Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Episode 1: 'Religion and Theater in the 1700s' with Ashley Leyba

Below is the first episode of HistoriCal Outreach.

In it, we discuss the ways that religion and theater supported each other and came into conflict in Geneva, Switzerland and Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1700s. In particular, Ashley shows us how government ties to the Calvinist faith caused some preachers to embrace the theater as a valuable tool to teach about God and entertain and uplift the masses, while others saw them as "seminaries of all wickednesse," a "superfluous pleasure" and an "abomination." We discuss how these attitudes changed over time, and how life in Edinburgh and Geneva changed as theater became an art form popular with both the everyday citizen and elite gentleman.

Ashley Leyba is seventh-year graduate student at Cal who studies early modern European history.  Her dissertation uses debates about the morality of the theatre to examine religious change in eighteenth-century Edinburgh and Geneva.

Interviewer: Douglas O'Reagan
Runtime: 44:50

Thursday, February 20, 2014


The HistoriCal Outreach podcast, the first episode of which will soon be posted here, is an experiment in making historical research from one of the best universities on the planet available and accessible to anyone with an interest. There's a huge amount of really interesting, exciting historical research going on, but it's often difficult for those outside of academia to get an idea of what, exactly, a PhD student in history might even study. This podcast hopes to answer that question and introduce everyone to the wide range of topics on the 'cutting edge' of history - things no one knew about the past even a few months ago, things not yet integrated into textbooks or classroom instruction, but topics that give insight into the fascinating ways the people and societies both change at deep levels and rhyme with the present.

Most episodes will aim for about 45 minutes, with some a bit shorter, so just the right length for a long run, a moderate commute, or a trip to the grocery store. Please post any questions or comments beneath each episode and we will try to respond as quickly as possible.