New podcast asks, ‘What does it mean to be in the humanities?’


Rachel Bunning

Podcasts are a new platform for sharing information. Since becoming a sensation in the early 2000’s, podcasts have grown exponentially as a way to spread ideas and thoughts using the human voice.

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies (SHPRS) has created its own podcast called Being Human(ities) to educate, not only students, but anyone with an interest in humanities-based topics.

“I think it’s a great platform.  said Terry Shoemaker, a doctoral candidate studying religious studies in SHPRS. “I use it quite a bit in my online classes and in-person classes. It’s meaningful and reflective of the work we’re doing.”

Being Human(ities) began in October of this year by discussing sports studies with Victoria Jackson, a history lecturer in the school and a record-holding athlete. After the discussion with Jackson, the podcast team decided to make sports studies their theme for the academic year.

“We’re having a faculty panel discussion in November and that will actually be live recorded, so it’ll be live podcasting,” said Shoemaker. “It’ll include Shawn Klein in philosophy, Victoria Jackson in history and myself and Jason Bruner in religious studies. I think the cross pollination between history, philosophy and religious studies is, obviously, rich. But we have a time and a space dedicated to that cross pollination to happen in a very unique way.”

Interested in attending the event? Find details here.

Shoemaker is the host for the podcast. He does not come from a background of developing podcasts, but he has learned so much more than just how to create a recording.

“I think it’s really broadened my horizons for understanding sports studies,” said Shoemaker. “Honestly, I come at it from a very particular angle. I think it unearths a lot of the richness of the importance of sports in influencing and informing our own researches, our own interests.”

Although sports is the topic for this academic year, Shoemaker is hopeful that the podcast will continue to grow and develop to discuss topics such as the Mexican-American border.

“Going down to the border and being able to hear the voices of people caught up in the issues of the Mexican-American border, it’s a whole kind of audible thing different than the normal process of us just reading words,” said Shoemaker. “I think there’s something else to it that’s richer as I look forward to what can be captured and disseminated through this process.”

A podcast’s ability to capture the human voice is one reason why they have become so popular. This media format allows a human exchange in which ideas and knowledge can be shared beyond a university setting.

“Humanity is this developing, evolving thing and we get to play a part in that evolution and that progress and also in the analysis of it and the forward-thinking of it,” said Shoemaker.

You can look for the podcast on iTunes. It will be released monthly.