Podcast Pairings (#podcastpairings): A Preview of More Posts (2023)

This blog series is focused on my main research subjects: the history of Dutch- and German-speaking adult baptizing Protestants (Mennonites, Doopsgezinden and others maligned as “Anabaptists”) and other European religious minorities before about 1850. This is a very specialized area of research.

With this post I’m starting a new focus for upcoming entries: “Podcast Pairings”. I plan to use posts under this heading to record my broader reading and listening interests.

This topic of podcast pairings is related to what I imagine is or should be a Twitter hashtag (#podcastpairings). A basic question is: How is my blog’s focus on past religious minorities related to contemporary podcasts? My answer, for what it’s worth: I study and write about academics today and early modern public scholars such as Jan Rieuwertsz Sr. and Jr., and Pieter Rabus, and Cornelis van Engelen, and Betje Wolff and Aagje Deken, and Allard Hulshoff and Maria Aletta Hulshoff — all writers and journalists who devoted much of their public lives to debating issues of immediate concern in an open forum for a general audience. “Podcast Pairings” should encourage open and information- and evidence-informed discussion of contentious issues in the public sphere — or simply topics I find fascinating and fun.

Background: During the Pandemic I started listening regularly to podcasts. Which ones? I’m a Canadian by birth and I work in Canada. Since my high school years in the 1980s I’ve been a listener to CBC Radio (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). The CBC still does live broadcasts but has shifted increasingly to a podcast model for sharing programs. I particularly like the CBC Radio shows Ideas, Quirks and Quarks, Day 6, The Current as well as the various CBC Radio comedy shows. During the Pandemic I also started subscribing to Slate Magazine, and I have become a regular listener to The Political Gabfest, Slate Money, The Gist (now a separate podcast not with Slate), What Next as well as What Next TBD, and One Year (so far discussing 1977 [season 1], 1995 [season 2], 1986 [season 3], and 1942 [season 4 — the current season]). The Guardian is also a regular part of my media listening (especially Long Reads), as is The Conspirituality Podcast. I sample other podcasts and news feeds regularly. More generally, I try to pay attention to news media from lots of different political perspectives (e.g., at least three Toronto-based “national” newspapers — with attention to West Coast, “Western”, Quebec and East Coast Canadian news). Of course, I also pay attention to local Niagara and Brock University news feeds.

The idea behind this post and my new blog focus is that it’s better to listen to podcast pairs (or triplets) so that we as listeners compare and think more critically about subjects. Two (or three) podcasts on similar subjects will raise different perspectives on that subject and enrich our thinking — as long as the podcasts are of good quality. My goal will be to make matches of good-quality podcasts.

Here’s an example of a possible Podcast Pairing (for future discussion): Mike Pesca and The Gist about mask mandates (later episodes of The Gist add complexity); and Dan Wilson and Debunk the Funk about masks. More soon.