Episode 108: A History of the U.S. Marine Corps

Host: Augusta Dell’Omo, Department of History
Guest: Aaron O’Connell, Department of History

The US Marine Corps may now proudly boast to be the home of the few and the proud, but this wasn’t always the case. In the early part of the 20th century, it was the poorest funded and least respected branch of the military, and at the end of World War Two there was actually a movement to shut them down. How, then, did this transformation from relative unpopularity to the most prestigious armed service in the United States occur?

Aaron O’Connell, a history professor at UT Austin, joins us today to describe how, as the Cold War heated up, Marines utilized their own internal culture to win power and influence throughout U.S. political and social circles.

Download podcast (mp3 – right click to save)
Continue reading

Episode 102: The “Servant Girl Annihilator”

Host: Augusta Dell’Omo, Department of History
Guest: Lauren Henley, Department of History

In 1885, the world’s attention was focused on a series of grisly murders that took place in the otherwise quiet town of Austin, Texas. Several African-American women were murdered in the middle of the night, leading the press to dub the unknown assailant “the Servant-Girl Annihilator.” The serial killer phenomenon was so new that some even went so far as to speculate that Jack the Ripper was the same person.

Lauren Henley describes America’s first (known) serial killer, what the events tell us about the racial history of the region and the reason why true crime fascinates so many.

Download audio (mp3 – right click to save)

Continue reading

Episode 97: The Zionist Movement in Czechoslovakia

Host: Augusta Dell’Omo, Department of History, UT-Austin
Guest: Tatjana Lichtenstein, Professor, Department of History, and Director, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, UT-Austin

Lichtenstein book coverAfter World War 1, the Zionist movement – the Jewish nationalist movement that had the creation of a national homeland as its ultimate goal – took root in the new country of Czechoslovakia. However, through the mechanisms of the Zionist movement itself, Czechoslovak Jews realized their collective power as an organized group within their own country for the first time. What happened next was a struggle between the goals of international Zionism and the potential reality of what Czechoslovakian Jewry could attain through collective bargaining – until the rise of Hitler and WWII tipped the scales.

Guest Tatjana Lichtenstein has studied the Zionist movement in Czechoslovakia and gives us a glimpse into the interwar period when Czech Jewish leaders saw the possibility of being accepted into European society, ironically through the mechanisms of a movement that’s become associated with immigration to the Middle East.

Download podcast (mp3 — right click to save)

Continue reading

Episode 92: Disability History in the United States

Host: Augusta Dell’Omo, Graduate Student, Department of History
Guest: John Carranza, Graduate Student, Department of History

freakshow Americans with disabilities compose approximately 50 million people today, and yet remains largely removed from the historical record. The road to recognition has been long and varied; from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s use of a wheelchair while in office, to the popularity of “freak shows,” wherein physical ailments were put on display. How have organizations and activist groups groups dealt with stigma and asked for rights to be able to participate in the public sphere in the United States?

First year history graduate student John Carranza, specializing in disability history, sheds some light on historical representations of disability, and how modern understanding of disability is informed by the past.

Download audio (mp3–right click to download)

Continue reading