Above: Joe Louis and Jesse Owens
The two most recent episodes of the American History Too! podcast that I co-host with Mark McLay have covered critical issues in inter-war America. In May we examined the thorny issue of prohibition. Why did it happen? What were the results? Who did it affect? Do bans on alcohol and drugs ever really have any effect?
Most recently, we’ve looked at the intertwined issue of race and sport in the 1930s, with a particular focus on boxer Joe Louis and track superstar Jesse Owens. We were joined by a good friend of the podcast, Fraser McCallum of the Imperial War Museum. Fraser has made fantastic contributions to two previous podcasts, on the JFK assassination and the 1925 Scopes Trial. It was a sad coincidence that the day after we recorded this episode, the great Muhammad Ali – another sporting figure who challenged and transcended the boundaries of racism – passed away.
You can keep up to date with American History Too! on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. You can also download all of the podcast episodes from i
…which would be one of the strangest situation comedies ever made. Even weirder than Comrade Dad or Heil Honey, I’m Home.
Which is really a long-winded way of highlighting a couple of things I’ve done elsewhere over the past week. I was delighted to be asked by the LSE’s European Politics & Policy blog to comment on the historical aspects of the US-UK-Europe relationship.
Meanwhile, American History Too! pushes on with an episode where Mark and I discuss the life and legacy of inventor Nikola Tesla.
Just a quick roundup of stuff I have done on other sites in recent months.
The American History Too! podcast continues to go from strength to strength. Recently, Mark and I (and our excellent guests) have discussed the 1925 Scopes Trial, Irish-Americans and the American Civil War, and women, murder, and criminal justice in late nineteenth/early twentieth century America.
The marvellous Pubs & Publications blog (run by graduate students at the University of Edinburgh’s School of History, Classics, and Archaeology) asked if I could submit a guest post on the year after finishing the PhD.
At the British Association for American Studies United States Studies Online blog, I’ve contributed a couple of things over the past few months. I talked about the ‘Islamic bomb’ for the excellent Islam in America feature, and about teaching nuclear history for the Teaching America feature.
The last couple of months have been a busy time, as they generally are for anyone working in higher education. Essay marking, exam marking, exam boards, moderation meetings, and all the other vital administrative tasks required in a moder university. Hence, a scarcity of posts.
In amongst all the admin, though, there have been some great moments. The teaching awards that I mentioned in this post? I won! Thanks to the kind words of my undergraduate students, The Nuclear Cold War won best course (out of the entire university!) at the annual Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards. I now have a rather nice glass award on my desk.
Mark and I recorded a sequel to our podcast on nuclear fallout, which turned out quite well. More recently, we recorded an episode on the AIDS crisis in the United States during the 1980s. A challenging topic, but one of great interest.
And last week, I had my first artice accepted for publication by Cold War History. It honestly felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That first publication is – for me – a huge milestone, a step towards a full-time career in academia. The article is on British arms sales to India in the 1970s, and the ways in which they complicated nuclear non-proliferation diplomacy. Not sure when it will be out yet (these things take quite a while), but I’m thrilled that some of my research will be in print.
Over the summer, I should have some time to research and write. Part of that at least will involve more posting!
As part of our ongoing podcast series, Mark and I recently recorded an episode on the origins, importance, and public awareness (and lack thereof) of nuclear fallout in the 1940s and 50s.
In the podcast, we managed to cover a fair bit of ground. We talked about the origins of ‘the bomb’ (wherein I waffle about Einstein, Frisch, Peirels, etc), the differences between the A-bomb and the H-bomb, the 1954 Castle Bravo test, the Strath report, and then Mark cuts me off as I hit my stride about The War Game! To be fair, he’s much better at keeping the podcast running to time than I am!
It was fun to talk about something that is within my specialism, having previously discussed colonial-era slavery, Andrew Jackson, and the Gilded Age, amongst other things! As always, if there’s any feedback you have, please do let me know. You can find all of our podcasts on our Podbean website, or you can get them through iTunes.