About Michael F. Robinson

NBN Episodes hosted by Michael F.:

Adrian Wisnicki, "Fieldwork of Empire, 1840-1900: Intercultural Dynamics in the Production of British Expeditionary Literature" (Routledge, 2019)

March 6, 2020

Fieldwork of Empire, 1840-1900

Adrian Wisnicki

Adrian Wisnicki talks about the British expeditionary literature of the late 1800s. Reading between the lines of Victorian travel accounts, Wisnicki s…

Laura Waterman, "Starvation Shore" (U Wisconsin Press, 2019)

February 28, 2020

Starvation Shore

Laura Waterman

Laura Waterman talks about her novel, Starvation Shore (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), which relies upon memoirs, letters, and diaries to recon…

Amy Shira Teitel, "Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA" (Bloomsbury, 2016)

February 21, 2020

Breaking the Chains of Gravity

Amy Shira Teitel

Amy Shira Teitel talks about Apollo and the community of people who are deeply attached to space history. Teitel is a spaceflight historian and the cr…

Alistair Sponsel, "Darwin’s Evolving Identity: Adventure, Ambition, and the Sin of Speculation" (U Chicago Press, 2018)

February 14, 2020

Darwin’s Evolving Identity

Alistair Sponsel

Dr. Alistair Sponsel talks about Darwin’s experiences on HMS Beagle and his early career as a naturalist. His close reading of Darwin’s journals and l…

Michael F. Robinson, "The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture" (U Chicago Press, 2006)

February 7, 2020

The Coldest Crucible

Michael Robinson

Radio host Kevin Fox interviews Michael F. Robinson about the history of American Arctic exploration, the subject of his book, The Coldest Crucible: A…

Catherine Newell, "Destined for the Stars: Faith, the Future, and America’s Final Frontier" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2017)

January 31, 2020

Destined for the Stars

Catherine Newell

Catherine Newell talks about the religious roots of the final frontier, focusing on the collaboration of artist Chesley Bonestell, science writer Will…

Neil Maher, "Apollo in the Age of Aquarius" (Harvard UP, 2017)

January 24, 2020

Apollo in the Age of Aquarius

Neil Maher

Neil Maher talks about the social forces that shaped NASA in the 1960s and 70s, connecting the space race with the radical upheavals of the countercul…

Daniel Kennefick, "No Shadow of a Doubt: The 1919 Eclipse that Confirmed Einstein’s Theory of Relativity" (Princeton UP, 2019)

January 17, 2020

No Shadow of a Doubt

Daniel Kennefick

Daniel Kennefick talks about resistance to relativity theory in the early twentieth century and the huge challenges that faced British astronomers who…

Ingrid Horrocks, "Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784–1814" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

January 10, 2020

Women Wanderers and the Writing of Mobility, 1784–1814

Ingrid Horrocks

Ingrid Horrocks talks about the way women travelers, specifically women wanderers, are represented in late-eighteenth century literature, particularly…

Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, "Nature, Empire, And Nation: Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World" (Stanford UP, 2006)

January 3, 2020

Nature, Empire, And Nation

Jorge Canizares-Esguerra

In the late 1500s, the mines of Potosí –a mountain in southern Bolivia — produced 60% of the world’s silver. It was a place of great wealth and terrib…

Angelina Callahan, "NASA in the World: Fifty Years of International Collaboration in Space" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

December 27, 2019

NASA in the World

Angelina Callahan

Angelina Callahan talks about the Naval Research Laboratory’s Vanguard Project. While the launch of Vanguard 1 in 1958 was part of the Cold War “Space…

Joyce Ashuntantang, "A Basket of Flaming Ashes" (African Books Collective, 2010)

December 20, 2019

A Basket of Flaming Ashes

Joyce Ashuntantang

Joyce Ashuntantang talks about her experiences as a traveler and a poet, from her childhood Cameroon to her years studying in Great Britain and the Un…

Fran Altvater, "Sacramental Theology and the Decoration of Baptismal Fonts" (Cambridge Scholars, 2017)

December 13, 2019

Sacramental Theology and the Decoration of Baptismal Fonts

Fran Altvater

Fran Altvater talks about the Medieval Pilgrimage, a practice that became central to Christian Europe in the early Middle Ages and evolved into the mi…

Jason Smith, "To Master the Boundless Sea: The US Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire" (UNC Press, 2018)

December 6, 2019

To Master the Boundless Sea

Jason Smith

Jason Smith discusses the US Navy’s role in exploring and charting the ocean world. Smith is an assistant professor of history at Southern Connecticut…

Kathleen Sheppard, "The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology" (Lexington, 2017)

November 29, 2019

The Life of Margaret Alice Murray

Kathleen Sheppard

After Napoleon occupied Egypt, Europeans became obsessed with the ancient cultures of the Nile. In Britain, the center of Egyptology research was Univ…

Helen Rozwadowski, "Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans" (Reaktion Books, 2018)

November 15, 2019

Vast Expanses

Helen Rozwadowski

Helen Rozwadowski talks about the history of the oceans and how these oceans have shaped human history in profound ways. Rozwadowski is a professor of…

Karen Routledge, "Do You See Ice?: Inuit and Americans at Home and Away" (U Chicago Press, 2018)

November 8, 2019

Do You See Ice?

Karen Routledge

In the 1800s, explorers and whalers returning home from the Arctic described a cold, desolate world, one that could swallow up expeditions without lea…

Russell Potter, "Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-year Search" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2016)

November 1, 2019

Finding Franklin

Russell Potter

In 1845, two British naval ships left England with 129 men in search of the Northwest Passage. They were never heard from again. The disappearance of …

Andrea Pitzer, "One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps" (Little, Brown and Company, 2017)

October 25, 2019

One Long Night

Andrea Pitzer

Andrea Pitzer talks about her book One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps (Little, Brown and Company, 2017), one of Smithsonian Magaz…

Valerie Olson, "Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

October 18, 2019

Into the Extreme

Valerie Olson

Valerie Olson talks about why the idea of outer space as a “frontier” is giving way to one that frames it as a cosmic ecosystem. Olson is an associate…

Maria Nugent, "Captain Cook Was Here" (Cambridge UP, 2009)

October 11, 2019

Captain Cook Was Here

Maria Nugent

Maria Nugent talks about Aboriginal Australians' first encounter with Captain Cook at Botany Bay, a violent meeting that has come to represent the ori…

Erika Milam, "Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America" (Princeton UP, 2019)

October 4, 2019

Creatures of Cain

Erika Milam

Erika Milam talks about the scientific search for human nature, a project that captured the attention of paleontologists, anthropologists, and primato…

Joy McCann, "Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean" (U New South Wales Press, 2018)

September 13, 2019

Wild Sea

Joy McCann

Joy McCann discusses the great circumpolar ocean that surrounds Antarctica. McCann is the author of Wild Sea: A History of the Southern Ocean (Univers…

Shayne Legassie, "The Medieval Invention of Travel" (U Chicago Press, 2017)

September 6, 2019

The Medieval Invention of Travel

Shayne Legassie

Shayne Legassie talks about medieval travel, especially long distance travel, and the way it was feared, praised, and sometimes treated with suspicion…