The Rogue Historian

The Rogue Historian

By Keith Harris
United States history with an edge. No academic nitwittery – just some really smart people discussing essential historical topics: political, social, cultural, and economic. Subscribe, listen, and #GoRogue…you’ll know more than you did yesterday.
More places to listen

More places to listen

064 Exploring Public History with Nick Sacco
It was great to speak to NPS ranger Nick Sacco about his work in public history at the Ulysses S. Grant Historic Site in St. Louis Mo. 
1:01:41
August 23, 2019
063 The League of Wives with Heath Hardage Lee
Join me as I speak with Heath Hardage Lee about the women who defied gender assumptions and red tape to lobby the US government and bring their POW/MIA husbands home from Vietnam. 
38:24
August 13, 2019
062 Review - "Too Much for Human Endurance": The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg
Ronald D. Kirkwood's new study, “Too Much for Human Endurance”: The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg, really helps us understand the significance of a vital piece of farmland just east of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. 
05:26
August 12, 2019
061 Review - Civil War Barons by Jeffry D. Wert
I never really thought finance, inventions, and entrepreneurial activity were all that sexy...until I read this book.   
04:57
August 1, 2019
060 Historians and the Twitterverse with Kevin Kruse
Some have called him Twitter's historian...so I spoke with Kevin Kruse about what that means, the usefulness of social media, and the historian's responsibilities to the public. 
37:26
July 29, 2019
059 The Free State of Jones with Victoria Bynum
I was very pleased to speak with Dr. Victoria Bynum...who wrote the book The Free State of Jones, which inspired the Matthew McConaughey film of the same name. But the story, as you will see, goes a lot deeper than what the movie covers. We talk about the history and memory of Jones county, and of course, the film. 
59:33
July 25, 2019
058 Review - The Million Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President by Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr.
I read this book straight through with increased interest at every turn of the page…and I don’t want to spoil the intricacies of the ending. Let’s just say that Gayle used the “I was just kidding” defense and well…he was not among those on the gallows when justice was finally served...so go figure. 
04:55
July 20, 2019
057 Review - Death, Disease, and Life at War: The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton edited by Christopher E. Loperfido
This is a remarkable collection, as we have one physician writing to another...and sharing vivd details about Civil War medicine in the process. 
03:58
July 16, 2019
056 This Week in History Twitter July 14, 2019
These days Independence Day can ruffle some feathers...and so can the Northwest Ordinance. But all is not doom and gloom, get a load of NYC!! 
05:31
July 14, 2019
055 Review - Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee's Army in Maryland, 1862 by Alexander B. Rossino
Those of you with an interest in the Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg, if you must...) will love the hell out of this fictionalized account of Lee's 1862 invasion of Maryland. 
04:56
July 12, 2019
054 Review - That Field of Blood: The Battle of Antietam, September 17 1862 by Daniel J. Vermilya
There are turning points and there are turning points. But really folks, when it comes to the Civil War...Antietam has to be at least in the top three.
04:29
July 9, 2019
053 A Conversation with Robert Lee Hodge
I believe you will come away from this talk, as I did, with an understanding that despite our differences, we can absolutely sit down and have an honest conversation about the past. Like Robert Lee says…perhaps we should think less about passion and more about compassion…that’s at least a place to start...
1:24:44
July 8, 2019
052 Review - Race and Reunion by David W. Blight
I disagree with some of the best books ever. 
05:09
July 4, 2019
051 Heroines of Mercy Street with Pamela D. Toler
Today we discussed Pamela's book Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War. This is the book tie-in to the popular PBS series Mercy Street, which follows the stories of Civil War nurses, doctors, and civilians in Alexandria, Virginia. 
35:44
June 30, 2019
050 This Week in History Twitter June 25, 2019
Well...Andrew Jackson has had better weeks, which leads me to consider a bigger topic: what is it that historians actually do? 
04:59
June 25, 2019
049 Review - General Lee's Immortals by Michael C. Hardy
I had a few analytical issues with this one...but I thought the military history was on point and well written. 
04:31
June 23, 2019
048 Review - Prison Pens edited by Timothy Williams and Evan Kutzler
There are a number of remarkable things about this collection of edited Civil War letters, not the least of which is the gender negotiation between a prisoner of war and his wife behind the lines. Check this out - especially if you enjoy reading things that make you think about complexity. 
05:04
June 17, 2019
047 History Colorized and Animated with Matt Loughrey
I have a great chat with Matt Loughrey, the creator of My Colorful Past, about the intersection of technology and historical documents. 
34:39
June 14, 2019
046 This Week in History Twitter - June 12, 2019
If NPR is paying attention...sometimes it's a good idea to ask a historian before you publish. 
05:52
June 12, 2019
045 Book Review: The War Outside My Window by Janet Elizabeth Croon
Get to know the Confederate Cause from the perspective of a young invalid from Georgia during the Civil War. 
05:38
June 7, 2019
044 Yes, It Is Time for a New Civil War Documentary - with Keri Leigh Merritt
Keri Leigh and I hash out some of her ideas recently featured in the Smithsonian article: "Why We Need a New Civil War Documentary" and also Punk Rock music. Because why not. 
33:51
June 3, 2019
043 Book Review: Searching for Black Confederates by Kevin Levin
Kevin Levin throws down a challenge...and uses evidence and everything! Look out Neo-Confederates :) 
05:41
May 27, 2019
042 This Week in History Twitter - May 19, 2019
David McCullough takes a pretty big hit on the Twitter this week. Ouch. 
05:33
May 19, 2019
041 This Week in History Twitter - May 11, 2019
The American Civil War Museum opens with a bang in Richmond, a historian speaks at length on Reconstruction, and using the passive voice might mean you’re a racist. 
06:42
May 12, 2019
040 Addressing Gettysburg with Matt Callery
Why does the Battle of Gettysburg loom so large in the American historical consciousness? Find out why it does (and a bunch of other stuff too) as I welcome Matt Callery of the Addressing Gettysburg Podcast to the show! 
1:09:45
May 8, 2019
039 This Week in History Twitter - May 4, 2019
This week in History Twitter...Robert E. Lee takes a beating and a historian calls for a new Civil War documentary! 
07:06
May 4, 2019
038 Historical Fiction and the 1862 Maryland Campaign with Alexander Rossino
Alex and I have a great discussion about his books: Six Days in September and The Guns of September...all concerning the 1862 Maryland Campaign during the Civil War...and listen closely :) Some other cool stuff comes up too...
44:34
May 1, 2019
037 Murder, Mary Surratt, and Public History with Kate Taylor
Digging deeper this week into conspiracies, murders, the assassination, and of course - public history. Kate Taylor joins us this week to hash through some good stuff. 
36:03
May 28, 2018
036 John Wilkes Booth, the Lincoln Assassination, and Public History with Dave Taylor
Well if you're unfamiliar with the term "Boothie" now's your chance to learn something new...and quite fascinating. Dave is indeed a self-styled Boothie. Once a derogatory term used to dismiss those who studied Lincoln's assassin, he's reclaimed it and has dedicated his historical pursuits to the study of the man and the conspiracy - as part of a serious scholarly effort to add to the comprehensive narrative of the nation's martyred president.
41:15
May 21, 2018
035 New York City, Public History, and WWI with Kevin Fitzpatrick
Well...we start with all this, but there is a lot more to the show including the discussion of an NYC literary movement and the movie biz...good stuff to be sure. Kevin is the author or editor of seven books all dealing with New York history in the teens and twenties
34:43
May 14, 2018
034 Pirates, Public History, and PIRATES! with Jamie Goodall
Jamie Goodall gives us a ton of insight about public history...and then we talk about pirates. Because pirates. Listen!! You'll learn about things ranging from pirate subterfuge to personal branding...who knew??
33:23
May 7, 2018
033 The Civil War, Medicine, and Historical Interpretation with Jake Wynn
Historical interpretation is something near and dear to my heart so I am especially pleased to welcome Jake Wynn to the show. Jake is the Director of Interpretation at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland...and we have tons to discuss when it comes to public history. Listen!!! You can thank me later :)
40:02
April 30, 2018
032 A Man of Sensation: John Adams, the Archives, and Popular Culture with Sara Georgini
Wow! If you've ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to the publication of the founders' historical papers - this show is for you. And we don't stop there. I'm a big fan of popular culture - so we talk about how John Adams on the screen stacks up to John Adams the man. Good stuff, my friends.
41:02
April 23, 2018
031 The Soul Food Scholar with Adrian E. Miller
Soul Food. Southern Food. American Food. Adrian describes a cuisine...
29:50
April 16, 2018
030 Style Meets History with Roxy Haji and Kimi Gallegos
Fashion fiends, history buffs, political junkies - the show you've all been waiting for has arrived. I am very happy to be able to speak with Roxy Haji and Kimi Gallegos of Old News Company about the intersection of fashion, history, and political discourse. We bring it all in...bi-partisanship, controversy, the fine line between commemoration and trivialization, and maybe a few words about James Buchanan.
47:19
April 9, 2018
029 Black Panthers, Community Activism, and the Angola Three with Holly Genovese
There a whole lot more to community activism and the Black Panther Party than what you might know from the iconic photographs - and I speak with Holly Genovese (who by the way has mad time management skillz) about this fascinating group and their efforts supporting the Angola Three in Louisiana.
40:42
April 2, 2018
028 Taking History to the Streets with Doug Kenck-Crispin of Kick-Ass Oregon History
Taking history to the streets. Why the hell not. I mean, what better way to learn about the past than by going to check it out in person? Maybe grab a beer? Maybe talk some smack? Count me in 100%. There are few things more tantalizing to yours truly that getting together with the public and walking in the footsteps of those who made history. Doug and I see eye to eye on this. This is what history is about. Let’s get it! 
35:32
March 26, 2018
027 Historical Myths with Joseph "Professor Buzzkill" Coohill
Have you ever stopped to wonder if that thing from history you knew to be true was just a bunch of bullshit? A famous quote...a questionable detail about someone's life...a significant theme in the historical narrative? Man...just imagine if all of that was just important sounding nonsense. Today I talk with Joseph "Professor Buzzkill" Coohill about myths in history - why they are important and how we can spot them. Trust me, they're everywhere...and they can be dangerous.
47:19
March 19, 2018
026 Confederate Historiography with Robert Baumgartner
I will talk about history books all freakin' day. This is why I am especially happy to welcome Bob to the show. I noticed recently that he was giving a talk on three significant authors and their contributions to Confederate historiography...so naturally, I had to have him on the show. Under the microscope today: Douglas Southall Freeman, T. Harry Williams, and C. Vann Woodward. 
39:55
March 5, 2018
025 Commemorating the Dakota War with John Legg
It might be easy to overlook the Dakota War of 1862...as the conflict is greatly overshadowed by the Civil War. But John Legg, soon to embark on the journey to obtain his master's degree in history, helps us correct this issue...by connecting the war to the broader Civil War era historiography. We discuss commemoration and reconciliation in the Minnesota River Valley - and even get down to brass tacks over naming. After all, it is the origin of all particular things :) Have a listen.
46:30
February 26, 2018
024 Historical Interpretation with John Heckman
John and I talk about all kinds of things including...tattoos of course, and lots of other stuff. Most important, how we see the future of the discipline, what it means to challenge the tradition of academia, and how we reach a broader audience.
47:13
February 19, 2018
023 Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter with Coni Constantine
We are shifting focus as of 2018...new episodes will feature interviews AND movie reviews AND book reviews AND lots of other interesting things beyond the standard history podcast format. Yay. For this episode, co-host Coni Constantine, creator of Lady Balls Nation and Spicy Fit Foodie joins me for a discussion of a truly remarkable film: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. There's lots of insight on this episode...check it out.
27:55
January 4, 2018
022 Wearing Gay History with Eric Gonzaba
This week we talk with George Mason University Ph.D. candidate Eric Gonzaba about his work with two absolutely fascinating digital archives: Wearing Gay History and the Rainbow History Project. If there has ever been a great case for exploring how textiles and other material culture can help us understand currents of history, this is it. We also get into Eric's research on African American and Queer nightlife in the latter third of the 20th century.
1:04:37
July 24, 2017
021 Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority with Ellen Wu
Peeps - this is a super fascinating story...tracing the history of Asian Americans from Chinese immigration and the exclusion act to Japanese internment and well beyond. Ellen explains how Asians went from being mostly reviled in the United States to the "model minority." You need to listen to this. Seriously.
57:31
July 18, 2017
020 Art as Iconoclast with Dara Vance
I am thrilled to have Dara on the show - she is a Ph.D. Candidate in history at the University of Kentucky, former producer of the Long Story Short podcast, and a really really talented artist. We have some fun discussing the way Dara's most recent art project dovetails with her work as a historian - and how it is the result of interactions with other historians on social media...challenging ideas of gender and diversity. We touch on some pretty non-traditional ideas about history and how we can present it in the classroom, AND get to why historians should analyze the significance of design elements in their primary sources. Good stuff! And really outside the box. So listen up.
1:15:48
July 3, 2017
019 Cocktails (and Other Stuff) with Maggie Yancey
Holla!!! We're back!!! After a second semester hiatus I am very happy to return to the podcasting world with Maggie Yancey. Maggie is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Tennessee (her home state) and is finishing up her dissertation on Civil War era liquor and identity. As you might imagine, there is so much more to this than I had expected, and Maggie certainly fills me in. But we talk about so much other stuff...from yoga to comfort food to the state of academia. This is a must listen for history peeps and anyone who is thinking about life beyond a post graduate degree. We have some laughs on this one, and Maggie calls someone a dirty name...guess who...? (snicker)
55:42
June 26, 2017
018 Lady Balls Radio featuring Fawesome Women in Film
I lifted this straight from my wife's podcast - Lady Balls Radio. She has a knack for finding (and interviewing) women who are doing really cool things. And on this episode, she speaks with Team RAD - a trio of women who are currently making a series called Soiled Doves, a story of three women in the 1880s American West. This episode not only gets into how these women came together to make the series, but also their efforts to challenge the gender stereotypes of the Old West. Oh - and while you are at it, you should subscribe to Lady Balls Radio. It's like the best podcast ever.
1:04:32
April 7, 2017
017 Old Timey Casting with Guy W. Gane
You all know that I love fashion...I talk about it all the time on my various other social outlets (sometimes I even post a pic!). This is why I am happy to have Guy on the show. We have the love for fashion in common...and he also really digs historical style, both military and civilian...so much so that he has created a company that specializes in casting for television and film period pieces. His credits include everything from The Field of Lost Shoes to House of Cards. Cool right - listen up to find out how this whole thing works.
32:31
February 13, 2017
016 Beyond the Irish Brigade with Damian Shiels
Wow - so if you ever wanted to know about mid-19th century Irish immigration and Irish involvement in the American Civil War this is your guy. We discuss all kinds of stuff, including Damian's most recent book, The Forgotten Irish. I had a great time speaking with Damian - I am more than certain you will enjoy the talk too. SO LISTEN UP :)
51:11
February 6, 2017
015 Free Blacks and Radical Creoles: African Americans in Antebellum and Reconstruction New Orleans with Alexis Hlavaty
I could talk about this stuff all day (well, I sort of do...) and so I am thrilled to offer this fascinating conversation with Alexis Hlavaty. I think most are unaware of how vibrant the free black community was in New Orleans during the antebellum years - and we talk about why these folks are relatively unknown today. We also get way into the radicals after the war in the Reconstruction period and all the way to the infamous Plessy case. Just for fun - and I won't spoil it - but Alexis hits us with some straight up controversy right away (hint: neo-Confederates be warned...). So listen up. This is important stuff.
43:12
January 30, 2017
014 Teaching History Beyond the Classroom with Chris Lese
I love speaking with my fellow high school teachers - and I am thrilled to have such an inspiring educator on the show. Chris and I have collaborated in the past, and I am looking forward to some upcoming projects - we talk about those AND how he gets his students actively engaged both in and out of the classroom. You'll want to listen especially to Chris's experiences with a Rogue Historian alum - Joe McGill...kind of a once in a lifetime thing.
58:30
January 9, 2017
013 Teaching with Creativity with Lance Mosier
What if the CSI crew were around to help bring John Wilkes Booth to justice? That's what Lance Mosier has his 8th graders imagine...Seriously, if he had been my history teacher in middle school - I might have paid closer attention. In this episode, Lance and I talk shop about how we reach our students in creative ways - ways that help them engage with the history - Not. Just. Memorize. It. I mean, where is the fun in that? This show is a must for all teachers out there and those who are considering teacher middle or high school as a career. LISTEN!!! There's great stuff here :)
36:50
January 2, 2017
012 The Slave Dwelling Project with Joseph McGill
There is really no way that we, as Americans in the 21st century, will ever know what it was really like to experience what slaves did in the Ante-Bellum South. However, we can get closer to understanding it - archival research is a good start. But, as Joe McGill illustrates, the actual slaves dwellings, many of which are still standing, offer a great deal of the story - and engaging with the physical artifact can only add to our understanding. In this episode, Joe explains his Slave Dwelling Project - an effort to educate about the realities of slavery and his campaign to save the places where slaves lived their lives. Joe is also a living historian - recreating a soldier from the famous 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. We talk a great deal about Black men in the Civil War - both North and South.  So if you think about it, this is two-for-one episode. Enjoy!!
54:23
December 26, 2016
011 Low Country Africana with Toni Carrier
Toni is a historian and genealogist who is doing some outstanding work researching the lives of slaves and former slaves in the so-called Low Country. If you do not know where that is then you need to listen - like right now. I am really happy to finally get to talk with Toni about how she connects people with their ancestors and all of the things she is doing with African American public history.
37:12
December 19, 2016
010 Teaching with Passion with Amy Rebecca Jacobs
You know...many of us with advanced degrees in the humanities started off in this with one intention, others were not quite sure what to make of the whole thing...and we wound up teaching history at private high schools. My good friend Amy Rebecca Jacobs chose this path (as did I) and loves it. Her passion shows through in this episode, where we take on the notion of making a career in secondary education plan A.
42:30
December 12, 2016
009 Patrick Lewis: Digital History and the Civil War Governors of Kentucky
Okay so we took a short break to recover from the election. 'Nuff said. But we're back and I am freakin' stoked to be talking digital history with Patrick Lewis - director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary project. Yo, this is some of the most innovative work in the digital humanities that I have ever encountered. Peeps - pay attention and follow suit. State archivists should especially listen - you will be doing yourself (and researchers) a favor.
43:35
November 28, 2016
008 Thomas Dixon: The Apostle of Hate with Lynn Lyerly
The 1915 silent film, The Birth of a Nation, is about as controversial as a film can get. Why? Because racism. What you might not know is that the film is based in part on a novel - a historical romance, really - written by Thomas Dixon. The name of the book is The Clansman...and it is some of the most vile racist propaganda of its day. Today we talk to historian Lynn Lyerly, who is currently working on a book about Dixon, and sort through the heritage of racism and its legacy. Listen...and pay attention. This shit is important, yo.
34:03
November 7, 2016
007 Old-Time Banjo with Dusty Lee Elmer
You know what? Banjo music makes me happy. So I am super stoked to have Dusty on the show - he is a first-rate banjo player and a really cool dude. Dusty plays NINE instruments - can you believe it? Today we are focusing on the banjo - its origins and some different playing styles in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cool shit, yo - have a listen.
36:08
October 31, 2016
006 Los Angeles History in Verse with Mike the PoeT
I'm stoked because today I got to interview my old friend Mike Sonksen - well known to the world as Mike the PoeT. Mike is a third-generation Angeleno (a rarity in Los Angeles) and is dedicated - through his work as a historian, teacher, writer, and performer - to connecting the many dots that are LA.
36:13
October 24, 2016
005 Civil War Music with Christian McWhirter
Next time you find yourself humming the melody to John Brown's Body in line at the grocery store - make sure to think over what Christian says about Civil War music...it's more than just the backdrop to the shooting.
42:32
October 17, 2016
004 The Non-Aligned World with Robert Rakove
This is pretty much the straight dope on the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and their approach to those places in the world that did not choose sides in the Cold War. And not for nothing...I throw Rob a few curve balls...which he handles with unmatched skill!
53:31
October 12, 2016
003 The Civil War in the Far Far West with Megan Kate Nelson
From time to time you will read about the small (relatively) battles that took place in the far West during the Civil War. Historians seldom mention these, and when they do - they usually gloss over the events as little more than interesting anecdotes. I challenge Megan Kate Nelson, who is writing a book on the subject, to explain why these little engagements are so important...and she dose. Look out!
37:22
September 25, 2016
002 Voting Rights in Richmond, Virginia with Julian Hayter
We all think we know about the great victories of the movement to secure voting rights in the 1950s and 1960s. What if you found out that there were some unintended consequences of this movement? Would that blow you mind? Because it blew mine! Let's see what my friend Julian Hayter has to say about the subject.
39:15
September 25, 2016
001 Black Confederates with Kevin Levin
You may have heard people talk about the thousands of black Confederate soldiers who filled the ranks of southern armies during the Civil War. Well...those people are confused. There really no evidence at all that these folks existed - no matter how badly some folks would like them to have been on board with the Rebel cause. I recently had a talk with Kevin Levin - who knows more than most on this subject - especially why this is such a persistent myth.
32:47
September 25, 2016
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