90 Second Narratives

90 Second Narratives

90 Second Narratives is a podcast featuring engaging true stories told by trained historians. Each episode includes a short story interwoven with expert analysis of the story’s historical significance. The concise length and storytelling format of the episodes make history accessible, dynamic, and entertaining. The subjects of the stories are diverse—spanning the globe and ranging from the pre-historic to the modern age. While individual stories stand alone, the episodes in each season are linked thematically and combine to offer comparative perspectives that illuminate connections from across the human experience. Every episode also includes recommendations for further reading. 90 Second Narratives provides a novel way to hear historians share the wonders of the past in their own voices.

Episodes

June 6, 2022 3 min

“In the spring of 1816, the weather in New England turned suddenly chilly. A distant volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 had expelled sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere in such quantity that they reduced the amount of solar energy that could reach Earth’s surface…”

So begins today’s story from Emma C. Moesswilde.

For further listening:

Climate History

For further reading:

J. Luterbacher and C. Pfister, “The Y...

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“In mid-twentieth-century Latin America, an intellectual movement that changed the region, the world, and the global economy emerged. The members of the movement were called cepalinos…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Margarita Fajardo.

For further reading:

The World That Latin America Created: The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America in the Development Era by Margarita Fajardo (Harvard University Press, 2022)

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January 3, 2022 4 min

“On November 20, 1955, David Ames, an anthropologist and research associate with the Wisconsin Legislative Council’s Menominee Indian Study Committee spoke with Phebe Nichols Jewell the wife of Angus Lookaround at their home on the Menominee reservation in Northeast Wisconsin…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Jillian Marie Jacklin.

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December 13, 2021 3 min

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most significant theologians of the twentieth century. To this day, large audiences are still drawn to his important writings including The Cost of Discipleship, Life Together, and Ethics. But Bonhoeffer is even more widely-known for his remarkable and tragic biography…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston. 

For further viewing:
Dr. Victoria Barnett, “From Harlem to Berlin: Dietric...

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November 29, 2021 4 min

“In the past three decades black social actors, committed curators, public historians, and academics have pushed western museums to examine slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in their exhibition spaces. But the introduction of slavery in the museum has been very problematic…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo. 

For further reading:
Museums and Atlantic Slavery by Ana Lucia Araujo (Routledge, 2021)

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November 16, 2021 28 min

This special episode combines all the stories from Season 9…

“Becoming a Friend of God in Eighteenth-Century North Africa” – Dr. Zachary Wright, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Northwestern University in Qatar

“Posthumous Friendships between Jesuit Brothers” – Dr. Ulrike Strasser, Professor of History at the University of California San Diego

“Life’s Seasons and the Friendships of Frederick the Great” – Dr. Sky...

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“Today a flight from Prague to Guam covers an aerial distance of over 7,100 miles and takes about 15 hours. The journey may seem far, long, and cumbersome to many travelers. Yet today’s challenges pale when compared to those faced in 1678 by Augustinus Strobach…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Ulrike Strasser.

For further reading:

Missionary Men in the Early Modern World: German Jesuits and Pacific Journeys by Ulrike Strasser (Amste...

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“As enshrined on the door of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in bronze, John Marshall and Joseph Story were friends. But what was it that earned this pair of friends the most prominent place on these monumental seventeen-foot doors? It was this: their association with the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison. That was the case that established the principle of judicial review, giving the federal courts power to declare legisl...

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“During a recent visit to Washington D.C. with my family, we visited the United States’ Supreme Court Building. It was a quiet Monday afternoon without a cloud in the sky…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston.

For further reading:
“The Bronze Doors” Information Sheet

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“Many long-term friendships change over time with the seasons of life. This was certainly true in the case of Frederick II, King of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston.

For further reading:
Frederick the Great: King of Prussia by Tim Blanning (Random House, 2016)

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“I want to tell you about the friendship between two women, nearly two centuries ago, that’s had a very long tail in Mexican history. On February first, 1840, shortly after arriving in Mexico City, Fanny Calderón de la Barca – the Scottish wife of the new Spanish ambassador – met doña María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Silvia Marina Arrom. 

For further reading:
La Guera Rodriguez: The Life and Legend...

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“‘The true scholar,’ the 18th-century North African Sufi master Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani told his disciples, ‘is the one who gives form to what is clear, and clarifies what is ambiguous, and this from the strength of his knowledge, the breadth of his understanding, the soundness of his spiritual vision (naẓr) and his verification (taḥqīq)’…” 

So begins today’s story from Dr. Zachary Wright.

For further reading:
Realizing Islam: The Tija...

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“Historians point to the year 1648 as a watershed moment in the development of religious tolerance in Europe. In that year, the Peace of Westphalia brought an end to the Thirty Year’s War—one of Europe’s grimmest chapters of religiously-inflected violence…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston.

For further reading:
Michael Warren Murphy, “‘No Beggars amongst Them’: Primitive Accumulation, Settler Colonialism, and the ...

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September 19, 2021 8 min

“Historians like to say, everything has a history. Recently, the history of animals, has seen some development. The history of dogs, living closely beside humans for millennia as guards, workers, hunting aids and companions, illustrates a relationship with nature over time and sheds light on how our species has understood our role on our planet as owners, custodians, or exploiters of the natural world, and it includes ambiguous fri...

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September 13, 2021 31 min

This special episode combines all the stories from Season 8…

“A Black Woman’s Spiritual Journey to the City” – Dr. J. T. Roane, Assistant Professor of African & African American Studies at Arizona State University

“Cotton: Connecting the Atlantic World” – Dr. Anna Arabindan-Kesson, Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University

“Soju: A Liquor’s G...

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September 6, 2021 2 min

"What factors do you take into consideration before going on a journey? Do you have any sense of when is a good time for a journey? Or, a good time for a specific type of journey? In sixteenth-century Germany, people had a way of systematizing the good and bad times for many of life’s activities, including travel…"

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston.

For further reading:
Der Bawren Practica oder Wetterbüchle...

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“When historians of science and religion write about the ‘conflict thesis,’ what are they talking about?”

So begins today’s story from Dr. James C. Ungureanu. 

For further reading:
Science, Religion, and the Protestant Tradition: Retracing the Origins of Conflict by James C. Ungureanu (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019)

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“At the turn of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of Japanese migrants left their island nation, landed in Hawai’i, only to depart for Seattle, San Francisco, Vancouver, or Victoria…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Yukari Takai.

For further reading:
Yukari Takai, “Recrafting Marriage in Meiji Hawai’i, 1885-1913,” Gender & History, 31, 3 (2019), 646-664.

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August 16, 2021 2 min

“One of the most famous, and consequential, journeys in the history of humanity was Christopher Columbus’ fateful journey across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492…”

So begins today’s story from Dr. Sky Michael Johnston.

For further reading:
The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 by Alfred W. Crosby (1972) 

Episode transcript:
https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

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August 9, 2021 2 min

“When American soldier William Eaton started his search for Hamet Karamanli in late 1804, he had an audacious plan…

So begins today’s story from Dr. Abby Mullen.

For more, listen to the Consolation Prize podcast. 

Episode transcript:
https://skymichaeljohnston.com/90secnarratives/

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