Podcasting in Classics: Thoughts on the Current Conversation

It is certainly exciting times for social media in academics, as the current discussion about podcasting in Classics demonstrates.

As Hannah Čulík-Baird shows in her blog post this past week, conversations about Classics outreach and podcasting at this year’s annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) show that the discipline is starting to recognize the power of social media and its importance for the continued survival and growth of Classics.

Podcasting in particular is huge right now. A quick Google search will show a plethora of articles and statistics on its popularity. More people than ever before are listening to and producing podcasts. Now is the time for the discipline to capitalize on this particular social media platform. The social media landscape can change swiftly and timing is an important part of success.


The suggestion was made on Twitter that the SCS could support podcasting efforts by keeping a list on their website of Classics podcasters. As an independent podcaster, I have mixed feelings about this. I certainly welcome support and the idea of having a list to make it easier to find Classics podcasting is definitely useful and appealing.

But while lists are helpful tools to finding information, they need to be done carefully; a list can easily become (or be perceived as) a gate-keeping device. How broadly do we define Classics in terms of geography, time period, etc, for this list? How much of a podcast needs to be about Classics material to be considered for such a list? David Meadows (@RogueClassicists) has clearly considered some of these questions in his list he released today, but these questions do need to be borne in mind to prevent gate-keeping.

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Having said that, there are some excellent lists out there. As mentioned, David Meadows (@RogueClassicist) has undertaken the monumental task and produced a fantastic list here. Ryan Stitt of The History of Ancient Greece Podcast maintains an excellent list on his website. There is also the Digital Classicist Wiki, which has a list of Classical Studies podcasts (including video). The nascent #HumanitiesPodcasts network on Twitter (@HumCommCasters) includes some excellent Classics and Classics-related podcasts (including ancient Egypt) as well. I keep a running list on the MythTake blog here and Ray Belli of Words for Granted also has a list here. Chris Francese, who spoke on the outreach panel at the SCS, has this Classics podcast list (which can also be found here).

Bear in mind, of course, that with the rapidly nature of social media, there will never be a fully complete list. New podcasts will (hopefully) be always springing up while others may fade away.

The most important support academic organizations like SCS can offer to academic podcasters is perhaps offering small grants to independent podcasters who, by nature of being outside the university system, do not have access to other funding to defray costs. We do not get into podcasting to make money, but the reality is that our projects, which are of benefit to the discipline, have costs.

While it is cheap and easy to start in podcasting, to continue for any length of time and to produce a quality product, investment of time and funds is necessary. Equipment is an obvious expense; A good, basic podcasting microphone, for example, is easily $100 (Canadian funds).

Podcasts need to be hosted online someplace, and hosting services are businesses. Free plans may suffice for a few episodes, but are quickly outgrown. Plan costs vary by service, by storage amount, and by bandwidth. At the time we set up MythTake, for example, the cheapest plan I found was $60 a year; 18 episodes in, we have hit our storage limit. We are now in the position of having to remove older episodes to make room for new, which is far from ideal.

Website hosting is also another financial consideration. Again, free services may work in some situations, but at some point the podcast is going to need it’s own URL for marketing and promotion.

An informal survey of a few #HumanitiesPodcasts members suggests that between equipment and hosting services, a podcaster might spend anywhere from $200 to $500 a year. Some podcasters use Patreon, with varying success, to defray costs.

The investment of time that podcasters put into our work shouldn’t be overlooked, either. We do our podcasts because we love our subject and we want to share our passion and enthusiasm with others. But it does take time, and I think it’s important to recognize that. Depending on the show format (scripted vs conversational, for example), researching, recording, producing, and promoting might take as much as 10-15 hours per episode. And, as one podcaster pointed out, that is on top of the years of university training we’ve already done!

We podcast out of passion, a desire to stay connected with our material, and a desire to share our subject with the public. Providing small financial resources to defray expenses would send a very powerful message about an organization’s commitment to non-traditional scholarship and actively demonstrate a desire to bring non-traditional scholars on the fringes into the community.

Individuals Classicists also have a role to play in supporting the podcasting community.

The most obvious and perhaps the most simple is simply listening to podcasts and providing supportive feedback. Rating a podcast on iTunes may not seem like much, but iTunes search results are based on podcast ratings: the more highly rated a podcast, the more likely it will turn up near the top of the search. Recommending podcasts to peers and students is also very important.

A more innovative approach, which I have been investigating recently, is incorporating podcasts into students’ learning experience. There are already great podcasts out there about ancient history, archaeology, myth, and literature that would make great assigned listening to replace or supplement student textbooks. There is not only pedagogical value in this, but it also shows our students that Classics is relevant, current, and accessible. The podcasters’ enthusiasm for their subjects comes through in a way that it can’t in a textbook, and the literature we study was experienced by its ancient audience aurally, anyway. Podcasting and video casting is closer to the Ancient Greek experience of literature than reading. (I plan to write more about this in a future post; If you are already doing something like this, please get in touch!)

Those of us at the fringes, who are doing our academics independently through social media, have much to offer the traditional scholarly community. We are already on the front lines of humcomm–sharing the diversity and relevancy of humanities with the public and engaging them in conversation. This work is critical to the discipline’s survival and growth, so our voices need to be a part of this conversation. The SCS’ conversation about supporting social media efforts within the Classics displine will be most fruitful and most effective when non-traditional social media scholars have a seat at the table.

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mythtake is moving!

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Exciting news! Somebody left a shiny new blog under our Christmas tree and now mythtake podcast now has a home of its own!

http://mythtake.blog

Existing posts will be copied over to the new blog and copies will stay here so you can still find them.

Bookmark the new site to keep up with new episodes, but don’t abandon this one altogether! I’ll be writing here about academics, social media, creativity, and whatever else strikes my fancy. My blog will be a sort of research journal, where I work out ideas for my various projects, and I hope that you will continue to follow along!

mythtake episode 16 heroes at home: helen of troy

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We continue our look at heroes at home with the woman who needs no introduction, the (in)famous Helen of Troy.

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Source Passages

Euripides’ Trojan Women lines 914-965.


Translation Sources

Euripides. Trojan Women. Translated by Diskin Clay. Focus, 2005.


Join us on Twitter @InnesAlison and @darrinsunstrum

We’re now on Facebook! Give us a like, let us know what you think, and follow along at MythTake.

Join us on Twitter @InnesAlison and @darrinsunstrum

We’re now on Facebook! Give us a like, let us know what you think, and follow along at MythTake.

Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play so you don’t miss an episode! Find our RSS on Podbean.

This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtake episode 14 Hallowe’en Special: Necromancy in Greek Mythology

img_6482C’est l’Hallowe’en! We have a special spooky episode for you this week: two episodes of necromancy from Greek mythology! Follow the spell-binding details (haha!) of Odysseus’ encounter with the dead and Jason’s summoning of Hekate in Argonautika.

Have a safe and spooktacular Hallowe’en!

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Source Passages

Odyssey 11.13-50

Arognautika 3.1026-1049, 1194-1224


Translation Sources

Apollonios Rhodios. Argonautika. Trans. Peter Green. University of California, 2007.

Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Harper Perennial Classics, 1967.


Shout Outs & Notes

Listener mail from @EllieMackin–you should follow her!


Join us on Twitter @InnesAlison and @darrinsunstrum

We’re now on Facebook! Give us a like, let us know what you think, and follow along at MythTake.

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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtake episode 10 mythological tour of the solar system 7: uranus/ouranos

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This week we discuss the story of Ouranos, an early sky god in Greek mythology. Darrin ties it in to Frankenstein and Alison offers some summer reading recommendations for those wanting to geek out on history of astronomy. The cat also makes a guest appearance.

 

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Summer Reading Recommendations

Richard Holmes. “The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science.” Harper Press: 2008.

Richard Cohen. “Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life.” Simon & Schuster: 2010.


Source Passages

Hesiod Theogony 116-210.


Translation Sources

Hesiod. Theogony. Trans. Richard Caldwell & Stephanie Nelson. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 2009.


Selected Sources

NASA. “Uranus.” http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/uranus


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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtakes episode 8 mythological tour of the solar system 5: jupiter/zeus

 

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Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/

 

img_6482Today we visit the first of the Gas Giants, Jupiter. This mysterious planet, covered with swirling, toxic clouds in shades of orange, red, white, and brown, is the largest in our solar system. The “King of the Planets” is named after the Greek and Roman king of the gods, Jupiter (Zeus). We examine passages from Greek and Roman literature to shed some light on how the ancients thought of their god they called “the father of gods and men.”

 
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Primary Source Passage

Theogony 71-74
…he was ruling the
sky as king, holding the thunder and fiery lightning-bolt himself,
having the victory from his father Cronus by strength; in right detail
he dealt laws and appointed donors to the immortals.

Theogony 478-491
They sent her [Rhea] to Lyctus, to the rich land of Crete,
when she was about to bear her youngest son,
great Zeus; vast Earth received him from her
in wide Crete to tend and raise.
Carrying him through the swift black night, she came
first to Lyctus; taking him in her arms, she hid him
in a deep cave, down in dark holes of holy each,
on Mount Aegean, dense with woods.
Rhea wrapped a huge stone in a baby’s robe, and fed it
to Sky’s wide-ruling son, lord of the earlier gods;
he took it in his hands and put it down his belly,
the fool; he did not think in his mind that instead
of a stone his own son, undefeated and secure, was left
behind, soon to master him by force and violence and
drive him from his honour, and be lord of the immortals himself.

Theogony 491-500
Swiftly then the strength and noble limbs
of the future lord grew; at the end of a year,
tricked by the clever advice of Earth,
great crooked-minded Cronus threw up his children,
defeated by the craft and force of his own son.
First he vomited out the stone he had swallowed last;
Zeus fixed it firmly in the wide-pathed land
at sacred Python in the vales of Parnassus,
to be a sign thereafter, a wonder to mortal men.
Trans. Richard Caldwell


Ancient Sources

Theogony. Trans. Richard Caldwell & Stephanie Nelson. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 2009.


Selected Sources

NASA. “Jupiter.” http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/jupiter

NASA. “Juno: Peering Beneath  Jupiter’s Clouds.” http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/juno

NASA. “NASA’s Juno Spacecraft to Risk Jupiter’s Fireworks for Science.” http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/2016/06/16/nasas-juno-spacecraft-to-risk-jupiters-fireworks-for-science 16 June 2016.

Osborne, Hannah. “Juno Mission: How NASA will manoeuvre 250 000 km/h spacecraft into Jupiter’s orbit.” http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/juno-mission-how-nasa-will-manoeuvre-250000-km-h-spacecraft-into-jupiters-orbit-1563401 International Business Times 3 June 2016.


Shout-Outs

Astronomer Erin Ryan on Twitter @erinleeryan, website http://www.erinleeryan.com

The Juno mission on Twitter: @NASAJuno


Join us on Twitter @InnesAlison and @darrinsunstrum

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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

 

mythtake episode 7 mythological tour of the solar system 4: mars/ares

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Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/

img_6482We skip over planet earth (for now) and head to our fourth stop in our tour of the solar system: Mars. The Red Planet,, named for the Roman god of war, has intrigued humans for millennia. Today we learn about the Greek god of war, Ares, from his appearances in the Homeric Hymn to Ares, Odyssey 8.266-366 and Iliad 5.418-425, 880-969.
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Homeric Hymn to Ares

Ares, exceedingly mighty, rider of chariots, golden-helmeted,
strong-spirited, shield-carrier, guardian of cities, armed in bronze,
strong-handed, untiring spear-bearer, defender of Olympus,
father of Victory, successful in war, ally of Themis,
a ruler for enemies, leader of truly just men,
staff-bearer of men’s prowess, you who win your fire-bright sphere
among the planets with their seven paths in the sky, where your fiery
colts ever keep you above the third orbit.
Hear me, defender of mortals, giver of flourishing youth,
shining down a gentle light form above on my life
and my strength in war, so that I may be able
to ward off bitter cowardice from the my head,
and to bend the deceptive impulse of my soul with my wits
and to restrain the sharp forty of my heart which provokes me
to enter the icy-cold din of battle. But you, blessed one,
grant me courage to stay within the carefree bounds of peace
while escaping the conflict of enemies and violent death.

(Trans. Susan Shelmerdine)

 


Ancient Sources

Homeric Hymn to Ares

Homer Odyssey 8.266-366

Homer Iliad 5. 418-425, 880-969

Ovid Metamorphoses 4.228


Selected Sources

Homer. Iliad. Trans. Anthony Verity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Homer. Odyssey. Translated Richmond Lattimore. New York: Perennial Classics, 1967.

Homeric Hymns. Trans. Susan Shelmerdine. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 1995. Print.

McDonald, Bob. “Mars: from God of War to habitable planet.” Quirks and Quarks. Blog. 27 May 2016 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/mars-god-war-earth-1.3602986)

Nasa.gov “Mars: The Red Planet” (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mars )

Nasa.gov “Mars Today: Robotic Exploration” (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/main/index.html)

Nasa.gov “Your Weight in Space” (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/kids/index.cfm?Filename=puzzles)


 

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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtake episode 6 mythological tour of the solar system 3: venus/aphrodite

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Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/

img_6482The third stop on our Mythological Tour of the Solar System is Venus (Greek goddess Aphrodite). We take a look at the origins of this mysterious goddess of sexuality.

Be advised, this episode includes discussion of sex in mythological contexts.

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Hesiod Theogony 188-206

As soon as he cut off the genitals with adamant,
he threw them from land into the turbulent sea;
they were carried over the sea a long time, and white
foam arose from the immortal fresh; within a girl
grew; first she came to holy Cythera, and
next she came to wave-washed Cyprus.
A revered and beautiful goddess emerged, and
grass grew under her supple feet. Aphrodite
[foam-born goddess and well-crowned Clytherea]
gods and men name her, since in foam she grew;
and Cytherea, since she landed at Cypher;
and Cyprogenea, since she was born in wave-beat Cyprus;
and “Philommeides,” since she appeared from the genitals.
Eros accompanied her, and fair Longing followed,
when first she was born and went to join the gods.
She has such honour from the first, and this is her
portion among men and immortal gods:
maidens’ whispers and smiles and deceptions,
sweet pleasure and sexual love and tenderness.
(Trans. Richard Caldwell)

 

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 53-74
So he cast in her heart sweet longing for Anchises,
who, at that time, like the immortals in build, was tending cattle
on the lofty peaks of MT. Ida rich in springs.
Then indeed, seeing him, laughter-loving Aphrodite
was struck with love, and astounding desire seized her heart.
To Cyprus she went and entered her fragrant temple
at Paphos where her sacred precinct was and her fragrant altar.
There she went inside and shut the gleaming doors.
And the Graces bathed her and pointed her
with ambrosial olive oil, such as is poured over the gods who are forever,
divinely sweet, which was made fragrant for her.
Having clothed herself well in all her beautiful robes
adorned with gold, laughter-loving Aphrodite
hastened to Troy, leaving behind sweet-smelling Cyprus,
swiftly making her way high up among the clouds.
She came to Ida rich in springs, mother of beasts,
and went straight to the shepherd’s hut across the mountain.
And fawning after her leapt grey wolves and flashing-eyed lions,
bears and swift leopards hungry for deer.
Seeing them she rejoiced in her heart
and cast longing in their breasts, and together they all
lay down in pairs in their shadowy lairs.
(Trans. Susan Shelmerdine)

 

Euripides Hippolytus 1-23

I am powerful and not without a name among mortals
and within the heavens. I am called the goddess Cypris.
Of those who dwell within Pontus
and the boundaries of Atlas and see the light of the sun,
I treat well those who revere my power,
but I trip up those who are proud towards me.
For this principle holds among the race of the gods also:
they enjoy being honoured by mortals.
I shall now show you the truth of these words:
Theseus’ son, Hippolytus, the Amazon’s offspring,
reared by pure Pittheus–
he alone of the citizens of this land of Trozen
says that I am by nature the most vile of divinities.
He spurns the bed and doesn’t touch marriage,
but donors Apollo’s sister, Artemis, the daughter of Zeus,
considering her the greatest of divinities.
Always consorting with the virgin through the green wood,
he rids the land of beasts with swift dogs,
having come upon a more than mortal companionship.
I don’t begrudge them these things; why should I?
But I will punish Hippolytus this day
for the wrongs he has done me.
(Trans. Michael Halleran)

 


Selected Sources

Theogony. Trans. Richard Caldwell & Stephanie Nelson. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 2009.

Homeric Hymns. Trans. Susan Shelmerdine. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 1995. Print.

Euripides. Hippolytus. Trans. Michael Halleran. Ed. Stephen Esposito. Newburyport MA: Focus Publishing, 2004.

Nasa.gov “Venus” (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/venus )

Nasa.gov “Your Weight in Space” (http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/kids/index.cfm?Filename=puzzles)


Shout Outs & Notes

Check out The Endless Knot (http://www.alliterative.net) podcast by Mark Sundaram and Aven McMaster.

Gods Behaving Badly (http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/marie-phillips/gods-behaving-badly/9780316067638/) by Marie Phillips, 2008.


 

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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtake episode 2: odysseus & circe

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Welcome to episode 2! In this episode, we are joined by our feline co-host (Muggs) as we discuss Odysseus’ and Circe’s relationship in book 10 of the Odyssey.

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This week’s passage is Odyssey 10.467-486:

There for all our days until a year was completed
we sat there feasting on unlimited meat and sweet wine.
But when it was the end of a year, and the months wasted
away, and the seasons changed, and the long days were accomplished,
then my eager companions called me aside and said to me:
“What ails you now? It is time to think about our own country,
if truly it is ordained that you shall survive and come back
to your strong-sounded house and to the land of your fathers.”
So they spoke, and the proud heart in me was persuaded.
So for the whole length of the day until the sun’s setting
we sat there feasting on unlimited meat and sweet wine.
But when the sun went down and the sacred darkness came over,
they lay down to sleep all about the shadowy chambers,
but I, mounting the surpassingly beautiful bed of Circe,
clasped her by the knees and entreated her, and the goddess
listened to me, and I spoke to her and addressed her in winged words:
“O Circe, accomplish now the promise you gave, that you
would see me on my way home. The spirit within me is urgent
now, as also in the rest of my friends, who are wasting
my heart away, lamenting around me, when you are elsewhere.”

Homer. Odyssey. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. New York: HarperCollins, 1967. Print.

 


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This week’s theme music: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Music used under Creative Commons license and available from Free Music Archive.

mythtake episode 1: medea

 

img_6482Episode 1: Medea (Part 1)

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Passage: Euripides Medea 476-492

Music Credits: “Super Hero” by King Louie’s Missing Monuments from the album “Live at WFMU” (2011). Used under Creative Commons license. Available online at Free Music Archive.

Passage: Euripides. Medea. Trans. A. J. Podlecki. Ed. Stephen Esposito. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 2004. Print.

Brought to you by @darrinsunstrum and @InnesAlison