Saturday, June 27, 2020

Samuel Biagetti: History/Podcaster

Biagetti, Samuel. "Back to the Dark Age: How People Adapted to the Fall of the Roman Empire." Historiansplaining (February 6, 2020) ["What did people do when the Roman empire fell apart around them? Recent scholarship, based on new archeological discoveries and techniques, argues that in the "dark" centuries between 450 and 750 AD, the people of western Europe, from conquering kings to ordinary peasants, improvised new political alliances, maintained law and order, improved the productivity of their land, and invented new crafts and art forms, building a resilient and inventive society on the foundations (often literally) of the old. "]

---. "The Eye of the Tiger." Killing the Buddha (January 3, 2013)

---. "Freemasonry: Its Origins, Its Myths, Its Rituals." Historiansplaining (July 2020)

---. "History of the British and Irish Travellers." Historiansplaining (June 15, 2021) ["Travellers, Tinkers, Gypsies, Kale, Scottish Travellers, Gypsy Travellers, Romani Gypsies, Romanichal, Pavee, Showmen, Van People, Boat People, Bargers – All of these multivarious peoples, with different ancestries, religions, and traditions, their different languages, dialects, and “cants,” share in common a longstanding itinerant lifestyle and the distinct identity that stems from it. Roving all around the British Isles and sometimes settling down, the various tribes of Travellers have provided metal goods, horses, music, and entertainment to British and Irish markets for centuries, but have become the flashpoint of political fury and even of violence in the twenty-first century."]

---. "History of the Roma ("Gypsies"), part 1 -- From Ancient Origins to the Eighteenth Century." Historiansplaining (May 14, 2021) ["Who are the Roma -- also colloquially called "Gypsies"? Where did they come from, and how did they end up all over Europe? How have they endured through persecution, expulsions, and political upheaval, without a state or country of their own? We trace the path of this remarkable and resilient people from their mysterious origins in India to their arrival in Constantinople and medieval Europe and through the wave of persecution and ethnic cleansing in the 1600s."]

---. "History of the Roma ("Gypsies"), part 2 -- A Stateless People in Modern Europe." Historiansplaining (May 21, 2021) ["We follow how the Roma or Gypsies rose to a period of toleration and even renown as the quintessential musical masters of the Romantic era, only to fall under renewed persecution and suppression in the twentieth century, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust -- called the "Devouring" in Romani. We consider the lives of remarkable Roma of the modern age, such as the boxer Johann Trollmann and jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, the birth of a pan-Roma identity movement in the 1970s, the anti-Roma backlash of the 2010s, and finally the possibility that the Roma may be drawn into the geopolitical maneuverings of modern India."]

---. "In the Ocean of Land: The History of Central Asia (Pt. 1)." Historiansplaining (August 8, 2019) ["We consider the vast sweep of Central Asian history, from the first nomads to tame the horse and gain mastery of the steppes, to the splendrous cities of the first Silk Road, to the rise of Ghenghis Khan. Few Westerners learn the dizzyingly complex and tumultuous history of Central Asia, even though it forms the linchpin connecting all the major civilizations of the Old World, from Europe to Persia to China. Finally, we consider the unsettling paradox of the Mongol empire, which fostered a vibrant cosmopolitanism at the same time that it brutally repressed subject peoples."]

---. "In the Ocean of Land: The History of Central Asia (Pt. 2)." Historiansplaining (August 13, 2019) ["We trace how the conquests of the infamous Tamerlane, the “great game” of imperial rivalry, and the revolutions of modern Russia shaped the map of central Asia that we see today. We consider how contemporary central Asians try to navigate the dangerous shoals of environmental disaster and rampant corruption, often while tethered to older Islamic, Turko-Mongolic, and nomadic traditions -- particularly in the looming shadow of a resurgent China."]

---. "Making the Modern State: Spain, Portugal, and the Inquisition." Historiansplaining (February 5, 2018) ["European monarchs’ early quest to consolidate royal power and establish their subjects’ direct loyalty to the crown. In particular, we trace the early triumphs and slow declines of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs, driven by the pioneering ambitions of Isabella of Castile, Philip II of Spain, John II of Portugal, and the formidable Marques de Pombal. We also examine the workings of the Spanish Inquisition, which served as a crucial cornerstone of the modern bureaucratic state, with its systems of mass surveillance, ideological propaganda, and obsession with extracting confessions from the accused. Suggested further reading: Henry Kamen, "Golden Age Spain" and "The Spanish Inquisition.""]

---. "The Masons are Still Segregated." Killing the Buddha (October 2, 2009)

---. "Modernity's Fraternity." Killing the Buddha (September 27, 2009)

---. "Myth of the Month 1: The Enlightenment." Historiansplaining (April 2018) ["There was no Enlightenment. Steven Pinker’s new book, “Enlightenment Now,” is a classic re-statement of the myth of the Enlightenment which holds that in the 1600s and 1700s, Europeans threw off the tired dogmas of the Middle Ages and embraced a new philosophy of Reason, Progress, Science, and Humanism. In fact, the 1700s were a period of confusion, with no clear unifying ideas or trends: occultism, mysticism, and absolute monarchy flourished alongside experiments in democracy and chemistry. “The Enlightenment” forms one of the central pillars of Whig history, serving to re-affirm the notion that our present-day beliefs and values are rational and coherent."]

---. "Myth of the Month 4: Secularization -- or, Send in the Nones." Historiansplaining (June 11, 2019) ["Do societies become more "secular" as they become modern? Do science, technology, or democracy weaken religious belief? We consider theories of secularization ranging from Max Weber's story of "disenchantment" to Charles Taylor's "A Secular Age." Current survey data show a dramatic rise in the number of "nones" -- those who do not adhere to any particular religious group, even though most of them still pray, read scriptures, or express belief in God."]

---. "Myth of the Month 6: Political Left and Right." Historiansplaining (January 2020) ["As new political parties -- left-populists, neo-fascists, and secessionists -- rapidly rise and fall across Europe and other Western countries, and spontaneous protests blur partisan boundaries in the streets of Paris, the old left-to-right scale of political ideology is just not working. What value does this one-dimensional model of politics have, and where did it come from? In fact, it has to do with where you sit at a formal dinner party."]

---. "Myth of the Month 9: The US Constitution and the Origins of the Senate and Electoral College." Historiansplaining (September 2019) ["Why does our government work the way it does? Is it supposed to represents citizens, or states? We consider the origins of the U. S. Constitution, particularly the creation of the controversial bodies (Senate and Electoral College) that represent the public in skewed and disproportionate ways. We dispel the false notion that these bodies were created in order to protect small states, tracing instead the Framers' quest to tamp down the "excess of democracy" of the 1780s, wrest control over monetary policy away from the poor majority, and strike a careful balance between slave and non-slave states."]

---. "Myth of the Month 17: Anglo-Saxonism." Historiansplaining (June 27, 2021) ["Who the heck are the "Anglo-Saxons," and why are Americans getting all lathered up about "Anglo-Saxon institutions"? Find out where the Anglo-Saxon myth came from and how over the past three hundred years it's been used to justify Parliamentary supremacy, the Rhodes Scholarship, the American entry into World War I, immigration restrictions, and college admission quotas. You never knew you were suffering under the Norman yoke, but now you do."]

---. The Myths We Make: Using the Past as an Ideological Tool." Historiansplaining (2018) ["All of history is, to one degree or another, mythology -- the weaving of a coherent, usable narrative out of the chaos of people's lives. We consider how societies all over the world, since before the beginning of civilization, have developed myths to explain the world that they experience. We also trace some of the major schools of academic history, which have tried to fashion overarching storylines to give meaning to human struggles -- from Biblical providential history to Marxism to postmodernism. We begin by examining the most central myth of the origins of American society: the "first Thanksgiving.""]

---. "The Print and Gunpowder Revolutions." Historiansplaining (January 23, 2018) ["The early modern era – from the 1400s through the 1700s – is the monarchical age par excellence, with royal courts presiding over consolidated realms and monstrous armies capable of crushing smaller neighbors and internal rivals. The map of Europe transformed, and the reasons were, firstly, technological: the printing press broke through previous barriers to the creation of texts, allowing for the rapid spread of new ideas and propaganda, while new infantry tactics and gunpowder allowed royal governments to batter down the power of mounted knights and castles. Society became ever more centered on royal power and patronage, leaving behind a vestigial nobility to seek out a new role in the world or give way to nostalgia, as dramatized in the first great psychological novel, Don Quixote. We conclude by considering Cervantes’ novel as a touchstone of the shift from the medieval world, where reality is defined by social relationships, to the modern, where reality is defined by the senses."]

---. "The Road to Civil War: Class Conflict and Constitutional Crisis in Stuart England, 1603-1650." Historiansplaining (September 28, 2019) ["Struggles between chief executives and legislatures are dominating the news on both sides of the Atlantic, as Americans debate impeachment and the UK is engulfed by a Brexistential crisis. Most of the terms and precedents for these struggles go back to the 1600s and King Charles I's efforts to govern without the support of Parliament, which led to political backlash, civil war, and social upheaval from the halls of Westminster to the smallest peasant farmsteads."]

---. "Spanish and Portuguese Expansion and the Conquest of the Americas." Historiansplaining (2018) ["We trace how Portugal and Spain, two previously marginal European kingdoms, rapidly and unexpectedly exploded onto the world scene, building a chain of fortified colonies stretching from North Africa to China, and conquering the larger and richer empires of Mexico and Peru. The early Iberian colonizers sought to continue the tradition of the Crusades and the Reconquista, and saw their foreign conquests as steps towards retaking Jerusalem; the benefited not only from superior weaponry and navigation, but from cataclysmic disease epidemics that brought the Pre-Columbian empires to their knees."]

Biagetti, Samuel and Sonia Saraiy‪a‬. "Through a Glass Darkly: The 1980s Through Current Television." Historiansplaining (February 17, 2020) ["What is with the spate of 1980s themes on current "prestige" television? Is it Gen. X. nostalgia for their youthful days in suburban malls? Or something more? Television critic Sonia Saraiya discusses how our unresolved identity crises seem to have led us into a fascination with the last years of the Cold War, and with the secret mistakes and machinations that took place on both sides of the old Iron Curtain."]

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