordup Community Bookshop), 876 Riverside Drive, New York, NY
Time: Saturday Sept. 24th, starting at 11am.

Listen on SoundCloud

Dissecting the "Dawn of Everything" - A Conversation with Geoff Shullenberger

I join with Geoff Shullenberger of "Outsider Theory" to discuss the sweeping and challenging new book, "The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity" by David Graeber and David Wengrow. We consider the book's marshalling of new archaeological evidence to debunk mechanistic and deterministic assumptions about the rise of civilization, its deep rejection of Marxism, and its insistence on the human ability to imagine and create an infinite range of social and political futures. We examine the weaknesses and limitations of the book, including its over-emphasis on personal freedom, its gross inaccuracy with regard to the eighteenth century, and its blindspot regarding the profound powers of myth, ritual, and the natural environment, all of which deeply guide and shape societies in ways that Graeber & Wengrow ignore or casually discount.

Listen on SoundCloud

Uncovering the Medieval Slave Trade -- A Conversation with Hannah Barker

Before Columbus had even set foot in America, medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East already had a long history in trading and exploiting slaves. An important branch of the slave trade involved buying captives from the shores of the Black Sea and trafficking them through the Mediterranean to the commercial cities of Italy or to Egypt, where many of them became slave soldiers or even rulers (called "Mamluks"). We discuss the history of the trade, who these thousands of slaves were and what became of them with Hannah Barker of Arizona State University, author of "That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500." Image: Pillar capital with sculpted faces of foreign peoples, including Turk and Tatar, Doge's Palace, Venice.

Listen on SoundCloud

Chasidic Judaism: What is it and where did it come from?

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the history of the Chasidic / Hasidic movement, a Jewish lay mystical and pietistic movement, which originated among Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe in the 1700s, flourished in the 1800s, survived the pogroms and world wars, and in recent years has been reborn as both a pillar of Orthodox Judaism and a bridge to the Reform and secular worlds. Suggested Further reading: "Hasidism: A New History," by Biale, Assaf, Brown, Gellman, Heilman, Rosman, Sagiv, and Wodzinski.

Listen on SoundCloud

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Doorposts and Gates: How Jews Have Subdivided Themselves Through History

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the different ways that Jews have distinguished themselves into groups and sub-groups, from the Biblical tribes to the Sephardic and Ashkenazi ethnic groups to the modern Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative movements. We lay the groundwork for an upcoming discussion of the origins and character of Chasidic Judaism.

Listen on SoundCloud

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Before Jamestown: When England Colonized the Amazon -- A Conversation with Melissa Morris

How did the early colonists in Virginia know that they could profitably grow a species of tobacco from South America? They learned about it from the series of mostly short-lived English, French, and Dutch colonies and outposts in tropical South America, between the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, in the area called "Guiana." We discuss with historian Melissa Morris of U. of Wyoming how these early colonies, despite being almost totally forgotten by historians, left a lasting imprint on the Americas, and reveal the haphazard and unpredictable nature of early global empires.

Listen on SoundCloud

Becoming Modern: Dutch Batavia and the Ideology of Early Modern Empire - A Conversation with Deborah Hamer

Were the Dutch proto-capitalists? Were they Americans before America? What was the Dutch West India Company, and how did it work? I talk to Deborah Hamer -- historian, research associate at the Omohundro Institute, and associate editor of the New York history blog Gotham -- to discuss her work on marriage and gender in the early Dutch colony in Batavia (as they called the conquered city of Jakarta), how it illuminates the Netherlands' obsessive efforts to create a stratified, orderly, and moral Protestant society in Southeast Asia, and what it reveals about the wider European colonial mindset.

Listen on SoundCloud

The Sabbatai Zevi Messianic Movement

I discuss, with Michael of "Xai, how are you?", the life and times of Sabbatai Zvi, the purported messiah of the 1660s, and the massive messianic awakening that he sparked and that swept across the entire Jewish diaspora in 1666, drawing in men and women, wealthy and poor, clergy and laity, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, and even Jews and gentiles. We consider the development of messianic theology and kabbalah that paved the way for the Sabbatian movement, as well as the lasting imprint that it left on Judaism in the modern era.

Listen on SoundCloud

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

The Trials of Bolivia: A Conversation with Oliver Rhoads Murphey

Why did the US government support and supply substantial aid to a left-wing revolutionary government in Bolivia in the 1950s, at the same time that it was undermining or overthrowing similar regimes in other nations? What does this striking but forgotten incident reveal about American ambitions in Latin America? And what light does it shed on the strife engulfing Bolivia today, after yet another elected leader has been forced out of power? We discuss and find context with Oliver Rhodes Murphey, whose dissertation seeks to solve the puzzle of American involvement in the heart of Andean South America.

Read "A Bond that will Permanently Endure: The Eisenhower administration, the Bolivian revolution and Latin American leftist nationalism" -- academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D87D30RB

Listen on SoundCloud

Through a Glass Darkly: The 1980s in Current Television -- A Conversation with Sonia Saraiya

What's with the spate of 1980s themes on current "prestige" television? Is it Gen. X. nostalgia for their youthful days in suburban malls? Or something more? Television critic Sonia Saraiya discusses how our unresolved identity crises seem to have led us into a fascination with the last years of the Cold War, and with the secret mistakes and machinations that took place on both sides of the old Iron Curtain. (Also listen for contributions from Kali the cat.)
The pledges for this instalment will be split evenly between the two collaborators.
Television series discussed: "The Americans," "Stranger Things," "When They See Us," "Chernobyl," "Leaving Neverland"Correction: The famous quote that nuclear power is "a hell of a way to boil water" comes from journalist Karl Grossman's 1980 book, "Cover Up."

Listen on SoundCloud

Beyond Plymouth Rock: The Deep Beginnings of New England -- A Conversation with Michael J. Simpson

Anticipating the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Plymouth colony, Michael J. Simpson and I discuss the deep background of the creation of "New England" -- the long history of contact, exchange, violence, disease, and acculturation among indigenous and European peoples, both before and after 1620, that created a complex creolized world before any Puritans were even on the scene. Michael's instagram: @hiddenhistoryri (Payment for this installment will be split between the two collaborators)

Listen on SoundCloud

Latin America Inverts the World Map: A Conversation With Margarita Fajardo

Sam interviews historian Margarita Fajardo, a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College, about her new book, "The World That Latin America Created," which traces how a movement of scholars and statesmen centering around CEPAL, a UN economic commission based in Santiago, Chile, formulated a new world-view and far-reaching agenda to foster unity and development in Latin America; the so-called “Capalinos” rose to dominance and set the policy agenda in Brazil and other countries in the 1950s and ‘60s and then set the stage for dependency theory, which took the world by storm in the 1970s. We also discuss how the travails of the Cepalinos might shed light on the transformations currently happening in Chile, Colombia, and other Latin American nations and the horizons that they might open up.

Margarita's book opening will be at:
Location: Recirculation (a branch of Wordup Community Bookshop), 876 Riverside Drive, New York, NY
Time: Saturday Sept. 24th, starting at 11am.

Listen on YouTube

Dissecting the "Dawn of Everything" - A Conversation with Geoff Shullenberger

I join with Geoff Shullenberger of "Outsider Theory" to discuss the sweeping and challenging new book, "The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity" by David Graeber and David Wengrow. We consider the book's marshalling of new archaeological evidence to debunk mechanistic and deterministic assumptions about the rise of civilization, its deep rejection of Marxism, and its insistence on the human ability to imagine and create an infinite range of social and political futures. We examine the weaknesses and limitations of the book, including its over-emphasis on personal freedom, its gross inaccuracy with regard to the eighteenth century, and its blindspot regarding the profound powers of myth, ritual, and the natural environment, all of which deeply guide and shape societies in ways that Graeber & Wengrow ignore or casually discount.

Listen on YouTube

Uncovering the Medieval Slave Trade -- A Conversation with Hannah Barker

Before Columbus had even set foot in America, medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East already had a long history in trading and exploiting slaves. An important branch of the slave trade involved buying captives from the shores of the Black Sea and trafficking them through the Mediterranean to the commercial cities of Italy or to Egypt, where many of them became slave soldiers or even rulers (called "Mamluks"). We discuss the history of the trade, who these thousands of slaves were and what became of them with Hannah Barker of Arizona State University, author of "That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500." Image: Pillar capital with sculpted faces of foreign peoples, including Turk and Tatar, Doge's Palace, Venice.

Listen on YouTube

Chasidic Judaism: What is it and where did it come from?

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the history of the Chasidic / Hasidic movement, a Jewish lay mystical and pietistic movement, which originated among Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe in the 1700s, flourished in the 1800s, survived the pogroms and world wars, and in recent years has been reborn as both a pillar of Orthodox Judaism and a bridge to the Reform and secular worlds. Suggested Further reading: "Hasidism: A New History," by Biale, Assaf, Brown, Gellman, Heilman, Rosman, Sagiv, and Wodzinski.

Listen on YouTube

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Doorposts and Gates: How Jews Have Subdivided Themselves Through History

Michael of "Xai How Are You" and I discuss the different ways that Jews have distinguished themselves into groups and sub-groups, from the Biblical tribes to the Sephardic and Ashkenazi ethnic groups to the modern Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative movements. We lay the groundwork for an upcoming discussion of the origins and character of Chasidic Judaism.

Listen on YouTube

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

Before Jamestown: When England Colonized the Amazon -- A Conversation with Melissa Morris

How did the early colonists in Virginia know that they could profitably grow a species of tobacco from South America? They learned about it from the series of mostly short-lived English, French, and Dutch colonies and outposts in tropical South America, between the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, in the area called "Guiana." We discuss with historian Melissa Morris of U. of Wyoming how these early colonies, despite being almost totally forgotten by historians, left a lasting imprint on the Americas, and reveal the haphazard and unpredictable nature of early global empires.

Listen on YouTube

Becoming Modern: Dutch Batavia and the Ideology of Early Modern Empire - A Conversation with Deborah Hamer

Were the Dutch proto-capitalists? Were they Americans before America? What was the Dutch West India Company, and how did it work? I talk to Deborah Hamer -- historian, research associate at the Omohundro Institute, and associate editor of the New York history blog Gotham -- to discuss her work on marriage and gender in the early Dutch colony in Batavia (as they called the conquered city of Jakarta), how it illuminates the Netherlands' obsessive efforts to create a stratified, orderly, and moral Protestant society in Southeast Asia, and what it reveals about the wider European colonial mindset.

Listen on YouTube

The Sabbatai Zevi Messianic Movement

I discuss, with Michael of "Xai, how are you?", the life and times of Sabbatai Zvi, the purported messiah of the 1660s, and the massive messianic awakening that he sparked and that swept across the entire Jewish diaspora in 1666, drawing in men and women, wealthy and poor, clergy and laity, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, and even Jews and gentiles. We consider the development of messianic theology and kabbalah that paved the way for the Sabbatian movement, as well as the lasting imprint that it left on Judaism in the modern era.

Listen on YouTube

Also see all 7 episodes On Judaism and Jewish History

The Trials of Bolivia: A Conversation with Oliver Rhoads Murphey

Why did the US government support and supply substantial aid to a left-wing revolutionary government in Bolivia in the 1950s, at the same time that it was undermining or overthrowing similar regimes in other nations? What does this striking but forgotten incident reveal about American ambitions in Latin America? And what light does it shed on the strife engulfing Bolivia today, after yet another elected leader has been forced out of power? We discuss and find context with Oliver Rhodes Murphey, whose dissertation seeks to solve the puzzle of American involvement in the heart of Andean South America.

Read "A Bond that will Permanently Endure: The Eisenhower administration, the Bolivian revolution and Latin American leftist nationalism" -- academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D87D30RB

Listen on YouTube

Through a Glass Darkly: The 1980s in Current Television -- A Conversation with Sonia Saraiya

What's with the spate of 1980s themes on current "prestige" television? Is it Gen. X. nostalgia for their youthful days in suburban malls? Or something more? Television critic Sonia Saraiya discusses how our unresolved identity crises seem to have led us into a fascination with the last years of the Cold War, and with the secret mistakes and machinations that took place on both sides of the old Iron Curtain. (Also listen for contributions from Kali the cat.)
The pledges for this instalment will be split evenly between the two collaborators.
Television series discussed: "The Americans," "Stranger Things," "When They See Us," "Chernobyl," "Leaving Neverland"Correction: The famous quote that nuclear power is "a hell of a way to boil water" comes from journalist Karl Grossman's 1980 book, "Cover Up."

Listen on YouTube

Beyond Plymouth Rock: The Deep Beginnings of New England -- A Conversation with Michael J. Simpson

Anticipating the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Plymouth colony, Michael J. Simpson and I discuss the deep background of the creation of "New England" -- the long history of contact, exchange, violence, disease, and acculturation among indigenous and European peoples, both before and after 1620, that created a complex creolized world before any Puritans were even on the scene. Michael's instagram: @hiddenhistoryri (Payment for this installment will be split between the two collaborators)

Listen on YouTube

Things You Don’t Know

Did Columbus really think that he was going to reach Asia?
What little do we actually know about Shakespeare, the person?
Why is it misleading to apply the word “religion” to Judaism and Hinduism?
Are people really becoming less religious than they used to be?
How did Tisquantum (popularly known as Squanto) already know how to speak English before the Pilgrims had ever arrived?
What did Netflix’s “The Dig” miss about the most dramatic part of the whole Sutton Hoo discovery?
What does the English Civil War of the 1640s tell us about the American Civil War, and about the present?
What can we know about enslaved Africans who were held in a specific New England house, even without written records?
Who were the Freemasons of the 1700s? How did they grow from a local Scottish fraternity to a global network?
Could all of British history have turned out differently if the winds on the English channel had shifted direction on just one day in 1066?
What did followers of the ancient and secretive branch of Christianity, Gnosticism, actually believe?
Why can no one agree on what “capitalism” actually is? And why does a lack of clear definition call into question so many other myths of the modern world?
How – and why – did universities begin in the Middle Ages, long before the scientific revolution and the “Enlightenment”?
Was there really an Exodus from Egypt like the one described in the Bible?
How did changes in the climate in the 1600s lead people to think they were living in the Apocalypse? How did this help spur the creation of institutions and forces that still shape the world today?
How did accusing people of witchcraft further several political agendas of the time?
Why did every Renaissance-era ruler in Europe have a court astrologer?
Does a single coin prove that Vikings came all the way to what’s now the United States?
Why is the dramatic 2019 fire at Paris’ Notre Dame actually a common occurrence for cathedrals around Europe?
Why don’t US citizens directly elect their President? Or have a more proportional Senate?

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