Latest Episodes

S04E08 | "Teaching Harriet Jacobs in the Archives" | Subscribe

This episode highlights the ways that librarians and faculty can partner in designing assignments that draw on archival records to emphasize the cultural, political, and social significance of nineteenth-century literary texts. Specifically, we explore the affordances of using archival records, particularly bills of sale for enslaved people, to teach Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Wake Forest University English faculty and Special Collections and Archives librarians talk about the discoveries students make through assignments that allow them to incorporate nineteenth-century historical documents from slavery into their reading and analysis of Jacobs’s narrative. We also consider the significant emotional challenges that this kind of direct material engagement poses, discussing the ways we have presented and revised our assignments to account for potentially traumatic triggering. Episode produced by Carrie Johnston (Digital Humanities Research Designer), Rian Bowie (Associate Teaching Professor of English), Megan Mulder (Special Collections Librarian), Tanya Zanish-Belcher (Director of Special Collections and Archives) and Brianna Derr (Wake Forest University Information Systems). Additional production support from Doug Guerra (SUNY Oswego). Full episode transcript with additional links available here.


S04E07 | "The Disease of Unemployment: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on Today’s Ailing Economy"

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 resulted in not only a devastating loss of life, but a loss of jobs too. As the virus swept the United States, so too did unemployment. What Americans experienced last year during the pandemic was unprecedented in some ways, but the link between crises in health and employment is nothing new. To gain some historical perspective on our most recent epidemic of unemployment, this episode travels back to the depressions of the late nineteenth century to uncover how American economists and thinkers used metaphors of contagious disease to first conceptualize what it meant to be unemployed. Produced by Hillary Roegelein (University of Maryland, College Park), a specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and unemployment history, this episode raises historical and philosophical questions about the advantages of and limitations to thinking about unemployment as a disease. Roegelein is joined by two other scholars of nineteenth-century American culture. Sari Altschuler (Northeastern University) turns to the Cholera outbreak of the 1840s to offer insight into the way pandemics repeatedly give rise to major shifts in cultural, economic, and intellectual thought. And Historian Richard White (Stanford University) explains the history of unemployment and its conceptual development in the United States before 1930. Additional production support was provided by Paul Fess (La Guardia Community College, CUNY). Full episode transcript available here.




Have you loved our podcast? Want to get in on the action? Want to work out ideas that don’t necessarily translate directly into the form of a traditional scholarly article? Now is the time. This podcast exists for and because of people like you—and we need your episode ideas as we move into our fifth season! (Catch up on the first four seasons here.)


We invite proposals from individuals and collaborators of all ranks for single podcast episodes that offer creative, story-driven analysis of topical events that spark connections to nineteenth-century America. We are especially interested in episodes that help make both the nineteenth-century and the specific disciplinary knowledge of our scholarly community relevant and exciting to a wide audience.  As our podcast grows, we seek to expand its potential to engage diverse publics in the civic and cultural life of the past. 


Proposals are due October 29th—make your voice heard!


No previous experience with podcasting is required. The C19 Podcast Subcommittee will assign a producer to help guide the technical and creative development of your episode. Having said this,  applicants will be expected to produce their own audio files. (It’s really easy!) Requirements for significant production assistance from the Subcommittee should be noted in the proposal pitch. 


We seek proposals on any topic relating to long nineteenth-century American literature, culture, and history. Episode topics might include:


  • Archival discoveries

  • Understudied or non-canonical authors or figures

  • Sites, landscapes, memorials, or collections of historic or literary significance

  • Literary adaption or depictions of nineteenth-century America in popular culture

  • Personal narratives of reading or writing

  • Discussions of new books in the field, new scholarly trends, or new J19 issues

  • Responses (or tangents) related to previous episodes of the C19 Podcast

  • Appearances by granting agency officers or editors of journals or presses

  • Previews of upcoming conferences or symposia

  • Models of interdisciplinary collaboration or engagement

  • Resources and/or workshops on conference proposals, writing a dissertation, or applying to a conference, or starting a new book project

  • Reports on academic activism, pedagogy, and inclusion, past and present

  • Considerations of current political, cultural, and social developments in the context of the nineteenth century

  • Discussions of pedagogical approaches

  • Tips and resources for undergraduates, graduates, and/or NTT and junior faculty on navigating the academic or alt-ac landscape

  • Timely environmental, social, cultural, or political events that resonate with nineteenth-century debates, discoveries, aesthetics, or action


Possible formats may include (but are not limited to) narrative expositions, interviews, analyses of underrepresented texts, and panel discussions. Strong proposals will be anchored in a central argument or query and feature a compelling narrative arc so as to appeal to both scholarly and public audiences.


Applications should include a proposal (max 500 words), CV(s), and an appendix. Proposals should address the following: the topic and its relevance; the plan for adapting the topic to the podcast medium (approximately 30 min. episode); the episode format (roundtable, interview, storytelling, etc.) with an overview of the structure; and relevant scholarly and technical qualifications related to the subject. The appendix (1 page) may include sample questions for interviews, additional participants (if any), and logistics in terms of access to resources, equipment, and technical help. 


Submissions and any questions should be addressed to Rachel Boccio (LaGuardia Community College/CUNY)  and Ashley Rattner (Tusculum University) at c19podcast@gmail.com