Histories of the Unexpected

A daily Society, Culture and History podcast featuring James Daybell and Sam Willis
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Episodes of Histories of the Unexpected

In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of LEAVES! Which is all about agent orange and the Vietnam War, good luck, four-leaf clovers, superstition and nettle-eating, C
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of DOLLS! Which is all about seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fashions, the history of Barbie, twentieth-century consumerism
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of COUSINS! Which is all about Samuel Pepys, money-lending and pomposity, prohibited marriages, Lydia and Samuel DuGard and sev
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of GIN! Which is all about dutch courage, crime in the eighteenth century, addictive architecture, liquid poison, female drinke
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of EMBARRASSMENT! Which is all about the science of blushing, Charles Darwin, politeness and cultural taboos, social humiliatio
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of CHAOS! Which is all about Lady Jane Grey and Mary I, the Cultural Revolution in China, the science of unpredictability, the
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of TRUST! Which is all about seventeenth-century Dutch merchants, atrocities against First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of SWITCHES! Which is all about cheating death, switching on Christmas lights and the history of celebrity, and the nuclear but
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of SHEDS! Which is all about the Grade II listed Devon-based writing hut of Henry Williamson (he of Tarka the Otter fame), Roal
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of DISTANCE! Which is all about Renaissance letter-writing, the Kentish knight, politician and antiquary Sir Edward Dering and
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of THE BOTTOM! Which is all about fashion and femininity and masculinity, political protest, cycling technology, the Reformatio
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of PUPPIES! Which is all about family blackmail, breeding and the Victorian quest for pedigree perfection, Renaissance portrait
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of READING! Which is all about Renaissance book wheels, medieval reading aloud, bibles, sending letters and the concept of priv
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of CONTEMPT! Which is all about William McMahon and Australian politics (courtesy of a superstar listener!), eighteenth-century
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of DANGER! Which is all about accidents in Tudor England, accident-prone children, the history of health and safety and the ind
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis invite you all to indulge your sweet teeth with the unexpected history of JAM! Which is all about WW2, rationing and the Women's Institute (think Jam and Jeru
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of TEENAGERS! Which is all about the lost generation in China during the Cultural Revolution and oral history, teenagers bedroo
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis invite you all to join them in uncovering the unexpected history of CLIQUES! Which is all about factions at the court of Henry VIII, and the rise and fall of
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the utterly fascinating and genuinely unexpected history of GREED! Which is all about the seven deadly sins and Dante's Divine Comedy, Francis Bacon's
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the utterly fascinating and genuinely unexpected history of POISON! Which is all about eighteenth-century shopkeepers, assassination attempts on Queen
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the historical truth of the unexpected history of HONESTY! Which is all about Abraham Lincoln (Honest Abe) and shopkeeping, oath taking and the bible,
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the nail-bitingly unexpected history of ANXIETY! Which is all about phobias, anxious masculinity and seventeenth-century patriarchy, separation anxiet
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis with knowing smirks all over their self-satisfied faces uncover the unexpected history of SMUGNESS! Which is all about toxic insults, contemporary politics an
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis uncover the unexpected history of GRANDPARENTS! Which is all about oral history, WW2 and sociability during lockdown, as well as twentieth-century New Zealand
In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis shuffle the decks of history to deal us the unexpected history of CARDS! Which is all about The Prize Papers of the High Court of Admiralty, annotations, seve
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