Listening: The Henceforward Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts and some of those are pure leisure while others inspire critical thinking. Last year I came across The Henceforward, a podcast that “considers the relationships between Indigenous peoples and Black peoples on Turtle Island.”  The podcast aims to “reconsider the past and reimagine the future, in the henceforward.”  It also addresses inter- sectional relationships and “how these relationships can go beyond what has been constructed through settler colonialism and antiblackness”. The podcast is part of the Indian & Cowboy podcast network, which is a network dedicated to Indigenous podcasting and storytelling.

So far The Henceforward has created seven episodes all with different guest contributors and tackling a range of topics including reconciliation, land, DNA/identity, and decolonization. The podcast is produced by Eve Tuck (Unangax) a writer and scholar in Toronto and the University of Toronto.  Contributors have included Stephanie Latty, Rebecca Beaulne-Stuebing (Naawakwe giizhigookwe), Hunter Knight, Faith Juma, Lynn Ly, Christy Guthrie, Karima Kinlock, Deanna Del Vecchio, Sefanit Habtom and others.  The podcast has also been mentored by Chelsea Vowel (âpihtawikosisân).   It evolved out of a Ontario Institute for Studies in Education course titled Decolonization, Settler Colonialism and Antiblackness offered by Eve Tuck.  The recording of the first season coincided with the #BlackLivesMatterTO public protest.

So far I’ve loved this podcast for the range of topics it has addressed but also for the multiplicity of voices.  Each episode has had a slightly different format but all have emphasized conversations and dialogue while centering Indigenous and Black voices.  The podcast addresses fundamental questions such as what does reconciliation look like.  But it also dives into scholarly debates of both historical and contemporary relationships on Turtle Island.  I could easily see a number of episodes from the first season being used as teaching tools or resources for post-secondary classes when discussing Indigenous communities, blackness, and settler colonialism.  As a note for any new listeners: the sound quality of the episodes gets substantially better as the podcast season progresses and the content is well worth listening past the few segments with poor audio quality.

Listening: Who Killed Alberta Williams?

In December 2016 I listened to “Missing and Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?” a CBC podcast by Connie Walker.  The podcast focuses on the 1989 death of Alberta Williams on the Highway of Tears near Prince Rupert, British Columbia.  The podcast also discusses Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirits (MMIWG2) in Canada and the history of the Highway of Tears.  Episode four of the podcast also explores the legacy of residential schools and the long term impacts of residential schools on Indigenous communities, families, and individuals.

This eight part podcast was similar in style to the popular Serial Podcast which used investigative journalism to look at a cold case.  I’d also add a warning that it’s not an easy listen and has content that could be triggering to some folks.  That being said I think Alberta’s experience, the experience of her family and of so many other MMIW is an experience that needs to be talked about and needs to receive more media coverage.

A Grade 8 teacher in Saskatchewan used the “Who Killed Alberta Williams?” podcast as a teaching tool in his classroom.  In that case students responded to the podcast through journals and conversations.  I could also see the podcast being used as resource at the high school or post-secondary level as a means of starting conversations about MMIW, residential schools, and colonialism.

Listen Up: Public History the Audio Way

On weekly basis I spend an excessive amount of time in a car (over 10 hours a week).  One of the few upsides of this car time is my listening to talk radio, podcasts, and audio books. Some of the great public history oriented listening material I’ve taken in lately includes:

  • In Their Shoes on CBC’s Ideas program.  This particular Ideas episode focuses on Katherine Govier’s ESL work with immigrant women, and her work on the Shoe Project.   The Shoe Project is a  Bata Shoe Museum exhibit focuses on the shoes that brought immigrants to Canada.
  • NPR’s Fresh Air interview with Craig Timberg.  Timberg is the co-author of the book Tinderbox: How The West Fueled The AIDS Epidemic”  The interview examines the history of AIDS, the impact of colonialism and AIDS in Africa,and recent trends in preventative programs.
  • A recent interview on CBC’s Spark with David McCandless, which focuses on information design.  The interview provides an interesting look at big data and data visualization.
  • Library and Archives Canada recently announced a new podcast series, “Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.” The first podcast in the series focuses on Project Naming, an initiative to identify persons in photographs of Canada’s North.

Virtual Mourning Reexamined

Ages ago I wrote a post on Virtual Dark Tourism which examined the idea of virtual graveyards and the rise of on-line memorials. A Spark podcast recently brought the issue of ‘virtual mourning’ back to my mind. I recommend listening to the brief portion of the podcast which discusses virtual mourning and the impact which technology has had upon the way in which we express empathy.

The idea of technology changing the mourning experience, got me thinking about the way in which technology has impacted commemoration and historical memorials. It is now easier than ever to view historical monuments and memorials on-line. For example, you can take a virtual tour of the Juno Beach Center. This tour is fairly similar to most on-line virtual tours of museums and cultural centers, with the added layer of emphasis on remembering the contributions of Canadian soldiers during WWII. Is the on-line tour as striking as the physical memorial/center? Of course not. But, it does provide a glimpse into the ongoing commemoration of Juno Beach and allows people who will not have opportunity to visit Normandy a glimpse into the center.

How does an on-line presence fit into commemoration? Given the ability to enhance accessibility and to raise awareness through the use of digital mediums, historical commemoration projects can be greatly enhanced through the use of technology. The War of 1812 digitization and commemoration project is a great example of how commemoration can be enhanced through technology. Using the hosting, resource, and interface services provided by OurOntario a number of organizations from the Niagara region banded together to digitize their collection of artifacts relating to the War of 1812. The result of this endeavor can be searched here. This project increases access to a number of great museum collections and also increases awareness about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the War of 1812.

I don’t think online commemoration or virtual mourning can replace some aspects of the grieving and commemorative process. However, I do think that on-line memorials, collections, and virtual tourism can play a very important role in enhancing the commemorative experience.

Consumed by History.

Being a university student who is interested in the digital representations of history has its downfalls. One of the largest being that because there is such a wide range of digital information available online, hours can be spent looking up different historical topics and tools online. Since I have spent so much time looking at different history related digital items I thought I would share some of my favorites:

Podcasts:
-The BBC podcast, In Our Time by Melvyn Bragg. This podcast covers everything from science, religion, philosophy, culture and traditional history. A lot of the podcasts focus on the history of a particular idea, person or concept and include guest speakers who are often experts on the topic.

Making History by Vanessa Collingridge is another BBC podcast. This podcast focuses on the historical quires of listeners and the way in which history is perceived and constructed.

CBC podcasts could consume my entire day if I let them. They have podcasts of their radio shows, the hour, various TV productions, and numerous regional based podcasts.

-The History section of LearnOutLoud.com features numerous podcasts which are historically focused. A good majority require the user to pay, however they do occasionally include include featured podcasts which are often free.

Alan Cross ‘ podcast of The Ongoing History of New Music. Okay so this may not be traditional history. But it is definitely well researched and well worth a listen to anyone who is interested in the evolution of a particular band or music genre. As with over 500 episodes produced there is bound to be something that interests you.

Educational Resources:
CBC Digital Archive. The site has numerous video clips and interviews which are easily accessible and search-able. The site also includes an educational section which is designed for teachers, which includes a variety of multimedia learning activities such as “What was Oka About”, “What was the October crisis?”, “The World of Satellite Technology” etc.

Canada’s National History Society: The Beaver. Like CBC The Beaver’s website has a section dedicated to the educational uses of history and includes lesson plans and resources for teaching history.

Early Canadiana Online, is a digital library which features works published from the time of early settlers, up until 20th century Canada. Its a valuable resource as well as a good example of the use of digital technology to transmit historical information to an increasingly diverse audience.

The Canadian Encyclopedia. This resource is both Canadian and informative. It also includes a youth Encyclopedia which provides public and high school friendly interpretations of historical events.

-You know those catchy history minutes that are shown on TV? Well they are available online at Historica Minutes Online. The site also features lesson plans based on the history minutes.

Steve.Museum. A site which is based in applying social tagging principles to museum collections and is based in open software to allow people and institutions from a variety of backgrounds to participate.

Digital History Online. This site is primarily focused on the history of the United States but includes a ton of resources for making learning interactive. The “For Teachers” section includes interactive modules, handouts and fact sheets, lesson plans and resource guides. Outside of the teacher section the site also includes a ton of digital resources such as maps, music clips, online exhibits, games and newspapers.

Digital Things (That aren’t really history geared, but could be)
Google Sketchup. I’m not quite as addicted as my classmate Meaghan. However I definitely agree with her assessment of the potential of sketchup for creating plans for collection displays and any type of physical project.

del.icio.us. A social bookmarking tool which is search-able, and if nothing else provides an interesting look at what the general public consider history.

Google Books. Its raining outside and I have readings to do. Needless to say Google books often wins over trekking to the library.

This list is not nearly exhaustive and isn’t close to being a complete list of everything history related I do online. But it does highlight a few of the digital things that I am intrigued by.