Sub-Saharan Africa: Nations, religions, and identities (a History Talk podcast)

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the world's fastest-growing and most diverse regions—and also one of the most misunderstood. On this episode of History Talk, scholars Ousman Kobo, Amy Pate, and Amanda Robinson discuss ethnicity, nationality, and religion in contemporary African societies. Putting the emergence of religious extremism in a broader perspective, these experts highlight regional variations, historical developments, and the social and economic trends that are rapidly changing the face of the continent.

The 1918 Flu Pandemic

Recent estimates suggest that the 1918 flu claimed as many as 50 million lives around the world between 1918 and 1919, killing more people in a single year than the entire “Black Death” of the 14th century. On its centennial anniversary, it is worth remembering the history of the “Spanish” flu and how it set us on the path towards our modern flu vaccine.

The ambitions of government: Territoriality and infrastructural power in ancient Rome

Presented by Clifford Ando, University of Chicago, at the Center for Historical Research, Department of History at The Ohio State University on January 31, 2014. The last thirty years have been much fluctuation in the estimation of ancient empires as regards assessment of both their power and style of governance. Did ancient empires formulate and implement policies, or was ancient government largely reactive? Did they have the power or aspiration to penetrate deep into the territories they ruled, or were they content to rule through the cooptation of local elites and pre-existing institutions? Related inquiries have been launched into the importance of territoriality to ancient states, as well as the relationship between territoriality and imperialism: did Rome, or Persia, for that matter, recognize or materially mark firm borders of its control? Did their practice differ in regard to borders between administrative units within the empire? For that matter, when did ancient terms like imperium or provincia, "power of command" and "bailiwick," take on notions of spatial extension such that they could come to mean "empire" and "province?" These questions, which have scarcely been resolved, have taken on new urgency in light of the importance comparison has assumed in contemporary (ancient) empire studies.

The Amritsar Massacre (1919)

On April 13, 1919, in Jallianwala Bagh, a square near the Sikh Golden Temple of Amritsar in India, British soldiers led by Colonel Reginald Dyer fired on an unarmed, non-violent crowd of Indians. Learn  what led up to the massacre and its repercussions.
Written by Archana Venkatesh. Narration by Dr. Nicholas B. Breyfogle.

The Ancient Roman Origins of Government Disaster Response

When we reflect on the history of government response to natural disasters such as plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and now Covid-19, we discover that the expectation that central governments should play a role in recovering from such disasters can be traced back to the actions of three Roman emperors of the 1st century: Titus, Nero and Tiberius. This video traces their history of response to disasters and how it relates to today.

The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written and narrated by Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries. A textual version of this video is available here.

This is a production of Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective at the Goldberg Center in the Department of History at The Ohio State University and the Department of History at Miami University. For more information about Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, please visit

The Blame Game: The USSR’s Response to HIV/AIDS

On the surface, HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 seem as dissimilar as two viruses could possibly be. Yet, the ways in which the Soviet Union reacted to the arrival of HIV/AIDS, and how it spread in the first years of the outbreak, yield valuable insights into our current coronavirus pandemic.
Written by Svetlana Ter-Grigoryan. Narration by Dr. Nicholas B. Breyfogle. A textual version of this video is available here.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

Created by Nick Huffmon. This video is a digital project completed as part of Professor Lilia Fernandez's History 4015: Research in Modern U.S. History course at Ohio State University in the spring of 2015.