Biography

Biography

United States

The podcasting of a life, by Matt Smith. “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” - Charles Dickens.

Episodes

Gandhi 1: A Good Seed is Sown  

Gandhi is a figure who is known across the world as the father of the nation, the man who achieved independence in the Indian subcontinent through non-violent resistance. He was also a thinker and a philosopher, and the name he was given, ‘Mahatma’, means great soul, and reflects the reverence with which he was seen.

Guest: Dr Thomas Weber (Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University)

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Themistocles 3: Persuasion and Compulsion  

With his victory at Salamis, Themistocles is now the hero of the Hellenic world. he's recognised and lauded across the lands, but with this power comes jealousy and competition. The hero of Athens will have to turn to its greatest enemy for sanctuary.

Guest: Professor Christopher Mackie (Ancient Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University)

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Themistocles 2: Indubitable Signs of Genius  

Themistocles has established himself as a respected politician within ancient Athens, but he isn't without rivalry. He has political enemies from within who hope to bring him down, and there's always the threat of Persia, readying itself to take on the Hellenic states.

Guest: Professor Christopher Mackie (Ancient Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University)

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Themistocles 1: Great Light of the Greeks  

Themistocles lived during a time of change and progress in Athens. The monarchy was coming to an end, the republic was on the rise, and a self-made man from modest beginnings can make crucial contributions to an entire civilisation.

Guest: Professor Christopher Mackie (Ancient Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe University)

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Ely S. Parker  

Ely S. Parker was born to a prominent Seneca family on an Indian reservation near New York, and to many was considered a man between two worlds. Working first as a tribal diplomat, and later forming a close friendship with Ulysses S. Grant during the civil war, he came to be the first Native American to hold the position of Head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Guest: Dr Claudia Haake (History, La Trobe University).

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Frida Kahlo 2: Acid and Tender  

Frida attains fame within her lifetime, and her relationship with Diego Rivera remains passionate and explosive. Since she died her fame has attained new heights, as people see the part of Frida they want to see - she now belongs to the world.

Guest: Emeritus Professor Barry Carr (History, La Trobe University).

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Frida Kahlo 1: A Ribbon Around a Bomb  

Frida Kahlo is considered one of Mexico's greatest artists but spent most of her career working in the shadow of her husband, the larger than life artist and muralist Diego Rivera.

After a bus accident left her injured for life she took up painting, and became known for her surreal artwork and self-portraits which show a conflicted artist.

Guest: Emeritus Professor Barry Carr (History, La Trobe University).

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Douglas Mawson 3: Flaws in the Ice  

Douglas Mawson expedition across the ice has been met with tragedy. One of his men has fallen down a crevice and died, and with him the majority of the food stores and the good sleigh dogs.

He and Mertz have little option but to turn back and try to make their way to the base. But the weather is against them, and they don't have enough food to make back.

Guest: Dr David Day (Historian and Emeritus of La Trobe University).

Books:
Flaws in the Ice: In search of Douglas Mawson (Scribe, 2013)
Antarctica: A Biography (Oxford, 2012)

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Douglas Mawson 2: The Home of the Blizzard  

Douglas Mawson has returned from the Shackleton Expedition in Antarctica, but he soon gets the urge to go back to the ice. He journeys to England to raise money for his own Antarctic mission - a scientific endeavour with the primary aim to discover new territory.

Guest: Dr David Day (Historian and Emeritus of La Trobe University).

Books:
Flaws in the Ice: In search of Douglas Mawson (Scribe, 2013)
Antarctica: A Biography (Oxford, 2012)

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Douglas Mawson 1: The Pole Hunters  

Douglas Mawson is one of the great explorers of Antarctica, and regarded as a hero in Australia. His first journey to the frozen continent was as a member of the Shackleton expedition, and he was given the task of finding the magnetic south pole.

Guest: Dr David Day (Historian and Emeritus of La Trobe University).

Books:
Flaws in the Ice: In search of Douglas Mawson (Scribe, 2013)
Antarctica: A Biography (Oxford, 2012)

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Confucius 2: The Master Says  

After his death, the teachings that are attributed to Confucius take on a life on their own. We now look at the philosophy of Confucius, the trouble with interpreting his teachings, and what Confucianism means in today's world.

Guest: Professor John Makeham (Director, China Studies Research Centre, La Trobe University).

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Confucius 1: The Man Who Moves the Mountain  

A philosopher, teacher, and political thinker, Confucius lived 2500 years ago, in the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. While his teachings and thinking has travelled worldwide, it is a hard task to separate the man from the myth.

Guest: Professor John Makeham (Director, China Studies Research Centre, La Trobe University).

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Catherine the Great 4: Without you, Felitsa  

By the end of her reign there was little doubt that Catherine had earned the 'Great' which was attached to her name. But what did Russia make of the empire she had built, and why is she most notably remembered for her sexual promiscuity?

Guest: Associate Professor Adrian Jones (History, La Trobe University)

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Catherine the Great 3: The Warrior Empress  

Catherine the Great took control of Russia, tried to make it a better place, and made sure the rest of the world couldn't ignore it's greatness.

Guest: Associate Professor Adrian Jones (History, La Trobe University)

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Catherine the Great 2: Patron and Collector  

Catherine the Great is well known for being a patron for a range of artists and intellectuals. Her art collection, now housed in the Hermitage in St Petersburg, is one of the most varied and valuable in the world.

Guest: Laurie Benson (Curator, National Gallery of Victoria)

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Catherine the Great 1: Rise of a German Princess  

Catherine the Great is one of Russia's most respected rulers, seen as raising Russia's reputation and building a powerful, cultured empire to rival Europe. It's almost hard to imagine that she was a little-known German princess, put into place by an elaborate power play.

Guest: Associate Professor Adrian Jones (History, La Trobe University)

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Vida Goldstein  

Vida Goldstein was a political activist in Australia, helping Australian women win the right to vote twenty years before Britain. Through tireless campaigning and rallying, she changed the perception of women in politics, and was held up as an example of what could be achieved for women around the world.

Guest: Associate Professor Clare Wright (History, La Trobe University)

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Martin Luther King Jr 2: I Have a Dream  

Martin Luther King's effectiveness in the civil rights movement made him the target of fierce opposition, but he was never swayed from protesting. His speech at the March on Washington is famous around the world, and became all the more important after his murder.

Guest: Professor Timothy Minchin (North American History, La Trobe University)

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Martin Luther King Jr 1: They Told Us We Wouldn't Get Here  

Issues around the segregation of African-Americans in the United States led to an increasingly active civil rights movement. The most influential figure in this movement was a Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr. His persuasive words and non-violent methods have made him one of the most revered Americans.

Guest: Professor Timothy Minchin (North American History, La Trobe University)

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Charles Darwin 6: So Many Barnacles, So Little Time  

With his work on natural selection and evolution now out in the public for debate, Charles Darwin changes the focus of his research and manages to keep himself busy for the rest of his days. He never manages to top the publication of 'On the Origin of Species' but there's no doubt that he's one of the most influential minds of the Victorian age.

Guest: Dr Alexis Harley (English, La Trobe University).

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