The “Untold Histories of the Atlantic World” podcast by Tianna Mobley presents academic research with an activist slant. It brings to the foreground previously overlooked or oversimplified histories of African and Indigenous experiences throughout the Atlantic world. The podcast addresses the underrepresentation of subaltern voices in the telling of Atlantic history. By emphasizing both nuance and connection, Tianna’s overarching argument is that these histories matter and were integral to the unfolding of Atlantic world processes in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.
You can find all the episodes on Spotify.
The early histories of Indigenous and African populations have largely been absent from popular historical narratives, diluted to accommodate cherished chronicles of conquest, colonization, and Westernized conceptions of progress. Such incomplete renderings have lingering effects on history as an academic discipline, public historical memory, and socio-political discourse.
As the podcast’s host, Tianna invites scholars and activists to share their research on why these histories resonate with them and how they impact public discourse on topics such as indigenous rights, racism, social justice, gentrification, and immigration.
As the podcast’s host, Tianna invites scholars and activists to share their research, why these histories resonate with them personally, and how they impact public discourse on topics such as indigenous rights, racism, social justice, gentrification, and immigration. She has also worked in collaboration with Senior Fellow Valerie Ntinu to produce the series.
It is insufficient to simply research an issue – intellectual pursuit should be accompanied by some form of activism.
As a graduate student of Global, Comparative, and International History at Georgetown University, Tianna researches the Atlantic World—specifically the early modern African Diaspora in the Spanish American colonies. She believes that it is insufficient to simply research an issue, but that intellectual pursuit should be accompanied by some form of activism. With this, she combined her passion for academia and historical knowledge with social justice in the form of a podcast.
Tianna feels it is important to make history accessible beyond the academy by presenting stories of underprivileged and underrepresented groups. Her goal is to provide a platform for individuals to tell the socio-political and cultural histories of their own communities in the hope of creating meaningful and lasting change.
To develop this project, Tianna learned how to produce and edit a podcast, created a website, and made profiles on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. The most important aspect was identifying the themes to cover and then compiling a list of potential guests with the required expertise. In executing this project, Tianna performed the roles of: project manager, researcher, editor, website designer, social media marketer as well as podcast host. She envisions that this will continue as a long-term passion.
Tianna has appreciated the fact that she has been able to draw from her own networks (within her university, other fellowships, and within Humanity in Action) to find guest speakers for the podcast. As a result, she has deepened existing relationships by having the opportunity to learn about her guests in a new light through focused conversations about their social justice work, activism, and research. The episode on slaveholding within the family of a United States president stands out as a profound, illuminating, and genuine moment for Tianna to learn more about the family history of a close friend and to reflect on the legacies of enslavement today.
Although COVID-19 has made it more difficult to connect, she has viewed this podcast as an opportunity to reach out beyond pandemic restrictions and national borders to involve international guests. Essentially, adapting to virtual modes of communication and storytelling has facilitated–rather than limited–her initial goal. Through discussions with individuals from around the Atlantic world, Tianna has been able to explore the different manifestations of similar themes in various settings.
Feedback & Advice
Tianna has received a lot of feedback and support, particularly from friends and professors who she considers role models. Tianna plans to continue this podcast as part of her journey as a life-long learner. So far, she has hosted a total of eight individuals as podcast guests. To date, the podcast has also been downloaded over 300 times.
To someone undertaking a similar project, Tianna’s advice is: “Let your passions lead your project because the more you are genuinely concerned about a particular issue, the more personally invested you will become. Your passion will resonate with people and make the impact of your social justice work even more powerful.”
Tianna welcomes individuals whose work or personal experiences intersect with the mission of amplifying subaltern voices in the telling of untold stories throughout Atlantic history. If you are interested in joining Tianna as a guest on the podcast, please contact her by email.