High School History Recap

25 Episodes

By: William H Palk and Colin du Plessis

The High School History Recap podcast was started by two passionate teachers from South Africa who realised the value of taking history teaching and learning beyond the confines of the textbook and classroom. Their recipe includes constructive conversations with learners and experts alike. William and Colin investigate topics covered in most history classrooms but also ask questions about how best to teach and learn these topics. They cover the "what to teach", "how to teach", "how we learn", and "thinking tools" of history teaching and learning. Find them on any podcast player platform like Apple or Spotify. Let's share the...

#7 The Troubles with Prof Liam Kennedy

We delve into some Irish history with Prof Liam Kennedy. Liam has published a myriad of books on Irish history. We look closely at his 2020 book "Who was responsible for the Troubles".

These are some of the questions we try to answer:

What is a brief definition of the Troubles?What period are we looking at?Is Ireland part of the UK?What is at the heart of the violence of the Troubles?Which events led up to the Troubles?How did the division/partition of the island of Ireland come about?Why are the Troubles...

#6 A Secret Apartheid Massacre with Dr Mignonne Breier

Link to Untextbooked.

Have you ever heard about the East Bank Location Massacre on 9 November 1952? Neither have we. Dr Mignonne Breier joins us to talk about her book Bloody Sunday in which she uncovered the gruesome details of this massacre that upends the conventional apartheid narrative.

Here are some of the questions we consider:

Why do so few people know about the East Bank Location / Duncan Village Massacre?How was it possible to hide the murders of 200 people?Where is East Bank Location?Was it just geographical isolation or a purposeful cover-up?What is...

#5 South African Military History with Prof Timothy Stapleton

In this episode, we get our hands dirty with some military history. Prof Timothy Stapleton of the University of Calgary joins us to discuss South Africa's turbulent past. We look at wars from the earliest colonial times to the end of apartheid.

These are the questions we try to answer:

What is Prof Timothy Stapleton's connection to South Africa?Why do humans go to war?Is warfare irrational?How does the approach of the military historian differ from that of the ordinary historian?Do military historians glorify warfare?How are South African wars best categorised?Is...

#4 Prebunking Misinformation with Dr Jon Roozenbeek

How should we combat misinformation in the history classroom? What does it take to stop misinformation at the outset? Dr Jon Roozenbeek is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge and joins us to discuss his team's latest research on "prebunking" misinformation.

Some of the questions we try to answer:

Did Covid-19 contribute to an increase in fact-checking?Did the extent of misinformation grow in the last couple of months?What is the history of misinformation?How does prebunking misinformation differ from fact-checking?What does the Theory of Inoculation describe...

#3 Lilian Ngoyi with Dr Martha Evans

Many streets and clinics bear Lilian Ngoyi's name, but who was she and what was the nature of her accomplishments as an anti-apartheid activist? Dr Martha Evans is working on a substantive biography of Ma'Ngoyi and joins us to share some interesting insights about Lilian's remarkable life. 

Here are some of the questions we try to answer:

Why is Lilian called "the mother of black resistance against apartheid"?What was apartheid South Africa like?What is narrative literary journalism?Why are there so few historical sources on Lilian's life?What are the details of Lilian Ngoyi's l...

#2 OERProject and History Teaching with Prof Bob Bain

Prof Bob Bain joins us, probably one of the biggest names in history teaching. This conversation brought a whole new dimension to what effective history teaching should look like.

Questions we set out to answer:

Does Bob Bain play the guitar?Why are all historians, in essence, teachers?The power of that ONE inspirational history teacher/lecturerWhy in the world would anyone want to study history?What is the purpose of situating the present in the context of the past?How do we deal with different accounts of the past?What is the OERProject all about...

#1 The Science of Learning with Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel

In this first episode of our fifth season, we explore the field of learning. Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel is a cognitive psychologist who specialises in how we learn best. She is part of an inspiring initiative called the Learning Scientists. She shares some of her valuable insights with us.

Questions we explore:

Is there a trick or a secret to communicating "science"?What motivated Carolina to take up a specialisation in learning?How do we find a balance between what and how we teach and how people learn?Briefly, what are the six learning strategies? The strategies...

#14 The Cradock Four with Zikhona Valela

The following twitter post accompanies this episode of The Cradock Four.


The historian, Zikhona Valela, joins us to talk about the Cradock Four and, more specifically, misinformation around the supposed famous photo of the Cradock Four. Zikhona tells the story of the four men who were murdered on June 27th, 1985. How did it happen that two of the four men, and the trauma of their families, were actually erased from the historical record? Why do we continue sharing convenient narratives that are, on closer inspection, inaccurate and untrue? Zikhona...

#13 Reevaluating World War II: Stalin's War with Prof Sean McMeekin

Join us for a conversation with Prof Sean McMeekin on his new book Stalin's War: A New History of World War II. This is a very timely discussion in light of the unfolding war in Ukraine.

Some of the points of discussion:

How is Stalin’s War different from the conventional Hitler-centric account of World War II?How is it possible to even write a new history of World War II 77 years after the fact?Is the way we teach World War II unbalanced?How likely was the Hitler-Stalin pact?What are the main differences between fa...

#12 Interrogating the MAIN causes of WWI with Michael Neiberg

Michael joins us again to challenge some widely held beliefs about the causes of WWI. The long-term causes of World War One are often conveniently taught using the acronym MAIN, which stands for militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism. It is often argued that the presence of these ingredients in Europe made the First World War inevitable, or to use a term Michael taught us, overdetermined.  But by looking at each one of these factors, we learn that this is not necessarily the case. In fact, militarism, alliances, imperialism, and nationalism might have only really come to...

#11 Fighting Misinformation with Dr Joel Breakstone

In this episode we explore Civic Online Reasoning in more depth. We are joined by Dr Joel Breakstone of the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG). This is in an effort to effectively fight misinformation. 

Why is it called Civic Online Reasoning?What does Civic Online Reasoning have to do with history?How does source analysis and source evaluation relate to Civic Online Reasoning?What does expertise look like in terms of evaluating online sources?Is misinformation a new thing?How does misinformation differ from disinformation?How do we ensure that our students access online sources more effectively?Are t...

#10 1942 with Taylor Downing

Taylor Downing joins us again for another discussion - this time about his newest work entitled 1942: Britain at the Brink. The book and this discussion delves into the fateful year of 1942 when British morale reached a new low - military defeats abroad saw the British public lose faith in their leadership and it seemed as though wartime prime minister Winston Churchill was facing his darkest hour. Well, let me not spoil it here...let historian, writer and broadcaster, Taylor Downing tell you all about it!

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We have our own intro jingle!!!

We are super excited about this new jingle! It was written and performed specifically for our show by Alwyn Bekker. When it comes to acoustic guitar chops, his guy is the real deal! It's like he has fifty fingers!
I recommend you guys go and check out his band, Bad Peter, as well. Our favourite song is definitely "On This River".

I hope you guys enjoy it! And thanks again, Alwyn!

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#9 The Industrial Revolution in World History with Prof Peter N Stearns

In this episode Prof Peter N Stearns of the George Mason University provides an overview of the Industrial Revolution. The 5th edition of Peter's book, The Industrial Revolution in World History, was published in 2021.

This is what we've discussed:

 How does the perspective of a world historian differ from that of an economic historian?Why is the Industrial Revolution considered the single most important development in human history over the past three centuries? Why should we study the Industrial Revolution?How should we understand the word "Revolution" as it relates to the Industrial Revolution?Was the S...

#8 Apartheid Series with Dr Wayne Dooling - Resistance to Apartheid

In the third part of the series, Dr Dooling tells us about the various ways in which the people of South Africa resisted the oppressive Apartheid regime.  Dr Dooling delves into the different political currents in 20th century South Africa, touching on organisations such as the the ICU, the ANC, the PAC as well as the various affiliated organisations such as the ANC Youth League, MK and Poqo. We also discuss a few of the pivotal events in South African resistance history such as the Defiance Campaign, the Congress of the People and the Freedom Charter, the Women's March a...

#7 Teaching History the Stanford Way with Dr Joel Breakstone

At the end of 2021, we are very fortunate to talk to Dr Joel Breakstone of the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) about their Reading Like a Historian lesson plans and Beyond the Bubble history skills assessments. We also find out more about SHEG's Civic Online Reasoning curriculum which will greatly benefit history learners in identifying misinformation.

What we discuss:

What does it mean to "read like a historian"?We look at the research of Sam Wineburg and Abby Reisman.How do we integrate source analysis with the conventional way of teaching history?How should we define...

#6 The Charismatic Leadership Style of Albert Luthuli with Prof Benda Hofmeyr

About a month ago, the University of Pretoria celebrated the life of Chief Albert Luthuli. At these celebrations, Prof Benda Hofmeyr gave a presentation on the philosophical legacy of Albert Luthuli with specific emphasis on his charismatic leadership style.

What we discuss:

Why did a philosophy professor take an interest in leadership styles and specifically Albert Luthuli?How does a philosophical approach to studying leadership differ from the historical approach?What is meant with a charismatic leadership style?Why did you base your interpretation of charismatic leadership on the writings of Max Weber?How did Luthuli...

#5 Wondrium History Geek Out with Kevin Manzel

Join our history geek-out session with Kevin Manzel. Kevin is the senior director of content development at Wondrium. Colin and I are both big fans of Wondrium's history courses and use them as resources in our history classrooms.

We cover the following:

What is a history geek-out session?How does Wondrium connect disparate topics?What is Wondrium and how did it develop over time?What are some of the history courses on Wondrium?How does Wondrium decide which courses to develop?How does Wondrium ensure the quality and authority of its courses? How can Wondrium benefit t...

#4 The History of Learning and the Learning of History with Prof Donald Clark

William talks to the learning expert, Donald Clark, about the history of learning theory and about the best way to teach and learn history.

Questions covered:

Where does Donald‚Äôs interest in history come from?How has the way in which we learn changed over time?Why is the invention of writing the ‚ÄúBig Bang‚ÄĚ moment of collective learning?Why is the invention of binary or computer language such an important moment in the development of learning?Is collective learning our unique trait?How did technology enable collective learning?Who are the experts in the field of lea...

#3 Apartheid Series with Dr Wayne Dooling - Apartheid

In the second episode of the Apartheid Series we transition from the policies of Segregation in South Africa towards the implementation of Apartheid. In this episode Dr Dooling discusses some of the motivations behind the National Party's choice to put such a rigid system of racial segregation and separation in place. Topics such as Afrikaner Nationalism takes center stage as we look at why and how the NP won the 1948 elections. Some of the Apartheid laws are discussed and we look at how these laws affected the every day lives of South Africans, which will then lead us to...

#2 Apartheid Series with Dr Wayne Dooling - Segregation

In the first episode of our Apartheid Series, Colin is joined by Dr Wayne Dooling from  the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The conversation deals with the concept of segregation in South Africa, where it comes from and how it was implemented. As an expert on Race, Segregation, and Apartheid in Twentieth-century South Africa, Dr Dooling helps us make sense of the systems of racial separation that would lead to the overarching system of Apartheid.

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#1 Apartheid 101 with William Palk

A great collaboration with Kelly Chase of the History Detective! The perfect way to start Season 4. 

In this episode we aim give an overview of the policy and practice of apartheid in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Here are some of the questions we cover.

What does the Afrikaans word "apartheid" translate to?How did South Africa get to the point where the minority white government were able to discriminate against the majority black population?What were some of the apartheid laws?Who were the ANC and what was their role in protesting apartheid?Who was Nelson M...

#19 D-Day - Operation Overlord with Michael Neiberg

In this episode, Colin is joined once again by the American military historian, Michael Neiberg. This time they discuss a little thing called D-Day a.k.a. the Normandy Invasion a.k.a. Operation Overlord. Operation Overlord is one of the largest operations in military history and in this discussion Michael and Colin delve into not only the events of June 6th, 1944, but also the logistical challenges faced by Dwight Eisenhower and his team of planners, French involvement in the operation, as well as the living legacy left on the beaches.
So if you know a few things...

#18 Choreomania with Dr Kelina Gotman

In this episode Colin speaks to the author of¬† Choreomania: Dance and Disorder, Dr Kelina Gotman. Kelina is from King's College in London and her research interests include theatre, dance and performance history, and philosophy. In this episode we tackle¬† the formation of the concept of the ‚Äėdancing disease‚Äô in nineteenth-century colonial medical, psychiatric and anthropological circles. What is choreomania really all about? Did people truly go mad and dance themselves to insanity? Well, Kelina sets the record straight!

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#17 Dr Abdullah Abdurahman with Stephen Langtry

In this episode William discusses the neglected narrative of Dr Abdullah Abdurahman with Stephen Langtry. Dr Abdullah was South Africa's first elected black politician.

Here are some of the questions we look at:

·         The life and times of Dr Abdullah
·         We discuss Martin Plaut's biography of Dr Abdullah
·         Are there many lost figures in South African history?
·         Why are some stories remembered at the expense of others?
·         What is the balancing point in writing history?
·         A short biography of Dr Abdullah
·         The friendship between Dr Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi
·         The schools set up by Dr Abd...