All History in Focus Episodes

History in Focus is a podcast by the American Historical Review.

Go behind the scenes with the world's leading history journal as we explore the who, what, how, and why of doing history in the twenty-first century.


Season 2 Episodes

S2 E10 Environmental Crisis and Recovery

Elizabeth Chatterjee examines the dynamics of the climate/food/energy crisis that shook India in the 1970s. And Andrew Highsmith discusses his feature review of three recent books on environmental crisis and recovery in the cities of Flint and Detroit.

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S2 E9 Collaborative History + Revisiting Marion Thompson Wright

Arlene Díaz and Kalani Craig discuss their piece exploring the Spanish American War, the use of digital methods, and the place of collaboration in historical research. Then, with Hettie Williams, we revisit the life and work of historian Marion Thompson Wright.

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S2 E8 Teaching Historiography + Chilling Affects

Producer Matt Hermane speaks with Agnieszka Aya Marczyk, Abby Reisman, and Brenda Santos about their #AHRSyllabus piece “Teaching Historiography: Testimony and the Study of the Holocaust.” Then Conor Howard hears from Woody Holton on his article “Chilling Affects: The Far Right Takes Aim at Black History.”

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S2 E7 Indigenous Art and History + Conversations with the Dead

Producer Matt Hermane speaks with historian Brenda Child about the March 2024 History Lab feature on Contemporary Indigenous Art and History, part of AHR’s ongoing series on “Art and Historical Method.” Then we revisit now past AHA president Edward Muir’s presidential address—titled “Conversations with the Dead”—at this year’s AHA Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

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S2 E6 Picnicking at the End of Empire + Around AHA 2024

Sarah Abrevaya Stein presents her History Unclassified piece "Eating on the Ground: Picnicking at the End of Empire" on the picnicking practices of Sephardic Jewish communities in the late Ottoman Empire. Then History in Focus producers take you around the bustling corridors of this year's American Historical Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

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S2 E5 Enslaved Women’s Bodies in Fifteenth-Century Spain + Seeing Black America in Iran

Debra Blumenthal examines slave markets in 15th century Spain and their influence on conceptions of women’s health. And Beeta Baghoolizadeh discusses the legacy of racialized forms of enslavement in 19th and 20th century Iran.

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S2 E4 History and Video Games + Digital Submission Guidelines

Historian Tore Olsson discusses designing a history course around the popular video game Red Dead Redemption 2. And Kalani Craig introduces the AHR’s new guidelines for Digital Media Submissions.

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S2 E3 Monuments and Public History

Durba Ghosh introduces the AHR forum “Mismonumentalizing and Decolonizing: Public History as History for the Public.” We also hear from one of the forum’s contributors—Thomas Adams and Sue Mobley—on their work on recent efforts to rename streets in New Orleans.

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S2 E2 AI and History + Arms and American Revolutions

Historians Darrell Meadows and Joshua Sternfeld discuss the AHR Forum they assembled on AI and the practice of history. And Brian DeLay delves into his article on the role of the international arms trade for revolutions in the Americas.

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S2 E1 Teaching History

We discuss the current state of teaching history, from K12 through the college level, and the AHR’s first major entry into the teaching discussion with the new #AHRSyllabus Project. Organizers Kathleen Hilliard, Laura McEnaney, and Katharina Matro join two of the first syllabus contributors, Saniya Lee Ghanoui (for the podcast Sexing History) and William Tullett (for the historical smells researchers of Odeuropa), to preview this new teaching resource and what we hope it will add for history teachers interested in engaging with the journal.

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Season 1 Episodes

S1 E15 A Sacred Calling

For nearly half a century, Curtis Boyd and Glenna Halvorson-Boyd have devoted their lives to providing safe and affirming abortion care. Curtis, a former Baptist minister, began providing abortions in Texas before the procedure was legal in the state. After Roe v. Wade, with the help of an interfaith network of clergy, Curtis opened up a clinic in Dallas. In the 1970s, Glenna came to work there as well, and the two eventually fell in love. Their partnership and shared commitment to abortion care has enabled them to withstand the increasing violence of the anti-abortion movement and to continue providing abortions to this day.

This episode was produced by the podcast Sexing History. It is the inaugural entry in AHR’s new podcast collaboration initiative.

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S1 E14 Agency and History + Hong Kong and China Between the Tides

Anna Krylova examines the complicated role of agency in history. And Denise Ho discusses the multilayered interactions along the Hong Kong–China maritime border in the mid-to-late twentieth century through the lens of oyster producing communities.

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S1 BONUS Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship

On January 5, 2023, the American Historical Association approved Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship. In this special episode, we explore the guidelines with AHA executive director Jim Grossman and guidelines committee chair Rita Chin.

S1 E13 Follow Your Nose, Part 2

More than a year since our first check in, we revisit Odeuropa, an interdisciplinary team of researchers investigating—and recreating—the smells of Europe’s past. Project lead Inger Leemans updates us on the project as a whole while smellscape researcher Kate McLean takes us back through the smell walk she led for the 2023 AHA national meeting in Philadelphia.

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S1 E12 Transnational History

What does it mean to do transnational history? What has this field of research accomplished over the last few decades, and what remains to be done? Paul Chamberlin discusses the transnational history forum he convened for the AHR. And we hear from three of the forum’s contributors—Rebecca Herman, Maria John, and Hussein Fancy.

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S1 E11 Becoming Elizabeth + AHA 2023

Historian Megan Robb discusses her article “Becoming Elizabeth: The Transformation of a Bihari Mughal into an English Lady, 1758-1822” with producer Matt Hermane. Plus, Daniel checks in with AHA meetings manager Debbie Ann Doyle on the recent AHA annual meeting in Philadelphia and looks ahead to the next one in San Francisco.

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S1 E10 The Commodification of Tibet + A Look Ahead

Historian Lydia Walker discusses international advocacy for Tibet on the part of the US and India in the early Cold War and how those efforts resulted in a sort of humanitarian commodification of the Tibetan cause. And AHR editor Mark Bradley looks ahead with Daniel at what’s coming up at the 2023 AHA Annual Meeting and in upcoming issues of the AHR.

S1 E9 Black Reconstruction

Historian Elizabeth Hinton explores W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction. We also hear from Eric Foner, Chad Williams, Sue Mobley, and Kendra Field. The AHR chose not to review Black Reconstruction when it was first published. A review by Hinton appears in the December 2022 issue.

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S1 E8 Art and History + Memoir of a Hijacking

Art critic Lee Weng-Choy discusses his and curator Zoe Butt’s conversation on historical practice in contemporary art. And Kate Brown speaks with Martha Hodes about her article exploring the process of writing about her childhood experience as a passenger in an airplane hijacking in September 1970.

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S1 E7 Rethinking the Liberal Protestants + A History Survey

Andrew Preston offers a reassessment of America’s Liberal Protestants, especially on the subject of race. And Pete Burkholder and Dana Schaffer discuss the national survey “History, the Past, and Public Culture.” In both parts, the question What is history? hovers just below, or above, the surface.

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S1 E6 Soil and Memory

Historian Alexis Dudden and graphic artist Kim Inthavong discuss their collaborative work on history, memory, and activism in Okinawa, Japan. Their piece, “Okinawa: Territory as Monument,” appears in the History Lab section of the September issue of the AHR.

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S1 BONUS Historians and Their Publics

In this special episode, we look at Jacqueline Jones’s AHA Presidential Address, “Historians and Their Publics, Then and Now,” delivered on January 7th, 2022, at the AHA annual meeting in New Orleans. You’ll hear an abridged version of the address paired with a conversation between Jones and Mark Bradley about the address. Jacqueline Jones served as president of the American Historical Association in 2021.

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S1 E5 Gender and Atlantic Slavery at Global Scale + The Redesign of the AHR

AHR editor Mark Bradley talks with historian Diana Paton about her article “Gender History, Global History, and Atlantic Slavery: On Racial Capitalism and Social Reproduction.” Then, a conversation with Pure+Applied designers Paul Carlos and Urshula Barbour about the AHR’s first major redesign in over 50 years.

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S1 E4 The Blackivists

The Blackivists, a collective of professionally trained Black archivists in Chicago, partner with institutions and community groups to help preserve the city’s Black cultural heritage as well as model reparative approaches to archives and archiving. Daniel talks with Ashley Farmer, who teamed up with the Blackivists to produce the AHR History Lab piece “Toward an Archival Reckoning” for the June 2022 issue. One of the collective—Stacie Williams—joins Ashley to talk about the group’s work. And Adom Getachew checks in to set this project in the context of a larger arc of upcoming Lab entries on the theme of “engaged history.”

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S1 E3 From the Reviews Desk, March 2022 Edition

Daniel talks with AHR associate editor Fei-Hsien Wang about the Reviews section of the March 2022 issue, including a cluster of five history podcast reviews and a new column called Authors in Conversation. Shawn McHale and Christopher Goscha kicked off that column with reviews of each other’s recent books on the Indochina War, and they talk here about their work and their experience of trying out this approach to reviewing.

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S1 E2 Unlikely Entry Points and Unexpected Dead Ends

This episode explores unlikely ways into research and what can happen when we confront what seems like a deadend. Daniel talks with Judd Kinzley about his article “Wartime Dollars and the Crowning of China’s Hog-Bristle King: The Dubious Legacies of US Aid, 1938–49.” And History Unclassified editor Kate Brown speaks with Jennifer Lambe about her article “Christine Jorgensen in Cuba: On Dormant Leads and Archival Dead Ends.”

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S1 E1 Follow Your Nose

Daniel talks with AHR editor Mark Bradley about the changes coming to the journal in March, in particular a new section called the AHR History Lab that will showcase collaborative projects that challenge us to rethink how history is done in the twenty-first century. Then a conversation with contributors to the Odeuropa project, an EU grant funded research endeavor that seeks to excavate, and bring back to life, the smells of Europe's past.

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