Introducing the ‘Charting History’ podcast, by Graham Moore

We are excited to be showcasing the work of one of our PhD students here at the University of Reading History Department, Graham Moore, who has just launched his new podcast ‘Charting History’. Below is Graham’s introduction to the podcast and the first episode, and links are provided to access the content on a variety of platforms.

One of the best things about postgraduate research is the many connections you make along the way. I’m now in the third year of my PhD with the University of Reading and The National Archives, and for me the most exciting aspect has long been the potential to make new friends and contacts across a variety of research areas, and even across disciplines. Everyone, I find, has carved out their own area of enthusiasm – everyone has a story to tell.

This was the main impetus behind ‘Charting History’, a podcast project which began its release schedule on Wednesday (1 February 2023). The more I spoke to people I met about their areas of expertise, the more I wanted to share those stories with other people – and podcasts, as an accessible and public-facing medium, seemed the best way to do so. Each episode of Charting History consists of an interview with a historian, giving them the chance to tell a story they’re excited about. For the listener, each episode is a chance to see what’s going on at the forefront of historical research (or, sometimes, what’s germinating in the back of researchers’ minds, yet to sprout into published form…).

This allows the podcast to cover a broad range of topics, from piracy to women’s rights, and from the Shakespearean London to the ‘golden age’ of cinema. It’s been fun to range outside of my (maritime) comfort zone, and the more open interview style used in Charting History is designed to give each expert the space to properly express themselves. In future, I’m hoping to push my list of potential guests outside my immediate social/professional circle, and also further beyond the limits of academic history as a discipline; however, that will need to wait until the podcast has a few episodes out in the wild first!

In today’s inaugural episode, Luke Walters (University of Reading) – with whom regular readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar – comes aboard to tell the story of Captain William Kidd. Through the medium of audio we travel back in time and across the globe, to the Indian Ocean at the very end of the seventeenth century: a hotbed of political, commercial, and imperial ambitions. Into this powder keg comes a match – a match in the form of William Kidd. Kidd was a privateer turned pirate and, at that, quite possibly the unluckiest pirate in history. Join us as Luke tells the story of Kidd’s fall from grace, a story that involves murder, mutiny, political skulduggery, and – last but not least – possibly the only real example of buried pirate treasure…

Subsequent episodes from ‘season 1’ will release fortnightly, featuring a whole host of historians (initially limited only by my address book and my ability to wrangle them to come onto a podcast that, at the time of asking, did not yet even exist!). Several historians from here in Reading will make appearances, as well as experts from further afield (the University of Cambridge, The National Archives, the University of Glasgow, independent scholars), all of whom are united by their shared enthusiasm for the histories they tell. I’m looking forward to it – I know I have learned a lot along the way! – and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

You can find the Charting History podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Acast, and a variety of other podcast hosting services. (And if you use a service that the podcast isn’t on yet, then let me know – I’ll soon sort things out.) Meanwhile you can get in touch on Twitter, @ChartingHistPod, where I’ll also be notifying followers with updates and episode releases. Transcripts will be available via the episode descriptions, as well as on my website.

See you on the airwaves!

Graham Moore is a current CDP-funded PhD student at the University of Reading and The National Archives, specialising in early modern Maritime History.

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