Diverse History Podcasts
February 15, 2017 6:59 PM   Subscribe

O Hive Mind, please recommend me some diversity in my history podcasts. Likes and requirements inside.

I really like to listen to history podcasts on my way to and from work - I have a commute of 50 minutes each way. I have always been super interested in history and these podcasts are really filling in the gaps that my high school education just glossed over. But I'm looking for more. Specifically, I would like more history podcasts that tackle topics outside of the white, Western, male world, as I am well-versed in that already.

Here are some podcasts I already like and listen to regularly:
- Rex Factor. Two British guys talking about British history. They review kings and queens of Britain in chronological order.
- A spinoff of the above: Totalus Rankium. Two British guys talking about the history of the Roman Empire. They review Roman emperors in chronological order.
- The History of the English Language. An American guy talking about etymology. He's not a linguist but this podcast is incredibly well researched, well paced, and more or less chronological.
- Russian Rulers/History Podcast. A Russian-American guy talking about Russian history. The rulers went in chronological order, after which he discussed topics in Russian history. Updates are scarce.
- Presidential. An American woman talking about US History. She discussed each president in chronological order. This series is complete and I have listened to them all.

Basically I want more of that - chronological order, well researched, and entertaining - but about non-Western, non-white, non-male history. I want the podcaster to either be a scholar/expert in the community discussed, or to be a member of said community themselves (preferably this), or both (especially preferably this!).

I particularly want to learn more about marginalized groups in the US (a chronological podcast about black history, LGBT history in the US, women's rights, immigrant groups), but am also interested in expanding my knowledge of other areas of the world. My knowledge of Africa is very slight, as is my Asian history outside of China. Central Asia is a big empty gap. If you have a really good Latin American history podcast I will take that recommendation but I'm working on my 3rd post-secondary degree in Spanish/Area Studies, so it would have to be a niche or in-depth study.
posted by chainsofreedom to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Does it have to be a podcast and not just like, Indigenous Peoples History of the United States in audiobook form?

This fits all your other criteria/topic, etc.
posted by aetg at 7:05 PM on February 15, 2017

I would accept audiobooks as well.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:05 PM on February 15, 2017

It's not chronologically ordered and can sometimes be specialised, but the Ottoman History Podcast is very good, and features actual scholars not just history buffs.
posted by tavegyl at 7:06 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

2 recommendations from me:
A history of the world in 100 objects
Ancient World Podcast
posted by BigCalm at 3:33 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

You would probably enjoy In Our Time, a BBC podcast which has credentialed academics discussing different topics each week with a university lecture-type level of seriousness. They talk about a lot of stuff besides history -- science, art, literature mostly -- but there are some good historical too ones and many of them on non-Western topics. I've heard good ones on the Haitian revolution, the Mayan empire, and the Battle of Talas recently -- all worth a listen.
posted by 8k at 4:39 AM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Revolutions is good, and currently they're focused on Simon Bolivar.

You might also like Against the Grain, which frequently features historians as guest speakers.
posted by veery at 5:57 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's not free, but I learned a lot from Slate's History of Slavery podcast. It is vaguely chronological and is structured around interviews with (mostly black) historians.
posted by juliapangolin at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2017

Not chronological but someone mentioned on this FPP that /r/AskHistorians has a podcast. I haven't personally listened to it yet but AskHistorians is one of the best things on Reddit so I trust that the podcast is good, and the topics look to be diverse and wide-ranging.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:33 AM on February 16, 2017

Stuff You Missed in History Class is a really good one, they often feature women or people of color and have like 8 years of backlog.

The Backstory podcast was previously hosted by three old Southern white guys, but did a pretty decent job with American history regardless. They've recently rebooted and added a black host and a female host explicitly to improve their diversity.

Making Gay History is a podcast of interviews mostly conducted in the 60s-80s with pioneers of the GBLT movement. It is super fascinating. The interviewer is a white gay man who also wrote a book based on his interviews.

Migration Nation is hosted by two white men and is about the history of immigration/migration in general across the United States. I just listened to an episode specifically about black migration during the era of slavery and they've promised several more with focus on minorities.

Our Fake History is about world history in general, focusing on famous figures including women and POC. The title refers to the fact that most of the subjects have a general mythos or misunderstanding about their places in history. It is hosted by a white man.

Depending on how much you like morbid history, you might enjoy the Podcast of Doom, which focuses on disaster situations throughout history (natural or man-made). The host is a white man and most of the focus is on Western disasters, but there were some really good ones about disasters in Africa and the Pacific. This one can be depressing.

You Must Remember This is about early Hollywood and focused mostly on women. It is hosted by a woman as well. There are some really good episodes discussing GBLT folks in early Hollywood as well. I was not really into that time period before listening to the show but I'm really glad I picked it up.
posted by possibilityleft at 9:40 AM on February 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am a fan of The Bristish history pocast , which is the looooong take on British history, we're now 231 epoisodes in, and only come to Alfred the Great.
Also Stuff you missed in history class for buts and pieces of story all over the world.
The British Museum's A history of the world in 100 objects is also interesting.
posted by mummimamma at 11:04 AM on February 16, 2017

I like Isaac Meyer's History of Japan podcast. Some terrific long and short series on nearly every angle of Japanese history and culture from ancient to modern. The audio quality gets considerably better as he goes along but stays refreshingly simple and unpolished, just one knowledgeable guy with a mic.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 4:00 PM on February 16, 2017

A sub-question/clarification: I specified "scholars/experts" or "members of community in question" because while Stuff You Should Know has its charms, I find I end the episodes really unsatisfied. I never get a deeper sense of the topic of the day because the show is two guys who did an online article's worth of research, often of a topic they have no personal experience of. This has made me hesitant to try Stuff You Missed in History Class. If I don't like Stuff You Should Know, will I also dislike Stuff You Missed in History Class?
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2017

They're short-form and self-contained, but I absolutely love love love The Memory Palace, if you haven't heard it yet... It tends to be focused on the US, but often incorporates non-white history. The writing is beautiful, and they're often just fantastic vignettes.

The Wheel
A White Horse
posted by kaibutsu at 10:24 AM on February 19, 2017

Just anecdotally, I hate Stuff You Should Know and love Stuff You Missed in History Class. The hosts actually do their research and read books, not just look at Wikipedia for an hour and talk about someone else's lived experiences. So I would encourage you to check them out, honestly.
posted by possibilityleft at 4:49 AM on February 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

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