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Oklahoma Humanities

BrainBox

Oklahoma Humanities’ BrainBox podcast uses the humanities to discuss issues affecting American society and culture.

Join us as we interview some of Oklahoma’s most interesting and knowledgeable humanities scholars to explore how history, literature, ethics, philosophy, and other humanities fields inform our understanding of current events and the human experience.

Email comments, questions, and ideas for future episodes to brainbox@okhumanities.org

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The Worst Pandemic of the 20th Century

What can we learn from the "Spanish Flu" pandemic that claimed at least 50 million lives worldwide a century ago? Dr. Justin Olmstead, a professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma and one of the leading historians of this time period, discusses the impact of this pandemic on American life and culture. We discuss the origins and various names given to this pandemic (3:15), its impact on the final stages of the First World War (20:30), and its wide-ranging effects on everyday life a century ago and how they compare with our own experiences with the Coronavirus in 2020 (49:30).

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Additional information about this episode: okhumanities.org/page/brainbox-s3-ep5

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Orphan Trains across America

How were over a quarter-million orphans and unwanted children resettled by trains across the United States from 1854 until 1929? We speak with Alison Moore and Phil Lancaster, whose "Riders on the Orphan Train" programs tell this little-known story from American history. Alison and Phil discuss the circumstances that led to the orphan train movement in the mid-19th century (1:40), tell how the program actually worked (12:30), and relate stories of orphan train riders brought to Oklahoma (27:15). We also discuss how circumstances have changed for orphans and unwanted children and how these situations help us understand our country and ourselves (42:00), and we hear Alison and Phil's song "Ezra's Lullaby," inspired by the stories of the orphan train riders (1:05:00).


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Our homepage: okhumanities.org/brainbox

Additional information about this episodeokhumanities.org/page/brainbox-s3-ep4

Let's chat. Share your thought about this topic here.

Slavery in Indian Territory

Before the Civil War over 8,000 people were enslaved in Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma. A new exhibit on the site of a former plantation outside Tahlequah describes the lives and experiences of enslaved people on this land.  In this episode we speak with Jennifer Frazee, a historical interpreter at Hunter’s Home who has deeply researched the history of enslaved people in Indian Territory in an effort to keep their stories and history alive.

Facebook: @Ok.Humanities

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Our homepage: okhumanities.org/brainbox

Additional information about this episode: www.okhumanities.org/page/brainbox-s3-ep3

Find more information here about the historic site at Hunter’s Home: https://www.okhistory.org/sites/huntershome

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Monuments, Memorials, and Their Meanings

How do public monuments and memorials express the values and concerns of their cultures? What makes an effective monument, and how can its planning and development be an example of public discourse at work? Our guest, Dr. Nathan Shank of Oklahoma Christian University, has thought and studied extensively about monuments and memorials. In this episode, we discuss their deeper meanings, the emotions they convey, and some of the controversies and new developments in monuments and memorials in Oklahoma and around the world. 

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Our homepage: okhumanities.org/brainbox

Additional information about this episode: www.okhumanities.org/page/brainbox-s3-ep2

Let's chat. Share your thought about this topic here.

The Struggle for Women's Suffrage

Why did it take nearly a century and a half for women to have the right to vote in America? We speak with one of the nation's leading scholars of the women's suffrage movement, Dr. Sunu Kodumthara of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, about key aspects of the movement. As we observe the centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020, we discuss key figures in the movements both for and against women's suffrage, surprising controversies along the way, and the impact of women's voting rights on American democracy and society. 

 

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