Histories of the Unexpected

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history. Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell.


Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 30m. Bisher sind 126 Folge(n) erschienen. Jede Woche gibt es eine neue Folge dieses Podcasts

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Truth and Lies

Sam Willis and James Daybell take on the UNEXPECTED history of TRUTH and LIES! It's all about the FBI, printing in Renaissance Italy, fake news, surveillance technologies, and Hollywood actress Jean Seberg, !




Sam Willis and James Daybell take on the UNEXPECTED history of CLOTHING! It's all about social control, death, recycling and mending, nationalism, Thomas Wolsey, and the rediscovery of a long lost dress that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I of E...


 2019-12-04  47m


Sam Willis and James Daybell are inspired by the new film Judy and Punch to explore the fascinating history of puppets! They're all about noses, propaganda, domestic violence, totalitarian rule, mischief, squeaking, industrialisation and disease. ...


 2019-11-18  42m


Inspired by Bonfire Night, Sam Willis and James Daybell explore the unexpected history of fire. It's all about communicating with fire, propaganda, speeches, hunting, exploring, Captain Cook, arrows, burning barrels, heresy, greed, Zoroastrianism,...


 2019-11-13  35m

Blood and Bones

Inspired by Halloween and Bonfire Night, Sam and James discuss the unexpected history of blood and bones: it's all about prehistoric axes, mass graves, Viking armies, Tudor surgery, bear baiting, Ottomans, Italy, and eating human bone powder. So t...


 2019-11-06  47m

The Spanish Armada

Sam and James explore the UNEXPECTED history of the Spanish Armada. It's all about collapsed expectation, flags, spies (as always), threat, fire, people not doing the right jobs, seasickness and lies.


 2019-10-21  32m


Sam Willis and James Daybell tackle the UNEXPECTED history of FABRIC! It's all about museums, (especially the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Vasa Museum) LGBTQ+, flags, handkerchiefs in WW2, silk, the Vikings, trade, subversion, heirlooms, com...


 2019-10-13  29m

Spies 2 - Interview with Dr Nadine Akkerman

In this episode, James interviews Miss Walsingham herself, Nadine Akkerman from Leiden University on her new book about seventeenth-century female spies, 'Invisible Agents'!


 2019-10-08  44m


James and Sam explain how you can think about the history of spies...it's all about honey, codes, eggs and invisibility!


 2019-10-04  42m

Humans Part 2 - with Dr Adam Rutherford

Sam spends a happy hour talking to the scientist Adam Rutherford about humans! The history of humans is all about - masks, ties, make-up, sea-otters, penguins, and whales playing the violin.


 2019-09-27  32m