Time to Eat the Dogs

A Podcast About Science, History, and Exploration

Archive for Expeditions

Replay: The History of Madagascar in Trade and Exploration


Madagascar lies so close to the African coast –and so near the predictable wind system of the Indian Ocean– that it’s easy to overlook the island, the fourth largest in the world, when talking about oceanic trade and exploration. But there is a lot to tell.

Jane Hooper talks about Madagascar and its importance to the history of Indian Ocean trade and exploration. Hooper is the author of Feeding Globalization: Madagascar and the Provisioning Trade, 1600-1800, recently published by Ohio University Press.


Replay: The Medieval Pilgrimage


A pilgrim badge portraying Our Lady of Tombelaine, early 1400s

Fran Altvater talks about the Medieval Pilgrimage, a practice that became central to Christian Europe in the early Middle Ages and evolved into the military pilgrimages of the Crusades in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. Altvater is a professor of art history at the University of Hartford. Her book, Sacramental Theology and the Decoration of Baptismal Fonts, was published recently by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Fran Altvater

Here are some of Altvater’s other writings as well as a good overview of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages by Jean Sorabella:

Calendar Images and Romanesque Baptismal Fonts

Saintly Bodies, Mortal Bodies: Hagiographic Decoration on English Twelfth Century Baptismal Fonts 

Pilgrimage in Medieval Europe (Sorabella)

Replay: Inventing the American Astronaut


It seems logical that would NASA select military test pilots to be the first astronauts, right? They were used to risk. They were good with machines. They already explored extreme environments. But these skills were not unique to test pilots. There were also mountaineers, scuba divers, and explorers. They too were considered. So why did NASA choose test pilots?

Matthew Hersch, assistant professor of history at Harvard University and author of Inventing the American Astronaut, talks about this and other aspects of the astronaut program. 


Matthew Hersch

The Navigator in the Early Modern World

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Margaret Schotte talks about how sailors were trained to do the difficult and dangerous work of navigation in the early modern world. Schotte is an Assistant Professor of History at York University. She is the author of Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill.


Margaret Schotte

Replay: How We Got the Scientific Revolution Wrong


Potosí from a 17th century atlas engraving

In the late 1500s, the mines of Potosí –a mountain in southern Bolivia — produced 60% of the world’s silver. It was a place of great wealth and terrible suffering. It is also a place, Jorge Canizares-Esguerra argues, that challenges the very idea of the Scientific Revolution.


Jorge Canizares-Esguerra

Canizares-Esguerra discusses Potosí and how its peoples and technologies shaped 16th century science. He is the Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been honored by awards from the American Historical Association and the History of Science Society. His book How to Write the History of the New World was cited as one of the best books of the year by the Economist, Independent, and the Times Literary Supplement.

Mountaineering and Glaciology after World War II


Devil’s Paw, Juneau Icefield

The Juneau Icefield is home to some of the most spectacular glaciers in North America. In the 1940s, it was the place where science and mountaineering joined hands and, occasionally, came into conflict.  

Dani Inkpen talks about the links between mountaineering and glaciology after World War Two. Inkpen is a faculty fellow at NYU Gallatin. She is the author of “The Scientific Life in the Alpine: Recreation and Moral Life in the Field” published this year in the history of science journal Isis.


Dani Inkpen

Replay: Monsters on the Map


“Blemmyae,” from Liber chronicarum (Die Schedelsche Weltchronik, Das Buch der Croniken und Geschichten von Hartmann Schedel), woodcut, 1493

Cannibals, headless men, and giants were common figures on Medieval and Renaissance maps. Historian Surekha Davies tells us why we need to take these figures seriously. Davies is the author of Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters (Cambridge University Press, 2016) winner of the 2016 Morris D. Forkosch Prize (Journal of the History of Ideas) and the 2017 Roland H. Bainton Book Prize (Sixteenth Century Society and Conference).

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Surekha Davies

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Read about Surekha Davies’ work on her website