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15 Minute History

15 Minute History is a history podcast designed for historians, enthusiasts, and newbies alike. This is a joint project of Hemispheres, the international outreach consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, and Not Even Past, a website with articles on a wide variety of historical issues, produced by the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin.This podcast series is devoted to short, accessible discussions of important topics in world history, United States history, and Texas history with the award winning faculty and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin, and distinguished visitors to our campus. They are meant to be a resource for both teachers and students, and can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in history.For more information and to hear our complete back catalog of episodes, visit our website!Texas Podcast Network is brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. Podcasts are produced by faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications to craft content that adheres to journalistic best practices. The University of Texas at Austin offers these podcasts at no charge. Podcasts appearing on the network and this webpage represent the views of the hosts, not of The University of Texas at Austin.

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Episode 132: History of the Second Ku Klux Klan

Historians argue that several versions of the group known as the Ku Klux Klan or KKK have existed since its inception after the Civil War. But, what makes the Klan of the 1920s different from the others? Linda Gordon, the winner of two Bancroft Prizes and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, writes in The Second Coming of the KKK The Ku Klux Klan: of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition that the KKK of the 1920s expanded its mission to include anti-Black racism, anti-Catholicism, and anti-Semitism, electing legislators and representatives in government, and were hyper-visible. “By legitimizing and intensifying bigotry, and insisting that only white Protestants could be “true Americans,” a revived and mainstream Klan in the 1920s left a troubling legacy that demands a reexamination today.” With more than a million members at its peak, the Second coming of the KKK was expansive, to say the least. Resources: The Second Coming of the KKK The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition by Linda Gordon (2017)

28 Apr 2021

Rank #1

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Episode 131: Climate and Environmental History in Context

How do historians teach Environmental History in an age where climate catastrophe fills the headlines? Megan Raby and Erika Bsumek, both History Professors and Environmental Historians discuss what drew them to the field, how they talk about environmental history with their students, and the 2021 Institute for Historical Studies Conference, “Climate in Context: Historical Precedents and the Unprecedented” (April 22-23). “Among many other questions, the conference will ask: Can history offer an alternative to visions of the future that appear to be determined by prevailing climate models, and help provide us with new ways of understanding human agency?” Mentioned in today’s episode: Institute for Historical Studies (https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/historicalstudies/) “Annual Conference examines climate crisis through lens of historical scholarship, culminates year-long discussion on “Climate in Context” theme” (https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/historicalstudies/news/annual-conference-examines-climate-crisis-through-lens-of-historical-scholarship-culminates-year-long-discussion-on-climate-in-context-theme) Radical Hope Syllabus (http://radicalhopesyllabus.com/)

21 Apr 2021

Rank #2

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Episode 130: Black Reconstruction in Indian Territory

Nineteenth-Century Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma) was home to a wide array of groups including Native American Nations, enslaved Indian Freed-people, African Americans, White settlers, and others. In a conversation on Black Reconstruction in Indian Territory, Alaina Roberts discusses what Reconstruction might have meant for Black people in what is now called Oklahoma in the years immediately following the Civil War, and why it should be included in broader conversations about Reconstruction. Roberts’ new book, I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), ties African American and Native American history tightly together, revealing a western theatre of Civil War and Reconstruction in which Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians, their Black slaves, and African Americans and whites from the eastern United States fought military and rhetorical battles to lay claim to land in Indian Territory that had been taken from others. Resources: I’ve Been Here All the While Black Freedom on Native Land by Alaina E. Roberts https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/16221.html “A Native American Tribe In Oklahoma Denied Black Citizens COVID-19 Vaccines And Financial Relief” by Joseph Lee (Buzzfeed News-https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/josephvlee/seminole-oklahoma-black-freedmen-vaccines ) “A timeline for Cherokee Freedmen” (The Cherokee Phoenix– https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/news/a-timeline-for-cherokee-freedmen/article_b22ddd23-1dfc-5da3-8258-b12ab7e010e7.html)

14 Apr 2021

Rank #3

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Episode 129: Slavery in the West

In the antebellum years, freedom and unfreedom often overlapped, even in states that were presumed “free states.” According to a new book by Kevin Waite, this was in part because the reach of the Slave South extended beyond the traditional South into newly admitted free and slave states. States like California found their legislatures filled with former Southerners who hoped to see California and others align with their politics. “They pursued that vision through diplomacy, migration, and armed conquest. By the late 1850s, slaveholders and their allies had transformed the southwestern quarter of the nation – California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Utah – into a political client of the plantation states.” But it didn’t end there. The “continental South” as Waite calls it, had visions of extending into Central and South America as well as the Pacific. In West of Slavery, Waite “brings to light what contemporaries recognized but historians have described only in part: The struggle over slavery played out on a transcontinental stage.”   West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire By Kevin Waite (https://uncpress.org/book/9781469663197/west-of-slavery/) California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier, 1848–1865 September 26, 2018 – April 28, 2019 curated by: Tyree Boyd-Pates, History Curator and Program Manager, and Taylor Bythewood-Porter, Assistant History Curator (https://caamuseum.org/exhibitions/2018/california-bound-slavery-on-the-new-frontier-18481865)

7 Apr 2021

Rank #4

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Episode 128: The Racial Geography Tour at U.T. Austin

For almost two decades, Edmund (Ted) Gordon has been leading tours of UT Austin that show how racism, patriarchy, and politics are baked into the landscape and architecture of the campus.  According to the now digitized tour’s website, “What began as lectures about UT’s Black history turned into a more sustained research project about the broader racial history of the University—an approach less taken. Controversies around the Confederate statues that once lined UT’s iconic South Mall were key sites to explore the intersection of the physical and geographical campus with its racial history. This physical articulation became a framework for examining other parts of UT’s campus and history and thus, the impetus for the public history provided in the walking tour.” Today, in a special episode recorded in April 2019, founding host, Professor Joan Neuberger and Professor Gordon discuss the history of the racial geography tour at UT Austin, the history of campus landmarks, and even the origins of the Eyes of Texas song. Learn more at racialgeographytour.org/ or read an illustrated transcript of this conversation at notevenpast.org/the-racial-geography-tour-at-ut-austin/

31 Mar 2021

Rank #5

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Episode 127: History of the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

In recent years, conversations about the US-Mexico border have centered around the border wall. However, according to today’s guest, C.J. Alvarez, the wall is one of many construction projects that have occurred in the border region in the last 30 years. “From the boundary surveys of the 1850s to the ever-expanding fences and highway networks of the twenty-first century, Border Land, Border Water examines the history of the construction projects that have shaped the region where the United States and Mexico meet.” Resources: Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide.C.J. Alvarez. (University of Texas Press, 2019.) “Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the U.S.-Mexico Divide by C.J. Alvarez (2019) Reviewed” by Alejandra C. Garza. Not Even Past, 2020.

24 Mar 2021

Rank #6

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Episode 126: Postwar Lesbian History

Stereotypes of the 1950s family generally include a hardworking husband, a diligent housewife, their children, and a white picket fence. However, research by Lauren Gutterman and others suggests a much more flexible family system that could sometimes include same-sex relationships. In today’s episode, we talk to Dr. Gutterman about the postwar family, her book, Her Neighbor’s Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage, the stories of the women who “who struggled to balance marriage and same-sex desire in the postwar United States” and how this new history expands the landscape of LGBTQ history in this period to include the “homes of married women, who tended to engage in affairs with wives and mothers they met in the context of their daily lives: through work, at church, or in their neighborhoods.”

11 Mar 2021

Rank #7

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Episode 125: Environmental Justice and Indigenous History

In the Spring of 2016, protests concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline dominated national headlines. For many people, it was the first time they’d thought about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and environmental justice. However, what occurred at Standing Rock and the #NoDAPL movement was part of a long history of Indigenous resistance and protest. In today’s episode, Dina Gilio-Whitaker describes the importance of those events and how they are connected to other movements, past and present. Her most recent book, As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock, Gilio-Whitaker (a citizen of the Colville Confederated Tribes) explores this history through the lens of “Indigenized Environmental Justice” through the ” fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle.”

3 Mar 2021

Rank #8

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Episode 124: The “Spanish” Influenza of 1918-1920

In the age of coronavirus and COVID-19, comparisons are being made to an unusually long-lived and virulent  epidemic of influenza that occurred a century ago. The so-called “Spanish” flu went around the world in three waves, claiming more than fifty million lives–more than perished in the just-ended First World War. What was the Spanish flu? Why was it called that? And can we learn anything about what’s in store during the coronavirus pandemic of 2019-20 by casting our eyes back a century?

25 Mar 2020

Rank #9

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Episode 123: Scientific, Geographic & Historiographic Inventions of Colombia

The historian Andre Gunder Frank has theorized that former colonies cannot develop economically until they have overcome the legacy of their colonial past. The ways that the United States has overcome the legacy of its colonial past with Great Britain is, in many ways, unique, especially by comparison to the former Spanish Americas. Today’s guest, Lina del Castillo, recently published a book titled Crafting Republic for the World: Scientific, Geographic, and Historiographic Inventions of Colombia, which offers a new understanding of how Gran Colombia–which split from Spain at the beginning of the 19th century, and then further subdivided into Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador–came to deal with its own past, and the role that science, geography, and history came to play alongside politics as the former colonies grew into nationhood.


2 Oct 2019

Rank #10