I think I’ve mentioned before, but I like to listen to podcasts when I run. Over the last few years I’ve created a list of fun things to listen to that keep my brain engaged while I might otherwise be bored (stuck on the treadmill, running in the dark, etc.)
One of my favorites is one called Stuff You Missed in History Class. It’s hosted by Holly and Tracy, who take a less well known piece of history and spend a full podcast talking about its story and the reason we might want to know about it. For example, the most recent one I listened to was called “The Honey War.” While there is a part of the story that does involve honey trees, it’s really about a battle between Iowa and Missouri over where the boundary between their two states would be. It’s not something I ever thought about and Sister Nancy certainly didn’t cover it in American History class, but it was really interesting.
There is one episode in particular I want to draw your attention to. It’s the episode from September 16, 2015 called “Six More Impossible Episodes.” In the world of Missed in History, “impossible episodes” are ones on topics that listeners have requested but that just don’t have enough information available to do an entire episode. About 25 minutes into that episode, as they wrap up talk about Elizabeth Bathory, they explain what they are looking for when they research a topic. Since research projects are starting (see what I did there?) I thought this episode in particular might be useful. They talk about getting facts from multiple sources. They make sure their sources are authoritative and have been through some sort of review/editing process. Around the 28 minute mark, Holly and Tracy became my favorite podcast hosts when they recommend going to the library and using the databases! It’s not just me. Other people think it’s a good idea.
So, listen, learn some obscure history, and research like Tracy and Holly.