Time to Eat the Dogs

On Science, History, and Exploration

Episode 26: The Last Uncontacted Tribes


Sydney Possuelo, Tepi Matis, and Txema Matis in the Vale Do Javari Indigenous Land, 2002

Journalist Scott Wallace talks about a 2002 FUNAI expedition to find the Arrow People, one of the last uncontacted tribes in the world. Wallace is a writer and photojournalist who covered the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s for CBS and the Guardian. Since then he has written extensively for National Geographic. His book, The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes, tells the story of this expedition. Wallace’s work about the Amazon has also recently appeared in the New York Times.



Scott Wallace


Episodes 24 and 25: The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever

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Doctoral candidate Sarah Pickman talks about studying exploration: specifically what it’s like to read three hundred books and articles and to be able to discuss them for hours in front of a committee of professors. This event, the preliminary or comprehensive exam, is the last step a graduate student takes before beginning her dissertation. Pickman also discusses recent trends in exploration literature and her top five list of exploration books. 

If you like the discussion, you may also want to listen to the bonus episode where we give our top picks for some unconventional categories of books. Pickman also talks about the exam experience at Global Maritime History in her essays “Surviving the Qualifying Exam” (Part I)(Part II)

Texts discussed:

Jace Weaver, The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927

Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire 

Nancy Shoemaker, Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contingency of Race 

Isaiah Lorado Wilner, “A Global Potlatch: Identifying the Indigenous Influence on Western Thought,” in American Indian Culture and Research Journal vol. 37, No. 2 (2013), pp. 87-114.

Beau Riffenburgh, The Myth of the Explorer

Sarah Pickman’s Top Five

Surekha Davies, Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters 

Dane Kennedy, The Last Blank Spaces: Exploring Africa and Australia 

David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany 

Lisa Messeri, Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds 

Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana 

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Sarah Pickman

The Biggest Exploration Exam Ever:

Bonus Episode: Exploration Books

Episode 23: Backpack Ambassadors


Backpackers in the Netherlands, 1969. Life Photo: Carlo Bavagnoli

Richard Ivan Jobs talks about the rise of backpacking in Europe after the Second World War. Jobs argues that youth travel helped create a new European culture after the war, contributing to the integration of Europe during the 1960s and 70s. Jobs is a professor of history at Pacific University. He is also the author of Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe recently released by University of Chicago Press.

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Richard Ivan Jobs

Episode 22: 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.

Episode 21: Lands of Lost Borders


Kate Harris — writer, scientist, and extreme cyclist – talks about the trip she made with her friend Mel, tracing Marco Polo’s route across Central Asia and Tibet. The journey is the subject of Harris’s new book, Lands of Lost Borders: a Journey on the Silk Road 


The Myth of the “Lost White Tribe”

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Illustration from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1905)

Zocalo’s Public Square ran my essay this week about the global, largely hidden, history of white supremacy. It was picked up by the Boston Globe. Thanks to Andrea Pitzer for being a terrific editor.

Episode 20: The Ebola Outbreak of 2013


Why did Ebola, a virus so deadly that it killed or immobilized its victims within days, have time to become a full-blown epidemic? That’s what happened in 2013 in when the virus, already well-known to virologists and epidemiologists, broke out in West Africa, infecting twenty-eight thousand people and killing eleven thousand. 

Stephan Bullard, associate professor of biology at the University of Hartford, discusses the 2013 outbreak which is the subject of his new book, A Day to Day Chronicle of the 2013-16 Ebola Outbreak, which will be released soon with Springer Press.


Stephan Bullard