For our final project, Lauren and I created The Rest of History: A History Podcast. As our poster pictured above similarly indicates, The Rest of History sets out to explore histories that are often considered “obscure,” “marginal,” and “minority” related. Ultimately, the end goal of our podcast is to bring awareness and interest to histories that are not typically remembered by the public or featured in school curriculums. We hope that The Rest of History will appeal most to young adults who wish to see a greater variety in the historical actors most commonly talked about and taught. Lauren and I wish to challenge the age-old notion that history is boring!
Regarding the overall structure of the podcast, each episode featured either Lauren or I teaching an “obscure” historical topic that we found interesting. So, for example, in the first episode, I taught Lauren about the life, murder, and subsequent trial surrounding the figure of Bridget Cleary. Lauren asked questions that progressed the storytelling, effectively having the audience learn along with her. The second episode then featured Lauren teaching me about the adopted children of Marie Antoinette. In summary, our roles would basically reverse every episode. With this, Lauren and I also always made an effort to emphasize 1) why a particular topic is interesting and 2) why such an aspect is important to begin with.
Hopefully, the format Lauren and I pursued had a positive effect on listeners. Regardless, switching roles certainly presented Lauren and me with an opportunity to experience both sides of the host dynamic while also allowing us to equally share the brunt of the work.
By the end of the semester, Lauren and I recorded a total of 4 podcast episodes and storyboarded another 4. These recordings are to be posted on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and SoundCloud. Some of our other deliverables include a Redbubble store, podcast trailer, website, and Instagram. As a result, the practicums discussing Audacity, SoundCloud, Omeka.net, and WordPress.com proved especially helpful!
I’m sure Lauren would agree when I say that our podcast has been so much fun to plan and execute— we both learned a tremendous amount when it comes to the ins and outs of podcast production.
For one, The Rest of History presented me with an opportunity to learn how to research and storyboard for a podcast format. Specifically, researching a theme, aspect, or event for a paper is far different than conducting research with the intention of recording an episode. Of course, it should be noted that the methodologies of the history profession are helpful in both cases. However, simply stated, far more detail can be explored within the boundaries of a 10-page paper than will ever be effectively included in a 30-minute podcast episode. To further put this reality into perspective, the episodes Lauren and I recorded typically spanned about 1 hour and 45 minutes prior to any sort of editing. Yet, the rough outlines we prepared in advance of recording were no longer than 4 bullet-pointed pages.
While I would love to see our total edited episode time trimmed down, learning exactly what to include and cut in each episode is still a struggle. As a historian-in-training, it can be difficult to decide what is truly important when discussing a topic of your choosing— one that you are presumably passionate about. That being said, practice makes perfect!
Once all episodes are posted, I will update this blog with links!