Off-Campus History
Episode 7 - Assassin‘s Creed II with Éric Pecile

Episode 7 - Assassin‘s Creed II with Éric Pecile

October 11, 2021

On today’s episode, we’re chatting about Assassin’s Creed II!

Released by Ubisoft in 2009, this incredibly popular video game sold over 9 million copies and helped solidify the Assassin’s Creed franchise into the juggernaut of gaming that it is today. History is a big part of this franchise’s appeal, and AC2 is no different. The game takes place in Renaissance Italy, and is famous for trying to make players feel immersed in that setting. As an open-world game, players can explore late fifteenth-century cities like Florence and Venice that the developers have attempted to recreate. The game plays upon classic historical tropes of Renaissance Italy, featuring powerful families and cutthroat political rivalries between them. The game also casts real historical figures as characters, from Leonardo da Vinci to Pope Alexander VI.

To discuss this game with me, I’m joined by Éric Pecile. Éric is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto whose research focuses on economic history of Renaissance Italy. Éric also works with digital tools as part of his historical work—sort of like the game developers, he’s worked on creating a 3D recreation of sixteenth-century Florence.

For those who’d like to learn more about Renaissance Florence, check out John M. Najemy’s book A History of Florence 1200-1575 (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006). And for those interested in thinking about teaching with video games, have a look at Metagaming: Playing, Competing, Spectating, Cheating, Trading, Making, and Breaking Videogames, by Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica. Follow the show on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/offcampushistory)! You can also email the show at offcampushistory[at]gmail.com.

Episode 6 - Hamilton with Hana Suckstorff

Episode 6 - Hamilton with Hana Suckstorff

September 20, 2021

On today’s episode, we’re not throwing away our shot.

We’re talking Hamilton: An American Musical! This Broadway sensation, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, focuses on the life of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father and the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. In doing so, the musical also offers an interpretation of the American Revolution, the early republic period, and in some ways, American history as a whole. Miranda has described the show as “A story about America then, told by America now,” and the show is notable for having a cast comprised of almost entirely actors of colour, portraying characters based on white historical figures. The musical also foregrounds musical genres, such as rap and R&B, that are more associated with communities of colour.

Miranda’s musical first premiered in 2015 and has since become an international sensation, achieving critical acclaim, mass popularity, and financial success. In early 2020, Disney acquired the rights to distribute a theatrical release of the musical with its original Broadway cast, and released it on its streaming service Disney+ in July 2020.

To discuss the show with me, I’m joined by Hana Suckstorff. Hana is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Her main area of research focuses on early modern Italian religion, but she has an additional area of specialization in US history. Hana has taught US history and has given some careful thought to ways that historians can use Hamilton as a tool for teaching students about American history.

For those looking to learn more about this topic, check out Lyra D. Monteiro’s article “Race-Conscious Casting and the Erasure of the Black Past in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton,” The Public Historian 38, no. 1 (2016): 89-98, https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2016.38.1.89. Also check out Renee C. Romano and Claire Bond Porter’s edited volume Historians on Hamilton: How a Blockbuster Musical is Restaging America’s Past (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2018). Also worth reading is David Kindy’s article for Smithsonianmag.com, “New Research Suggests Alexander Hamilton Was a Slave Owner” (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/new-research-alexander-hamilton-slave-owner-180976260/), which discusses some recent research by Jessie Serfilippi.

Also, not related to Hamilton but absolutely worth checking out regardless is https://decima-map.net/. Hana is part of the DECIMA research team and is working on a 3D visualization of seventeenth-century Florence, which you can access on the above site once the project is complete!

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica. Follow the show on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/offcampushistory)! You can also email the show at offcampushistory[at]gmail.com.

Episode 5 - Canada: A People’s History with Hannah Cooley

Episode 5 - Canada: A People’s History with Hannah Cooley

August 30, 2021

For today’s episode, we’re watching some Canada: A People’s History!

This monumental documentary series launched in 2000 will be familiar to Canadian history buffs. The original run of the series, made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, featured 17 episodes with about 32 hours of content, documenting Canadian history from 15,000 BC all the way up to 1990 (a more recent bonus episode covers the years 1990-2015). Canadians watched the series by the millions, and the documentary has been broadcast in 9 languages.

For today’s podcast, we focus on episode 16, “Years of Hope and Anger,” which covers the years 1964 to 1976. Major themes in this episode include a growing Canadian nationalism; the Quiet Revolution and the emergence of Québécois nationalism; the idea of progress and the harms that accompanied it; and protest, counterculture, and activism, often spearheaded by youth (as the documentary puts it, young people “doing their own thing”). Events like the October Crisis and figures like Pierre Trudeau and René Lévesque take center stage. To discuss this episode as well as the series more generally, I’m joined by Hannah Cooley. Hannah is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto whose research focuses on Indigenous activism through print media on the prairies in the 1960s and 70s.

For those looking to learn a bit more about the making of Canada: A People’s History, check out Mark Starowicz’s book Making History: The Remarkable Story Behind Canada: A People’s History (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2003). Starowicz was a producer on the series, and so while the book doesn’t offer a particularly critical look at the series, it features a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the ideas and politics behind the making of the documentary.

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica. Follow the show on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/offcampushistory)! You can also email the show at offcampushistory[at]gmail.com.

Episode 4 - Renaissance Tourism with Graeme Sutherland

Episode 4 - Renaissance Tourism with Graeme Sutherland

August 16, 2021

On today’s episode, we take a much-needed vacation.

…Okay, not really. But we’re talking about tourism and the history of tourism in Florence, Italy! Much of the city’s identity (not to mention its economy) revolves around its connection to the Renaissance. Today, the city’s galleries, museums, and buildings housing Renaissance-era artifacts and works of art attract millions of tourists every year; in 2019, the Uffizi Gallery alone recorded over 2 million visits.

But this connection to the Renaissance is not just something that appeared naturally—it’s something that people, both from the city and elsewhere, have intentionally cultivated over time. In an episode talking about Florence’s history of the Renaissance, history of tourism, and historical tourism in the present, I’m joined by Graeme Sutherland. As a graduate student, Graeme has researched both the history of the Renaissance itself and the history of tourists in the modern era seeking to visit Italy for a taste of the Renaissance. Graeme has also worked for many years as a professional tour guide in Italy, and has taken numerous visitors around to these sites recalling the Renaissance.

For those looking to learn more about this topic, here are a couple of reading recommendations that we mention in the episode: Richard Handler and Eric Gable, The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997); M. Medina Lasansky, The Renaissance Perfected: Architecture, Spectacle, and Tourism in Fascist Italy (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004).

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica. Follow the show on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Off-Campus-History-104741381870195)! You can also email the show at offcampushistory[at]gmail.com.

Episode 3 - The Western Development Museum with Tyla Betke

Episode 3 - The Western Development Museum with Tyla Betke

August 2, 2021

On today’s episode of Off-Campus History, we look to the west.

We’re talking about the Western Development Museum, one of the most important public history institutions in Saskatchewan, Canada. The WDM is actually a network of four museums, though our episode focuses on its largest branch in Saskatoon.

Established in 1949, the WDM was originally dedicated to commemorating the history of pioneers on the prairies in the early 1900s. The Saskatoon branch features the iconic “Boomtown,” which recreates a bustling settler town in 1910.

In recent years, the museum has confronted the challenge of how to integrate Indigenous history into a museum that originally left those stories out. In an episode focusing on the museum’s depictions of Indigenous history, and its efforts to revise those depictions, I’m joined by Tyla Betke. Tyla is a PhD candidate in history at Carleton University whose research focuses on Indigenous history and settler colonialism on the prairies in the late nineteenth century. Tyla also previously worked at the WDM, providing a unique perspective into the museum.

For those interested in learning more about this topic, check out Adam Gaudry’s article “Fantasies of Sovereignty: Deconstructing British and Canadian Claims to Ownership of the Historic North-West,” Native American and Indigenous Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 46-74.

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica. Follow the show on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Off-Campus-History-104741381870195)!

Episode 2 - Hearts of Iron IV with Sid Sridhar

Episode 2 - Hearts of Iron IV with Sid Sridhar

July 19, 2021

On today’s episode of Off-Campus History, we get strategic.

We’re playing Hearts of Iron IV, an incredibly detailed grand strategy video game set during the Second World War. In particular, we’re playing as the British Raj—a colony that in the mid-1930s included present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, among other places—to see how the game depicts the history of South and Southeast Asia during this period.

The period of the Second World War was a tumultuous one in the region. As the British Raj fought to repel Japanese incursions, it also saw an accelerating movement for Indian independence from Britain, and was devastated by the Bengal Famine beginning in 1943. To discuss how the game depicts all this history, how strategy games can interpret the past, and much more, I’m joined by Sid Sridhar, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto who is an expert in themes of capitalism and imperialism in South Asia during the 1930s and 40s.

For those who want to learn more about this episode’s topic, check out Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper’s book Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

--

Podcast logo is made by Instagram.com/nethkaria; intro and outro music by Instagram.com/nelamusica.

Episode 1 - The Fernald Preserve with Steven Langlois

Episode 1 - The Fernald Preserve with Steven Langlois

July 5, 2021

Today on Off-Campus History, we talk about a place with a toxic history. No, I literally mean toxic.

On our very first episode, we’re talking about the Fernald Preserve, a nature park built on the site of a former Cold War-era uranium processing facility for nuclear weapons. From the 1950s to the 1980s, this facility outside Cincinnati, Ohio churned out materials for the American armaments program—and radioactive pollution for the surrounding residents. To help me make sense of this place’s history, and the effort to cover things up (in the most literal sense possible), I’m joined by Steven Langlois. Steven is a PhD student at the University of Alberta who is an expert in the environmental history of the Cold War American nuclear weapons program.

For those interested in learning more about the topic, check out this article by Jenny Wohlfarth in Cincinnati Magazine about the subject, which we reference in the episode: https://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/citywiseblog/what-lies-beneath-the-fernald-preserve/. Also, check out this documentary made about Fernald during the Cold War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOm7_Lf8PVo.

Subscribe to Off-Campus History wherever you get your podcasts! Also, follow the podcast at https://www.instagram.com/offcampushistory/, and at https://www.facebook.com/Off-Campus-History-104741381870195. You can write in to the show at offcampushistory[at]gmail[dot]com

/

Podcast logo was created by https://www.instagram.com/nethkaria/; intro and outro music was created by https://www.instagram.com/nelamusica/

Trailer

Trailer

June 26, 2021

A short introduction to the podcast. The first full episode will be published the week of July 5!

--

Logo by instagram.com/nethkaria

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App