Virtually Islamic Blog

Gary R. Bunt

Updated: Podcast Choice

Some of the best, subject-specific podcasts I've been listening to

BBC Radio 4, Three Pounds in My Pocket "Kavita Puri hears the stories of pioneering Asians who came to Britain from the 1950s onwards." Recommended, with two series on catch-up, and a third series in progress.
BBC, In Our Time, Lawrence of Arabia "Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss T.E. Lawrence (1888 – 1935), better known as Lawrence of Arabia, a topic drawn from over 1200 suggestions for our Listener Week 2019. Although Lawrence started as an archaeologist in the Middle East, when World War I broke out he joined the British army and became an intelligence officer. His contact with a prominent Arab leader, Sharif Hussein, made him sympathetic to Hussein’s cause and during the Arab Revolt of 1916 he not only served the British but also the interests of Hussein. After the war he was dismayed by the peace settlement and felt that the British had broken an assurance that Sharif Hussein would lead a new Arab kingdom. Lawrence was made famous by the work of Lowell Thomas, whose film of Lawrence drew huge audiences in 1919, which led to his own book Seven Pillars of Wisdom and David Lean’s 1962 film with Peter O'Toole."
BBC, In Our Time, Coffee "Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and social impact of coffee. From its origins in Ethiopia, coffea arabica spread through the Ottoman Empire before reaching Western Europe where, in the 17th century, coffee houses were becoming established. There, caffeinated customers stayed awake for longer and were more animated, and this helped to spread ideas and influence culture. Coffee became a colonial product, grown by slaves or indentured labour, with coffea robusta replacing arabica where disease had struck, and was traded extensively by the Dutch and French empires; by the 19th century, Brazil had developed into a major coffee producer, meeting demand in the USA that had grown on the waggon trails. "
Fall of Civilizations Podcast, The Songhai Empire - Africa's Age of Gold "Today, the Songhai Empire is all but forgotten by history. But this medieval kingdom was once the most powerful force in Africa.
"Find out how this civilization grew up on the fringes of the Sahara Desert, among some of the most extreme conditions that nature can throw at us. Discover how it grew and flourished, passing through a process known as the imperial cycle, and learn about what ultimately caused its sudden and dramatic collapse."
BBC, In Our Time, Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem, "Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most powerful woman in the Crusader states in the century after the First Crusade. Melisende (1105-61) was brtorn and raised after the mainly Frankish crusaders had taken Jerusalem from the Fatimids, and her father was King of Jerusalem. She was married to Fulk from Anjou, on the understanding they would rule together, and for 30 years she vied with him and then their son as they struggled to consolidate their Frankish state in the Holy Land. "
BBC, You're Dead To Me: Saladin "You might have learned about Richard the Lionheart in school (or from Disney’s Robin Hood), but how much do you know about his opponent, the legendary Saladin? Why does Saladin have such an enduring reputation as a good guy? Host Greg Jenner is joined by comedian Maria Shehata and historian Prof Jonathan Phillips. It’s history for people who don’t like history!"
BBC, Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished "Ruja Ignatova called herself the Cryptoqueen. She told people she had invented a cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, and persuaded them to invest billions. Then, two years ago, she disappeared. Jamie Bartlett spent months investigating how she did it for the Missing Cryptoqueen podcast, and trying to figure out where she's hiding. " Highly recommended.
New Books in Islamic Studies A long-standing podcast series, which provides an important resource for readers on range of issues.

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