Who is this Doug guy anyway?

Dr. Doug Sofer, Ph.D. (hereafter known as “me” or “I”) is a real-life, honest-to-goodness, professional historian who’s currently a tenured professor of history at Maryville College in East Tennessee. My specialty in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin was the history of Latin America, with a minor field in modern African history. I also have multiple additional teaching fields in U.S. and world history. My undergraduate history B.A. degree came from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.

What connection does Maryville College have to this podcast?

I am a proud member of the faculty at Maryville College in East Tennessee. Over the years, my students and my multi-decade career as a college-level prof have helped to inspire this project. That said, You Are A Weirdo is an independent production by me and my side-hustle, sole proprietorship company, Temporal Dimension Media. Opinions expressed on this podcast and in related projects are my responsibility alone1Unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily reflect those of anyone else at Maryville College or elsewhere.

Is the You Are A Weirdo podcast appropriate for school-aged children?

This podcast is family-friendly in most respects and is not explicitly targeted toward adult audiences. As a rule, I avoid using any obscenities harsher than those found on a typical network TV sitcom, and it is aimed at an extremely broad audience. Additionally, though I make many attempts to be lighthearted and humorous in this podcast, I deliberately cut back on the silliness when discussing heavier topics.

With all that said, this podcast does discuss some potentially mature themes that could require further discussion, especially with younger folks. Since episodes cover the human past, there is some mention of the existence of certain psychoactive drugs, sex, racism, prejudice of various kinds, violence, and there are a few scatological references here and there as well.

Is this podcast appropriate for college classes?

Absolutely! If you’re a college student or a fellow college instructor, feel free to drop me an email at doug@findyourselfinhistory.com and let me know what did or didn’t work, any inaccuracies you’ve found, and so forth.

How do I contact you with comments / complaints / speaking engagement requests / invitations to parties on enormous yachts / etc.?

Send an email here: doug@findyourselfinhistory.com.

What inspired the You Are A Weirdo podcast?

This entire project began with a few big premises that I have come to believe are accurate. Much of this project is ultimately about testing these assertions on as wide an audience as possible. Here are a few of the big ones:

  1. Academic history offers critically important insights into the human condition; we cannot understand the present-day without landmarks from the past. (This concept comes up in, e.g., the first episode—the idea that “you’re lost” without history.)
  2. What passes for history in most pop genres tends to over-emphasize the familiar aspects of the past, glossing over the differences. Pop history that emphasizes easy lessons of the past implies that historical folks were more-or-less exactly like us, except without iPhones. Academic history, by contrast, is first and foremost about engaging with historical evidence. And one of the first things that people notice when they read that evidence—primary sources from the past—is how utterly alien many of them seem.
  3. History is entertaining and thought-provoking in its own right. Profs and teachers of history tend to have captive audiences in our classrooms, which can make history feel like a chore even when it isn’t. There are other ways to engage the public and urge them to explore the past.
  4. History geeks are every bit as awesome as other kinds of geeks. We’re as rad as coding-geeks or Freakonomics-geeks or CSI-geeks or gamer-geeks or Mythbusting-geeks, or drone-flying-geeks any of the other flavors of geekdom. We deserve our spot at the long D&D table of nerd-hood as much as anyone else.

How can an awesome person like me support this project?

Great question and thanks for asking! Check out findyourselfinhistory.com/sponsors for more information!

You sometimes refer to the podcast as a part of a larger “project.” What are the other parts of the project?

Prior to building this podcast, I actually completed a draft of a book-length manuscript based on this same theme. I’m hoping to use the podcast as a platform from which to attract the attention of a literary agent and from there get the manuscript published by a reasonably large publisher. If you happen to be one of those agents and you like what I’m doing here, please contact me at doug@findyourselfinhistory.com.

As of right now, the podcast and the book are the only projects. I’m open to other ideas if you want to chat about other historically weird possibilities.

  • 1
    Unless otherwise indicated