Aural History Productions
Talking History, based at the University at Albany, State University of New York, is a production, distribution, and instructional center for all forms of "aural" history. Our mission is to provide teachers, students, researchers and the general public with as broad and outstanding a collection of audio documentaries, speeches, debates, oral histories, conference sessions, commentaries, archival audio sources, and other aural history resources as is available anywhere. We hope to expand our understanding of history by exploring the audio dimensions of our past, and we hope to enlarge the tools and venues of historical research and publication by promoting production of radio documentaries and other forms of aural history. In addition to our weekly radio program, we are engaged in numerous educational efforts, from running and sponsoring workshops to offering full-semester courses on radio production and oral history. Some of the most talented radio producers and engineers currently working in public and non-commercial radio now contribute to Talking Historyboth to our programming and to our educational efforts through production workshops. Here, you'll also find digital archives of their enormously creative and captivating works. Our weekly broadcast/internet radio program, Talking History, focuses on all aspects of history. Follow the link to the left, "The Radio Show," for more information on the program and to access the live WWW broadcast. Below you will find our latest archived shows; use the drop-down menu to the left to access to our full radio archive.
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February 24, 2015
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "George Lincoln Rockwell Debates SNCC Chairman Stokely Carmichael" (1966)
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February 17, 2015
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "From Building Bridges' The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire & Its Legacy - Rose Schneiderman's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Speech, April 2, 1911" (2011)
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February 10, 2015
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "'Herbert Marcuse Speaks at Berkeley, 1969."
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February 3, 2015
Continuing a theme we began last week -- focusing on economic history and consumption/shopping -- we move on to the related subject of advertising with this program, again from Backstory and the American History Guys: "On the first of February, more than 100 million Americans will tune in to watch the two best teams in the NFL vie for the national championship … and to watch advertisers duke it out during the commercial breaks. Brian, Ed and Peter, meanwhile, will tackle the history of advertising in the United States, from how cigarettes were marketed to women, to budget-busting trips to to moon. They’ll even take a stab at selling BackStory to the masses, with some colorful ads of our own." Segments include the following: "Historian Cathy Gudis tells hosts Ed Ayers and Peter Onuf about the ad-drenched streets of late 19th century American cities; Historian Kathleen Franz describes a scandalous 1917 soap ad that hooked consumers by showing them a little more than just the soap; Historian Cathy Gudis returns with the story of how advertising followed 20th century Americans out onto the open road, and discusses efforts to curb the spread of ubiquitous billboards. Plus, an ad inspired by BackStory listener Jim Mica’s request; Composer Michael Levine, who wrote the long-running Kit-Kat jingle, tells host Brian Balogh what makes a jingle powerful -- and catchy. Then… he offers up a new jingle for BackStory; Author Larry Tye and host Brian Balogh discuss the masterful campaign by PR guru Edward Bernays, to convince American women to take up smoking. Plus, listener suggests an ad for BackStory in the style of a 1950s cigarette ad; and author Richard Jurek describes how one giant leap in public relations helped launch NASA’s lunar program."
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "'Women for Eisenhower' - Political Advertising, 1956 U.S. Election."
Political advertising matured in the 1950s as television became the preferred venue for getting one's electoral message across to millions. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson's campaigns in 1952 and 1956 became a battleground for the hearts and minds of American voters. Here's the audio from one of Eisenhower's 1956 television campaign commercials, from the Web site "The Living Room Candidate." It's an example of an early female-focused appeal for votes. Later campaigns would be even more sensitive to gender-specific issues. For more examples of 1956 television political advertisements -- both Democratic and Republican -- see: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/commercials/1956.
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January 27, 2015
Here's another piece from Backstory and the American History Guys: "The word shop first appeared as a verb in the 16th century -- when it meant to put someone in prison. And boy can shopping feel that way, especially around the holiday season. The smells, the colors, the teeming shelves and showcases, the muzak. On this episode, BackStory will go shopping for the historical roots of Americans' consumer habits, considering the role of mercantilism in the revolutionary politics of early America, the journey from general store to shopping mall, and even look at shoplifting. When did coveting your neighbor's possessions go from sin to virtue? How did holiday shopping become the modern engine of the retail industry? And how did transformations in systems of consumer credit change American thinking about shopping?" Guests appearing on this show Include: Elaine S. Abelson, The New School; T.H. Breen, Emeritus, Northwestern University; Peter Hanff, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; Jeff Hardwick, George Mason University and The National Endowment for the Humanities; Louis Hyman, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations; Kathleen Moran, University of California, Berkeley; Eli Wirtschafter, Independent producer.
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "George Carlin on American Consumerism."
Here's a selection from a standup routine by George Carlin -- an excerpt (with approriate radio edits to comply with FCC regulations). Carlin was notorious in his critique of materialism and consumerism in many of his routines. Here are few examples -- all available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egwghf1lPik. For information about Carlin see: http://www.biography.com/people/george-carlin-9542307.
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January 20, 2015
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "Stokely Carmichael at Berkeley, 1966"
Stokely Carmichael (1941-1998) delivered this speech at the University of California, Berkeley on October 29, 1966. Carmichael's celebration of "black power" and advocacy of a more militant approach to civil rights organizing emerged in reaction to the violence used against demonstrators at Selma and elsewhere. For more information on Carmichael and a transcript of this speech, see: http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/blackspeech/scarmichael-2.html.
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January 13, 2015
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "Ray Bradbury's 1953 Classic, Fahrenheit 451 -- a reading selection)."
Here's a short selection (a reading) from Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic science fiction novel abour censorship published in 1953. In Bradbury's novel, Guy Montag -- a fireman whose job it was to burn books -- begins to question his job. In Bradbury's novel, reactions to controversial content in books had led to the decision to ban them altogether. While it was written during the Cold War era and was clearlyinfluenced by that era -- in light of current violence against, and controversy over, the French humor and cartoon magazine Charlie Hebdo, we thought it would be an appropriate segment to feature in conjunction with our main segment.
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January 6, 2015
Segment 2 | From Archives: "Winifred Banks Singing 'Sister Suffragette' in Mary Poppins" (1964).
The treatment of suffragists in popular film before the 2nd wave feminist movement (and after!) has not always been flattering. Here's an example from the film Mary Poppins from 1964. For more on the topic -- focusing on the silent film era, see Kay Sloan, “Sexual Warfare in the Silent Cinema: Comedies and Melodramas of Woman Suffragism,” American Quarterly , 33:4 (Autumn, 1981), 412-436.
Segment 3 | From Open Source: "13 Days in September" (2014).
The New Yorker magazine's Lawrence Wright is interviewed by Christopher Lydon of Open Source about "the only (and unviolated) peace treaty between Israelis and Arabs, the Camp David Summit in 1978." Wright is the author of Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014).
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December 30, 2014
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December 23, 2014
From Backstory and the American History Guys: "’Tis the season for giving. And on this episode, we’re going to give you the history of that. The stories we’re working on explore gifts in the American past and consider how ideas about charity, philanthropy and generosity have changed over the centuries. Sometimes, it paid to be poor — but not too poor. In earlier days, philanthropy had humble aims: to foster community and put the idea of charity out of business. Along the way, we’ll also look the questionable notion of the “free gift,” the idea of reciprocity in Native cultures, and the back story behind tax-deductible donations." Guests include: Cynthia Bell, of the Bell Sisters; Shelia Moeschen, author of Acts of Conspicuous Compassion: Performance Culture and American Charity Practices; Johann Neem, Western Washington University; Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara; Kevin Rozario, Smith College; Isaiah Wilner, graduate student, Yale University. Segment also available on line at Backstory: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/what-gives-2/.
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "Literary Lessons in Generosity: "Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree" (reading/sound track selection from 1973 film).
Here is a selection -- read by the author in a 1973 animated film -- from a controversial 20th century children's book classic about generosity. From Barnes and Noble: "Shel Silverstein takes a poignant and gentle look at theart of giving and the concept of unconditional love in his deeply profound children's book The Giving Tree. The story tells of the relationship between a young boy and a tree. Giving the boy what he wants is what makes the tree happy, a function it serves throughout the boy's life. First the tree is a place for the boy to play and munch on apples, later its branches serve as a source of lumber to build a house, and later still, its trunk provides the wood for a boat. By the time the boy has become an old man, he has used so much of what the tree has to give that all that remains is a stump. Yet all the old man needs at this point is a place to sit and rest, a function the stump nicely -- and happily -- serves." The book has been variously interpreted -- and those interpretations have been well summarized here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Giving_Tree#Interpretations. For the full film, from which this selection was taken, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TZCP6OqRlE.
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December 16, 2014
From Open Source: "We're continuing our series on capitalism by going back to its unspeakable origins. A new wave of historians say that the "peculiar institution" of slavery explains more about the present than we'd care to admit: not just how the West got wealthy, but the way that global capitalism evolved in the first place. . . . It was the global slave trade that helped make America rich, and yet no part of our history was more brutally unequal, more lucrative and less regulated than the slave-and-cotton empire." Guests include: Sven Beckert, Laird Bell professor of history at Harvard, chair of Harvard's Program on the Study of Capitalism, and author of the forthcoming book, Empire of Cotton; Craig Steven Wilder professor of American history at MIT, and author of Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities.
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Vol. 1(selection from ch. 31)." (LibriVox reading of 1867 classic).
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December 9, 2014
From Backstory: "Twenty-five years ago this November, East and West Berliners began chipping away at the iconic wall that had kept them apart for three decades, and symbolized the deep divisions that the Cold War had inflicted on the world at large. As this piece of history crumbled, the Western press was almost euphoric: Freedom, we were told, had triumphed over political repression and cultural imprisonment. But the fall of the Berlin Wall also set in motion a long and difficult process of reconciliation among German citizens. And, indeed, of reconciling the First and Second Worlds -- a process still fraught with tension and uncertainty. On this episode, the Guys dig up buried hatchets to help us explore some of our own best and worst efforts at making amends. How have Americans tried to restore ties and move beyond strain and strife? When does it work? And what are the limits of reconciliation? Guests Include: Rebecca Brannon, James Madison University; Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Harry S. Truman; Benjy Melendez, Founder of the Ghetto Brothers; Shigeko Sasamori, Hiroshima survivor; Orin Starn, Duke University; Karen Van Lengen, University of Virginia; Julian Voloj, author of Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker.
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "Desmund Tutu on Truth and Reconciliation." (1998)
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December 2, 2014
From Open Source and Christoper Lydon: "Out of the mire and death of World War One, even before the shooting stops, comes the strangest thing: the novel of the century. It's James Joyce’s Ulysses, transposing the wily warrior of Greek myth into the buried consciousness of a single day in Dublin in 1904. The global war was only part of the nightmare from which Joyce was trying to awake. From his teens, he'd set himself against every orthodoxy of provincial Ireland, against the pieties of family, church and Empire. Even before pre-publication, Ulysses became the fighting flag of Modernism: a sort of cracked 'true realism,' an anti-violent anarchism in prose, poetry and painting, too. Do you still hear the rebellious voice in the modernist masterpieces: Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste-Land? Have you made it through Ulysses? Is history a nightmare we're still sleeping through? Guests include Kevin Birmingham, author of The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses; Howard Eiland, Modernist scholar, editor of the modernist philosopher, Walter Benjamin, and author of the biography Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life; Eve Sorun, Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, currently writing a book on empathy and elegy in British modernism.
Segment 2 | From the Archives: "T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land ("What the Thunder Said")." (1992)
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