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Footnoting History


Footnoting History is a bi-weekly podcast series dedicated to overlooked, popularly unknown, and exciting stories plucked from the footnotes of history. For further reading suggestions, information about our hosts, our complete episode archive, and more visit us at!

Popular episodes

Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris, and the South, Part II

Nov 27 • 17:53

(Elizabeth) How did Joel Chandler Harris's stories on Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox go from beloved to problematic in the mid-twentieth century? In this episode, Elizabeth traces the story of how Joel Chandler Harris's work became Song of the South.  ...

Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris, and the South, Part I

Nov 13 • 20:03

(Elizabeth) By the end of the nineteenth century, Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus folktales were famous not only in the South, but throughout the United States. For much of the last century, however, they have been sharply critiqued for their presentation of antebellum plantation life. But who was Joel Chandler Harris? In this episode, Elizabeth dives into his story and...

History for Halloween VIII

Oct 30 • 15:40

Oh my gosh, we're back again! Our annual tradition continues as this year we bring you yet another round of creepy and fantastic history for the scariest holiday of the year....

Ivanhoe and the Modern Middle Ages

Oct 16 • 18:32

(Lucy) How did Ivanhoe become a wildly popular school text? And what happened to the interpretation of the text when it did? Across the Anglophone world, Scott’s medieval England became reified as a time and place of chivalric adventure, despite the novel’s often ironic tone and often pointed social criticisms. This episode examines how Sir Walter Scott’s imagined past bec...

Ivanhoe and the Invention of Merry England

Oct 2 • 17:58

(Lucy) There are some things that almost any Hollywood film set in the Middle Ages can count on. It will be set in England. There will be a lot of forests. The Norman nobility will oppress the Saxon peasantry. Other things are optional but frequent. There may be a tournament or a siege. There may be a reference to the Crusades. Robin Hood may turn up. There may be a trial ...

Sicilian Vespers, Part II: The Massacre and the War of the Vespers

Sep 18 • 32:54

(Josh) Manfred of House Hohenstaufen is dead; Charles of Anjou, in the name of the papacy, has claimed Sicily and awaits coronation. Across the Ionian and Aegean Seas, Michael Palaeologus looks to the Latin West and waits. In Germany, Conradin, son of the last "rightful" king of Sicily, desires to seize his own claim to the throne. And the House of Aragon begins to stir an...

Sicilian Vespers, Part I: The Uprising

Sep 4 • 27:35

In the middle of the 13th Century, a violent uprising began on the island of Sicily in an attempt to oust the French King, Charles I of Anjou, that left approximately 13,000 people dead over the course of six weeks. This violent uprising also sparked a wider pan-Mediterranean war between the Spanish crown of Aragon, the Angevin Kingdom of Naples, the Byzantine Empire, and ...

The Ottoman Kafes or the Princely Cage

Aug 21 • 13:31

(Elizabeth) Starting in the early 1600s, the Ottoman sultans switched from practicing fraticide to confinement as a means to preserve their rule from their grasping brothers. In this episode, Elizabeth examines how this treatment led a number of eventual sultans to have less than stellar qualifications and less than stellar legacies. ...

Mohenjo Daro: Living City, Mound of the Dead

Aug 7 • 18:03

(Lucy) Mohenjo Daro was a vast metropolis, with elaborate urban infrastructure… and largely mysterious urban organization. It was a center of the Indus Valley civilization. Located in what is now Pakistan and northwestern India, the cities of this civilization covered territory roughly the size of western Europe. Because its language still hasn’t been deciphered by modern ...

The History of Tikka Masala

Jul 24 • 23:42

(Kristin) One of the most iconic Indian curries has its origins in British colonial India. But was this dish created by South Asian cooks, working in Britain, or was it created in India and then eagerly adopted by the West? Explore the history of this delicious dish with Kristin this week on Footnoting History! ...

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