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Continuing our exploration of gender and sexuality in Islamic history we turn to the figure of the mukhannathun, a third gender category in early Islam. We trace ideas of gender as a fluid spectrum through the lives of these individuals examining their existence in the life of Muhammad and the nascent Muslim community, the Umayyads,...
In this episode we dive into the history of homosexuality, same-sex desire, and gay love in Islamic societies. We examine the realm of religion, scripture, literature, and medicine and what they tell us about same-sex desire. We recount the lives of famous gay and lesbian figures from the early Muslim community through the Abbasid Caliphate,...
How did early Muslims define sex? In this episode we examine the role of pleasure and specifically mutual pleasure as a key definition of sex in Islamic society. We trace the role of pleasure from the Qur’anic ethos to the subsequent development of Islamic law, literature, and medicine. We argue Muslims did not define sex...
The theme for season 5 is gender and sexuality in Islam. In our first episode we provide the framework for understanding gender, sex, and sexuality in the Islamic world. We discuss three influences on the framework: cultural beliefs, the Qur’an, and the philosophical tradition of the high Abbasid period. We discuss how Muhammad strove to...
Special: Islamophobia

Special: Islamophobia

2019-03-2220:341

In this special we cover the history of Islamophobia and the way it intersects with other forms  of bigotry like antisemitism and its connection with Orientalism. We try to put the tragedy of the Christchuch, New Zealand shooting into a broader context by examining the discourse on Muslims. We start by examining Orientalism and its...
In our final episode of the season, we wrap up our theme of Empires of Faith. We start out with some shout outs and then present a brief timeline of the Roman and Byzantine Empire. We discuss the Romanization of Christianity and the Christianization of the Roman Empire. We talk about Constantine with the imperial...
In this episode we explore the history of Israelite religion under Hellenism and the Roman empire. We examine the ways in which Judeans responded to, absorbed, and resisted Hellenic culture resulting in messianic movements, the Sadducee sect, Pharisee sect, and Essene sect. We investigate the cosmopolitan culture of Judea under the Seleucid Empire and later...
In this episode we explore Roman religion and how it was shaped by the empire. We begin with a brief chronology of Roman history from its early days through the republic until the empire. We sketch out the structure of Roman society and some of the features of it’s politics. We spend the bulk of...
This episode provides a brief sketch of the history of the Greeks. We start with a short discussion on the Minoans and the Mycenaean invasion. We talk about the emergence of a common culture within Homer’s epic of the Iliad and Odyssey while noting that “Greek” was a single, unified people, but rather autonomous and...
In this episode we pick up with the Babylonian Captivity. We discuss the rise of Cyrus the Great and the Achaemenid empire. We examine the origins of the Persians and their consolidation into an empire that conquers the Neo-Babylonians. We talk about the policy of religious pluralism instituted by Cyrus the Great and its links...
In this episode we examine the complexities of ancient Israelite religion by placing it within the historical context. We put forth theories about the origins of the religions while situating it within the broader ancient near east and Mediterranean religious traditions. We talk about the establishment of temple religion and the historical experience of empires...
Today we discuss the rise of the Assyrian empire. From the Old Assyrian Empire to the Neo Assyrians we discuss how the technological developments of the Iron Age radically transformed the empire-building powers of the ancient world and the ways it impacted the religious ideologies of the Assyrians. We dissect the militaristic culture and its...
In this episode we dive into the world of ancient Egypt. We start with a discussion on religion in the ancient world and the difference between our modern assumptions of religion. We discuss the impact of the Nile as a stable irrigation system on Egyptian society and religion. We compare and contrast the Pharaohs with...
Today we take a look at the Babylonian empire and the rise of Hammurabi. We analyze the way kingship and religion worked hand-in-hand to justify rule. We take a close look at the Code of Hammurabi and what it tells us about Babylonian religion. We examine the cosmology of the Enuma Elish and the Babylonian...
Welcome to season 4 of Head on History: Empires of Faith. This season we are going to discuss the ancient world up to the arrival of Islam through an examination of the intersection of empire and religion. In this episode we establish the basic outline of complex societies, the common characteristics of the early civilizations,...
With the recent tragic news of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder likely at the hands of Saudi officials, it is imperative we take a look at the long history of Saudi Arabia’s troubled past and its relationship with the United States. In this episode we examine the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from the alliance...
**Apologies for the incorrect outro music, will correct**In this special episode of Head On History we discuss the history, origin, and practices of Muharram and Ashura. We start with the Battle of Karbala and the lead up to the schism in the nascent Muslim community. We talk about the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali and...
Male Revolt

Male Revolt

2018-08-1030:461

In the last episode of season 3 we look at the Male Revolt and dig deeper into the history of Islam in South America. We look at the slave trade to Brazil and the formation of Muslim communities. We examine the unique rituals and authority African Muslims were able to forge and how they secretly...
Islam and America

Islam and America

2018-08-0249:372

From colonial America to 20th century, Islam has a long history in the United States. We start with the transatlantic slave trade and tracing some of the demographics that made up the colonial US. We examine material evidence, paintings, and written sources to uncover the lives of African Muslims living the United States. We talk...
Special: Islam and China

Special: Islam and China

2018-07-2639:361

In light of the ongoing crackdowns in Xinjiang, this special episode explores the history of Islam in China. Pushing back against some of the narratives that imagine Islam as a foreign threat, we look at the premodern history of Islam and how it arrived in China. We talk about the early connections between the Rashidun...
Comments (6)

Nicki Duncan

its good to hear a more nuanced conversation about diversity and humanity in Islam. thanks for that! I wondered at you didn't reference, is it Lut? who in the quran is given as a lesson for men not to lie with other men. what are your thoughts on this?

Jul 29th
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Moshe Wise

Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban refused to surrender al-Qaeda, not because Americans wanted to convert Muslims into secular liberalism.

Mar 15th
Reply

black mamba

This was great, thanks. Please continue doing this series.

Jan 18th
Reply

ForexTraderNYC

love the podcaster guy heard him on see something say something initially very impressive guy covers subject deeply.. it seems he hasnt had newer episodes...but definately this is a good history podcast.

Nov 2nd
Reply

Susa Rantanen

yes yes yes I'm SO ready for new episodes! love this!!

Jan 7th
Reply

Muhammed Arslan Shabaz

pls keep on going it's amazing how to organize.

Aug 6th
Reply
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