History

Historian's Take

In each episode, our favorite historians and their friends give their take on a piece of pop culture to add context and perspective to our favorite media. We’ll unpack an iconic moment or phenomenon in movies, music, television, and more, from show business’s love of Blaccent to deep cuts from our favorite childhood cartoons.

The Surprising Origins of Vampires

8m 34s

Our fascination with vampires has spanned centuries, but it didn’t all start with Dracula. In fact, the first vampires (dating back to the 1800s!) were actually women. This genre of literature gave writers an outlet to explore female sexuality and societal taboos, leading to a cult of lesbian vampire films in the 60s and 70s.

Episodes

  • The Surprising Origins of Vampires: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Surprising Origins of Vampires

    S1 E8 - 8m 34s

    Our fascination with vampires has spanned centuries, but it didn’t all start with Dracula. In fact, the first vampires (dating back to the 1800s!) were actually women. This genre of literature gave writers an outlet to explore female sexuality and societal taboos, leading to a cult of lesbian vampire films in the 60s and 70s.

  • Where Did The Blind & Black Musician Trope Come From?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Where Did The Blind & Black Musician Trope Come From?

    S1 E7 - 7m 29s

    There’s a long history of blind Black musicians in the US dating back to the 19th century, from Blind Tom to Ray Charles. Join recording artist Lachi and Professor Danielle Bainbridge to discuss the history on why blindness seems like a common thread among Black musicians. And how modern musicians have changed the narrative on disability in performance.

  • What Does Dirty Dancing Have To Do With Abortion?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Does Dirty Dancing Have To Do With Abortion?

    S1 E6 - 10m 1s

    Dirty Dancing is an iconic film from 1987, but do you remember what it’s really about? Dirty Dancing’s entire plot wouldn’t be possible without the abortion that’s at the heart of the movie. Join the writer of Dirty Dancing Eleanor Bergstein, special guest, and our resident professor, as they trace the history of abortion access through Dirty Dancing and what it means for our world today.

  • What We Can Learn From These Native American Comedies: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What We Can Learn From These Native American Comedies

    S1 E5 - 9m 39s

    Native American representation in film and TV used to be confined to Westerns and storylines of defeat. Today, a new wave of Native American comedies, written and created by Native peoples, are taking back their narratives. Shows like Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls challenge stereotypes and address big political movements like #LandBack.

  • What Is Pansexuality And Why Is It So Popular In Modern TV: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Is Pansexuality And Why Is It So Popular In Modern TV

    S1 E4 - 11m 50s

    Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. All fabulous identities along with many more are housed under the LGBTQIA+ community. And yet, in recent film and TV, there’s one identity that has been particularly visible: pansexuality. Professor Bainbridge along with special guests Megan Townsend and Fran Tirado take a look at the history of queer representation to tell us why pansexuality has become so popular.

  • What Is The Asian Himbo And Why Is This Character So Popular: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Is The Asian Himbo And Why Is This Character So Popular

    S1 E3 - 10m 30s

    There’s a new type of character in Hollywood: The Asian Himbo. These hunky male characters who are sweet but not the brightest bulbs have come a long way from stereotypes that date all the way back to the 1800s. We break down how Hollywood’s least sexy character went from completely undesirable to leading love interest.

  • How Black and Asian Audiences Found Justice in 1970s Films: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Black and Asian Audiences Found Justice in 1970s Films

    S1 E2 - 10m 23s

    Black Kung Fu films were wildly popular in the 70s, a welcome response to the anger many people felt against societal injustice. What was happening in the 70s that led to the growth of Black films and the popularity of Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks? In this episode, we unpack the history of how Black Kung Fu films became a sensation and why their themes are making are making a return today.

  • What Is Blaccent And Why Do People Keep Using It?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Is Blaccent And Why Do People Keep Using It?

    S1 E1 - 9m 41s

    There’s a pattern of white and non-Black performers using "Black English" or "Blaccent" to gain notoriety. These performers are being called out (and canceled) for cultural appropriation, yet Blaccent is becoming more popular, with some people proclaiming Blaccent to be the modern internet-speak. What is the problem with using a Blaccent? And what does history tell us about it's origins?

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